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Tips and Scripts for the Wedding Emcee and Officiant

Wedding Ceremony Script
Wedding Ceremony Order of Events

Wedding Ceremony Order of Events

There is a lot to remember when officiating a wedding to make sure everything is smooth and legal. If you are officiating a wedding for the first time, don’t worry. That is where this wedding ceremony order of events can help. It is also known as the wedding ceremony outline and  can help you stay on track while creating something customised for the happy couple. 

1. Pre-ceremony Announcements

The role of an officiant on the big day begins before the couple arrives at the venue. You have the responsibility of ensuring that everyone is in their seats before the couple arrive and aren’t going to do anything disruptive during the big arrival. 

Chat with them and give an unofficial welcome. Politely ask them to turn off their phones. Remember that they are looking to you as the one leading the whole affair, and it could be a while before both partners are ready for stage two. 

wedding processional order

2. Processional

There isn’t much that you have to do as an officiant during the processional. However, it is a good idea to know what they are about so you can advise couples during the planning and rehearsal stages. 

Traditionally in heterosexual weddings, a bride and bridal party will enter the venue in a procession with the groom and groomsmen waiting at the altar. Couples may choose to deviate from this based on personal preferences, particularly those that are same-sex or have other gender identities. Listen to their needs and help them find what works best.

3. Welcoming Guests

Once the couple is in place in front of the guests, you can start proceedings by welcoming everyone. You can address the couple and welcome them to their big day, which will help build a connection and ease any nerves. You can also take the time to greet the wedding party and thank them for being a part of the ceremony. It is also courteous to thank the guests for taking the time to attend and share in the special occasion.

It helps to write this in advance and personalise it to the couple, rather than go with a template. Discuss any specific phrasing with the couple. For example, this may be a postponed wedding following the pandemic, which could add some poignancy. 

4. Couple's Story

From there, you can take the time to speak a little about the couple and tell their story. This helps to make the day a little more special because it accentuates the journey they have been on. Perhaps they are childhood sweethearts destined to be together, an older couple finding love for a second time, or even a couple remarrying. This little speech is a great way of transitioning into the next chapter of their lives. 

It is important to spend enough time with the couple in the planning stages to get a feel for their personalities and story. If you are acting as a friend officiant, this shouldn’t be too hard. Still, you don’t want to make it about your relationship with them instead. 

order of service for wedding

5. Declaration of Intent - Wedding ceremony Outline

This is the first part of the ceremony where you have a legal obligation as an officiant. There are certain things you have to do and say for a marriage to be legally recognised. The couple has to declare their intent to marry to show that this is consensual on both sides, and this is where you get the traditional “I do” statements. 

At this point, you also have the chance to remind couples of their responsibilities and ask the guests if there is a reason why the weddings can’t go ahead. This gives the couple one final chance to back out in case they need it. 

6. Personal Vows in the Wedding Ceremony Order of Events

It is common these days for couples to write their own vows, rather than simply recite those used in traditional ceremonies. There was a time when “honour and obey” was a common phrase, which understandably doesn’t go down well with a lot of brides today. 

Personalised vows give couples the chance to say exactly why they want to marry their partner and how they pledge to be the perfect spouse moving forwards. This allows for precise examples relating to their personal situation, as well as a joke or two to make their partner more at ease. 

7. Legal Vows during the Wedding Ceremony Order of Events

wedding program order

Following the personal vows, you will take the reigns again and lead them through the official legal vows. The wording of this can vary from ceremony to ceremony. But, each partner must repeat these phrases after you before placing the ring on the other’s finger. Guide the couple through this with patience and kindness. They may falter or stumble a little but that’s OK. Take it slow and let them repeat the phrases piece by piece. 

8. Declaration of Marriage

Once the legal vows are over and each partner has a ring on their finger – or not if they choose not to wear them – the ceremony is over, and you can declare them officially married. You have some freedom over how to phrase this, especially in secular weddings. Some go with something simple like “It gives me great pleasure to pronounce you…”. 

Remember to follow this up with the right terms. A same-sex union could be husband and husband or wife and wife. However, some people aren’t comfortable with these gendered roles and will have something else in mind. Either way, you can finish your declaration by permitting the first kiss.

order of wedding ceremony

9. Signing the Marriage License

This isn’t the end of your duties as an officiant on the big day. Even though you have officially declared the couple married, they aren’t legally married without a signed marriage license. 

Guide the couple over wherever this is laid out in preparation. Show them both where to sign, allow witnesses to do the same, and add your own signature to make it all official. You then have the responsibility of getting this registered so couples can receive official confirmation. 

10. Recessional in the Wedding Ceremony Order of Events

Finally, there is the recessional to close the show. Now that the license has been signed and the couple is married, they can leave the venue and make their way back down the aisle. You can offer some closing remarks as they do so, encouraging the guests to express their congratulations to the happy couple or giving thanks. 

Have you been asked to be the master of ceremonies as well? In that case, your duties will continue to the reception. 

The Perfect Order Of Service For Weddings 

If you have a friend in need of a qualified officiant, don’t be afraid to step up and get qualified. This template should help you work through the ideal wedding ceremony order of events with ease. Remember to find that balance between your official duties, such as the declarations and signatures, and the personalised touches. Work with the couple to understand what they need and customise the perfect ceremony. 

Special Thanks- Wedding Ceremony Order of Events

Photographer: Creek Street Photography
Celebrant: Marry Us Gary

Wedding Ceremony Outline Explained

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!