Every religion has their own established rituals, customs and traditions for wedding ceremonies. Also, your clergyman or Officiant may also have specific rules and procedures to be followed when they officiate a wedding ceremony. So, when planning your ceremony, be sure to consult with your Officiant every step of the way!
Here is a general outline of the sequence of events for a traditional Wedding Ceremony:
The Processional: The following is a typical order to a wedding Processional. It can certainly be modified based on your particular situation.
The groom, best man and Officiant enter.
An usher escorts the grandmother(s) of the bride to their seats.
An usher escorts the grandmother(s) of the groom to their seats.
An usher escorts the mother of the groom to her seat.
An usher escorts the mother of the bride to her seat.
The groomsmen walk down the aisle (or escort the bridesmaids) and stand next the groom and best man and then face the guests.
The bridesmaids walk down the aisle.
The maid of honor walks down the aisle.
The ring bearer walks down the aisle.
The flower girl walks down the aisle. (Many times the flower girl and ring bearer will walk together)
The Father escorts the Bride down the aisle
The Welcome, Call to Worship, Introduction: The Officiant greets the guests and usually says a few words about marriage.
Gathering words / Declaration of Consent: The declaration of consent is seen primarily in Christian ceremonies. The Officiant reads either some sort of scripture such as the creation of woman to be a partner to man or a special reading then asks "Who gives this woman to be married today?" The Bride's father replies, "I do". Some brides prefer not to include this segment in their ceremony - - while some brides like to include it as part of the ritual and tradition of the wedding ceremony.
A more modern twist to this tradition - - the Officiant asks the question to the brides parents or both parents. Then, they all respond together "We do".
Readings and Music: Readings and music are a wonderful way to personalize your wedding ceremony. Before making any selections, you'll want to check with your Officiant first. Some faiths and churches have specific rules and guidelines as to the type of readings and music that can be played. For instance, some churches will only allow scripture and religious readings.
Questions of Intent, Wedding Vows and Ring Ceremony: The Officiant will ask the questions of intent to the bride and the groom. Most people are familiar with the Christian wedding vows:
"Do you 'Steven' take 'Susan' to have and hold from this day forward, for better, for worse: for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health; to love and to cherish from this day forward."
Exchange of the Rings: The groom places the ring on the bride's finger. Then, the bride places the ring on the groom's finger.
Blessing of the Rings: The bride and groom will make statements to each other. This is done right after the ring is put on the finger (above).
Example: "Take and wear this ring as a symbol of my love"
Special Acts of Celebration: Lighting of unity candle, flower giving to parents, blessing of medallion or gifts for step children.
This is another great way to personalize your wedding ceremony and to include children or parents into the ceremony.
Benediction, Prayers and Blessing: Benediction and prayers led by the Officiant.
Pronouncement of the Marriage: "I now pronounce you husband and wife... "
Presentation of the New Couple: The Officiant presents "Mr. and Mrs. _________________" for the first time!
Recessional: The following is a typical order to a wedding Recessional. It can certainly be modified based on your particular situation.
Bride and Groom exit
Flower girl & Ring bearer exit
Maid of Honor & Best Man exit
Bridesmaids (each accompanied by a groomsman) exit