How to Make Sure Your Wedding Officiant Speech Isn't Boring
Whether your best friend or a close family member has asked you to be their wedding officiant for their special day, writing and delivering a wedding officiant speech for the first time is truly an art. From the processional and the wedding vows to the exchange of rings and the recessional, you'll want to keep each guest entertained while also making it the best wedding ceremony possible for the newlyweds.
The good news? It's an honor to be asked to serve as someone's officiant, and there are ways to ensure your wedding officiant speech is anything but boring. These expert tips on how to write the best wedding officiant speech will help you craft a script that's both enjoyable and memorable for guests from beginning to end.
1. Introduce Yourself As the Wedding Officiant.
Your introduction is your first opportunity to set the tone for your wedding officiant speech, so it's important to make it count. To do this, Alisa Tongg, a certified life-cycle celebrant and ordained minister, recommends introducing yourself to everyone in the audience, touching on your connection with the soon-to-be-married couple and sharing a bit about how you prepared for the wedding ceremony.
If you think it's fitting for the vibe you're going for, Tongg also recommends injecting some self-deprecating humor, as it can signal to guests that they're here today to have an enjoyable experience.
2. Drop Names During the Wedding Ceremony
"It's impossible for people to be bored if you keep talking about all their favorite people," Tongg says. For this reason, she recommends sprinkling important names of friends and family members throughout your wedding officiant speech. Acknowledge both partners' parents. Remember loved ones who have passed away. Thank best friends who helped get the newlyweds down the aisle. And, Tongg says, because everyone loves their fur babies, don't forget to give a shout-out to important pets.
3. Ask the Couple to Write Their Own Vows
No matter how much sparkle you bring to your wedding officiant speech, everyone in attendance will be most interested in hearing the married couple's own words during the exchange of vows, Tongg says. This is why she recommends encouraging the couple to write their own vows, and supporting them during the process if needed. Personalized wedding vows will add more color and sentimentality, making the entire ceremony more heartwarming for guests to witness.
4. Amplify Your Voice
Sometimes, the only difference between a boring speech and an interesting one is being able to hear the speech clearly. You want all of the guests, even the ones sitting in the way back, to hear the parts of your speech that will make them laugh or cry, Tongg says. She recommends using a microphone with a stand.
Amplification is needed for a group of 25 people or more outside and for 50 people or more inside or if you're near a body of water, bubbling fountain or busy roadway, Tongg says.
The microphone will also be useful when the couple does their exchange of vows. "It's difficult to remember to project one's voice when emotions are high, and exchanging vows, [as well as the declaration of intent], is probably the most emotional moment of the whole day for couples," Tongg says.
5. Find Out What Makes the Newlyweds Special
To make your wedding officiant speech more captivating, Tongg recommends having the couple complete a detailed questionnaire where they answer questions about their relationship, what matrimony means to them, and their hopes for their new life together.
"You can use those things they share with you to create a love story appropriate for a wedding ceremony," Tongg says. This tip can also help you overcome writer's block, as it gives you a jumping-off point for your speech.
6. Edit a Wedding Ceremony Script
If you're looking for inspiration for your wedding officiant speech, Tongg's advice is to first find a sample wedding ceremony script online that includes all of the wedding ceremony elements that resonate with the couple.
From there, you can edit and tweak the wedding officiant speech template by cutting out outdated phrasing and replacing it with words that sound and feel more authentic to how you naturally speak, Tongg says.
"Being comfortable and confident with what you're saying is the most important factor in delivering a delightful ceremony," she says. "Rework the sample script enough until you know the vibe and language is true for you and your couple."
7. Dress to Impress
Another one of Tongg's tips is to dress for the wedding day in a way that matches the style of the couple. If it's a traditional wedding and the attire is black tie, go fancy with your outfit choice. If the wedding is more laid-back and casual, then you should dress accordingly. You want to ensure you complement the celebration.
Don't forget about personal grooming, hair and makeup—Tongg says this shows guests you take your role as wedding officiant seriously and respect the gift of their attention.
8. Pay Attention to Your Body Language.
When it comes to making your wedding officiant speech interesting and engaging, it's not just about the words you say. Your energy and presence also have a major impact. Smiling throughout the ceremony is one simple way to exude positive energy. "Smiles are contagious," Tongg says. "They can increase the feeling of connection and positive feelings for everyone."
Maintaining eye contact is also key when it comes to keeping guests entertained. "A presenter whose head is down reading from a book has a harder time maintaining a connection with the audience than someone who is engaged and open to all the natural feedback that comes when performing in front of a live audience," Tongg says.
To help maximize your eye contact, Tongg suggests printing out your script for the wedding day in a big font that is generously formatted so it's easy to read and skim.