Everything You Need to Know About Traditional Wedding Ceremony

 Favorite

Why choose a traditional wedding ceremony? For it is beautiful and permanent. They do not come and go like trends do, and nor will they render your wedding photos and videos an embarrassment 10 or 20 years from now. This guide is written for those couples who plan on having a traditional wedding ceremony but do not know where to turn.

Traditional Wedding Ceremony Routines

Half an hour before the ceremony, the guests may be seated by one or two ushers. At this point, the candles may be lit, if you are using them.
1

Prelude and Usher

Half an hour before the ceremony, the guests may be seated by one or two ushers. At this point, the candles may be lit, if you are using them.

Prelude

  • This begins 15-30 minutes before the service.

Usher

  • Seating guests – Bride’s family and friends will be on the left side (facing forward) and grooms’ family on the right. If these two parties are not somewhat in equal number, then seating does not really matter. Grandparents of the groom are seated before those of the bride.

  • Seating parents – If the bride’s father is escorting her down the aisle, then the bride’s mother is seated. The two mothers may even be given the task of lighting the candles with the unity candle.

  • Placing the white runner – Once the runner has been placed, no one other than the bride can walk on it. If any guests come late, they may be escorted along the sides and seated along the back or the aisle seats of the seating area.

2

Processional

  • Entry of the groom’s party – The pastor enters first followed by the groom, his bestman and groomsmen. The pastor takes his position on the platform. The groom’s party proceeds to the head of the aisle to await the bride. The groomsmen can also escort the bridesmaids. The bestman should, however, always be on the groom’s side.

  • Entry of the bride – The bridesmaids come in first, followed by the ring bearer, flower girls and maid of honor. The prelude music can be changed at this point. The bride’s mother should stand now and indicate the guests to stand as well. The bride will now walk in escorted by her father. Once the bride has reached the platform, the pastor will signal the guests to be seated. The ceremony will begin with a prayer and Call to Worship.

3

Welcome or Opening Words

The pastor will greet the guests on behalf of the bride and groom. A few comments may be made about the couple, though this is not compulsory. A song or special music at this point is optional.

sample of the opening words:

  • God is love, and today, dear friends, we celebrate this wide, long, high and deep love of God. Whoever lives in love lives in God and love is made complete among us. (John 4:16).

  • I delight greatly in the Lord, my soul rejoices in Lord, for He has clothed me, with garments of salvation-just like the groom adorns his head like a priest and the bride adorns herself in jewels. (Isaiah 61:10).

4

Address of the Officiant

The officiant greets the wedding guests and leads them through a short prayer in case it is a religious traditional wedding ceremony. He or she will then ask who will give the bride away in marriage.

Sample:

Dear ones, we are meeting here today to unite this man and this woman in Holy marriage which is instituted of God, blessed by Him and regulated by His Commandments. Let us reverently remember that He has institutionalized and sanctified marriage for the happiness of mankind. By His Apostles, those who enter this relation must cherish a mutual esteem to love and bear each other’s infirmities and weaknesses. Marriage shouldn’t be entered into lightly but soberly, deliberately and in reverent fear of the Almighty.

5

Wedding Readings

In most modern weddings, the couples let their officiant select the wedding readings for them. But, if you wish to make the wedding ceremony more personable, you can write your own reading.

Sample: 

From this day onward,

Let us laugh and plan together,

Let us enjoy the sunshine and the rain,

Being alone together and in crowds,

Let us love,

Walk together,

Such that our shadows are separate and distinct and our souls are unbound and free.

Let us share our time, yet not take or give all of your time and mine, for to develop to the fullest we need solitude and individuality.

6

Declaration of Intent

The declaration of intent is also called Vows of intent. It implies that the bride’s father is hearing these as a condition of giving his daughter.

Sample:

Groom (name), do you take this young lady to be your legal marital companion to live as one in holy matrimony? Do you promise to be devoted to her, reassure her, love and respect her and keep her and excluding all else, keep her as long as you two are alive?

Groom answersI Do

Bride (name), do you take this gentleman to be your legal marital companion to live as one in holy matrimony? Do you promise to be devoted to him, love and reassure him, soothe him, honor and respect him and, excluding all else, keep only unto him as long as you two are alive?

Bride answers: I Do.

7

Exchange of Vows

The officiant says these vows which are to be repeated by the bride and groom.

I, (groom name), accept you, (bride name) as my wife,

To take and to embrace,

For better or worse,

In illness and good health,

For richer or poorer,

To adore and cherish,

Excluding all others, as long as we both shall live,

With God as my witness,

I give you my pledge.

I, (bride name), accept you, (groom name) as my husband,

To take and to embrace,

For better or worse,

In illness and good health,

For richer or poorer,

To adore and cherish,

Excluding all others, as long as we both shall live,

With God as my witness,

I give you my pledge.

8

Ring Exchange

Giving and receiving the rings seals the vows. The ring is perfect symbol of marriage and commitment as it forms a complete circle without a beginning or end. The gold metal of the ring signifies purity and value of the relationship. The officiant may make you repeat the following: This ring, which I give you, is a symbol of my vow and with all that I am and with all that I have, I will honor you.

9

Pronouncement and Kiss

The officiant makes the pronouncement:

By the power/authority vested in me as the minister of the Gospel, in accordance with the laws of the State of _____, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride.

10

Closing words

In case of a religious ceremony, the closing words could be a following prayer:

The Lord bless you and keep you,

The Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious unto you.

The Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.

The bride retrieves her bouquet from the maid of honor. The couple faces the congregation.

The officiant declares: “It gives me great pleasure to present before you, Mr…… and Mrs…….”

11

Recessional

The couple exits first, followed by other attendants in couples. The officiant/pastor will stay in position until the parents are escorted, then exit. Ushering out is done in the following sequence: Bride’s parents, Groom’s parents, Bride’s grandparents, Groom’s grandparents. Usher out remaining guests.