What to expect at a Wedding Ceremony

Planning a wedding tips

Some of you might be wondering, what even happens during a wedding ceremony? I know many people who haven’t been to a lot weddings or none at all and therefore, they don’t really know what goes on at them. 

Today, I want to talk about the ceremony part of a wedding, a.k.a when you actually ‘get married’! These thirtyish precious minutes will be the most symbolic, special moments of your day. Typically, ceremonies won’t go over thirty minutes, but it all depends on how many extra elements you want to add.

First, the processional, the formal entrances of the family and wedding party, will start once all of your guests are seated. The order is: grandparents, parents, pastor, groom, groomsmen, and then the bridesmaids. Next, the cute ring-bearer and then the flower girl will walk down the aisle (this is always so cute). And then ‘here comes the bride’! (The groom may or may not be crying at this point.)

Now, each pastor’s ceremony template will be different depending on various reasons, but here is what we see the most at the Harborside Chapel!

The pastor will say an opening prayer and welcome everyone, and then he may have the bride and groom take a moment to pause and look at all of their guests who have come to celebrate (I did this at my wedding and loved it). He will then read some scripture, talk about marriage, give some advice to the couple, talk personally about them, and so on…

Then, the pastor will say the wedding charge, which is a small paragraph advising the couple of the responsibilities and promises they will vow to each other, which the bride and groom will simply respond “I do” to after. 

Next, will be the exchange of vows. These are promises that the couple will vow to uphold to each other in marriage. The pastor can supply traditional vows which the couple will repeat after him, or they might say their own personal vows that they have written. Or maybe they’ll do both like I did!

Then, there will be the exchange of rings. This part of the ceremony is very special and symbolic. A ring is a circle that never ends, symbolizing infinity, which is how love should be in marriage. Something that never ends. The pastor will have the couple individually repeat after him, and then place the ring on each other’s fingers. 

During this next part of the ceremony the couple can add in any unity elements that they would like, for example: a unity candle, cross, braid, communion or a sand ceremony. A unity element always adds a special touch and makes the ceremony last just a little bit longer.

After the unity element, the pastor might say another prayer and do a little closing, and then they will say, “Now you may kiss the bride”! The pastor will announce them husband and wife, and the couple will exit the aisle beginning the recessional, which is when the wedding party and family members will exit the aisle as well and your guests will know that the ceremony is over.

Now, remember for your own wedding, that you can add or change anything you would like. If you want certain scriptures read then let your pastor know or if you want your grandpa to say a prayer, do it! Make it unique to who you are as a couple! 

I added a worship song at the beginning of my ceremony because I wanted to start our wedding in a place of worship and recognize that God is the one who brought us all here today. It also helped calm my nerves and made me feel relaxed up there in front of a hundred people!

Take time to pause during your wedding ceremony and take it all in. It will be a moment you will never forget!! 

With love,

Jess Conley

Photo by: Limelight Photography

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