Elements Of A Wedding Ceremony

Most couples aren’t very familiar with the format of a marriage ceremony.  There are certain elements that must be present for your marriage to be legally recognised, but many optional elements that can be included to make your ceremony more personal.  The following is a suggested outline.

The Processional

The Processional (optional)

Traditionally the Groom and any attendants wait at the focal point of the ceremony and the Bride enters with her Father/Mother/other significant person or people, followed by her attendants. However, the Bride may walk in on her own or Bride and Groom can walk in together. Another option is for everyone to simply gather together, including the couple, and the Celebrant will announce that the ceremony is about to start.

The Welcome (optional)

This puts your guests at ease and is an opportunity for the Celebrant to welcome them and make any special acknowledgements.

Introduction & Background (optional)

The celebrant can talk about the couple, relating how when and where you met (not everyone will know everything about both of you), what you love about each other and what marriage means to you. This is a part of your ceremony where your unique relationship can be acknowledged.

The Giving Away or Family Blessing (optional)

The Bride and Groom can decide if they want to include the traditional giving away. Some brides ask both parents to give them away; some couples ask both sets of parents to welcome their new son/daughter into their families. You can even include your guests and have them asked to publicly bless of the marriage.

Monitum (essential)

The Monitum is wording that explains what marriage is according to the law and must be spoken by the Celebrant; these words cannot be changed.

The Asking, Legal (essential) & Personal Vows, Readings, Ring Exchange, extra rituals

These can be in any order, although the Celebrant will guide you on the best ‘flow’ for your ceremony. The legal vows are prescribed and you cannot change the wording but you may say whatever you wish to each other in your personal vows. Readings can be poetry or words of a song that have special meaning to you both, or someone might compose something original.

There are a number of rituals that can make the ceremony special. You might like to include children, family members or friends. Some rituals that can be included are Blending of Sands, Rose Ceremony, Lighting of Candles, Hand Fasting, or Tree/Flower planting ceremonies.

Declaration of Marriage (optional)

The celebrant declares you to be husband and wife!

Announcements (optional)

When announcing that the legal documents are to be signed, the celebrant can make any announcements to the guests regarding a bridal toast, the function venue, photographs or any other information that is relevant.

The signing

Signing of the Marriage Register (essential)

The bride, groom, their two witnesses and the Celebrant sign three marriage certificates.

Presentation of Bride and Groom (optional)

The celebrant will close the ceremony, present the marriage certificate and finally introduce the bride and groom as Mr and Mrs Married Couple.

The Recessional/End of Ceremony (optional)

The two of you walk back down the aisle followed by your bridal party then your families and the rest of the guests, to gather together at a designated place. If you don’t want a recessional, the celebrant can simply invite everyone to come forward with their congratulations.

As you can see there isn’t much that must be included in a basic legal ceremony but the optional extras are what make your ceremony special.

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