Home Pastors Articles for Pastors How to Perform a Wedding Ceremony: The Pastor’s Complete Guide

How to Perform a Wedding Ceremony: The Pastor’s Complete Guide

How to Perform a Wedding Ceremony – The Wedding Day

1. Dress the part.

Make sure that you are dressed appropriately.

I have a suit just for weddings and funerals. I joke that it’s my marry ‘em and bury ‘em suit. This works for most weddings, but not always.

For example, a suit would be appropriate in a church, but if it’s a barefoot wedding on a beach, a suit probably won’t fit.

Talk to the bride and groom before the wedding to make sure.

2. Be early.

The bride and groom have enough to stress about on their wedding day than to worry if you’ll show up on time.

So don’t be late!

I suggest arriving at least 45 minutes before the ceremony begins.

Check in to let them know you are there, offer to pray with them, and see if they need anything else from you.

3. Smile.

This is a celebration. Enjoy it!

Let your joy and the celebration of God’s gift of holy marriage be contagious to others.

Don’t be the stick in the mud preacher. And don’t take yourself too seriously.

I’ve never seen a wedding where everything is perfect.

If you make a mistake or stumble over your words, laugh about it and keep moving.

If someone else makes a mistake, just smile and keep going.

4. Be confident.

You’ll probably be nervous, but everyone else in the wedding is nervous too.

You need to project confidence to help everyone else stay calm.

If you’ve done the work leading up to this part, you’re ready.

5. Talk to the sound person/deejay.

Whoever is running the sound system often isn’t at the rehearsal, so this may be the first time you talk to them.

Do they have a lapel or handheld mic they’d like you to use?

Do they need any cues from you when to play any of the songs the bride and groom selected?

Make sure you are all on the same page.

6. Read your wedding ceremony script.

The wedding is not about you. Your job is to honor God, honor bride and groom, enunciate and project so people can understand you, say what needs to be said, and not get in the way.

So, while I can’t stand it when a preacher reads their notes during an entire sermon, weddings are different.

It’s OK to read your notes. In fact, I encourage it.

This doesn’t mean you should be boring. If you’ve rehearsed well, you can still read your notes and have moments of eye contact with the audience and the bride and groom.

I like to either print out my script and keep it in small, three-ring, black binder or read it off an iPad. But find what works best for you.

7. Speak slowly.

Take your time. Don’t ruin the ceremony by rushing through your script.

Speak slow, pause at all the commas and periods, and enunciate well.

You are not here to put on a show and wow everyone with your charisma. You’re here to honor God and the newlyweds with a beautiful ceremony.

In an emotionally charged event like this, there is power in pauses and silence.

8. Sign the marriage license.

Immediately after the ceremony, get the bride and groom and two witnesses away from the crowd to sign the marriage license.

The wedding photographer will probably also want to be present to take pictures. Make sure you wait for them.

After signing the license, remind them to make sure they give it to someone they trust or put it somewhere safe immediately before doing anything else.

9. Skip the dinner.

If you will be performing a lot of weddings (I’m looking at you, pastors), don’t feel guilty skipping the dinner reception. Go home and be with your family.

Just let the couple know ahead of time, as I suggested earlier.

However, if it’s a good friend and your family is also invited to the wedding, by all means, stay and enjoy!


Wow, that was a lot of information. I hope you aren’t feeling overwhelmed.

If you need more help and want to save time, check out my Wedding Sermon Bundle.

It includes five fully customizable wedding ceremony scripts and a Wedding Planning Sheet to help when you meet with the bride and groom to discuss their wedding.

Most importantly, it will help take the stress out of trying to figure out how to perform a wedding.

You don’t have to recreate the wheel.

Did I miss anything? What questions do you still have? And if you’ve performed a wedding before, what other tips would you add?

This article originally appeared here.