I know, I know. You’re thinking, “Make closing remarks? Now? Is this really the time for pedantic housekeeping announcements?”
And that’s why a lot of officiants just skip this part! They try to stuff this in after the recessional when the couple and the wedding party are gone. And the ceremony ends like a deflating balloon.
But we’re not gonna do that. We know better.
To answer your question: No! It’s not at all time for pedantic housekeeping announcements! What it is time for: building the energy in the room while giving our couple a moment to head up the aisle for the grand finale.
Which means: when we properly orchestrate this moment in the ceremony, two things are happening at the same time here. One: our closing remarks will be fun and get all the guests ramped up for their biggest cheer yet. And Two: our couple will be chomping at the bit to charge outta here – the recessional!
So when the couple stop kissing and the guests stop cheering, you’ll feel the energy ebb. It’s like a tide going out. Now, it’s nothing to worry about – when you’re expecting it. It just means it’s time to step back in and step it up.
In that moment, we want to step back into frame (I keep to the right or left of the couple), and deliver our quick, high-energy closing remarks.
First, we want to tell the guests where our couple are going next – whether to the bar or out for photos. They’re the stars of the show, and people should know where they are and when to expect them to rejoin us.
Second, we want to tell the guests what they’re doing next. Is it cocktail hour? Group photo time? Lawn games back at the barn? Guest-book signing? Check in to their hotel rooms? What time do they need to be back for the reception?
In twenty seconds or less, give the guests an idea of what’s in store for them over the next hour or so.
Third, thank everyone for coming – on behalf of the couple and their family. (And if you’re wondering whether you’ve already thanked everyone for coming at the start of the ceremony: no, you haven’t. We avoid platitudes as much as possible at the start of the ceremony. But that’s another article for another time.
Thank the guests now, not before.
Finally, I like to end the closing remarks with a question that will get everyone cheering. Like, “Are you ready to celebrate with these two tonight?” in your best outdoor voice. That will get the guests smiling and laughing and shouting, “Yeah!”
Which is the perfect setup for the next part of the Grand Finale Formula.
But wait! Before we get to that, we need to talk about what the couple were doing while you were making those closing remarks. They’re not just standing there! Our couple need to get ready for the big recessional. It’s Face-Out time!
And this is something you want to practice at the rehearsal so they know exactly what to do.
While you’re speaking, your couple need to do two things:
First, they need to turn themselves outward to face the aisle. The guests and the photographer love this part! Your couple has been facing each other the whole time up to now. But at this point, they get to look at their guests straight-on, and the guests get to see them. There are loads of smiles and great photos here.
Second, it’s time to get the flowers back! If your couple has a bride (or two!), she likely doffed that off to a Maid of Honour or parent in the front row. For the recessional, we want the bride to have her bouquet in her hand. So whoever has that bouquet steps over and gives her flowers back.
With our closing remarks done, our couple facing the aisle, and our bride holding her flowers, it’s time for the last two steps of the Grand Finale Formula.
And without skipping a beat, “…because it’s my honour to officially present to you for the very first time….”
Let’s hit pause there – like we’re in a Marvel movie where we control time. Look around.
There you are, standing off-centre, gesturing towards the couple.
And your couple? They’re facing their guests, just beaming. The DJ or band are at attention, fingers hovering over the button or the keys or the strings – poised to start the recessional song the moment you finish your sentence. They’re just waiting for their cue word.
And the cue word is whatever your couple decided you’d say to present them.
It might be “Alex and Bailey as wife and wife!” It might be “Mrs. and Mrs. Burns!” Whether first names or a last name, when you say that cue word….
The music comes in with a bang.
The guests clap and cheer.
The couple bounce up the aisle.
The wedding party follows, arms in the air.
The family in the front row follow them, and then the guests eagerly head out to whatever’s waiting for them.
And you? Well, you’re standing front and centre. Smiling at the guests. Drinking it all in. Knowing you just perfectly punctuated a terrific ceremony with the biggest possible ending: a Grand Finale.
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