Wedding Ceremony Outline: The Order of Events


Wedding Ceremony Outline: The Order of Events

Whether you’re planning a civil ceremony or a religious one, there are some aspects of a wedding ceremony that are considered fairly standard. You can work with your officiant to come up with the exact content and order of your wedding ceremony, but here is a sample order of worship to get you started.

The officiant will typically sign the Marriage License prior to the start of the ceremony.

  1. Processional

    This is the official walk down the aisle and usually begins with the parents followed by the bridal party. The music changes for the bride’s entrance, who walks down the aisle with her father (or in some cases with both parents). The groom generally enters on the side with the officiant and the best man & also the groomsmen, if they’re not escorting the bridesmaids.

  2. Opening Remarks

    The officiant will begin with a welcome and some standard “gathering words”, and will also introduce the couple.

  3. Readings

    While this part is optional, most couples select one or two readings for their ceremony. Christian ceremonies typically have three readings.

  4. Charge to the Couple

    This is a reminder of the significance of the vows you’re about to exchange and your duties and roles in marriage.

  5. Exchange of Vows

    The vows are the most significant part of the ceremony and you can either recite your own or follow a script that you choose with your officiant.

  6. Ring Exchange

    The rings symbolize the commitment between the couple and are usually exchanged while saying “With this ring, I thee wed.”

  7. Unity ceremony

    While this part is optional, modern couples like to incorporate traditions such as lighting a unity candle, pouring sand, or handfasting, to demonstrate their two families joining together.

  8. Pronouncement of Marriage

    The officiant declares the couple as officially married.

  9. Kiss

    Your first kiss as a married couple! (Tip: Remember to hold it for a couple seconds so that the photographer can capture this magic moment.)

  10. Closing Remarks

    Any words that the officiant will say to officially end the ceremony.

  11. Recessional

    The couple will walk down the aisle together, followed by the wedding party and parents.

Featured Cover Image: Marilyn Duvall Photography

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