Love is not canceled, neither is your planning. Get advice on what's next for you.

Protestant Wedding Ceremony Checklist

Robin Beth Schaer
by Robin Beth Schaer

12+ Months Before

  • Begin to envision your ceremony. Should it be long and symbolic? Short and sweet? Do you want to include all the rituals or just the highlights?
  • Choose wedding date and time preferences. Depending on your church, there may be times of year that are off-limits, such as the Holy Week between Palm Sunday and Easter.
  • Choose a location and officiant. Keep in mind that some officiants won't marry couples outside of a church.
  • Explore your church's marriage requirements. Some denominations may request proof of baptism or confirmation. Read more on Protestant wedding rituals.
  • If you and your honey aren't the same religion or denomination, find out from your officiant about prerequisites for interfaith or ecumenical marriages.
  • If this is the second wedding for either of you, ask your officiant regarding possible church conditions for remarriage.

9-11 Months Before

  • Meet with your officiant to discuss ceremony structure and marriage requirements. Your officiant may ask you to choose readings and blessings for the ceremony.
  • Choose attendants and ask them to do the honors. Make sure they understand what's involved. Read more on attendants' duties.
  • Although most Protestant denominations do not require prewedding counseling, they recommend you meet with clergy to discuss pertinent issues regarding marriage.
  • Find out from your officiant if there are any dress requirements for the church, such as covering one's shoulders for the bride.

6-8 Months Before

  • Consult with your stationer about invitations, programs, and place cards. You may want to order pew cards to ensure close family and friends are seated in the church's first few rows.
  • Choose ceremonial music and musicians. See our guide to ceremony music basics.

3-4 Months Before

  • Talk to people you'd like to do special performances or readings.
  • Consider specific ceremony and reception decoration needs such as an aisle runner, flowers, and candles.
  • Book rehearsal-dinner site and finalize guest list.

2 Months Before

  • Order ceremony programs if you plan to use them. It is helpful to have programs so your non-Protestant guests will understand the meaning and symbolism of a Protestant wedding.
  • Prepare and mail invitations. Include pew cards for family and friends who should be seated in the first few rows.
  • Begin working on vows if you're writing your own. Click here for a wedding vow how-to.

3-4 Weeks Before

  • Have a final meeting with your officiant.
  • Finalize vows, readings, and other special ceremony details.
  • Send rehearsal-dinner invitations.

1-2 Weeks Before

  • Touch base with your officiant.

Day Before

  • Rehearse the ceremony.
Up Next
Protestant Wedding Ceremony Script
Usually a church will include its common order of the wedding service in its hymnal, so that's your best resource for an individual institution's standard. The church's officiant, minister, or pastor can also answer your questions about variation on the service.
by The Knot1 min read