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Pre-Ceremony Checklist for when a Friend Conducts the Wedding Ceremony

Often, people assume that all an Officiant does is read a script and fills out the marriage licence, so they think, 'Hey, why not just get a friend to do the ceremony!" The Friend assumes their job starts when they are standing at the ceremony site and the music starts. However, there is so much more!

Well Friend, here is a quick list of 30 items that will help you prepare BEFORE the ceremony starts. The 'job' begins 30 minutes before the ceremony. So, if the ceremony starts at 6:30 pm, you should start doing all of these checks at 6:00 pm.

(That's right love, put down the glass of wine, stop hugging and visiting the guests, you've got a job to do!)

1. Wedding Planner/Coordinator: Check in with the Wedding Planner/Coordinator, if there is one. Depending on their level of experience, they may take a lot of these items off your to-do list. Ultimately, they can be your lifesaver, and key for small and big logistics like doing a weather check and working with the venue for Plan B if necessary.

2. Rings: Does the correct person have the rings? Do they know how to properly present the rings so their backs are not to the guests? Ask them to open the box or empty the bag that the rings are in and remind them to KEEP these items. Your hands will have the portfolio and perhaps microphone, so it becomes cumbersome to take the actual box or bag.

3. Microphone: Check the microphone and ensure that it is loud enough that the couple will not have to hold it too close to their faces. They do not want to look like they are rapping their vows! A louder setting allows for the microphone to be held lower, so it is not as intrusive in the photos.

4. DJ: Check in with the DJ to let them know when the cues are for the ceremony to start.

5. iPAD: If the couple has a friend playing music on an iPAD or from a phone, obviously you will also provide them with the cues for the music, but also ensure that they have the pin for the device so it doesn't get locked and request that they lower the music rather than stop it entirely. This makes it less abrupt.

6. Photographer: Check with the photographer to see if they have any requests such as asking the guests to not use flash on their cameras or for the guests to refrain from taking photos all together. I request that the guests do not take photos during the procession. The auntie sitting in the aisle around four chairs down is the biggest culprit for jumping out with her camera and ruining the professional's shot. Yes, that beautiful photo that the couple has paid good money for a professional to capture.