Ceremony Structure

 

Weddings can be fun or romantic, traditional or deeply personal.  The words you speak and the symbols you incorporate define the ceremony’s character.  While most weddings include the general structure below, each element is tailored to your unique personality and values.


•  ESCORTS AND SEATING

Guests may find their own seats or be escorted by groomsmen.  The parents of the groom and the mother of the bride (and possibly grandparents) are usually escorted in and seated at their special places.


•  PROCESSION

The groom and celebrant are already standing at the front.  The wedding party either joins them or files in as a procession.  Bridesmaids enter (sometimes with groomsman), followed by the ring bearer, then flower girl (if included).  The bride enters last. The best man may accompany the maid of honor or enter with the groom.


•  INTRODUCTION & WELCOME   (CONVOCATION)

The celebrant opens the ceremony and offers thoughts about love and commitment.  May include thoughts on what marriage means to the couple.  A blessing (Invocation) is often spoken to elevate the intent of the ceremony and remind everyone that the commitment about to be made is sacred.


•  DECLARATION OF INTENT

This is the “I do” statement, where the couple declares their intention to marry, lead by the celebrant.  This is legally required if there are no vows.


•  VOWS

The partners affirm their intention to be wed, and take turns reciting their promises to each other.  Vows may be memorized, read from paper, or recited after the celebrant.


•  EXCHANGE OF RINGS

This is traditional, but if partners are not exchanging rings, other rituals may substituted. The couple’s words may be memorized, read from a paper, or recited after the celebrant.


•  CLOSING BLESSING   (BENEDICTION)

Optional words by the celebrant, communicating the hopes for the couple’s future.  May be spoken directly before the Recession.


•  PRONOUNCEMENT OF MARRIAGE

This statement is often a legally required element.  “By the power invested in me by the (state), I now pronounce you _____.”  The kiss that traditionally follows represents a sealing of promises made with the vows and rings.


•  PRESENTATION OF WEDDED COUPLE

This is the official introduction of the newly married partners.  Sometimes this is placed at the start of the reception, rather than the wedding.


•  RECESSION

The wedding party walks away from the ceremony and toward the reception.  Traditionally, the wedding party exits in the opposite order they entered, with the married couple exiting first.

 

 

 

HONOR AND CELEBRATE THE HUMAN EXPERIENCE.