The procedures of the wedding ceremony may differ from belief system to belief system, on the couple’s wants and needs, and on the Marriage Officiant’s practices. Within a given belief system, traditions are varied and many couples write their own wedding vows and ceremony. The ceremony must be carefully planned and discussed with your Marriage Officiant. It must then be rehearsed prior to the wedding to ensure that everyone is comfortable with his or her roles.
There may be some variation to the ceremony, but it generally proceeds as follows:
Participants in the ceremony are asked to be at the ceremony site at least 15 minutes prior to the wedding and meet in their pre-designated areas. Usually the participants should arrive 45 – 60 minutes prior to the ceremony.
The bride, mother of the bride, and the bridesmaids will meet in one prearranged room (choir or bride’s room in a church for example) while the groom, groom’s father, the best man, and ushers will meet in a different prearranged area or room.
The ushers then leave to perform their duties of escorting all guests to their seats.
The wedding party meets in the front of the ceremony site approximately five minutes before the wedding.
The order for the wedding is generally as follows:
The first solo.
The groom’s grandparents are seated.
The bride’s grandparents are seated.
The groom’s parents are seated.
The bride’s mother is seated.
The second solo.
If a white runner is to be laid along the aisle, the ushers should do this at this time.
The head usher signals the organist.
The ushers go down the aisle in pairs and take their places, the tallest going first.
The Marriage Officiant, the groom and the best man enter from the right and take their places facing the area where the bride will enter when the wedding march, or alternate bride’s entrance song/music, begins.
The bridal processional begins with the tallest bridesmaid going first and maid/matron of honor last, preceding the flower girl and/or ring bearer, if there is one .
As the bride enters the ceremony site, the mothers of the bride and groom stand. The guests will then automatically stand. The mothers and the guests should turn toward the aisle so that they can better see the bride as she comes down the aisle.
When the bride reaches the front, the guests may be seated.
The specific details of the ceremony can best be decided upon during the rehearsal.
Wedding Service if there is one
Signing of the Marriage Certificate – Bride, Groom, Witnesses (Maid/Matron of Honor & Best Man), and Officiant. Depending upon the tradition, this might already be taken care of in a civil ceremony held before the wedding day (some cultures have both civil and religious ceremonies).
Presentation of the couple.
Couple exits the ceremony site followed by the Maid/Matron of Honor escorted by the Best Man and the rest of the bridal party similarly paired up .
After the Ceremony
Immediately after the bridal party exits ceremony site, the ushers return to the front to escort the parents of the bride and groom. The usher offers his arm to the bride’s mother while her father follows behind, and then similarly for the groom’s mother and father.
After having ushered the mothers out, the ushers return immediately to the front and indicates to the guests, row by row, that they may leave.
Photographers will need everyone involved to be ready for Pictures.
The Receiving line should not be in the entrance of the ceremony site, but rather in the lobby or the banquet hall before the reception.
Note: There are many different types and variations of ceremonies. The above Wedding Ceremony Order and Procedure is for informational purposes only.