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  • Michael Grace Celebrant

How to plan your perfect wedding ceremony

Updated: Jan 3, 2023

Planning a wedding can be an unknown task for many couples – where do you start, what do you do first, what sort of wedding ceremony would you like? Many questions, some of which I can’t help with, but what I will try to do is give you some advice on preparing and planning your wedding ceremony.

When you start planning your wedding, the big things, hotel, band, photographer are usually top of the list, which is right, as booking early get you your first choice. My advice is to also put your wedding ceremony near the top of your list to ensure you get the celebrant/officiant you want and allow you time to work with your celebrant/officiant to prepare the ceremony to match your wishes and to make it personal to you.

Your wedding ceremony is the first part of your day that includes all your guests and often sets the impression for the rest of the day. In this blog I talk about ideas for your ceremony and a suggested layout, that has worked well for me and my couples.

When I get talking to couples their first question is often what does a celebrant led wedding ceremony look like. The easiest way for me to answer that is to outline a suggested layout for a ceremony but also explain that the choice is completely theirs. I make suggestions to help the couple decide how they want their ceremony to look.

Here is a suggested layout – a template from which to work.

  • Entrance – with Music

  • Opening Welcome

  • Candle Ceremony (Part One) – with instrumental Music in the background

  • Your Story

  • Reading/Poem/Prayer MusicReading/Poem/Prayer

  • Declarations of no impediment

  • Vows

  • Rings

  • Candle Ceremony (Part Two) – with instrumental Music in the background

  • Music and/or Reading/Poem/Prayer

  • Wedding Ritual (Optional)

  • Pronouncement

  • Signing the Registry - Music while this is happening

  • Recessional – back down the aisle as a married couple – with Music

Other things to consider when planning your wedding ceremony:

Your Vows: Will your write your own vows of select from the many beautiful pre-written vows. If you are choosing pre-written vows I encourage to your look at many suggestions and pick and choose from each to create the vows are personal to you.

Music: Your choice of music can range from popular to classical, modern to traditional, religious to secular. There is such a wide range of music to choose from, with no restrictions in a celebrant led wedding ceremony. Often the first impression your guests get of your day is the music they hear at the start of your wedding ceremony. Choose your wedding ceremony music to suit your personalities and the atmosphere you want to create right from the start of your day. Read more about choosing your wedding ceremony music here.

Readings/Poetry: Like your choice of music, there are no restrictions on the type of readings you choose for your wedding ceremony. From classical (Shakespeare) to modern (Bruce Springsteen), from religious to secular.

Wedding Ceremony Rituals: There are many beautiful rituals that you can include in your wedding ceremony, from the traditional handfasting to the more modern sand ceremony. Check my blog to read more about the wide range of rituals that you can include in your ceremony.

Involving your Guests: Including your guests in your wedding ceremony is a beautiful way to celebrate and share your love and commitment to each other with your family and friends. There are many ways to include your guests in your wedding ceremony – readings, handfasting, candle lighting, ring warming. Read more about how to include guests in your wedding ceremony here.

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