The Weddings Project has 7 top tips for vicars taking weddings this summer:
1. Introduce yourself with a smile
- some people are surprised to find how relaxed and friendly vicars really are.
2. Make those practical 'housekeeping' notices about confetti and phones before the bride comes in
- so the theatre of her arrival starts the service with style.
3. Make them in a permissive, friendly fashion
- how about: "make sure you turn your mobile back on after the service"?
4. Encourage everyone to make themselves at home
- let people know where they are free to move about, let children come forward or stand on a pew for a good view.
5. Practice the promise the guests will make
- some people think they have to whisper in church, but when you rehearse the guests 'we will' before the bride arrives, it really breaks the ice.
6. Have a paparazzi moment
- make sure everyone gets a good angle for photos or video, even if you have to restage the big moment at the end of the service.
7. Help guests keep their promise with prayer
- give a promise and prayer card to every guest. They can keep it by the bed or the kitchen sink and pray every day for the happy couple.
The prayer on the guest card reads: “Dear God, pour out the abundance of your blessing on them. Let their love for each other be a seal upon their hearts and a crown upon their heads. Bless them in their work and in their companionship; awake and asleep, in joy and in sorrow, in life and in death. Amen.”
There's a good page here with all sorts of resources for clergy for weddings, and marriage preparation. The Weddings Project has done some good work in talking to couples, guests and churches about what makes for a 'good wedding', and there's now a card designed specially for wedding guests as a memento of the day, with a prayer for the couple. It's a great idea, similar to the cards we give to godparents after a baptism (perhaps a card for baptism guests is the obvious next step?)
I'm both gratified and bemused by the comments I get after weddings. Gratified because there are some nice ones. Bemused, because people have obviously been to weddings which have been somewhere between uninspiring and an ordeal. We need to raise our game.