Wedding Ceremony Entrance and Ceremony Flow

It’s important that your wedding ceremony entrance and wedding ceremony flow feel right to you. Every ceremony we officiate is unique based upon the wants of the wedding couple. In order to give you a feel and help with your planning we present a bullet point list view of the entire ceremony based on tradition with a few optional, non-traditional extras so that you can have a starting point in your ceremony planning.

The order of events is completely optional and is provided to you some ideas for your own ceremony. There is no “right” way to process and begin the ceremony.

Traditional Wedding Ceremony Entrance

Generally speaking, most couples that are planning a more traditional wedding ceremony flow choose to follow something close to the following:

  • Entrance and seating of the grandparents
  • Entrance and seating of mothers and groom’s father
  • Entrance of the minister and the groom
  • Entrance of the groomsmen and the bridesmaids
  • Entrance of the bride and her father (or whoever is giving her away)

Often the groomsmen will act as ushers for the guests, grandparents and the mothers and groom’s father, then take their places with the bridesmaids as the minister and the groom enter.

Non-Traditional Wedding Ceremony Entrances

  • Entrance of Bride and Groom / Couple together (Officiants waiting at front) – no wedding party
  • (Officiants waiting at front) Entrance of Groom to ceremony front, then entrance of Bride – no wedding party
  • Wedding party processes to front, Entrance of Groom and both parents, Entrance of Bride and both parents.
  • Entrance of wedding party, Entrance of children from previous union, Entrance of Bride and Groom
  • Parade Entrance of guests and Bride and Groom / Couple

Where to Use Wedding Ceremony Music

  • Music of Your Choice  –  Make your wedding ceremony more moving by creating your own soundtrack, using music to escort you down the aisle and to add a little pizzazz throughout the ceremony. You can include music in the traditional places:
    • The Prelude  –  Music that fills the room before the ceremony begins could begin any where form 5 to 30 minutes before the ceremony. Use instrumental, acoustic, vocal or your favorite music track.
    • The Processional  –  March down the aisle by using different selections for the wedding party and the bride.
    • The Recessional  –  This music will accompany the newlyweds back up the aisle and out the door, followed by the wedding party.
    • The Postlude  –  This music will be played as the guests leave the ceremony area.

Additional music possibilities: Solos by friends and family can be performed after the mothers are seated, before or after the wedding vows are spoken or anywhere else you choose during the ceremony. Consider a group song or singalong (with the lyrics printed in the program) by the wedding ceremony attendees or musical accompaniments during the unity candle or any added mini ceremony.

Wedding Ceremony Flow

Whatever the chosen structure of the ceremony, it is important that both the bride and groom or couple have some agreement and ownership of the words in the marriage rites. A wedding is a distinctly personal experience; a very personal occasion and should define the bride and groom. The entire ceremony is a formula that’s made to be tampered with.

  • Processional  –  Also known as “your entrance”
  • Officiant’s Welcome and Opening – These words set the stage so to speak. We greet the guests and state the purpose of the gathering. They acknowledge the importance of the event, introduce the principle people – the couple and the witnesses – and invite the audience to be attentive to the moment and sometimes share a short story or words about you so that all in attendance feel connected. In this moment you may also want an opening prayer or poem to be offered.
  • Remembrance – We take a moment to honor the memory of those loved ones who could only be here today in spirit (simply unable to be physically at your wedding ceremony or deceased).  Some like to light a candle during the ceremony for these individuals.
  • Thoughts about Relationship – This moment is unique to Michele and Tim’s wedding ceremony. Here we set intention and define some of the most important aspects of relationships and marriage commitment that are important to you.
  • Affirmation of Audience (Optional) – This moment provides an opportunity for the audience to say “yes” to all they have witnessed; a chance to offer their support and to remind everyone of the importance of family and community.
  • Ring Blessing – The rings are a physical reminder and symbol of the promises binding two people together on their very special day and in their very special relationship.
  • Wedding Readings (Scriptural or Otherwise) / Music / Poetry – This moment is intended to introduce into the wedding understandings, feelings, and reflections on love and marriage that are chosen by and have influenced and inspired the couple.
  • Thoughts on Vows and Commitment – “by entering this marriage today you are declaring your journey towards the unity of two hearts.”
  • Declaration of Consent – These words serve as preparation for the vows. Each declares their intentions, e.g., “Is it in this spirit and for this purpose that you have come here today, etc.”
  • Exchange of Vows  –  Time for your lifelong promise; words that express the will to honor and cherish and the commitment to love and support. This part of the ceremony is required by law and is the agreement of the couple in the presence of official witnesses to take one another as husband and wife. The vows represent the moment of covenant, e.g., “I take you to be my wedded wife, etc.”
  •  Or Personalized Vows – This is an opportunity for the bride and groom to be creative and compose their own wedding vows that are meaningful to both partners; that say something unique about your love for each other and how they envision their life together.
  • Exchanging of Rings – The rings are placed on each other – “Name, I give you this ring to wear with love and joy.”
  • Pronouncement of Marriage – This is the moment when the Officiants declare that the purpose for which the couple has gathered is complete and the act of covenant is now fulfilled. “You have declared your intention and vows before your community of family and friends…I now pronounce that you are husband and wife together, etc.” This is where the bride’s parents cry, the groom’s family grins a lot and everyone collectively nods their heads.
  • Officiants Closing Remarks  –  This can be a prayer, a blessing (not necessarily a religious blessing) chosen by the couple or especially chosen remarks by the Officiants.
  • Seal your promises and begin the marriage with a kiss – Kissy, kissy because we know you’ve been waiting for this part!
  • Recessional  –  “. . . and they live happily ever after!”

Add On Mini Wedding Ceremonies to Consider

  • Unity Candle Ceremony – A symbolic ceremony that has the bride and groom light a single candle representing their willingness to walk life’s pathways together as one.
  • Rose Ceremony– In this brief ceremony the bride and groom present each other with their first gift as wife and husband; a red rose bud (a symbol of Love).
  • Blended Family Ceremony– When the bride and/or groom have children, it may be appropriate for the children to be included in the wedding ceremony.
  • Hand Fasting Ceremony – Hand fasting can be done during and as a part of your vows or as commitments you choose to fast to your relationship.
  • Wrapping Prayer Beads – Prayer beads are a fun and spiritual way to create deeper bonds during your vows.  One couple used them to wrap and connect their spirits during a beautiful poem.
  • Create Your Own – Use your desires and imagination to create a mini ceremony that is meaningful and unique to your relationship.

Hope this has helped you by creating a foundation of ideas for your wedding ceremony flow checklist.