As far as the general order of the ceremony, there are 6 parts: Presentation of the Bride, Introduction to the Ceremony, Exchange of Marriage Vows, Exchange of Wedding Rings, Special Feature (sand ceremony, unity candle, etc.), Pronouncement of Married Couple. You can read more about these in detail in my book “Simple Wedding Ceremony Planning Guide” or just ask me!
You have some options with your vows, which you can simply respond, recite, or read. I explain these options with examples to consider in my book “Five Steps to Writing Memorable Wedding Vows” or if you have no preference, or simply want to maintain the dignity of the “traditional vows” and reply with a simple “I do” these are the most common and still the most popular vows:
Do you __________, take __________,
to be your lawfully wedded (wife/husband),
to have and to hold from this day forward,
for better or for worse,
for richer, for poorer,
in sickness and in health,
to love and to cherish;
to be faithfully yours,
as long as you both shall live?
Before we begin the vows I usually ask the couple to turn and face each other, if they are not already doing so. The bride, if she is carrying flowers will hand them over to her Maid-of-Honor.
If the couple is reciting vows, I will quietly direct the groom and than the bride in repeating after me. If the couple is opting for the less stressful two-word approach to wedding vows, I will state the vows and the groom and than the bride respond by saying, “I do.”
If you want to use your wedding vows you can just email those to me ahead of the wedding or hand them to me the day of the wedding when I arrive, no problem.
As far as the general order of the ceremony, there are 6 parts: Presentation of the Bride, Introduction to the Ceremony, Exchange of Marriage Vows, Exchange of Wedding Rings, Special Feature (sand ceremony, unity candle, etc.), Pronouncement of Married Couple.
My personal, traditional, and most requested ceremony is simple, yet is an ideal mix of the spiritual, romantic, and humorous, but not an overload any of those things. This traditional ceremony format is still the most popular choice, even for couples who do not consider themselves religious.
My rehearsal planning video is at the Rehearsal Coordinating & DIY Help page.
I am happy to adjust, change, or add something to your ceremony if you would like. From time to time I am even handed a script to use for the ceremony. You can surf around my site and get some ideas on involving your blended family, adding a sand unity ceremony, or even honoring a deceased parent.
Whatever you choose to add or regardless of which vows you want to use, there is no extra fee for me to help you customize your ceremony. Just let me know what you’re thinking and I’ll be happy to make that work and/or give you some options on how to include it while maintaining the flow of your ceremony to its crescendo point.
Video of a Wedding Ceremony…
Here is a video from a beach wedding ceremony I officiating. Somethings to note about this video clip is we were taking advantage of a gap in the rain, so I am talking faster than normal; we ended the ceremony on a Star Wars note, by request of the bride; the arch was a rental and the rental company did not do a good job of securing it so it fell just before the ceremony, which is why we have two guests holding it up; and because of the time constraint I skipped the 1 Corinthians 13 reading.