Wedding Ceremony 101: The Building Blocks

If you're opting for a secular or non-traditional ceremony, creating your ceremony can be overwhelming. But you don't have to start from scratch! Here are the typical components to help get you started.

THE WELCOME

The officiant enters, introduces themselves, thanks guests for coming, and makes any small announcements .

THE PROCESSIONAL

The entrance of the wedding party and/or couple. There are a number of variations you can do. Stay tuned for a future blog post!

THE ADDRESS

This is when the officiant shares a message. If the officiant is a friend or family member, you may want them to tell a personal story about you and your partner and/or how you met. This is also a good place for a reading. Work together with your officiant - whether a friend or a hired professional - to discuss what he or she will say.

THE READINGS

You may want someone to read a poem, lyrics , a Bible verse, etc. Your officiant will introduce the reader and they will come up and proceed with the reading.

THE DECLARATION ON INTENT

The officiant will ask you and your partner if you take this person to be your legally wedded partner, and you say, “I do,” etc. This is the only part of the ceremony that is required by law.

THE VOWS

You can write your own or modify more traditional vow. You can read them, or recite from memory, or repeat them after the officiant.

THE RING VOWS

You and your partner will present each other with your rings while repeating short ring vows after your officiant. It’s always nice to precede the ring vows with a short explanation of the symbolism of the rings from your officiant.

THE UNITY RITUAL

This can be a unity candle, a sand ceremony, the planting of a tree, the signing of your marriage license - any ritual that represents the life that the two of you will share together.

THE CLOSING REMARKS

The officiant delivers this part. This can be a benediction or prayer, a poem, or words of advice. Announcements about the processional or reception can be made here as well.

THE PRONOUNCEMENT

The officiant pronounces you husband and wife, wife and wife, husband and husband, etc. … and then you kiss!

THE POST-CEREMONY RITUAL

This includes rituals such as the breaking of the glass and the jumping of the broom.

THE RECESSIONAL

Party time!

No matter which building blocks you use or don’t the important thing is that it sounds and feels like you - both of you! Don’t get bogged down think “Is this too silly?” or “Should we not mention this?” or “Will people think this is weird?” This is your day and your marriage, so make the ceremony a true reflection of you!

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