Part of learning how to plan a wedding is knowing the order of service for your ceremony. These are not events that happen at the banquet hall. These belong in your ceremony at the wedding chapel. The following order of wedding ceremony template and events are the more up to date suggestions that you won't find in dated wedding planning books--and many of these ideas come directly from some of my own clients! Yes, I am stealing from them to share with you! Garden weddings or beach weddings (you know, outdoor weddings), it doesn't matter as these transcend to all ceremonies. Below is an order of service template that you can use as a guideline as you build your ceremony. If you get a copy of the Wedding Songs Timeline Planner, it will have all the tools you need to plan your entire ceremony AND reception. (And if you click on the previous link, it will get you to the secret discount page!). The items listed are not order of service wedding requirements, but are suggestions to help you not miss any important parts of a wedding.
Starting off with the party!
Basic Wedding Reception Order of Service And Events
- Cocktail/Hors D’oeuvres Hour:
- Wedding Party & Bride & Groom Entrance:
- Toasts and Blessing:
- Cake Cutting:
- First Dance:
- Father Daughter Dance:
- Mother Son Dance:
- Parent’s Dance:
- Wedding Party Dance:
- Bouquet Toss:
- Garter Toss:
- Last Dance:
And now, onto the ceremony!
OPENING WORDS OF THE OFFICIANT
This all takes place after the processionals, where the DJ from your DJ company plays your wedding entrance songs as you walk up the aisle to the altar. Then the pastor, minister, or wedding officiant welcomes everyone to the ceremony. The bride is standing at the bottom of the aisle, arm in arm with her dad, waiting patiently to get hitched.
THE GIVING IN MARRIAGE (optional)
"Who gives this woman to be married" is one option of many. "Who supports this marriage or union" is another. "Really? You chose this guy?" is another if you have a sense of humor. Now, dad gets to sit and enjoy the show...while most likely balling his eyes out.
AN OPENING PRAYER/READING
The officiant will either have a prayer, read a poem, or even tell a joke! You can also have a close family member give a reading here.
Most officiants will give the view of marriage that is closest to the hearts of the bride and groom, and quite possibly interject his or her own words of wisdom. This is an optional item, but a lot of couples write what marriage will mean to them--and it is a great place to, right up front, in front of everyone, set those ground rules!
This is the "Do you take..." part, but a lot of couples are writing their own. going through a list of things they love about each other is a nice way to start vows then end with promises to always be true, through good times and bad.
SECOND READING OR SONG
Again, a family member or friend reading or singing. This is the more popular place for this, as the beginning reading is usually delegated to the officiant. Is Jon Bon Jovi attending? Have him belt out a song!
THE EXCHANGE OF RINGS
Self explanatory. Putting the ring on can be a challenge! If the ring won't go all the way on, don't worry about it. Put it on as far as it will go and leave it at that. There are a lot more tips and tricks in the wedding planner mentioned previously.
The officiant will introduce this event with a brief explanation, then step out of the way for you to perform the act while nice music plays in the background. If you are involving the mother of the groom and the bride's mother, they sometimes will light the outer candles. Keep in mind if you are having an outdoor wedding ceremony, like a garden wedding setting, there may be issues with wind. Part of your wedding design will be to add sconces or hurricane lamps. This is another reason why the sand ceremony has become more popular. Some unique wedding ideas I have come up with is using wine or a potted tree to represent the joining. Leave a comment for me if you want the details on these!
It is nice for the officiant to wrap up the ceremony by reviewing all that you have done. " Now that you have declared your love for one another, exchanged rings, etc."
DECLARATION OF MARRIAGE
This is where it all becomes official! "By the power invested in me by God and the State of Where Ever, I now pronounce you--ball and chain--I mean, husband and wife!"
INTRODUCTION OF NEWLYWEDS
For the very first time, you will be introduced as a married couple. Mr. & Mrs. Last Name is standard, although Mr. & Mrs. Groom's Full Name bugs the crud out of me. More informal (and FAIR) would be Mr. & Mrs. Jim and Jane Jones. If the bride is not taking the last name, announcing you as the newest married couple on the planet, Jim and Jane works well. As your recessional wedding songs play, you walk back up the isle.
There are other parts you can add to this wedding order of service but these are the standards. If you follow this wedding order of service template you will not be missing any main components to your ceremony. Feel free to add or leave out whatever you feel fits with what you want for your ceremony order of service. Below is a standard Christian-style list that includes the above along with some other details you may want to include.
1. Opening Remarks - "The Call to Worship"
2. The Opening Prayer
3. Congregation is Seated
4. Giving Away of the Bride
5. Worship Song, Hymn or Solo
6. The Charge to Bride and Groom
7. The Pledge
8. Wedding Vows
9. Exchanging of the Rings
10. Lighting of the Unity Candle/Unity Ceremony
11. The Pronouncement
13. The Closing Prayer
14. The Kiss
15. Presentation of the Couple