The 4 elements of a Wedding Ceremony (or Marriage Celebration):
As long as you have these 4 , you have a wedding
- everybody (the couple, officiant, and witnesses) congregates,
- the wedding couple make vows to each other and engage in a symbolic gesture of commitment,
- the officiant recognizes and pronounces the couple as married,
- everybody celebrates this change in their lives and status,
- everybody leaves
Ceremony: Traditional Structure of a Wedding
The order of these elements can change. The elements themselves can change.
- Procession …
- Greeting…“Welcome ….”
- Wedding Message…
- Exchange of Rings…(or other symbolic exchange)
- Kiss, embrace
- Recessional & Introduction of the couple as married
- Announcement of reception or other events to follow Any and all of this can change.
Personalizing Your Ceremony
Consider additions to the ceremony to make it more meaningful to you both or your families, such as…
- Meaningful poetry read by the couple, family members or friends
- A blessing or prayer offered by a family member or friend
- Musical interlude by family members, friends, or others (Are there singers or other musicians in your family or wedding party?)
- A symbolic event or gesture, such as a Unity Candle, Sand Pouring, or Hand-Fasting ceremony.
- A “Giving away of the bride” by one or both of her parents which would usually come after the Greeting.
- A public blessing or vow of support which includes the guests in the ceremony and encourages their participation.
Most importantly, the ceremony should be meaningful and respectful to you and to all you invite.