With the right preparation, your dream day can go exactly as planned. But the key here is planning. There are many things to take into consideration-both big and small, so it is important to prepare well for all of them.
One of the biggest parts of your day is the actual wedding ceremony. It sets the tone for the beginning of your life together. Knowing the anatomy of a ceremony, is a big help when you are mulling over the thoughts of what you would like to include. A customized wedding ceremony is designed to meet your wishes for what you want to express to each other on your special day. Below are some of the parts that can be incorporated in your ceremony- you decide what you want.
Prelude: This is the playing of background music provided during the seating of the guests, setting the mood for the ceremony enhancing both the romantic atmosphere and depth of meaning of the sacred ceremony itself. Questions to consider- will this be live music or pre-recorded? Traditional or nontraditional? A popular choice among many couples is Cannon in D Major by Pachelbel. An extensive listing of wedding songs can be found on Wedding Wire, take a look, then go to youtube to listen. Also, music can be incorporated into your ceremony at any point you wish.
Pre-Processional: This is sometimes referred to as the "Seating of the Mothers". The last guests to be seated before the Processional. If a unity candle ceremony is being performed, the mothers frequently light their representative candles at this time.
Processional: This is how everyone in the wedding party gets to the front of the wedding site
where the ceremony is held. Special processional music is usually played during this time.
Presentation of the Bride: The officiant asks the bride's escort a question to the effect of "who brings Bride here to marry Groom?"
Convocation: This is the ceremonial gathering of family and friends to your ceremony... supporting, sharing, witnessing and welcoming all to the ceremony.
Invocation: Asking God (or any Higher Power) to bear witness...this can be meditative and or reflective.
Readings: Reading selections can be from your own writings or any other sources. The purpose can be inspirational, contemplative, or to expand views about love and commitment. If including readings, think about who will be doing them. This is the lead into the Address.
Address: Thoughts on Marriage. A message of celebration-- a personal message to the couple from the officiant. It is meant to inspires the guests to think about the deep sense of the meaning of love and the value of this sacred union.
Expression of Intent: Makes public your desire to commit to each other, to go forward with making your promises, and acknowledges your intention to go forward into marriage. This is asked in question format from the officiant to the couple.
Vows: The emotional and spiritually binding part of your ceremony in the presence of witnesses. Heartfelt and specific promises are made to one another. These may be read from card or repeated after the officiant. The vows can be written by the couple or the officiant, they can be predesigned or a combination of both.
Rings: Blessing & Exchange: The exchanging of wedding rings is a symbol of your bond lasting. It expresses most purely the meaning you want to live by. Vows are exchanged here, they can be custom written by the couple or officiant, predesigned or a combination of both.
Rituals: Special parts of the ceremony that elevates the message of your sacred union.
There are many different types of rituals that can be incorporated into your ceremony and they can be placed wherever you wish them to be throughout the celebration. A few examples of traditional rituals are the Unity Candle Ceremony, the Sand Ceremony or the Rose Ceremony. In a later blog post I will cover examples of various rituals often included in ceremonies.
Pronouncement of Union: Here the officiant publicly proclaims that you are united in partnership.
The Kiss: The couple is asked to seal their ceremony promises with a kiss.
Benediction/Blessing: The final ceremonial part- sending you off as a couple with blessings and good wishes.
Announcement of Couple: This is your first public introduction as husband and wife or life partners to your family and friends.
Recession: Together, you exit the ceremony setting, leading your attendants. Recessional music is played