9 Reasons Weddings Aren’t My Favorite Part of Pastoral Ministry

Over the next few months, I’m officiating at two weddings for my current students. I’m excited to help these young couples, but I (like other pastors I know) don’t always enjoy leading weddings. Here’s why:

  1. Weddings can be a lot of work. Typically, a wedding requires blocking out much of a weekend. If you add pre-marital counseling sessions on top of the wedding weekend, the time commitment is even greater.
  2. It’s hard for me to establish a set charge for a wedding, but I also sometimes receive nothing for my services. I fully understand why others consider weddings as simply part of a pastor’s job—and that’s one reason why I don’t set a fee—but the role does require additional work.
  3. Parents, step-parents, and other family members sometimes don’t get along. I’ve been in situations where I had to make sure that divorced parents and their families sat some distance from each other. You’d think folks would let go of their anger and animosity to support the couple, but that’s not always the case.
  4. Everything’s recorded now. That wasn’t the case when I started pastoring 38+ years ago. Back then, photographers took pictures, and only a small percentage of couples hired a videographer. Now, people record the event with their phones—and they capture any error the preacher makes. Our mistakes then go viral . . . . 
  5. Everybody’s stressed at some level. You want the wedding day to be filled with excitement, but stress sometimes robs the couple of the joy they should experience that day. Everybody wants everything to be perfect – and the pressure mounts to accomplish that goal.
  6. There are often a lot of “moving parts” in the wedding. Large wedding parties. Musicians. Singers. Parents. Grandparents. Ring bearers and flower girls. Florists. Sound technicians. Scripture readers. Pray-ers. Ushers. Caterers. Church custodians. Every moving part is an opportunity for confusion.
  7. Family members often have multiple—and differing—suggestions for what the wedding should be. In some cases, all of them give their suggestions during the rehearsal – and the pastor can never please all of them. I’ve even led weddings with multiple wedding coordinators who disagreed with each other.
  8. I know that some commitments won’t last. No matter how hard you work to help the couple prepare for marriage, some couples will still decide to divorce at some point. It happens enough now that you begin to wonder about almost every couple you marry.
  9. Something’s likely to go wrong. It just happens. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever officiated a wedding where everything went as planned. In my own wedding, our unity candle wouldn’t light (though, we’ve now been united for more than 28 years!).

Despite my reasons above, I am honored to share this day with couples I’ve grown to love and respect. Sometimes, ministry just demands that you serve well—and the Lord blesses it. Pastors, what are your thoughts about weddings? 


  • Jonathan Clark says:

    I am a College Minister at a BCM and officiating weddings is one of my greatest joys of the job. I am fortunate to, oftentimes, watch students notice one another, become attracted, flirt, date, court, enter engagement, etc. I often have walked with them in leadership contexts and/or discipleship contexts. I love doing the premarital counseling and the wedding is like a great BCM reunion! HOWEVER…my BFF is a pastor and I know how time consuming it can be and taxing it can be…especially when there might not be a significant relational connection to the couple/pastor. They simply need the pastor to do it because that is where their membership lies. Situations like that would be very draining for a pastor, I would imagine! Thanks for the post!

  • David Frasure says:

    How about weddings tend to leave the building messy and things need to be put back in order.

  • Mark says:

    I’m no pastor but it is obvious to those in the crowd if you don’t want to be up there officiating. However, please remember that there are people watching to see how you handle things and if you are friendly with them. Also, you may be the first clergy that some of the attendees have shaken hands with in years.

  • Larry says:

    I saw your article on Church Leaders. That newsletter often uses articles like yours which give lists of various negatives of serving the Lord. Why not make a list of the Nine Reasons Weddings Are a Blessing? Why? Because our culture is looking for articles with a negative bent so we can complain on social media.

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