10 Jan Traditional wedding ceremony outline
If you’ve attended a traditional American wedding before, you probably know that each wedding follows a similar outline when it comes to the order in which things happen. But what exactly is this order? In this article we will walk you through the outline of a traditional wedding.
Wedding guest arrival
The first thing that happens in any wedding ceremony is the arrival of the guests. Typically, this starts about 30-45 minutes before the wedding with ushers escorting the guests to their places starting with the front rows and moving backwards. The first few rows are usually reserved for the couple’s parents and closest relatives.
The seating of parents in a wedding ceremony
The next step is to seat the parents and grandparents of the bride and the groom. Typically, the grandparents enter first, followed by the groom’s parents and the bride’s mother.
Outline of the processional in a wedding
Finally, the ceremony begins. The first one to take his or her place is the officiant, followed by the groom and sometimes his best man. Next, the bridesmaids walk down the aisle, they are often accompanied by the groomsmen. The maid of honor is usually the last one to enter. Next, if your wedding has a flower girl or a ring bearer, they walk down the aisle. Finally, the bride enters together with her father. She may also ask her mother to walk down the aisle with them.
The officiant’s ‘welcome’ speech
Once everyone has gathered for the wedding ceremony, the officiant usually begins the proceedings by giving a ‘welcome’ speech. This can be short or long, formal or informal depending totally on the preferences of the bride and the groom and their relationship with the officiant. The content of the speech is usually agreed upon before the wedding.
Exchange of vows and wedding rings
The next step in a wedding outline is the exchange of the vows. The couple can choose to write their own vows in advance, come up with them on the spot, or choose a passage or two from a book they love – the options are endless. It is common to have the couple place rings on each other’s fingers while reading the vows or directly after it once the officiant asks them about their intent to marry each other.
This is the culmination of the ceremony – the officiant pronounces the couple married and allows them to kiss each other!
Once the marriage has been pronounced, the couple walks or dances their way back up the aisle with the wedding party following close behind them. The guests are then dismissed row-by-row and they follow the couple out of the building or area where the wedding ceremony was held.