Wedding Ceremony Order Of Events

Wedding Ceremony Order Of Events

Wedding actually has 2 pain parts, even though most of the lists avoid mentioning this. There is a public dimension and a private dimension. These 2 parts are however joined together and are enjoyable for both, the newlyweds and the guests. Public dimension is the part in which the guests witness your promises to each other. The private dimension is the part where you say your vows. These two dimensions–the public and the private–are necessarily interwoven, which makes weddings interesting and enjoyable. Planning is critical to create your own unique ceremony, so that the public and private dimensions of the ceremony can flow beautifully together.

From a legal point of view, there are not many requirements for a wedding. The only thing you need is the officiant, and you need to consent to be married. And then the officiant needs to make the declaration that you are husband and wife. So outside of these legal requirements, the wedding ceremony order is very open to interpretation. Some weddings are really standard and follow the traditional wedding ceremony order step by step. But some couples might decide to skip one or several steps. For example not all couples read their vows. But to make it celebratory and interesting for all involved, there are usually three movements to a wedding ceremony. The ceremony weaves from the public dimension to the private, then back to the public dimension to close.

First Movement Of The Wedding Ceremony Order: Public Dimension

The Procession

This is the part of the wedding ceremony when the guests walk down the line and they take their seats. Traditionally, the oldest direct members of the couples family go first and take seats right in the front. Then the rest of the family takes their seat and then the other guests. Traditionally, the bride is not part of the order of events until the very last end. After all the guests are seated, then is the turn for the groomsmen and bridesmaids. They stand next to the altar, men on one side, women on the other. Then the grooms come and stands in front of the altar. After that a suspension starts. The moment everyone is waiting for – the arrival of the bride. Usually this moment is very exciting. The music starts and everyone starts looking towards the entrance. Then the bride arrives, usually accompanied by her father, and it is the first time the groom and the guests see her in her wedding dress. 

The Officiant’s Welcoming Remarks

The ceremony begins with welcoming. We generally remind the guests that while we may come from different backgrounds and from different walks of life, it is our common caring for the couple that brings us together. The welcoming usually includes something like “we are gathered here today…”. The more religious wedding can include welcoming remarks like “we are here today, before God” or “We have come together in the presence of God to witness and bless the joining together of this man and this woman”

The Officiant’s Readings

Brief readings are optional in the wedding ceremony order. Couples can have a favorite poem, or a section of a bible, and they wish the officiant to start the wedding with the reading. 

Address of the couple by the officiant

This is the longest part in the wedding ceremony and is given by the officiant. Here the officiant expresses how important and bounding marriage is. How lovely the relationship between the couple is and how they are the perfect couple for each other. It also mentions the struggles and fights the couple might have, but they will overcome those and come out even stronger. It has been a trend that the address has actually few jokes or funny mentions, especially in more relaxed type of weddings. 

Second Movement Of The Wedding Ceremony Order: Private Dimension


During the public dimension, the officiant was talking mostly to the guests. Welcoming the guests, introducing the couple to the party and expressing what marriage means and how important it is. The the second part of the wedding ceremony, called the private dimension, the officiant is talking directly to the couple. This part is between the couple and the officiant. 

Exchange of Vows

The vows are what you feel from the bottom of the heart and want to share it with your significant other. They are your promises to each other. Pledges of commitment. Traditional vows are still very popular, and they can vary based on religiousness of the couple and families. Usually, couples repeat the same vows, but sometimes one will surprise the other with unique vows. You can also decide to write your own wows and surprise your partner 

Ring Ceremony/Exchange

This part always comes right after the exchange of vows. In traditional ceremonies the couple says to each other, “With this ring, I thee wed.” In contemporary ceremonies, one might say, “Accept this ring as a sign of my love and my commitment. ” There are many options and choices. Just make sure your officiant is aware of what words you want him to choose, since you will be repeating after him. 

Third Movement: Public Dimension

Wedding Blessing/Benediction

The Ring Ceremony/Exchange is customarily followed by a Wedding Prayer or Benediction. This is a totally optional part of any wedding ceremony. You can decide to do a religious or non-spiritual blessing. Benediction means “good words.” That’s how a ceremony appropriately ends, with good words and best wishes as the couple go their way “as wife and husband”.


During the declaration, the officiant declares you husband and wife, and asks the husband to kiss the bride. Commonly the officiant also introduces the new couple with their new names.

Optional Traditions during wedding ceremony

There is an amazing amount of different wedding traditions. Especially international traditions are interesting. And if you are an international couple, then you probably want to add some of these to your wedding ceremony order. Traditions are optional and can enhance a ceremony by introducing visual elements such as candles, wine and cups, roses or sand, etc. They can be representative of a couple’s background, religion, heritage, etc. and generally are another way of uniting the couple.