Planning a wedding can bring on all types of feelings! Excitement, joy, stress, confusion! Through all the mixed emotions, I love helping couples figure out the details so they can stress less and enjoy the experience more. Today, I'm sharing the ceremony questions we use to help plan the "I Dos."
Pro Tip: Talk to your officiant about the ceremony! This seems like a no-brainer, but between planning catering menus and music lists, some couples forget that this vital person is a great resource in the planning process. Ask them for advice based on previous wedding ceremonies
Top Questions to Help You Plan Your Wedding Ceremony
1. What order and where would you like the bridesmaids and groomsmen to stand?
Below is a basic outline of how the wedding party traditionally stands. I suggest you have a solid plan of who will stand where before the rehearsal!
2. Where would you like parents and grandparents to sit? Standard etiquette is for the family of the bride to sit on the left, and the family of the groom on the right. The mother of the bride and groom are seated closest to the aisle.
3. Where would you like everyone to enter from: Groomsmen, bridesmaids, parents, grandparents, and you?
Pro Tip: Are you having a ceremony at a nontraditional setting like a park, beach, pavilion, etc.?
Think about how you want your layout to look in pictures. Where will the front be? Will you need a way to "hide the bride?"
4. Is there a ring bearer, flower girl, or ushers? If you don't plan to have ushers, ask a few of the groomsmen to arrive at the ceremony early to greet your guests.
5. Is there a place you can get ready at the ceremony location?
6. Would you like to have an aisle runner? If you have a runner, would you like to be the only one to walk down the aisle, having guests enter from the sides to their seats?
7. Will you use recorded music or live musicians?
8. Do you have or need a sound system? Who will bring this and set it up?
9. What song order would you like to use for the entrance of the groomsmen, bridesmaids, parents, and grandparents? This is something you will certainly want to discuss with your ceremony musician or DJ.
10. Will you incorporate a special reading by a guest or pastor?
11. Will you be using a unity candle or other symbolic action during the service?
Pro Tip: Talk with your officiant, wedding coordinator, AND venue coordinator to ensure you are able and allowed to incorporate your symbolic action in your ceremony! It's best to do this as early as possible! Share your ideas with them! Most traditional actions (jumping the broom, pouring sand, breaking glass) are easy to include in your ceremony.
However, if you are looking for a grander gesture like releasing doves or setting off fireworks/ colored smoke, it's best to check with the ceremony location and coordinator to make sure it is allowed!
12. What décor would you like and where would you like it placed?
13. Where would you like the guest book? Many brides choose to have it at the reception, but some prefer it at the ceremony as guests first arrive. In the end, it's your choice!
14. Will you be using your full names during the entire service, part of the service, etc.?
15. Will you need signage? (Examples: Welcome signs, Reserved signs for seats, special directions or messages like announcing an unplugged ceremony or where you wish guests to sit.)
16. Do you want ceremony programs? Do you want traditional or non-traditional?
Pro Tip: If you are having your ceremony at a church, ask about programs. Some churches will put together the ceremony program for you, especially if you are having a traditional service. The pastor/ priest will include the order of the ceremony along with any special readings and remarks.
Other couples choose to skip the programs and use signage to share details like the timeline or special seating.
There is one last question that is vitally important especially to couples planning an outdoor ceremony.
Do you have a backup plan?!
You never know what the weather will do! And sometimes, as much as we hate it, unexpected situations happen. Sometimes a member of the wedding party is unable to attend at the last minute. Sometimes a ceremony location has to be moved.
My advice, prepare the best you can, but remember that at the end of the day, the wedding is about you and your partner saying "I do" and celebrating the amazing future ahead!
*These questions are meant to help you think about your wedding ceremony vision! It is not a full list and there are always many factors to take into consideration! Some couples like tradition, some don't, and others like a happy mix of both. Every wedding is different, and I hope this list helps spark your vision!
Do you have a burning question that we didn't cover in this list? Ask us in the comments!
Stay tuned for our next blog topic where we will chat about our reception planning questions!