In part 1 we discussed how to to
perform a wedding flawlessly or semi-flawlessly even if you have never performed a wedding before, by finding a good ceremony, sitting down with the couple, deciding on an
order of service, comparing the ceremony and order of service, talking with the
wedding planner, and sketching out the ceremony using bullet points. In Part 2 we will discuss some of the actual hands on secrets to making it work.
7. Print out a rough draft of your wedding ceremony. Take notes on it to show the transitions. What are transitions? When you are
performing weddings ceremony there are several different parts of the ceremony, when the bride and her father walk down the aisle and you ask everyone to stand, when you welcome everyone, when you present the bride, when the couple takes their place in front of you, when you give your message, when you begin the vows, etc. Mark up your rough draft.
8. Print out a copy of the wedding ceremony with the bride's and groom's names in a booklet form. This is usually 8x11 sheet of paper that is printed in 2 columns on front and back that can be folded to form a 4 page booklet. If you use Microsoft Word then when you get ready to print, you can click "print" from the file menu, then go to "properties," then click on duplex and choose booklet form. This will allow you to print to both sides. On some printers you may have to choose "manual duplex" which means you will have to print one side, manually take the paper out and then put it back in the appropriate way to print the next page on the opposite side. Be prepared to experiment with this a few times to figure it out. Be prepared to use several sheets of paper before you finally get it right, but don't give up.
9. Write yourself some notes about the transitions in the margin of your wedding ceremony. (Example:
Who gives this woman...Father answers, "Her mother and I do." Father kisses bride, shakes groom's hand, places their hands together and is seated. Bride and Groom step to front. Remind bride to give her flowers to maid of honor.)
10. Use the "red rubber band method." Fold your completed wedding ceremony in half into a mini booklet. Open your Bible to the appropriate page probably someplace close to the center. Place your ceremony in the Bible and then take a "red rubber band" and stretch it in the center fold of the ceremony and over the spine to hold it in place and keep it from blowing out of your Bible on a windy day. (Note: If you have a special reading such as a
Unity Candle or
Sand Ceremony print them out on a separate sheet of paper in the same booklet format and use the "red rubber band method" on them too. Make a note in your wedding ceremony where the special reading appears so you will know to flip back to that page. Mark it with a paper clip if you need to.)
11. Attend the
wedding rehearsal. Again, hopefully, the happy couple has a wedding coordinator who will instruct everyone on where to be and when. If not, then they will be looking to you to do that since you are the
minister. Do yourself a favor and find out before the wedding rehearsal. If you are in charge, then get a good book on how to conduct a wedding rehearsal. The rehearsal will help you and the couple and everyone involved know the order and flow of the service. Find out where you are supposed to be before the ceremony begins; when you are supposed to enter; Where you are supposed to stand; what type of microphone you will be using, handheld or lapel; when you are supposed to exit; if you are expected to invite people to the reception; etc. After the rehearsal, update your wedding ceremony and make any changes that you discovered during the rehearsal.
12. On the day of the wedding, arrive early, 30 - 60 minutes early. Check in
with the wedding planner. Check in with the DJ or Audio Visual Tech and do a
microphone check. Check in with the groom. Check in with the bride. Go somewhere where you can be alone to read through your ceremony. Since you have read through the ceremony several times, you will not have to read it word for word. You will have it in front of you in case you mess up or lose your place. But you can refer to it as needed and it will keep you on track. Some parts you will want to read, such as selected readings or poems, and the wedding vows. I still get alone and go over the ceremony even though I have done hundreds of weddings. After the ceremony, sign the license, be available for a couple of photos, and enjoy the reception or if you have other responsibilities then slip out quietly.
Following these simple steps will allow you to perform a
beautiful wedding ceremony that you will be proud of, the couple will be grateful for, and you will be able to repeat as needed. It will also keep you and the couple who is trusting you from being embarrassed in front of family and friends. Work hard on the preparation and then you can enjoy the process and the people. By following this simple 12 step method you will be performing weddings like a pro in no time at all and possibly even earning a good part time income in the process.
Dr. Kelly Carr
The Wedding Income Toolkit for Ministers, The Wedding Vow Kit, The Wedding Rehearsal Genie, A Guidebook for Searchers, Revelation: Book of Mystery and Majesty
The Wedding Income Toolkit is designed to teach pastors, youth pastors, music ministers, associate pastors, chaplains, and ministers of all kinds how to increase their income significantly by performing weddings. It includes text, templates, wedding vows, special readings, wedding rehearsal instructions, audio, and personal support. This reproducible system can help ministers use the training and credentials they already possess to help them meet their financial goals for themselves, their families, and their ministries.
D. Min. Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Th. M. Dallas Theological Seminary
B. S. Liberty University
Dr. Carr is a church planter, wedding minister, and entrepreneur and lives in scenic Chandler, Arizona with his wife and three children.
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