How Wedding Ceremonies Work: Your Guide

We all know how stressful it is to plan a wedding and at Euphorie Studios we always want to do everything we can to make sure a bride has the most perfect day possible, so we’ve been covering as many ways to reduce stress for brides on their wedding day. Our latest instalment is on the structure of wedding ceremonies.

While all things wedding related can be changed to fit a brides personal ideas, we wanted to give a general structure that most brides tend to use or have as a starting point before changing up parts to suit their own day. So, with that said, lets get into it

 bride and groom being married by celebrant at wedding venue

The Wedding Procession

Firstly, what is a wedding procession? A procession in it’s simplest form, is defined as ‘an organised body of people walking in a formal or ceremonial manner’ or in other words, relating to weddings, the bridal party coming down the aisle.

Every wedding ceremony starts with a processional and it’s the grand entrance of everyone that you will have involved in your wedding party. Each person in the wedding party traditionally makes their way down the aisle in a specific order, however this can be changed based on who will be a part of your own bridal party. Here’s the traditional order:

  • The brides mother
  • The groomsmen (unless accompanying the bridesmaids)
  • The best man
  • The groom
  • The officiant
  • The bridesmaids (and groomsmen if you’re choosing to have them accompany the bridesmaids down the aisle!)
  • The maid of honour
  • The flower girl and/or ring bearer
  • The father of the bride and the bride

 bride being walked down aisle by father in church wedding full of guests

Opening The Ceremony

After each member of the bridal party has taken their place and you’ve made your grand entrance and walked down the aisle to your awaiting bride or groom, the officiant will start everything off. This will usually be the speech you’ve seen many times in movies or at a friends wedding about how everyone is ‘gathered here today to celebrate’ the couple getting married. There are many ways these speeches are worded and if you have any particular ways you’d like it to be, make sure you discuss it with your officiant prior to the day.

Following on from the above, the officiant will turn his or her speech towards you and your partner. It’ll be some words covering the meaningful way you’re about to exchange vows and the journey through life you’ll take together. As always, the wording on this will vary, especially depending on religious vs non-religious weddings, but as always, this is something you should discuss with your officiant.

Next up is the exchanging of vows between your partner and yourself. The officiant will generally lead you both through this for the most part and (hopefully!) you will have your vows pre-written or planned out in advance. This will always be a totally personal thing to you and your partner covering your love and everything that happens, has happened or will happen within that.

bride and groom exchanging vows with wedding officiant holding microphone and bridesmaids holding bouquets

Along with the exchanged vows, you'll be exchanging rings. This is probably something you’ve seen before, if not in person then you’ve likely seen it on a movie or TV show. The officiant will begin this part of the wedding ceremony by asking you or your partner to place the ring on the other’s finger and vice versa, traditionally accompanying the ring exchange with a phrase such as ‘With this ring, I thee wed’ or something similar. Talking to your officiant about this part if you’re unsure is a good idea.

After this, there’s usually time for the optional extras in a ceremony such as handfasting or candle lighting as a unity symbol or ritual. This part is totally optional but we have seen quite a few brides incorporate something meaningful to their relationship at this point, but not always.

After all of that is done, your officiant will then make a declaration of your marriage such as ‘By the powers vested in me, I now pronounce you husband and wife’ which is then traditionally followed with ‘..and you may now kiss the bride’.

Now that the love filled parts of your ceremony are complete, the final parts are essentially just the legally binding side of things: signing the paper work on the marriage license. There’s usually a small break for your guests during this period while you and your partner sign the documents your officiant will have for you.’

Now all that’s really left are any closing remarks you might want your officiant to make and then the recessional or time for you and your partner to make your way back down the aisle with the rest of the bridal party following and either off for portraits/photography or to the ceremony.

bride and groom walking down aisle at wedding being showered with flower petals

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