How To Order your Wedding Cermony

Every ceremony is different and this is in no way written to suggest that you should do your wedding ceremony in this order. Your ceremony should be an expression of you. It is your show and you should decide what happens when. With that said there is a basic format that most wedding ceremonies follow. Below are 15 common parts of the traditional western culture wedding.

1)    Prelude: This is the pre-game show. Your guests are arriving, hopefully early. You want to have some music, at least 20 minutes worth. Guests will be signing the guest book, finding a seat and checking out the program.

2)   Seating: Your ceremony is officially beginning. Have a complete stop of the prelude music and choose a new song for the seating and procession. Here your close family will be seated by the ushers, mainly grandparents and parents.

3)   Procession: Time for the wedding party to make an entrance. Typically the Groom and his groomsmen come to the stage from the side. 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.

4)   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 “giving her away.”

5)   Welcome: Music stops. Time for your officiant to welcome everyone. Here would be a good time for a prayer or blessing over the couple.

6)   Giving of the Bride: The officiant will now ask who supports the marriage or is giving the bride away. Here would be a  good time for the father of the bride to make a small speech or give advice.

7)   Reading: Now that you have everyone’s attention, have a reading  of  scripture, poem, song or meaningful verse.

8)   Wedding Message: The officiant will now officiate. Most officiants have a pre-planned message. Ask your officiant if you can read over the message.

9)   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.

10)   Ring Exchange: This is fairly self explanatory. You will exchange rings. Make sure you put it on the correct hand.

11)   Special Music: Now would be a great time for your special music from your friends or family members. If you do not have a musician in the family you can have another reading. Here, many weddings enter a strange time of no activity. If you have special music make sure you fill the time. Ask for the song length so you know what you are working with.

12)   Unity Ceremony: During your special music you can perform a unity ceremony. This ceremony symbolizes two individuals joining together to make one. Traditionally this is represented by candles but you can also use a sand ceremony set, a rose set, or paint and canvas. Check with your location so see if they are OK with open flames, sand or paint. If this does not fill the special music time you could also have a time of first communion or a couple’s prayer time.

13)   Blessing: Now it is back over to the officiant for his last words. Typically it will be a blessing of the marriage.

14)   Pronouncement: The officiant will make it official with a pronouncement of “Husband and Wife” and then it is kissy time!

15)   Recessional: The officiant will introduce the new couple and now it is time to party! Don’t let everyone rush out. 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. Any announcements can be made at this time and then the officiant can dismiss your guests.

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.

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