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How to Perform a Wedding Witness Lottery During the Ceremony

As a wedding celebrant, one fun way to handle the selection of official witnesses is through a wedding witness lottery (also called witness bingo) during the ceremony. This interactive element gets guests involved and adds a touch of lightheartedness to the proceedings.

In this detailed article, I’ll explain everything you need to know as a professional celebrant about conducting a winning wedding witness lottery at a wedding.

The Important Role and Legal Requirements of Witnesses

Before we dive into how to orchestrate a lively wedding witness lottery, these are some crucial role witnesses play in marriage ceremonies.

In Australia, all legal marriage ceremonies require the presence of two independent witnesses, who must be at least 18 years old. These witnesses are responsible for observing the ceremony and then signing the official marriage paperwork to make the union legally binding under Australian law.

The witnesses serve as impartial third parties who can verify key details about the marriage ceremony later if needed. They attest that the ceremony took place as described, the couple freely consented to marry one another, and the officiant (the authorized celebrant) performed the ceremony properly. The signatures of the two witnesses provide legal protection and help prevent fraudulent marriages.

Beyond their official duties, having guests serve as witnesses makes them feel included in the ceremony and gives them a small participatory role in the couple’s important life event. Being chosen as a witness is generally seen as an honor.

wedding witness lottery

Why Are Witnesses Necessary for Weddings?

You may be wondering why witnesses are legally required in the first place. Why can’t the married couple sign the paperwork verifying they were married?

The main reason is the protection provided by having third-party impartial witnesses. Their statements about the details of the ceremony provide an objective, independent account that the marriage was performed legitimately. The law takes more than just the couple’s word for it.

Overall, witnesses provide an important system of checks and balances. You can learn More information About Wedding Witnesses here. Both spouses, the celebrant, and the independent observers must all attest that the marriage ceremony was conducted legally and above board. This helps uphold the sanctity and seriousness of marriage.

Who Can Serve as a Witness?

In theory, any wedding guest present who meets the minimum requirements can serve as an official witness and sign the marriage paperwork. The role is not restricted only to family or the wedding party. However, in practice, the couple usually asks close friends or relatives to be their witnesses as a sign of honor and thanks.

The two witnesses cannot be the married couple themselves, and they cannot be minors under the age of 18. The officiant or celebrant who performs the ceremony is also prohibited from signing as an official witness. But otherwise, the role is open to any responsible adult guest the couple chooses.

If unexpected issues arise and the planned witnesses cannot carry out their duties, the celebrant can ask any alternate adult guests to step in. The key is having two impartial adults observe the full ceremony and sign the paperwork.

Why Add a Witness Lottery to Your Wedding Ceremonies?

wedding witness lottery injects an element of surprise and participation into an otherwise routine wedding formality. Instead of having the couple pre-select two VIP guests for the task, the celebrant announces that the witnesses will be chosen at random through a lottery-style drawing.

At first, guests may be puzzled by this unexpected diversion from tradition. But once the lottery selection begins, it builds excitement and suspense. Everyone watches eagerly, wondering who will be picked for the coveted responsibility.

wedding witness lottery brings lively entertainment to the ceremony and keeps all guests focused on the events unfolding. The lucky winners gain a feeling of participation in the wedding. And the couple enjoys seeing their guests react with delight at the unconventional selection process.

As a professional celebrant looking to provide creative, personalized ceremonies, offering the option of a witness lottery is a great way to showcase your originality and flexibility. Brides and grooms are always seeking new ways to make their ceremony unique.

witness bingo

Step-by-Step How to Run a Witness Lottery

If you’ve decided to incorporate a fun wedding witness lottery, here is a step-by-step guide on How to Officiate a Wedding as a Beginner:

  1. Discuss the idea with the couple and ensure they are enthusiastic about surprising their guests with this kind of participatory activity during the ceremony. Make sure they understand it will be a random selection.
  2. Get the couple to bring a hat or box filled with the name of each guest written on a piece of paper. Add duplicate names if they want to increase the odds of a person winning, and remove anyone’s name they don’t wish to be the witness.
  3. When you reach the point in the ceremony script where the witnesses will be introduced, build up the anticipation by announcing, “We will now select our two witnesses through witness Bingo!” Explain that two names will be randomly chosen, and whoever wins will come forward.
  4. Make a show of shuffling the names in a box and selecting two or call a guest forward to be your assistant. Slowly announce the winning names one by one.
  5. The matching guests must then come forward and join you in the front. Verify they meet the age requirements and understand their important role as witnesses. Ask if they consent and are willing to sign legal documents.
  6. Thank them for their participation and proceed with the ceremony. After the final pronouncement of marriage, have the two lottery witnesses sign the paperwork alongside you and the couple.
  7. Let them get a quick photo with the couple and certificate.

And that’s it – you’ve orchestrated a unique, memorable wedding witness lottery! With the right celebrant flair and showmanship, this can become a signature custom that sets you apart.

Sample Witness Lottery Script and Helpful Tips

Celebrant: “Before we continue, we need two very special people to witness this marriage. Let’s make the selection interesting and let fate decide the lucky winners through a wedding witness lottery!”

(Build dramatic pause and enthusiasm).

Celebrant: “I will now draw two Names at random to determine who will be our esteemed witnesses on this joyous day!”

(Slowly mix names in a box first to increase suspense before drawing the winners).

Celebrant: “The two winning lottery names are XX and YY! If that is your name, please come forward.”

(Winners come up and are verified/thanked).

Celebrant: “Let’s have a big applause for our wedding witness lottery winners!”

Helpful tips for a smooth process:

  • Remind guests this is just for fun and ask that winners come forward promptly.
  • If a child is chosen, politely ask them to designate an adult from their row to participate instead, or don’t include any names under 18.
  • Keep the mood upbeat. Being unexpectedly put on the spot can make some witnesses anxious.
  • Consider giving the winners a small prize like a lottery ticket, bottle of wine, box of chocolates, etc.
wedding witness bingo

Conclusion: A Memorable Wedding Addition

wedding witness lottery brings energy and participatory entertainment to an otherwise routine wedding procedure. Your guests will be delighted by the opportunity to take part in such a novel ceremony custom.

As a professional celebrant, you can establish this creative wedding activity as part of your unique signature style. Each bride and groom want to feel their ceremony stands out. A lively on-the-spot witness selection lottery can deliver just the right spontaneity and fun to a wedding.

You’ll be fully prepared to make the lottery drawing go smoothly with the guidelines provided here. Keep the atmosphere light and cheery, verify the winners’ eligibility, and thank them for their extra involvement. Injecting quirky customized touches like this will make you a sought-after wedding officiant.

Special Thanks

Photographer: David Campbell 
Celebrant: Marry Us Gary

Wedding Witness Lottery

Gary is dedicated to ensuring that wedding officiants and wedding emcees like you excel in creating unforgettable wedding experiences! With a passion for celebrations, he is an enthusiastic, down-to-earth, and fun Wedding Celebrant and Professional Wedding MC, operating in Australia.
Count on Gary to provide expert guidance and a relaxed approach to help you deliver remarkable ceremonies and receptions. His goal is to empower you to curate the best possible wedding day for couples, where every detail is thoughtfully arranged, and the party atmosphere is electrifying!