Planning Your Wedding Ceremony
You have chosen your flowers, picked out the perfect pieces for the design and your dress was ordered months ago. All of those details were a breeze, now it's time to plan your ceremony and you're thinking back to all of those weddings you've attended in the past, but can't seem to recall the order or even what took place at the ceremony. No worries, we've put together a simple guide to help you structure your wedding ceremony.
Prelude: Your guests will begin arriving 30 minutes (if not earlier) to the ceremony. Be sure to arrange with your musician, or dj your music selections for guest arrival. This is also
Processional: The wedding processional is when the wedding party walks down the aisle to the altar at the beginning of the ceremony. The order in which they walk varies depending on the religion on the couple. For a Christian Ceremony, the order is:
- Family: Mother of the Groom is escorted by her husband, or another gentleman to the right of the aisle on the front row. Next, the Mother of the Bride will be escorted by someone special in her life to the left of the aisle on the front row.
- Gentlemen: The guys can either walk down the aisle, or all enter together from the side. Depending on your preference, the officiant will lead, followed by the groom & best man. Following their entrance, the remaining groomsmen will walk down the aisle to the altar.
- Ladies: The music typically changes for the bridesmaids' processional. The bridesmaids will enter in the standing order furthest from the bride to the closest (maid of honor).
- Children: If you have selected children to be in your wedding ceremony, the ring bearer and flower girl will walk down the aisle immediately before the bride.
- The Bride: Traditionally, the bride is escorted down the aisle by her father, who walks down the aisle on her right side. If wearing a veil, he would lift the veil at the end of the aisle. Once the father has give the bride away, he joins his wife on the front row for the ceremony.
Greeting: The officiant welcomes the congregation and explains the reason for the gathering as well as the significance of the marriage ceremony.
Declaration of Intent: The officiant questions the bride & groom, and often the congregation.
Prayer: The officiant will take a few moments to say a prayer, the Lord's prayer may be said at this time.
Readings: Selecting up one to two readings that are special to you and your fiance is a meaningful touch to your ceremony.
Marriage Address: Most officiants will speak about your love story or incorporate personal stories.
Music: A solo or congregational hymn may be chosen for the ceremony
Exchange of Vows: This symbolizes becoming husband and wife. You may choose to write your own vows, or use pre written vows.
Blessing & Exchange of Rings: The exchange of rings is performed to seal the promise of the vows.
Declaration & Blessing of the Marriage: The officiant recognizes and blesses the promise that has just been made between the couple.
Dismissal with Blessing & Recessional: After being presented to your guests for the first time as husband and wife, you will walk back up the aisle, followed by your wedding party.
As you plan your wedding, think about the things that are meaningful to you and your fiance. Try to incorporate them into your ceremony to make it more personal and memorable.