Ceremony and Vow Ideas

Officiant Placement During Ceremony

Has anyone been to or have thoughts on the officiant facing the couple instead of the audience? 

Thoughts?
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Re: Officiant Placement During Ceremony

  • I haven't been to one. Your officiant would have to be willing to conduct the ceremony with his or her back to the wedding guests, for one. And they would obviously have to be mic'ed, because you can't project your voice behind you.
    image
  • I've only seen weddings in which the officiant faces the couple. It's just that the couple is usually between the officiant and the audience. As PP said, if you put the officiant in the middle, it would obstruct the view and block the sound for the audience.

    Unless you have a unique ceremony location, I don't see what you'd gain by changing the positioning.
  • I didn't even think of this, but during the vows (we had a catholic mass) we were standing on the altar that (about 3 steps above the main congregation floor) and the priest was just below us on the main level.  He didn't block anyone's view and they got to see our faces.  Looking back i think it was a great idea, but probably wouldn't be unless the couple is raised like we were.
    Marzipan13
  • I've seen this... some guy advertises his "modern wedding ceremonies" or something like this.  Ok, found his website:  http://www.dayofdreams.com/Facing_Your_Guests.htm  I kind of like the idea, and if you're going to be mic'd anyway, I don't see an issue.  Your guests aren't there to look at your officiant anyway, they are there to see the B&G get married, so seeing their faces may work out better.  This is something we are considering, but it depends on your venue layout. 
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    cafarrie said:
    I didn't even think of this, but during the vows (we had a catholic mass) we were standing on the altar that (about 3 steps above the main congregation floor) and the priest was just below us on the main level.  He didn't block anyone's view and they got to see our faces.  Looking back i think it was a great idea, but probably wouldn't be unless the couple is raised like we were.
    Do you have a photo? I'm trying to visualize how that looks. I agree it sounds neat when the couple is positioned so this works.
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    I think it would be odd for the officiant to have his back to the audience the entire time.  The officiant doesn't just directly address the couple during the ceremony but also the entire audience at some moments, most times.  I guess it would be fine for the vows but typically the couple is looking at each other rather then the audience so I don't see what the difference would be if the officiant was in front of or behind the couple.

  • NdelibleNdelible member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments First Answer Name Dropper
    edited August 2014

    Thanks all.  I can't remember where I saw this configuration, but it was a while ago, way before I was planning my wedding.  I wrote the post right before I went to bed last night from my tablet, so I left out some key information:

    • The officiant is a JOP, not a person of the clergy.  We will meet them that day, so there is no familial connection.  Totally non-denominational.
    • The only nod to the past is we will be jumping the broom at the conclusion of the ceremony, before heading back down the aisle.
    • We are changing our ceremony room from the chapel to a ballroom.  The chapel is just too small with a strange alter layout (IMO).  The podium is to the edge of the elevated area and the aisle between the raised area and the first row is so narrow, that the only place for the bridal party is elevated, but due to the placement of the podium, the only place for FI & I is on the same level as the audience.  I plan on asking that to be switched (no matter what we ultimately decide on the O.P.).
    • There is a polycon-like microphone to pick up voices.

    I seem to recall that the officiant stood a bit back from the couple.  I get that it's very non-traditional; a change like this.  I would think that at the start, the OF would be standing, facing the audience with the groom and his party, only taking the back facing position after we have turned to face everyone.  So, any opening remarks can be made during that timeframe. 

    In addition. I've asked the hotel if we can do half circle chair arrangement, rather than theatre style.  They seemed a bit stumped by the request, but said it could most likely be done, which will help with everyone being able to see.

    I feel like most weddings I see the back of the bride and groom.  I only get to see them during vows and during the recessional.  I imagine it something like a conductor - who has his back to the audience, but is the one making it all happen!

    Edited for clarity

    Happiness is an inside job
  • I've seen this... some guy advertises his "modern wedding ceremonies" or something like this.  Ok, found his website:  http://www.dayofdreams.com/Facing_Your_Guests.htm  I kind of like the idea, and if you're going to be mic'd anyway, I don't see an issue.  Your guests aren't there to look at your officiant anyway, they are there to see the B&G get married, so seeing their faces may work out better.  This is something we are considering, but it depends on your venue layout. 
    Thank you!  It's nice to see the advice coming from an officiant.  I'm sending the link to my FI & MOH.  He liked the idea until she talked him out of it.  It's not TRADITION!!!!!!  she said.  LOL.
    Happiness is an inside job
  • JennyColadaJennyColada Awesometown, CA member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    I find it odd that your MOH has so much control over your wedding and your FH's opinions.

    Everything else in this topics sounds fine.
  • @JennyColada‌ she is my BFF since junior high so while her opinion matters, it's not a defining issue. The three of us were talking the wedding and initially, he liked my suggestion until she voiced her strong opinion to the contrary. She doesn't like the first look, which we are doing. I have to him him on board for anything not typical. Since I posted, he's at least come to the no objection to it. I think we are going to do it. I sent them both a few links to reasons why the set up works and while she didn't change her mind, she agreed that the reasons are good ones. She says she just likes tradition. That's fine for her. When she does her vow renewal, they can be as traditional as they want!
    Happiness is an inside job
    Karens62
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