Main Parts of a Wedding Ceremony

You’ve been to weddings before, but now that you’re planning yours, you’re not really sure of what goes on in a wedding ceremony. Which part goes first? What elements are “must-haves” and what things can you do to personalize your wedding?

One thing you must remember is that it’s your wedding. Although there are a lot of predetermined formats available for you to choose from, in the end, all that really matters is that you’ve made this day special for you and your soon-to-be spouse. If you decide on having an officiant or minister, one important role he can play is in helping you with your wedding ceremony.

To help you craft your own ceremony, here are some of the main parts that are usually included:

Wedding processional. This is one of the much-awaited parts of the program – the main feature being the sight of the bride majestically marching down the aisle in all her beauty and splendor. The wedding processional covers the entrance of the wedding party. The usual order goes like this: the officiating minister, the best man, the groom, the bridesmaids and the groom’s men, the ring bearers, the flower girls, the maid of honor, and then, of course, the bride. The bride can opt to walk the aisle alone or with her parents or just the father. Sometimes, the groom and the best man enter by a side door. A highly-creative “grand entrance” that garnered considerable popularity in YouTube shows the wedding party dancing their way to the altar. This is one creative way to make you and your fiancé’s mark on your wedding.

Reading. This could be a poem, some verses from the Bible, other religious wedding readings or a piece of literature. These readings often cover the topic of love or marriage.

Officiant’s Opening Word. This acts as the welcoming word for the guests and a statement of purpose. The officiant says words like, “We are gathered here to witness the union of ___________ and ___________ in marriage.” The opening word will set the mood of the entire wedding – if you want your wedding to be light, sprinkled with a bit of fun, formal or sentimental.

Giving away of the bride. This is a tradition where the parents of the bride are supposed to “give the bride away”. The officiant will ask, “Who gives this woman to be married to this man?” and the parents of the bride say, “We do.” However, this is optional as in some modern marriage ceremonies, this is omitted or revised to say, “Who supports this couple in their marriage?”

Charge to the couple. This is when the officiant defines marriage for the couple, giving them a few words of advice about marriage and their new life as husband and wife.

Exchange of Wedding Vows.  The bride and the groom face each other as they say their vows. They can repeat the words provided by the officiant or have their own personalized vows.

Exchange of Rings. In religious ceremonies, this includes the blessing of the rings and an explanation of the meaning of the rings. And then, the bride and groom exchange the rings, symbolizing their vow to love and commit to each other.

Unity ceremony. (Optional) The bride and groom may opt to include a unity ceremony, which is a visual symbol of their union. There are many unity ceremonies to choose from. The most common would be the lighting of the unity candle. Two smaller candles are held by the groom and the bride and together they light a bigger unity candle. This symbolizes their becoming one. Other unity ceremonies include the sand ceremony, the water ceremony, the wine ceremony and the salt ceremony.

Declaration of marriage  and The Kiss. This is where the officiant will proclaim that the couple is married. The words usually used are, “By the power vested upon me by the state of…, I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss the bride.” This signals the bride and groom to have their first kiss as a legally married couple. In modern ceremonies, the words, “You may kiss the bride” are omitted as some feel weird about having to give a grown man permission to kiss his bride.

Benediction and Presentation of the Couple. In religious ceremonies, the officiant will pray for the couple or offer good wishes for them. Then, the couple will face the audience as the officiant announces, “Ladies and Gentlemen, it is with pleasure that I present to you, Mr. and Mrs. John Doe.”

Recessional. The newlyweds march back down the aisle as the audience cheers on.

These are the main elements that you can find in a wedding. This is also the usual order of the elements. However, as we have said, it depends on how you want to personalize your wedding. You may have to consult the officiant for any legal requirement but if there are no legal barriers, you can basically craft your own wedding ceremony.

The next step would be to decide your Utah wedding location. To make your wedding ceremony even more beautiful, it is important to consider the surroundings by which you will be married.

As you carefully think of the wedding ceremony, your choice of wedding venue should reflect the mood you want to set for the ceremony, as well as other practical aspects. You should consider the width of the aisle (or whether this is adjustable). You should also consider the number of seats available, the altar where you will be standing, the backdrop of the ceremony and the overall look of the wedding.

If you are planning to hold a wedding in Sandy, Utah, one excellent wedding venue in Sandy, Utah is The Atrium. Ideal for weddings and receptions, The Atrium boasts of a well-decorated facility. It is equipped with all you need to make your wedding extra special.

 

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