Let’s face it, if you are planning for your “Best Day Ever,” I’ll bet most of your Pinterest boards are loaded with reception ideas and bridal attire. Be sure to set aside time for your wedding ceremony planning. You could consider the ceremony to be the most important part of your wedding day …the reason you have invited all of your guests and where you will display the love you have for one another.
Below is a timeline of ideas to assist in wedding ceremony planning:
The rehearsal can give you peace of mind and remind everyone: when they walk, where they stand, what you two will say, where parents sit, etc. It should take around an hour and can be done anytime during the week before your wedding day. It does not have to occur at the ceremony site, either. Rehearsals are optional, but will give you a better feel for how the ceremony will flow
Plan for thirty minutes of music before your ceremony starts, which is when guests begin to arrive. Did you know its proper for guests to arrive and be seated twenty minutes before? See Wedding Etiquette for more rules every southern girl should know.
Processional: If grandparents are in attendance, they are seated first. Next, the MOB (mother of bride) is escorted by a special gentleman (brother, son, etc) and seated to the left on the first row. Then, the MOG (mother of the groom) is seated on the right on the first row. The groom, best man, and officiant usually walk in together either down the aisle or from the side. Groomsmen will follow. The ladies walk down the aisle, usually to different music, however this is completely up to you. Maid of honor will be last in line, so she will be standing next to you at the altar
Should you have any flower girls, ring bearers, etc., they will walk down the aisle right before you. I think they just add the perfect amount of sweetness to a ceremony. Yes, you should have children in your ceremony, if at all possible. They don’t steal the show, just add to it
Traditionally, a bride is accompanied by her father on her right side and will lift her veil as they reach the end of the aisle. In unique family situations, this is an opportunity to honor your loved ones and choose your escort/s according to your unique situation. See Music for “your” Wedding Ceremony. Now, here’s a tradition I happen to love (I have two daughters). The MOB is the first to rise upon seeing the bride and her father (or whoever is escorting you) and then guests will follow her lead. This gives the MOB a sweet moment before all the guests rise, potentially blocking her view. Also, can’t fail to mention the look on the groom’s face as he gets a glimpse of his true love …another favorite moment! This is probably the best and only reason you might forgo the “first look.”
The officiant will greet all the guests and announce the reason for the gathering. This is also a great time to add a little background to the couple’s story, also known as, the marriage address.
One to three readings are appropriate, (as well as none) but certainly optional. Many other rituals are completely up to you if you choose to include, i.e., unity candle, jumping the broom, sand ceremony, foot washing, and many more.
A hymn or solo is a great way to add a special moment to your ceremony. Again, this can be left out as well.
Exchanging of Vows:
This symbolizes the moment when the bride and groom become husband and wife. Whether you choose traditional vows or write your own, this is your chance to declare to everyone what you will honor in your marriage.
Don’t forget the ring vows, which seals the promises exchanged. Most couples wouldn’t think to practice this, but its a good idea. I've heard so many mention the trouble they had slipping the ring on to someone else’s finger.
After your officiant presents you to your guests and you seal the ceremony with a kiss, you two will walk back down the aisle as husband and wife. My suggestion is to choose an upbeat song for the recession to emulate the joy and happiness of the event.
Now that you’re married, let the celebration continue!!!
- Allison Parker of L&L Farm in Tennessee
Pleasant Union Farm is a family owned wedding venue in North Georgia, about an hour north of Atlanta.