A Traditional Wedding Ceremony Order of Events

Whether your service is civil or religious, it'll likely follow the same general outline.
The Knot
Updated Jul 17, 2020

Before you start planning your ceremony order, know this: No two wedding ceremonies are alike. Even if some couples say the same vows or take a deep dip for the kiss, every pair has a unique mix of things as it comes to their officiant, remarks, ring exchanges, recessional and more. That said, below we have provided a wedding ceremony outline, which includes aspects leading up to the occasion, along with the traditional wedding ceremony order of events to guide your preferences, but don't feel like you need to include every step or stick to a certain time frame.  

Your Complete Wedding Ceremony Outline

Choosing a Theme

One of the first steps in our wedding ceremony outline is determining what kind of vision you have for your special day. Are you and your partner thinking a big, grand event with elaborate decor and hundreds of guests? Or are you imagining a more intimate affair in a modest setting with only your closet friends? Once you begin narrowing the size and feel you are imagining for your traditional wedding ceremony, it will be easier to search for your ideal venue. 

Pinpointing Your Dream Venue

Now that you have determined - more or less - how many guests you are aiming to invite, you will have a better idea of the size venue you will need for your ceremony and reception. Some couples host their wedding at two separate locations, while others prefer to hold the ceremony and reception at the same spot. Even if you are going the traditional route, there are no rules around where or when you host your ceremony. 

Hashing out the Details

After booking your dream venue, now you can really start having some fun. Begin thinking about color schemes and decor. This will help you determine what kind of invitations you want to send out, what kind of flowers will look best and what you want your wedding party to wear. Many couples like to coordinate colors and textures to give their traditional wedding a cohesive feel. 

Booking Services

When hosting a traditional wedding ceremony, you will want to hire staff to make your special day run as smoothly as possible. For starters, most couples decide to book a wedding coordinator, who will help with all the special details. Next, consider photographers, caters, florists, bartenders and musicians or DJs. While it may seem like a lot to juggle, these professionals are staples at any traditional wedding ceremony and they know how to accommodate all your needs. 

Once you have made your way through our above wedding ceremony outline, you can begin thinking about the specific order of events of your Big Day. Though it's entirely up to you, the following steps are simply suggestions for a traditional wedding ceremony.

The Procession

This is the part where the wedding party walks down the aisle and takes their places for the ceremony. You can each make your way to the altar separately, symbolizing the fact that you're coming from different backgrounds. In a Christian procession, the bride is escorted by her father, while the groom waits for her at the altar. In a Jewish procession, the groom's parents escort him down the aisle, and then the bride's parents escort her down the aisle. 

The Officiant's Opening Remarks

You've heard it a hundred times: "Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today..." Or some start by saying, "Friends and family..."

The Officiant Addresses the Couple

Your officiant may take this moment to emphasize the significance of the vows you're about to exchange. This may also include a reminder of your duties and roles in marriage.

The Exchange of Vows

Your vows are your promises to each other. You may repeat the familiar "to have and to hold, for better or for worse" vows, or recite ones you've written yourselves.

The Ring Exchange

As you exchange rings, you typically say, "With this ring, I thee wed."

The Pronouncement of Marriage

The officiant makes it official ("I now pronounce you husband and wife").

The Kiss

And now the moment everyone's been waiting for: your first kiss as a married couple.

The Closing Remarks

Your officiant wraps things up with a few last words and, for a religious wedding, a blessing.

The Recessional

Basically the reverse of the processional, you exit the ceremony together as newlyweds, followed by the wedding party.

Madeline + Chris by LMV Productions from Love Stories TV
Watch real wedding videos on LoveStoriesTV.com to see how other couples organized their weddings!

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