The ceremony is the heart and soul of your wedding. Everything you plan and do revolves around this one event where you make promises to the one you love. The ceremony isn’t difficult to plan if you follow some basic steps and checkpoints.
Location – One of the first decisions will be where to hold the ceremony. The venue may be a church or other place of worship or it may be a non-religious locale.
Denomination – Couples need to discuss their religious beliefs and decide which officiant will be used for the vows. If couples are from different religions, this can be a difficult choice and one that should not be taken lightly. If possible, you may want to figure out a way to incorporate both religions into the ceremony.
Date and Time – Choose the date and time based on your preferences as well as the availability of your preferred venue.
Backup – If holding your ceremony outdoors, review a backup plan in case of bad weather.
Church decor – Find out what type of decor you’re able to bring in and when it can be set up. If flowers are desired, order them to be delivered at a specific time prior to the start of the ceremony.
Music – Decide on wedding music and determine how it will be played. If you want a traditional wedding march played you can often hire the regular church organist to perform for a small fee.
Outdoor wedding permit – If choosing an outdoor wedding location, make sure you get the proper permit if required.
Pre-wedding counseling – Some religions require the bride and groom to meet with the church official before the wedding to discuss marriage and prepare for the commitment.
Ceremony Specifics – If you would like certain readings done (sometimes by elatives or friends) discuss them with the officiant.
Choose wedding vows – You can opt for traditional vows or write your own. Whichever you choose, be sure to go over it with your officiant.
Unity candle – Decide on which traditions you want to incorporate into your ceremony. For example, the lighting of the unity candle is a special part of many religious weddings.
Including children – If you have young children (or nieces and nephews) consider how you can incorporate them in your wedding if you like.
Rehearsal – Schedule the rehearsal, usually the night before the wedding, to make sure that everyone knows his or her parts.
Fees – There is usually a fee (or suggested donation) for the use of the church. You’ll also want to provide a tip for the officiant.
Programme – Create a ceremony programme to distribute to guests. Include an itinerary of the ceremony along with a list of attendants.
Logistics – Get a layout of the location and find out which doors are to be used by which people. Also, find out general parking information.
Rules – Learn the rules associated with the location. Find out if it is permissible to throw birdseed after the ceremony and where the limo should wait while the ceremony is going on.