How to Structure your Ceremony

To keep it upbeat and light I thought I would talk about ceremonies in general in particular how to structure your ceremony. Keep in mind that while couples spend months and thousands of dollars on their receptions, they sometimes forget about the ceremony. Of course the party and dancing are wonderful, but don’t forget that what you are there for is to actually commit to one another for life. Your family and guests aren’t just there for the free food and entertainment (although if your family is anything like mine, they may well be), they are there to see you make that commitment to one another. A good ceremony will envoke an emotive response in your guests with laughter, tears and warm memories.

So many clients come to me having absolutely no idea about how to plan their wedding ceremony, what the legal requirements are or how to put together something special and memorable which is what we all want, right?

The first question I usually ask them is “Have you attended many ceremonies before?” Often the answer is no and it is at this point we start with a completely blank canvas and begin to build a fantastic ceremony from scratch. Sometimes though, the answer is yes, so the next question I ask them is “thinking back to those ceremonies, what did you like, what did you dislike and were there any points during the ceremony that you felt like pulling your fingernails out with boredom?”

This is always a great place to start. It’s easy to pick someone elses ceremony to pieces so the best way to make yours great is to analyse those that you yourself have attended. It’s not about being mean, but about recognising what inspires and uplifts you and how you can put some of your own personalities into your big day so that it really reflects who you are as individuals and as a couple.

Once we have established a list of like’s and dislike’s then we are ready to start making some plans. There are so many choices, but the most important thing to establish before proceeding is if you want a more traditional ceremony or something modern and different. If you really want to stick with a traditional format, then there are plenty of things that you can incorporate to make it beautiful and most importantly your own. If you really want something different and modern however, then the world is your oyster so to speak!

There are so many considerations, such as the length of the ceremony, the wording, giving of the bride, readings, vows whether or not to include a ritual and the list goes on……

So what is the order of a ‘usual’ ceremony?

Well it goes something like this, but is open to interpretation:

›  Opening music details:

›  Details of Bridal parties entrance

›  The Welcome – Celebrant usually writes this (just 1-2 lines)

›  Giving of the Bride:

›  Introduction:

›  1st Reading:

›  Celebrant’s Monitum – This is what the Attorney Gen requires the celebrant to
say in order to meet the legal requirements

›  The Asking:

›  The Vows:

›  The Ring Ceremony:

›  Details of any traditions/rituals/symbolism:

›  2nd Reading:

›  Declaration by Celebrant:

›  Signing of Marriage Certificate & Register

›  Presentation of Bride and Groom as Mr & Mrs

›  Any announcements for guests

This is just a guide and as long as all of the legal requirements are met (depending on which country you live in of course) then you can add and remove things to suit your needs.

In future blogs I will address each of these sections individually and in more depth so please post your comments or any questions and I am happy to answer or help in any way.

Susan x

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