Your ceremony should be an expression of you and the style of your wedding day. The following is a guideline of a basic format ‘No fuss no frill’s no extra’s’ – that most wedding ceremonies follow. Your additions to this are the ‘icing on the cake’.
(Please note the words Bride and Groom are used purely for description purposes – generic terms used)
Prelude: This is the pre-game show. Your guests are arriving, mingling and getting acclimatised. A great background music playlist should be considered and / or live musicians.
Seating: Your ceremony is officially beginning. Close family will be seated, including grandparents and parents. This differs of course depending on location. Most venues / settings allow for partial seating for guests.
Procession: Time for the wedding party to make an entrance. Typically the Groom and his groomsmen are there in waiting. Sometimes the groomsmen may escort the bridesmaids in but as a general rule of thumb the groomsmen support the groom up front and centre. Next the bridesmaids will walk down the aisle one by one. If you have a ring bearer and flower girl, this would be a good time for them to make an entrance. A consideration could be to have a separate song for the bridesmaids as for the bride. Signage such as ‘Here Comes the Bride’ is a cute suggestion for the wee page boy to hold. The flower girl might be holding a flower bouquet or wand or scattering petals as she walks.
Bridal Procession: Time for the star. Stop all music and start a new song. The bride can walk down the aisle solo or be accompanied by her father or other individual who is escorting her in. Sometimes all tradition is broken and the couple would walk in together or in some situations a prelude song is played and the couple are already there and have greeted the guests. A variety of different options in play.
Welcome: Music stops. Now it is time for your officiant to welcome everyone. The Welcome sets the scene – Depending on the style of your day whether relaxed with a light intro or more traditional with a prayer or an opening reading the Welcome is an opportunity to warm up the guests and make them feel a part of the ceremony.
Giving of the Bride/Offer of Support: The officiant will now either in a traditional sense ask the question Who gives (their name) to be married? Or ask the parents to offer their good wishes / blessing and support to the marriage. Alternatively all the guests could be asked or a combination of family addressed first and then friends depending on what is appropriate.
Reading / Words / Song / Other ideas: Now that you have everyone’s attention, have a reading, poem, song or meaningful verse – this could be free flow, chosen, or a number of guests / family could be included in offering up their words of wisdom / advice / well wishes. There are many other options for inclusion of the guests.
Wedding Message: The officiant would put together a script that is personalised based on information provided by the couple which covers off telling a little bit about their story, key moments, anecdotes shared etc. This is also a chance to share their thoughts on what it is that makes them work as a couple, their qualities, their ideas about what marriage means and as the story is shared, humour can be added. It is up to the couple how much personal detail is shared in this section.
Vow Exchange: Time to say it in your words. If you do not have your own written vows, don’t worry. Your officiant should have some “repeat after me” style vows for you and google is your friend.
Ring Exchange: This is fairly self-explanatory. You will exchange rings. Make sure you put it on the correct hand.
Pronouncement: The officiant will make it official with a pronouncement of “Husband and Wife” or “Partners in life” and then it is kissy time!
Signing: Time to sign the marriage documents, make it official with two witnesses to sign and play two songs during the signing - (Give some thought to those)
Final words / Well Wishes / Toast / Cake Cutting: This is a chance to offer a few final words these can be articulated by a guest or the officiant and a nice way to round it all off is with a toast / address to the happy couple. Some couples even cut their cake at this point. No rules here!
Recessional: The officiant will introduce the new couple and now it is time to party! Make sure there is order. First the bride and groom leave. Then the bridal party can head out. Next do not forget to have the parents and grandparents escorted out. Then it’s a chance to congratulate the bride and groom which then leads into the intro of the MC.
So now that you know the basics, mix it up a little. Put your own spices into the mix and make a ceremony that is truly unique.