How To Perform A Wedding
One very fulfilling reason to be a minister is to serve as the wedding officiant. Marriage is the culmination of two activities. For the civil requirement, the couple and their wedding officiant must obtain a marriage license and follow any other state legal requirements. The second piece is to hold a wedding ceremony in which the community recognizes and celebrates the couple’s marriage. Few things are as important in any person’s life as their wedding; it is thus your job as a Universal Life Church minister to make sure you do a good job every time you perform a wedding!
Traditional ceremonies are based on practices handed down from people who came many generations before us. They are most often held in a church and officiated by a pastor or minister from that church. Some Universal Life Church ministers choose to adhere to the practices proscribed by traditional ceremonies every time they perform a wedding.
Most traditional ceremonies include the following elements:
The music begins and ushers seat the parents of the Bride and Groom in the front seats. The Groom, his Groomsmen, and the wedding officiant enter and stand before the audience. Finally the Bride, typically lead by her father, walks down the isle followed by her bridesmaids.
The minister, or wedding officiant, introduces the couple to the audience which is a way to declare to the community the intention of the couple to be wed. The minister then proceeds with a simple discussion of the meaning of marriage and how it relates to the beliefs of the church in which the ceremony is being held. To become a minister and officiate over such a service is to be the representative of those beliefs.
The Exchange of Vows
This is the step where the couple professes to each other, in front of the community as their witness, their commitment to each other and the union in which they are about to engage. The minister addresses the couple with a series of questions to which the Bride and Groom respond to each other. The couple professes their commitment to the union over which this church’s representative is overseeing to the minister at this point in the ceremony.
Vows are particularly important in that they set the pace for the marriages they precede. Make sure you work with the couple every time you perform a wedding to make sure they craft beautiful, heartfelt ones.
The Exchange of Rings
The minister then directs the couple to give each other a ring, saying words that relate the unending circle of the rings to the unending commitment of the couple’s love to each other. This is a very solemn moment and couples are often nervous. The minister holds the space for the couple and guides them gently through this section of the ceremony.
The couple now faces the audience and the minister introduces them to the community as a married couple. As a final gesture, the minister bestows blessings on the newly married couple and their guests. This signifies the couple’s entry into the community joined in their new partnership.
The minister then directs the couple back out into the community to start their new life together. The community welcomes and embraces the couple in various ways, from throwing rice (wishing them abundance), tying old shoes to their car (signifying a transfer of authority from the Bride’s father to the Groom) and catching the bridal bouquet tossed by the Bride (the Bride passing on her good luck).
Follow the above steps to perform a wedding that will appeal to those who admire tradition and the “classic” style of wedding ceremony. Read on to learn what a non-traditional style of wedding entails…
Check out the below video to see a minister of the Universal Life Church Ministries performing a wedding ceremony for his younger brother.
We hope the idea of being a wedding officiant sounds better to you now!
People get married in ways that reflect their unique beliefs and personalities. This could mean having a ceremony in a special place, by special wedding officiants, or with a unique format. Should a couple wish to have a spiritual service but outside of an orthodox religion, they may call upon ministers from the Universal Life Church (ULC), which is not associated with a specific physical church or religion.
The couple may choose to follow a format similar to the traditional service but ask the minister from ULC to perform it in a park, on a boat or even underwater. People have gotten married in a baseball park, at a soccer and football game. They get married on horseback, on bicycles and in hot air balloons. The point is that the couple will want the place they get married to be special, and your job is to make sure that you work with them to ensure that they get the special location you deserve whenever you perform a wedding.
It may take a little extra effort to find a ULC minister who is willing to perform a wedding in a hot air balloon, but it can be done! To become a minister is to be able to share in other people’s dreams in unique and exciting ways.
Another way to create a special ceremony is for the couple to write their own vows. Working with a minister from the Universal Life Church, they can create vows to say to each other what is in their hearts. The minister can help create a wonderful experience through these special words.
A person chooses to be a minister for various reasons. Being part of this very special and personal experience of another couple is one of the most joyous and satisfying reasons.