A wedding ceremony is the public celebration of the union of a man and a woman in marriage. It is a solemn yet joyful event in which family and friends gather to witness the public exchange of vows between the bride and groom. The person who ensures that the wedding ceremony is what the bride and groom dreamed of is the wedding officiant. After eleven years of being a wedding officiant and hundreds of wedding ceremonies, I have learned several keys to a great wedding ceremony.
KEY 1 : Meet with the officiant before the wedding ceremony. Officiants, just like the bride and groom, have their own unique personality. This personality ought to blend with that of the couple being married. It doesn't mean that the officiant must change who they are to suit the couple's personality. It means there should be a blending of creative energy between them. Meeting the officiant will also allow the bride and groom to discuss what they would like to be included in their ceremony.
KEY 2 : Civil (non-religious) ceremonies are almost always shorter than religious ceremonies. Why? Because when you leave “God-talk” out of the ceremony there is little left to be said. (By the way, God isn't offended). So if the bride and groom decide on a civil ceremony it will be short and may be a disappointment to the couple. After all, why get all dressed up and spend lots of money when the ceremony is less than five minutes long? A religious ceremony however, can be non-denominational thus the couple does not have to belong to any faith group. (By the way, God isn't offended)
KEY 3 : Rehearsals are recommended for ceremonies which are complex. A complex ceremony is one which has others involved such as readers, singers, a unity candle and other elements which require coordination. A wedding ceremony which includes elements may be performed without a rehearsal but it may not be as polished. Remember, family and friends will be in attendance and they all have expectations of how a wedding should be performed. If a couple can spare the extra expense for a rehearsal they should have one. Ask the officiant if they conduct rehearsals and what the additional fee would be.
KEY 4 : Use music which will enhance the theme of the wedding ceremony. If it is a traditional wedding use traditional music. If a country western theme, then use country western music, if a contemporary theme then use contemporary music. However, using the bagpipe in one part of the ceremony and a harp in another part of the ceremony simply clashes.
Key 5 : Relax on the wedding day! It is okay to be nervous and excited. That's the emotional component of a wedding ceremony. This emotional component is what makes it a wedding ceremony. The excitement and joy!
Rev. Dr. John Merks
All Seasons Wedding Ceremonies