Typically, wedding ceremonies are structured events and are commonly broken down into several components. Remember, that this is your wedding and you have options on what happens during your wedding. Don’t be intimidated by your friends, family, or even your wedding officiant. Unless you are asking for something outrageous, you should be able to have the ceremony conducted to your desires. Music is almost always part of the beginning of all wedding ceremonies, but music can be a part of any element.

Some of the most common elements of the wedding ceremony are:

Introduction – In this segment your wedding ceremony officiant declares the purpose of the gathering. He introduces the bride and groom, and welcomes the wedding guests. If it is a religious ceremony, he solicits everyone to participate in a prayer.

Lead up – This segment is probably the most forgettable part of the event, and it is often omitted. You may ask your officiant to follow the introduction with your vows to save time or if you are not interested in a drawn out sermon. If you elected to have a clergyman as your officiant, this part of your ceremony may be difficult to omit.

Vows – This is the “I do” part. Simply put, this is the one part of a wedding ceremony that you cannot compromise. It is always going to be part of the wedding, and it should be the most intimate part of your entire ceremony. At this time your officiant explains the significance of the couples vows followed by the bride and groom affirming their commitment to each other. Did you know that you could write your own vows? Writing your own vows gives you a chance to really personalize your ceremony. Be sure that both you and your groom are involved in the process. It should be a democratic process, to enhance the experience for both of you. Feel free to use your own words, so you feel comfortable with the language of your vows.

Exchange of the Rings – Once you declared your commitment to each other with your vows you are invited to place a wedding ring on each other’s ring fingers. For many this is one of the most moving event of the ceremony.

Announcement – The closing segment of most wedding ceremonies is the announcement and the “kissing of the bride.”

Keep in mind, this is your special day and you decide on how you want the wedding ceremony to progress. Remember, it is OK to be different. Your guest will appreciate an interesting wedding ceremony that is unpredictably exciting. To a large degree, ceremonies are for the entertainment of you and your guest, so have fun with it.

Photo by L. R. H. Photography