The following article is from the appendix of James McCracken’s Personal Training Manual. The last section on weddings contains the following outline for the wedding ceremony:
Details Concerning the Ceremony
Utilize the following as a checklist to go through with the bride and groom as the ceremony structure is being finalized:
- Grandparents/Mothers seated during prelude music
- What’s the signal to begin the processional?
- Once processional starts, does the bride want everyone to stand? If so, the mother of the bride is to stand, which is the signal to the rest of the congregation.
- Pastor gives greeting, something to open the ceremony.
- Giving away of the bride.
- Special songs or scriptures?
- Vows & Pledges:
exchange of vows is to God
exchange of the pledges is to each other
- Exchange of rings: Do they want the pastor to say anything?
- Communion or lighting of candle?
- Pronouncement of marriage.
- Kiss after pronouncement.
- Laying on of hands and prayer?
- Introduction of Mr. & Mrs. and recessional.
In short, I encourage them to be as creative and original as they want.
- Start rehearsing the ceremony at the END! That is, have all the participants stand in the place where they’ll be at the end of the processional. This way all the participants will know exactly where to go when you practice it from the beginning of the processional.
- Thus, practice the recessional first, then practice the processional.
- Instruct all participants to keep their eyes on the bride and to face the bride and groom if they’re not sure where they should be looking or facing. The bride and groom are the focus of attention.
Responsibility of the License
- Ask the groom if he’s gotten the license.
[Neil Thielke’s notes: Have the groom get the license application well in advance of the ceremony. Be sure the days for the state’s waiting period between obtaining the application and the ceremony have been satisfied. Some states do not have a waiting period, but this needs to be checked out ahead of time if the marriage license is obtained in another state. The officiate needs to perform the legal wedding within the state in which the license was obtained. If the ceremony is to take place in another state a legal ceremony needs to take place in the licensing state. This becomes an issue for border cities and for couples whose family wants them to come to their home state for the ceremony. Well in advance of the ceremony, the officiate/minister needs to check out the state licensing requirements for wedding officiates.]
- The best man and maid of honor are to sign the license, as two witnesses are required to sign.
- There will be four total copies of the license, one for the groom, one for the bride, one for the state (county), and one for the minister. I like to tell the groom to give me a stamped envelope with the county’s address on it so I can mail this in for him after the wedding. [Neil’s note: not all states provide four copies. Follow the instructions with the license application provided by the state.]
- Make sure to introduce yourself to the bride and groom’s parents and relatives.
- Remember names.
- Stay at least one hour at the reception after the wedding.