Planning Your Wedding Ceremony Order of Events

Your wedding ceremony order of events is likely to follow a similar outline, whether you are having an independent marriage celebrant or a religious officiant perform the ceremony. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t make it unique and reflect the personalities of you both. There will be legal requirements to perform during your ceremony, and these are most likely at specific times, for which your celebrant will be able to provide specific details. They can also give you a general wedding ceremony order of events guideline to follow, should you require one. In the meantime, there’s nothing wrong in researching your own ideas for your ceremony order and today we’ll share some options with you to consider.

What Are My Wedding Ceremony Order of Events Options?

The average wedding ceremony is around 30 minutes, but this can be altered to suit your plans. That means that a large number of things need to occur during a short period of time, making it vital you plan your wedding ceremony order of events well. Your celebrant or officiant will be the one who gives the final okay on your order of events, but keep in mind that they will generally follow something like this schedule:

  • Prelude – this is when your guests start to arrive and chat amongst themselves. You may wish to have some music playing in the background.
  • Seating – your guests will then take their seats. Will you have someone show them where to sit, or can they sit anywhere they want?
  • Procession – the groom and his groomsmen will generally already be present at the time of the prelude, but this is when the bridal party, flower girls and ring bearers enter the ceremony venue.
  • Bridal procession – here comes the bride! What music will you have playing during this time?
  • Welcoming – your celebrant or officiant will now welcome everyone to your ceremony and a welcome reading or prayer is made.
  • Giving the bride away – if your someone is giving you away, this is the time they’ll be asked to do so.
  • Readings – often a few readings or poems are made by people of your choosing at this time.
  • Wedding vows – your vows will be a combination of personal choice and legal wording.
  • Ring exchange – you both put rings on each other's fingers.
  • Pronouncement – the celebrant pronounces you both to be newlyweds! There's normally a public kiss required about now.
  • Signing – both of you, together with your witnesses will then sign the official copy of marriage documents.
  • Final words – the celebrant will once again speak and offer some final words.
  • Recessional – the newlyweds then leave the ceremony location and wait outside to meet with their guests.

Once you’ve sorted your ceremony order of events, it’s time to pay attention to your reception! Find our article on the Reception Order of Events to learn what takes place during your wedding party time!