wedding ceremony timeline - part I

Photo by A Love Supreme Photography

are you curious about the order of things when it comes to your ceremony? who walks down first? should the bride's mother be ushered in if she's not walking with her daughter? shouldn't someone really important usher her in? what does the groom do while he's waiting for the ceremony to start? do your exchange vows and then the rings or the other way around?

when you really get into the details of the ceremony, it can be very overwhelming. i'm here to help! first i'm gonna really mess with your head and then i'm gonna help you figure it out.

1) you can do whatever you want! anything goes! [did that mess with your head or what?!] but seriously, there are only two legal parts to a ceremony: a) each person getting married must agree to marry the other person; b) the officiant must declare you married. but even these two requirements can be written however you like.

2) now for the help. here is an outline of a traditional ceremony in 12 easy steps:

  1. arrival of guests 
  2. processional - bridal party first then bride (see ceremony timeline part II)
  3. opening words by officiant (ME!)
  4. interjection - music, reading, poem, unity candle, etc. (can have as few or as many of these)
  5. expression of intent - this is where you agree to marry your mate
  6. exchange of vows and rings
  7. closing words
  8. pronouncement of marriage
  9. the KISS!
  10. recessional
  11. signing of marriage license 

easy peasy, right? 

as for the question of what the groom does while he's waiting let me suggest that he not go up to the "altar" until it's really time to begin unless he's a total ham and loves being in front of a crowd. i've seen many a nervous groom standing there twitching with a half smile on his face and sweat running down his neck. it's fine for him to be "up front" and off to the side with the officiant until it's really time. sometimes it's nice to have the groom be the one to usher his mom or grandmother or special person down the aisle and then take his place at the "altar." we'll talk more about the processional in the next post.

i'm going to let you sit with this info for a minute and in the next day or two i'll post a little more about the processional.