NonReligious WeddingsNonReligious Weddings

Logistics and planning...

I often tell couples that producing a wedding isn't much different than producing a stage play or movie. Bride and groom are the stars of the show, and guests are the audience. The officiant and members of your wedding party are supporting cast. There's a production crew, budget, financial backers, timeline and a script. There are costumes, props and sets. The analogy could even extend to make-up, lighting, camera angles ... and rehearsals.

Although wedding rehearsals can be a good idea, truth is it's generally not necessary for the officiant to attend. In fact, your officiant is probably the least necessary person at rehearsal, as you won't actually read through your ceremony script then. Rehearsal is more for the members of your wedding party to practice who walks up when and with whom and stands where. You could use a "stand in" for the officiant, as our role in getting to the front and off again is usually the least complicated. Given the number of ceremonies we have performed, we can easily fit in with just a few words of instruction.

Since officiants typically charge additional for rehearsals, I advise couples to save the expense or spend it for something more likely to help their ceremony flow smoothly -- like having their DJ-musician-sound technician at the rehearsal to practice important music cues.

On your wedding day, if your guests will be mingling when they arrive rather than going directly to their seats, make sure they have a comfortable space in which to do it. Will they have to stand, or will there be seating? Standing for more than a few minutes at a time is miserable for older people and for women wearing high heels. Will they be in the hot sun? Provide shade or shelter. It's also advisable to make refreshments available during this period if at all possible.

Will the bride and groom be mingling with the crowd before the wedding, or will the bride be sequestered in another area? If the wedding is at a large hotel with the guests gathered in the garden and the bride in a room on the 10th floor, be sure the people on the ground (officiant, groom, best man) have a cell phone!

Generally, either the officiant, the wedding coordinator (if you've hired one) or a friend will act as a messenger between the "stage" and the "dressing room." It is important that the officiant, the DJ and other players know the exact moment when the bride is ready to begin, when the wedding party will be lining up for processional, etc. The officiant will be able to coordinate most of this for you.

Deciding on a nonreligious wedding
Transportation and timing
Weather and physical comfort
Taking care of business
Logistics and planning
Staging your ceremony
Some sound advice
Get the picture?
Let go, and delegate
Enjoying your wedding day

E-Mail: • (949) 793-1900
Certified Humanist Officiant, H.S., American Humanist Association