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What Does a Wedding Pastor Do?

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  • Written By: Amber Eberle
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 21 November 2016
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A wedding pastor is an ordained member of the Christian faith who is qualified to perform wedding ceremonies that are recognized both legally and spiritually. A couple should take great care when selecting a pastor for their wedding. This official conducts the wedding service, including the recital of the vows. In addition, a wedding pastor may give the couple pre-marital counseling, meet with the couple to design the ceremony that they want for their wedding, be present at the wedding rehearsal, and sign and file the marriage certificate.

Some couples select a wedding pastor from the church they already attend, while others may choose a pastor that they do not know. Whether the couple is familiar with the pastor or not, this individual should work closely with the pair to outline what they want included in their wedding ceremony. This may include prayers or hymns, as well as the wedding vows.

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Many wedding pastors also perform pre-marital counseling for people whose ceremonies they will be residing over. Some pastors require pre-marital counseling as a condition of performing the wedding, while others highly recommend it but do not make it a requirement. Pre-marital counseling usually consists of several sessions between the couple and the pastor, in which common issues important in a marriage are discussed, and couples are taught how to cope with them. Some wedding pastors spend a lot of time on this kind of counseling as it has been shown to greatly reduce the rate of divorce.

It is common for a couple to have a rehearsal shortly before the nuptials to go over the order of the ceremony. A wedding pastor usually attends this event. At this run-through, the couple often gives the pastor their marriage license along with any fees associated with filing it with the local governmental authorities. The pastor will sign this paperwork after the ceremony and register it for the couple.

On the day of the wedding, a wedding pastor generally leads the wedding guests in any prayers that the couple may have selected for their ceremony. He or she then performs the exchanging of the wedding vows between the couple. At the end of the ceremony, the pastor pronounces the couple as married. Some pastors attend the wedding reception, or party, after the ceremony, if invited by the couple. This is more common when the pastor is someone that the couple knows fairly well.

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