To create your magical day, here are some elements to think about.
1. Processional. The processional is where the bridesmaids and bride enter the ceremony site accompanied by music to set the scene. With whoever the bride wishes to arrive with. Optional
2. The giving. Traditionally the officiant asks, with differing variations,Who gives this bride? However in more modern times, this question may be skipped altogether or asked differently depending on the circumstances. Many couples pay for their own weddings now and may be older and established or on their second wedding. Optional
3. Introduction. The officiant welcomes everyone. Outlines the significance of the place/time. May acknowledge those who are not present. Usual
4. An opening reading. This can be a poem or a saying from a favourite book. A friend or family member are good people to choose for the reading. Optional
5. Words of marriage. The officiant outlines what marriage means to the couple. This is a very special part of the ceremony which tells the couple’s story. Usual
6. Affirmation. The couple ask for support for their relationship. This could be from parents or all of your guests. Optional
7. Declaration of intent. The couple acknowledge that they are entering into a binding relationship. The “I will” or “I do” part that usually includes your full name. Usual
8. Vows. These are your very personal promises to each other and the legal requirement of a marriage ceremony. These are what your witnesses are actually signing to say they have witnessed. Mandatory
9. Exchange of rings. This is the part of the ceremony where the bride and the groom give each other a ring to signify their unity. Usual.
10. Declaration of marriage. The officiant will declare you man and wife (or whatever you choose to be called). Usual
11. The kiss. A great photo opportunity! Optional
12. Signing of the register.Witnesses can be family or friends. Music is played. Mandatory
13. Conclusion.The officiant will reflect briefly on the wonderful beginning of your life together. There could be a reading, song, blessing or prayer at this time. Usual.
14. Introduction of newlyweds. This is your first introduction to your guests as a married couple. This is followed by celebratory music as the couple exit. Usual
Rituals and Symbols
Someone once said, ‘When words are inadequate, have a ritual.” Rituals can give a ceremony texture, depth and contrast. There are many rituals and symbols today and most have been handed down from generation to generation. These are a few that can be performed at a wedding. You would usually choose one only.
- Handfasting- There are many variations
- Ring blessings- Blessing of the wedding ring
- Four element ceremonies- From the ancient Greeks
- Community ribbon ceremonies- Symbolize the importance of friends and family
- The Rose ceremony- Bride and Groom give each other a rose
- Candle ceremonies- Highlights the heritage of bride and groom
- The Circle of Flowers- Ancient Chinese ritual
I can provide further information and resources about these and other rituals and symbols which you may wish to include in your special ceremony.