There are many wedding ceremony orders that conform to the couple’s personal preferences and allegiances.  However, most of these ceremonies, religious or otherwise, have very similar basic steps and processes. As a show of respect for your guests, it is customary to assemble the wedding ceremony order in a list to apprise the guests of the order of the ceremony.

Typical Wedding Ceremony Order

In a proper wedding ceremony order, certain people must be recognized.  At a typical wedding ceremony, the bride and groom as well as the guests who are present (as a whole) should be mentioned. Other participants usually include the bridesmaids, maid of honor, best man, groomsmen, flower girls, ring bearer and the parents of the couple.

The following are the important steps of a typical wedding ceremony order of service.

  1. Procession: The entrance music plays as soon as the bride is ready and the guests stand to their feet to usher her in.
  2. Bridal Entrance: Usually, the flower girl and ring bearer lead the way, and the maid of honor and bridesmaids follow.  The bride enters last, usually on the arm of her father or male representative.
  3. Welcome/Introduction: The priest/minister/officiant will say a few words about the couple and will give a speech on marriage. Afterward, he would ask the congregation if any objects to the wedding and wait for a response or none.
  4. Vows Exchange: The couple each makes their promises to one another, usually repeating after the priest or minster.
  5. Exchange of Rings: Also with the rings, the ring bearer gives the rings to the couple and they say more vows, each repeating after the priest/minister/officiant and placing the rings onto the finger of each other.
  6. Husband and Wife: Here the minister makes a short speech pronouncing the couple husband and wife. At this point, the groom kisses the bride to the applause of their audience.
  7. Recessional: At this point, what follows is the recessional which is the couple their exit from the traditional wedding ceremony.

Religious Wedding Ceremony Order

In a religious wedding, the order of wedding ceremony usually follows the rules of the chosen religion. Pentecostal, Coptic, Buddhist or Catholic, the religion will set the pace. However, there are some basic steps embraced by many.

  1. Prelude: Usually religious music plays while the guests take their seats.
  2. Procession: More themed music while the bridal train marches in.
  3. Bridal Entrance: The bride marches in on the arm of her loved one, usually her father.
  4. Welcome/Introduction: The priest or minister says a few words to introduce the couple and the ceremony.
  5. Prayer: A prayer is said by the priest or minister (Optional).
  6. The Declaration of Intention by Couple: The couple declares their intent to marry in a speech or they read it to the congregation (Optional).
  7. The Declaration of Support: The parents declare their support of the marriage (Optional).
  8. Music: More religious music is played (Optional).
  9. Reading: Scripture based on the topic of marriage is read from the religious text (Optional).
  10. Sermon/Address: The priest or minister gives a sermon or speech on marriage and enduring love and faith (Optional).
  11. Musical: More religious music is played (Optional).
  12. Vows Exchange: The couple says their vows and make their promises to each other.
  13. Exchange of Rings: The couple says additional vows and exchange rings.
  14. Lighting of the Unity Candle: The bride and a groom light a candle to signify their union (Optional).
  15. Blessings: The priest or minister blesses the couple and everyone else attending the ceremony (Optional).
  16.  Husband and Wife: The couple is pronounced husband and wife by the priest or minister.
  17. Recessional: The couple exit the ceremony followed by the bridal party.

Civil Wedding Ceremony Order

While a civil wedding ceremony may be seem somewhat impersonal to some, it does not have to be.  There are plenty of perks to having a civil ceremony.  You can personalize parts of a wedding to make it your own.

  1. Prelude: Soft music plays while the guests take their seats.
  2. Procession: Music announces the arrival of the bride and the attendants proceed down the aisle.
  3. Bridal Entrance: Bride marches down the aisle as the guests stand.
  4. Welcome/Introduction: Few words said by the officiant on the couple and marriage.
  5. Reading: Recitation of a poem or excerpt from literature pertaining to marriage or love (Optional).
  6. Music: A soloist may play a song or soft background music (Optional).
  7. Vows Exchange: The couple says their vows.
  8. Exchange of Rings: The couple exchange rings.
  9. Husband and Wife: The couple is pronounced husband and wife by the officiant.
  10. Recessional: The ceremony is complete and the couple as well as the bridal party exit.