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Tips and Scripts for the Wedding Emcee and Officiant

Wedding Ceremony Script
wedding script

5 Mistakes First-Time Officiants Make When Reading a Wedding Script

As a professional celebrant and wedding MC, I often work with first-time officiants who are understandably nervous about reading the wedding script and conducting the marriage ceremony. After all, it’s a huge responsibility to make this special day perfect for the couple getting married.

In this article, I’ll share the top 5 mistakes I see novice wedding officiants make when delivering the wedding ceremony script, along with my best tips to avoid these pitfalls. Master these simple techniques, and you’ll sound like a seasoned pro on the big day.

What Exactly is a Wedding Script?

wedding script

Before diving into the common mistakes, let’s clarify what I mean by a “wedding script.” Wedding Script Order of Events Explained the full text the officiant reads aloud during the marriage ceremony. This includes:

  • The introduction and opening remarks
  • The couple’s story
  • The exchange of vows
  • Pronouncement of the couple as officially married
  • Closing comments and well-wishes

In essence, the script contains everything the officiant says out loud during the ceremony. Many officiants write their custom wedding scripts, while others modify standard templates. As the officiant, your job is to deliver this marriage ceremony script fluently, audibly, and with feeling.

Avoid these 5 pitfalls when reading the all-important wedding script:

Mistake #1: Reading Directly Off Paper

First-time officiants often nervously clutch onto paper printouts of the ceremony script, keeping their heads down and reading word-for-word straight off the page.

  • This causes two major issues:
  1. It looks unprofessional. Keeping your head buried in the text prevents you from connecting with the wedding guests or making eye contact with the couple. You miss out on reacting to the emotion of the milestone moments during the ceremony.
  2. It’s hard to be heard. Officiants who read off paper are likelier to speak directly into the pages.¬†

    Instead, use these tips:
  • Rehearse the script thoroughly. Get familiar with the flow, specific wording, and critical lines so you are not overly dependent on the physical text during the ceremony.
  • Use a binder folder for easy page-turning. If you need paper cues as a backup, place the script pages in a sturdy binder folder that you can easily flip through. Number and divide the sections with tabs for quick navigation.
  • Use an e-reader. Some officiants feel comfortable using a tablet device like a Kindle or iPad Mini to read the ceremony script digitally. Just be sure to have a paper backup handy!

Mistake #2: Choosing Fonts That Are Too Small

Officiants often cram too much text onto their script pages by minimizing the font size. Tiny 8 or 10-point fonts might be great for saving paper, but they severely hinder easy readability, especially in dim lighting.

Here is the golden rule on choosing a font size and style for your wedding officiant script:

  • Minimum 22-point font. Anything smaller than size 22 font risks being difficult to read fluidly.
  • Large for vows. The all-important wedding vow section should have a text size of at least 18 or larger. You want the couples’ to have zero chance of fumbling through their promises.
  • Choose a clean, uncomplicated font. Fancy script fonts might look beautiful in wedding invitations, but they impair quick, smooth reading for the officiant. Opt for a very clear, unfussy font like Arial or Times New Roman.
marriage ceremony script

Mistake #3: Failure to Make Eye Contact

As highlighted earlier, officiants often get trapped staring down at their scripts, plagued by poor eye contact. There is little connection with the wedding couple or guests when your head and eyes are glued to the text.

Use these tips for improving eye contact:

  • Know your cues. Figure out the key transition points in the ceremony script where looking up is most critical. Lock eyes with the couple and guests during:
  • Your introduction
  • Reading the couples story
  • Pronouncement of marriage
  • Final well-wishing remarks
  • Memorize and rehearse the especially significant chunks. Parts like the “I do” asking, ring exchange, celebrant monitum, and kiss deserve focused practice so you can recite them more conversationally while looking up.
  • Pause between logical sections. Place natural breaks in the script between distinct ceremony components like processional, readings, vows. Use these moments to scan faces and smiles!

Mistake #4: Not Moving Around

Get out of the way for the main events. Beginning officiants also tend to root themselves in one spot, failing to move about during the ceremony. This static presence is not only boring visually, but it also blocks key sightlines and photo moments between the couple and guests. Root yourself to the spot when speaking, but move out of the way at key points.

Here are tips on officiant mobility:

  • Step aside during vows. When the couple faces each other to say their vows, quietly slide a few feet away from them. You don’t want to block their faces from the view of loved ones or the photographer.
  • Create a triangle visual. Generally, form an open triangle shape between you, the couple, and guests. Take a few steps left or right to open up the sightlines.
  • Use a wireless mic if speaking from different spots. Invest in a wireless microphone so your voice projects clearly if you choose to roam around during the service.

Mistake #5: Forgetting to Have Fun.

It’s easy for all the pressure to suck the joy out of the ceremony if you don’t remember to enjoy the experience! Newbie wedding officiants often look anxious, stern, or disconnected because they forget the thrilled reactions and energy that come with uniting two partners in marriage.

Follow this mantra when officiating:

  • The couple and guests will have fun if you’re having fun.

For Funny Wedding Officiant Speech, don’t forget to:

  • Smile warmly. Let your face reflect the heartfelt delight you feel over the couple’s decision to commit their lives to each other! No one wants a stone-faced officiant.
  • Make eye contact with happy attendees. Connect with tearful parents, beaming grandparents, giggling flower girls. Share in the communal thrill!
  • Speak slowly, clearly, and loudly. Project confidence by taking your time with the reading. Let your voice reflect the significance of each phrase. Breathe life into the language!
  • React emotionally to significant moments. Tear up a bit, sigh happily, raise your voice on meaningful words. Share raw reactions that match the occasion.

¬†Master these 5 tips for smoothly delivering a wedding script, and you’ll sound like a professional despite being a beginner. Keep practicing, and remember to have fun making magic happen! Before you know it, presiding over weddings will feel like second nature.

For veteran officiants willing to mentor newbies on script writing, ceremony structure, and speaking techniques, check out customizable wedding ceremony officiant scripts and How to Officiate a Wedding For the First Time Workbook. I would be honored to have you use and share these resources to train novice officiants.

Summary

Delivering a wedding script might feel daunting for first-time officiants, but mastering a few key best practices ensures the marriage ceremony flows smoothly. Avoid reading word-for-word off paper with heads down. Choose very large, crisp fonts. Make eye contact during pivotal vows and pronouncements. Step aside briefly so the married couple gets photographed together. 

Remember to enjoy this thrilling life milestone! Officiate with passion and a smile for a memorable, professional-quality wedding ceremony script reading. Click here to check some Univeral Life Church Wedding Ceremony Tips

Special Thanks

Photos: Jessica Hoang, Pot Thomas Photography
Celebrant: Marry Us Gary

NSW Marriage Celebrant

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!