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What's The Correct Order of a Wedding Ceremony?

Your wedding day is one of the most special days of your life. It's a day when you celebrate love, family, and commitment.  With so many traditions, customs, and personal touches, it can be challenging to know what the correct order of a wedding ceremony is. Fun fact: there's no one right way to do it, and different cultures, religions, and couples have different elements they add in and reorder. Also, each part can be customized to feel uniquely you (get started here). The below is what's viewed as the traditional order of a wedding ceremony, including some modern variations, so you can design a personalized ceremony that reflects your unique style.

The Processional

The processional marks the beginning of the wedding ceremony. It's when the wedding party enters the ceremony space and takes their places. The order of the processional typically goes like this:

The officiant enters first, followed by the partner who is not walking down the aisle, the best person, and the attendants.

Next, the wedding party members walk down the aisle, including the partner who is walking down the aisle and any other attendants.

Finally, the partner who is walking down the aisle makes their grand entrance, typically escorted by one or more loved ones (but they can go alone!).

The Welcome and Opening Remarks

Once everyone is in place, the officiant welcomes the guests and offers some opening remarks. This is a chance for the officiant to set the tone for the ceremony and provide some words of wisdom or inspiration. They might also offer a prayer or a blessing, depending on the couple's beliefs.

Readings, Poems, or Songs

Many couples choose to include readings, poems, or songs in their wedding ceremony. These can be religious or secular and can be read by friends, family members, or the officiant. Some couples choose to have live music during this part of the ceremony, which can be a beautiful way to add ambiance and emotion.

Officiant's Remarks

After the readings, poems, or songs, the officiant usually offers some remarks. This is an opportunity for the officiant to speak directly to the couple and share some stories or anecdotes, talk about their love story and what makes them a strong union, offer some words of wisdom, or share some advice for the couple's future together. It's important to talk to your officiant about what you want this section to include (some couples don't want any words of wisdom or general commentary on love and instead want this section to be focused on them and their love story). These remarks can be tailored to the couple's personalities, beliefs, and values and can be a meaningful and memorable part of the ceremony. On, you and your officiant can find the questions needed to make this ceremony feel personalized as well as a tool to help put it all together.

Declaration of Intent / The Exchange of Vows

The exchange of vows is the heart of the wedding ceremony. It's when the couple makes their promises to each other and publicly declares their love and commitment. Traditionally, the vows follow this order:

The officiant asks one partner to repeat their vows after them.

The other partner repeats their vows after the officiant.

The couple exchanges rings and says some words of commitment to each other.

Of course, you can personalize your vows in any way you like. Some couples choose to write their own vows, while others use traditional vows with a few personal touches. This is the ol' "I do" moment. You can customize your vows using Provenance's Vow Builder.

The Pronouncement

After the exchange of vows, the officiant pronounces the couple married. This is the moment when you can officially seal your union with a kiss! It's a joyous moment that marks the end of the ceremony and the beginning of your new life together.

The Recessional

The recessional is the final part of the wedding ceremony. It's when the wedding party exits the ceremony space, typically in the reverse order of the processional. The newlyweds usually lead the way, followed by the wedding party members, and then the officiant.

Modern Variations

While the traditional order of a wedding ceremony is still popular, many couples are choosing to personalize their ceremonies with unique touches. Here are a few modern variations to consider:

- Incorporating cultural or religious traditions that are important to you

- Including a unity ceremony, such as a sand ceremony, candle lighting, or tree planting.

- Adding a special tribute to a loved one who has passed away.

- Inviting guests to share their well-wishes or advice during the ceremony.

No matter what variations you choose, it's important to work with your officiant to create a ceremony that feels personal to you. Get started by signing up on

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