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How to Plan the Perfect Wedding Ceremony

How to Have a Perfect Wedding – Make your Ceremony Special

Bagpiper leading the wedding

A Bagpiper Adds a Dramatic Touch to the Ceremony


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What is the real focus of this day? The Ceremony! The whole reason for the day is the fact that you have found the love of your life. The most important moment is when you say, “I DO.” It is the moment when two lives join. Two families unite and a new generation is born, that is awesome. There is so much focus put on the dress, the reception, and the flowers; let us not forget the most important part of the day. Let’s talk Ceremony.

Your Wedding Ceremony should be full of meaning, reflecting the story of you and your fiancé. So let’s break it down into three doable pieces.

1. Music and Reading Selections

2. Ceremony itself includes the Opening Commentary, Declarations of Intent, Exchange of Wedding vows, Blessing of the rings, Exchange of rings.

3. Reflections of you and your fiancé.

First, here is a typical Order for a Ceremony. Pretty generic, how do we make it special?

•Ushers seat the guests (Prelude music playing)

• Special music begins

• Mothers/parents/VIPs enter and light candelabras

• Parents of the Bride and Groom are seated

• The Minister and Groom enter and proceed to the front

• The Bridal party enters and proceeds to the front

• The Ring Bearer and/or Flower Girl enter, proceed to front, sit down

• Music concludes for bridal party

• Ushers unroll the aisle runner or if the aisle runner is alreay in place and the center aisle is tied off the Ushers untie the ribbon and open the aisle to the family and Wedding party.

• The Minister asks the audience to rise and welcome the Bride

• Music begins for the Bride’s entrance (Processional music)

• The Bride and her escort enter, and are met by the Groom

• Bride’s music concludes.

• Opening commentary

• Bride and Groom light “family candles” to represent their families

• Bride and Groom present flowers to parents and/or VIPs

• “Declarations Of Intent” by Bride and Groom

• First reading (religious or romantic literature)

• Musical interlude (solo, etc.)

• Second reading

• Special music (musical interlude, or musical and vocal performance)

• Exchange of wedding vows (traditional or customized)

• Blessing of the rings

• Exchange of wedding rings (traditional or customized)

• Minister’s prayer of blessing for the Bride and Groom

• Bride and Groom light Unity Candle (music in background)

• Final commentary

• Bride and Groom kiss

• Introduction of the new couple by the Minister

• Recessional music begins

• Bride and Groom exit

• Bridal party exits

• Minister’s instructions to the audience.

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Let’s make this the ceremony that people talk about.  A year after the wedding what do you want to hear from your guests?  What will they say about the ceremony?  I want them to walk away saying that was the most touching wedding I have ever been at, I felt so connected to the whole event.

1. The Music and Readings will influence every aspect of your ceremony.

a. The mood and ambiance you want to create begins with the music. Take the time to think about your guests. Was there a special song that your Grandparents waltzed to when they were young? What music touches your heart? When the room goes silent, the doors open what music can you hear as you put your arm in your father’s arm and begin to walk to you new life?

b. The music played while your Mothers light the Unity Candle will reflect two families. We had one Bride and Groom have an instrumental of “Someone to Watch Over Me” play, and as the Moms lit the candles a reader expressed the Bride and Groom’s thoughts about the love and support their parents had given them, as they became adults. There was not a dry eye in the house! They were simple, sweet, and short thoughts that were very touching and truly set the loving tone for the rest of the day.

c. The lighting of the Unity Candle by the Bride and Groom can be special. The same couple had an instrumental played and as they lit the candle, the parents had a reader express their love for their children. Again not a dry eye in the house! They then presented each Mom with a rose.

d. Someone you care about should do the Readings. Readings can come from The Bible where you can find many scriptures that reflect the quality of love. You can use poetry or excerpts of a Novel. You will have to check with your Officiate to determine what is acceptable.

2. The Ceremony Itself

a. Talk with your Officiate about their opening comments. How much can you influence this? Ask if you can get an overview of what he is going to say. This can be touchy; some Officiates may be pretty set in their ways. Talk it over with them and let them know what you want. Some Officiates will include a cute loving story of how you met. You want it to be personal, not cheesy.

b. Exchange of Vows, This is a personal choice. Do you want the traditional exchange or are you going to write your own. Again, you will have to consult with your Officiate to find out what is acceptable to him or her.

3. Your Ceremony should reflect you and your fiancé. There should be personal touches wherever you look.

a. Personalize your runner by adding your Monogram in the center.

b. Programs can be made interesting to read. Rather than having, the same old program, make it special. You can highlight the basics that everyone includes but then add a paragraph on how you met, a funny moment in your relationship. We had one Bride that didn’t even put anything about the ceremony. She wanted people to know about the people in the wedding. She then included a poem about growing up on the cover “Suddenly.” The inside cover was a letter from the Bride and Groom genuinely thanking everyone for coming. She and her groom then wrote about each person in their wedding party and why they asked them to be in the wedding. People actually enjoyed reading their program. It gave them something to smile about while they waited for the ceremony to begin.

c. Your sign in book, make it unique. You can ask your photographer about a picture sign in book. Your guest can then write little notes to you. make sure you have an attendant letting people know they are to write in the book with pictures. You can also make one yourself if you need to save money. Just “Google” “Make your own photo guest book, “you will get all kinds of places to do it yourself. You will then bring this sign in book to the reception for those that missed signing it at the ceremony.

d. I love this idea. It came from Thomas Witham Day of Dreams – Wedding Ceremonies in Chicago. As you enter the ceremony on your father’s arm after a few steps, stop hug your father’s arm a little tighter and look into your Dad’s eyes and just give him a smile. You are his little girl and always will be. You have no idea how difficult this moment is for a parent. The treasure that he is about to give to the young man in front can never be measured. Take the moment, when you look back at the pictures or the video I guarantee you will need a tissue.

e. Family traditions-Are there any old traditions for example we had a Scottish wedding where we tied heather along the aisle. Ask your family.

The most important part of the day is the Ceremony. Make your ceremony meaningful and unique. Remember to keep things in perspective and enjoy the moment.

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