How to Avoid a Boring Wedding Ceremony

If you want to keep your audience engaged, it helps to make them emotional.
by Sophie Ross

Your wedding officiant is one of the most important roles in your wedding—and whether you found yours on The Knot Marketplace or you’ve bequeathed the honor on a mutual friend, it’s likely you’ve put a lot of thought into picking someone special.

After all, the officiant’s script or speech pretty much dictates the vibe of the ceremony—humorous, heart-wrenching or both. So whether you want your guests to burst into tears or fits of giggles, here’s the key to keeping your guests engaged during your entire ceremony.

It shouldn’t feel preachy.

According to the founders of Speech Tank, writer Kristine Keller and book editor Marisa Polansky, “the best officiant speeches are not didactic.” Especially if your officiant is someone who knows you personally. They’ve been chosen because of their relationship to you—“not because they’re Aristotle”—so it should sound personal.

In any case, there’s a chance there’s a great aunt in the audience who’s never actually met the bride. It’s important for the script to give some background on the couple—who they are, how they met—so all guests feel closer to the couple. Bonus points: A sweet backstory is sure to elicit a more emotional reaction to the ceremony.

Think about the vibe you want.

You’ve chosen your officiant for a reason. Is it your best friend who’s the life of the party? If that’s the case, you should trust them to keep everyone laughing and bring their signature humor.

Maybe you chose the officiant you found because you read reviews about their inspirational way with words—you can trust that they’ll likely lean more toward “heartfelt” than “humorous.”

If you haven’t decided on your officiant yet, think about what you’re picturing for the ceremony before you do—so you can choose the right person for what you’re envisioning.

Communicate your desired length.

It’s your wedding, so make sure you communicate to your officiant exactly how long you want the ceremony speech to last. (You don’t want it to feel awkwardly long or awkwardly short.) Your planner can help provide additional insight along with your day-of schedule, but generally speaking, the desired length is typically 20 minutes from start to finish. (Of course, any readings or unique traditions you want to include in the ceremony will make it longer.)

Speech Tank specializes in one-of-a-kind speeches for any occasion. In the wedding space, they write it all—maid of honor/best man speeches, vows, parent toasts, officiant speeches and so on. While there may be many stresses in wedding planning, a great toast doesn't need to be one of them.

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