wedding advice for officiants

Lessons Learned: Wedding Officiants

wedding ceremony script advice for one-time wedding officiant


There are two important roles at your wedding ceremony that need to be considered early on in your planning: who will be your wedding officiant and who will sign the marriage license. Often this is the same person. But sometimes not.

DC and  Maryland allow people who are not religious or legal wedding officiants by trade to sign your marriage license. Maryland will allow  a ULC “ordained” person to sign the marriage license. DC will allow a person to apply for a one-time permission to sign your marriage license. This means that your friend or uncle or favorite bartender (Hi Tonny!) can lead your wedding ceremony and legally sign the marriage license in DC or MD.

Virginia is quite strict about who can sign their marriage licenses. There is an arduous way to get a one-time permission, but many couples marrying in VA end up hiring a professional wedding officiant.


All of the above context is a long way to get to the real point of today’s post: if a one-time person is leading your wedding ceremony, make sure they include in their script to ask the guests to be seated at the end of the processional. This is an often overlooked part of the wedding ceremony, and some guests may figure out that it is OK to sit, even if they haven’t been asked to do so. Other times the wedding guests will end up standing the entire wedding ceremony. Not a fate worse than death, but also not super comfortable. Just don’t forget these words: please be seated. 

A one-time officiant has never done this before, and they have no trial and error experience to build upon. They might not even know where to begin with all of the ceremony text. Luckily, I have you covered with how to write your own wedding ceremony.