Updated: Nov 1, 2019
So, you’re planning your dream wedding day - congratulations! This is such an exciting time, and you’ll have so many wonderful choices to make: the venue, the flowers, the cake and, of course, The Dress!
But, wait! Have you thought about your ceremony? There are choices to be made here, too, which you might not have considered; maybe you didn’t even know you had options…
Here are a few ideas:
Nowadays, it is usual for the Bridesmaids to enter before the Bride, but some older guests/parents might think that they should follow her. Here are some reasons why it's a good idea for them to come in first:
it gives them a moment in the spotlight. They’re all dressed up and looking lovely, so it’s wonderful let all your guests see how gorgeous they look!
Logistically, it is just so much more practical. They can walk straight around to their seats, and not be marooned in the aisle behind the Bride - especially if she is wearing a dress with a long train! (But they will still be on hand to straighten the train etc., if needed.)
Having the Bridesmaids already in the room means that all your guests will now be anticipating the arrival of the Bride, and concentrating solely on you!
As you arrive, there will be no-one standing behind you, so your guests will be able to fully appreciate the back of your dress - important when the dresses are often so beautifully detailed at the back!
Both of You
It’s a big day for both of you, so why shouldn’t you both make a big entrance?
Some couples like to walk down the aisle together, whilst others prefer to arrive separately, and to walk along the aisle to a particularly appropriate piece of music, either alone or accompanied by their parent(s)/children/Best Man/Woman etc.
This really sets the scene and tells everyone that you are doing things the way you want to, and not just the way they’ve always been done!
If you have chosen a Celebrant to lead your ceremony (yay!), then you can include any readings at all, but if you are being married by a Registrar, or in a place of worship, then some restrictions are likely to be imposed.
Wherever your wedding is taking place, be sure to find readings which really reflect you and your relationship - don’t just choose something because you’ve heard it at a million other weddings, so think that it is ‘appropriate’. If it doesn’t speak to you, or make you laugh, or cry - whatever you’re aiming for - then it isn’t the right one.
(See blogposts - Lighthearted Wedding Readings and Unusual and Heartwarming Wedding Readings or the relevant pages on my website: Lighthearted Wedding Readings, Romantic Wedding Readings)
Readings are a good way to include children who don’t mind standing up in front of adults, and there are some lovely funny or heart-warming readings which sound even better when read by a child. (Always have a ‘Plan B’ in mind, though - however confident a child may usually seem, it can sometimes suddenly be too much…)
There are usually 3 places where music is played: the entrance (Processional); during the signing of the wedding Certificate/Register; and as the couple leave (Recessional). Again, choose music which is appropriate to you, and which suits the overall mood of your day.
But, have you thought about including music during the ceremony itself? Perhaps you have a friend who is an amazing singer/musician and who would love the chance to sing/play at your wedding? Why not ask them to perform as part of the ceremony, either instead of, or as well as, including readings? It is such a special moment when someone you love sings/plays just for you.
Another possibility is to include a song in the ceremony, so that all your guests can sing along. You simply print out the lyrics and put them on the guests’ seats so that they can all join in. A wonderful way for everyone to participate!
A lot of couples really like the idea of writing their own vows to say to each other on their wedding day, and this is always such a touching moment in any ceremony - even if (or, perhaps, especially if!) they include some light-hearted sentiments.
However, it doesn’t suit everyone, and if this is you, then a third option might be to include ‘Silent Vows’. This is where you would each write down what you’d like to say to the other, and the Celebrant hands these to you during the ceremony (and explains to your guests what is happening, of course!) You then both read the vows to yourselves, and keep them forever.
Of course, many couples prefer their Celebrant to write something appropriate, or just to stick with the prescribed words in a legal ceremony. That’s absolutely great, too, as it is important that the ceremony is exactly as you would like it to be - not as you, or anyone else, thinks it should be.
It is always lovely when a couple chooses to include a symbolic ritual in their wedding ceremony. This may be because they would like to include other members of their family/friends, or perhaps because they like the visual symbolism of a particular ritual, or for any number of other reasons!
There are countless rituals which work well as part of a wedding, including:
(See blogpost Symbolic Rituals for more information)
Or, perhaps you come from two different cultures and would like to include elements from each in your ceremony - fantastic! A Celebrant is only too pleased to be able to work with you to create something completely unique, and which has special meaning to you.
Last, but not least, who will be delivering your ceremony? Did you even know you had a choice?
A Celebrant will not only conduct proceedings, but will write a ceremony just for you, which can include any other elements you like.
Most importantly, though, we will tell your unique love story in a way that suits your style, and truly celebrates this momentous day in your life.
I always like to say that the ceremony is the heart of the day because, after all, it’s the reason you have asked everyone to join you! So, really make the most of it, and choose a Celebrant who will create a personal, meaningful ceremony which you and all your guests will remember.
Photo: Lesley Burdett Photography