22 Nov Anatomy of a Ceremony
While each ceremony is unique and will vary according to the preferences of each couple, your ceremony is the most important half an hour of the entire day, without it, you are not legally married… oops! There is a lot that happens at a ceremony so we asked the experts to walk us through a typical non-religious ceremony and what you can expect from processional to congratulations!
*The below information is a guide only and has been written by combining information generously provided to us by the following celebrants: Confetti Days, Anita Revel, Love Empire with Nikki, Emma Dickson and the Wedding Sal-Ebrant*
Your ceremony begins before you and your partner arrive! Once your guests are gathered in your ceremony area, your celebrant will commence general housekeeping which can include a quick run through of how the ceremony is about to go down, where your guests need to go after the ceremony eg: a location for the group photo, they may highlight certain areas of the venue like the location of the bathrooms, or how to get to the reception area. They will also encourage guests to fill empty seats, ensure your VIP’s seats are left vacant and maybe even crack some jokes to help loosen everyone up.
This is the ‘walking down the aisle’ part. There are SO many ways to do this which we LOVE! We have written a whole separate post about this “8 Ways to Mix Up Your Processional” Hot Tip: choose 2 songs: when your wedding party processional song fades out, yours will fade in and your spouse-to-be and guests see you for the first time, it will be a guaranteed “I’m not crying, you’re crying” moment.
3. Intro and Welcome
Phew, you both made it to the ceremony, no one tripped over and you are now hand in hand with your lover, mere minutes from being named the newest newlyweds. You will be forgiven for not remembering the next few minutes as you get caught up in the moment but it is time for your ceremony to get underway! Your celebrant will introduce themselves, do an acknowledgement of country and include any other specifics that you have decided on together, there might even be a little ice breaker in there if the mood calls for it!
Confetti Days: “Seat your parents / VIP’s diagonally opposite where you are going to be standing, this way they can see your face during the ceremony!”
In the months leading up to your big day, your celebrant will likely get you to complete some homework, this will be summarised into a beautifully told love story. This is where it becomes super important that you have taken the time to choose a celebrant that truly reflects you both, who understands your tone and what you are comfortable with being said on the day. Everyone in attendance will know varying amounts of your love story but it is also a great opportunity to define what your relationship means to you both, why that has lead to your wedding day and what it means for the future. At this point some couples like to include some other personalised elements like readings or traditional practices from their culture, this is the part that will extend the time your ceremony takes.
Anita Revel: “Rapport is everything. If I can “get” you, I can present a perfect ceremony for you. The more you share with me, the better I can do my job.”
Emma Dickson: “Really think about what matters to you, and don’t include things for tradition’s sake if they don’t align with you.”
This is the legal bit, and it is actually quite short! The Monitum is the part your celebrant has to say and a legal vow you and your partner say to each other, you will also exchange rings during this moment. This part is often bulked out by personal touches; you might like to write personal vows to each other or maybe have your fur-baby called forward with the rings. After the legals and ring exchange, you will get the “I Do” moment, you will be announced as married and have your ‘first kiss’. This moment is always a cause for your guests to clap and cheer but the ceremony isn’t over just yet!
Hot tip: if you want to write personal vows but are not keen on reciting them in front of everyone, you can save it for your wedding portraits when you are alone together (with your third wheel photographer) and can ugly-cry all you like.
Your celebrant will let your guests know they can talk among themselves while the couple and their witnesses sign the legal docs nearby and remind them not to run off anywhere, it only takes a few minutes and the best bit is about to happen! During this time, your celebrant or someone you have previously designated, will hand out confetti to your guests.
Hot tip: this is a really brief moment for you and your new husband / wife to to have a “holy shit we’re married” moment together. If you had your engagement ring on your other hand, now is a great time to put it and your wedding band together! Don’t forget to choose a few songs for this time.
7. Party Time!
There is nothing quite like the vibe in the air at this point in a ceremony, everyone is grinning ear to ear and ready to celebrate! Your celebrant will do some more general housekeeping, they might remind everyone where to go for the big group shot or whatever you have planned, they will announce you however you wish to be announced and you will get to walk back up the aisle and get showered with confetti!
Hot tip: chat with your photographer about photo ideas for this: you might like to stop half way and have another smooch among the confetti! While it is great to improvise on the day, if your photographer is in the loop, they can be sure to capture it!
Love Empire with Nikki: “Celebrants are the party starters, find yours and lock them in! Ask them their ideas on how to create the vibe you’re after!”
Sally: “It is so important that you book a celebrant who fits the vibe for your wedding day, I always say to couples that there is a celebrant out there for everyone and I truly believe that.”
While you are hugging your guests and accepting congratulations from everyone your celebrant will be beginning to pack away their things and wrapping up the wedding-day portion of their service for you. After your wedding day they will also submit the paperwork so that you are officially official and you can begin the journey of a last name change if that is your chosen path.
There you have it! It might only go for a short time, but your ceremony is the most important part of your wedding day. It will be over in the blink of an eye so the more prepared you are, the more relaxed you will be on the day, making clearer memories for you to cherish forever!
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Happy planning! Love, From This Day