Your wedding ceremony marks one of the most important moments in your life. You’ll want to spend time with your officiant working on the structure and flow of the ceremony to make sure it’s well paced. When people talk about boring wedding ceremonies, they’re usually talking about the ones that are long and the officiant or minister talks the whole time. I’ve already written a blog post about the ideal wedding ceremony length, but pace is a totally different thing. So, here are my tips, based on my experience as a professional wedding officiant, on how to have a perfectly paced wedding ceremony.
#1 Don’t Rush the Processional
To really set the stage and pace of the ceremony, take your time with the processional. Use nice long songs for the processional so you don’t feel hurried. If there are groomsmen, allow each one to greet the groom on their way down the aisle. Give plenty of time for the bride to say goodbye to whoever walked her down the aisle and to take her place at the “altar” or under the arbor. And right before the ceremony begins, take a nice, deep breath.
#2 Add in Different Voices
One of the easiest ways to create an interesting and dynamic wedding ceremony is to add in different voices. You can ask friends or family members to come up and share a reading or meaningful passage. Or you and your sweetie can read your vows out loud to each other, or better yet: both! But it doesn’t just have to be spoken words. Think about having someone sing a song mid-ceremony. It’s also a lovely way to include people you care about in your ceremony.
#3 Speak Slowly
Hopefully your officiant will already do this, but if you have a friend or family member officiating your wedding, you might want to talk to them about this tip. By the officiant slowing down his or her speaking, it creates a grounded, calm environment. The opposite of this is if the officiant is rushing their speaking. For starters, it makes it very difficult to hear what they’re saying, but it also creates an rushed atmosphere. You don’t want this for a nicely paced ceremony. So…slow down. You also want to speak slowly as you read your vows. Take your time and speak loudly and clearly.
#4 Pauses are Ok
You know how in advertising they talk about white space and how impactful it can be? Pauses in a wedding ceremony do the exact same thing. Some of this is out of your control and is up to your officiant, but a good officiant will allow there to be pauses between sections of the ceremony. Your job is to be ok with these and to use them to soak in what’s happening around you. In those tiny, silent moments listen to the birds, hear the waves crashing, feel the breeze on your face, look out at your guests…savor it all!
I think you’re starting to realize that the best way to create the perfectly paced ceremony is to slow things down. It’s already going to go by so quickly so why rush it? I always encourage my couples and their wedding party to breathe before walking down the aisle. And together we all take a nice deep breath before the ceremony begins. I encourage you to breathe deeply before reading your vows. Breathing like this will also help calm your nerves. This doesn’t necessarily affect the pace of the ceremony, but it will affect the mood and atmosphere of the whole day.
Learn more about how I work with my couples to create a beautifully well-paced ceremony.