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4 Things To Consider When Planning Your Wedding Ceremony

Jessica Yahn Photography

Jessica Yahn Photography

Getting Hitched Without A Hitch

4 Things To Consider When Planning Your Wedding Ceremony

You’ve pictured it over and over in your head, saying “I do!” to the love of your life as your close friends and family excitedly clap and cheer. It’s one of the most touching, intimate and celebrated parts of your wedding day! Making sure everything leading up to that point flows seamlessly can be daunting, as there are many details that require coordinating. Reverend Dee DePriest, owner of Officially Wed, has performed and officiated over 500 weddings to date. She shares her insights on 4 important things to consider when planning your ceremony so that you can get hitched without a hitch!

  1. Choose the Right Officiant

It seems like a no brainer, but it really all starts right here. These days there’s no shortage of officiants to perform your wedding. With the simplicity of getting ordained online in just minutes, you may be tempted to have Uncle Joe perform your ceremony. Although Uncle Joe is charismatic and humorous, he doesn’t have the expertise or experience to help craft a seamless timeline. In the end, you’ll be left coordinating all of the details yourself, which can be incredibly stressful.

Instead of tasking Uncle Joe with such a big job, search for professional officiants in your area. Read their reviews, browse through pictures of their past weddings, and look closely at their website. Pick a few officiants that seem to check your most important boxes. Then, I highly advise that you meet each one in person. This is the person that will lead the entire process of planning your ceremony and will ultimately set the tone for your wedding. Chemistry is key! Find someone who cares deeply about your unique story. It’s also important to choose someone who’s knowledgeable and knows the legal role they play in the state you’re getting married. They should be aware of how to file and complete the necessary paperwork for the vital records office. 

Jessica Yahn Photography

Jessica Yahn Photography

2. Decide Your Wedding Party Size

Okay, so now that you have chosen your officiant, what’s next? First, you need to decide how big you want your wedding party to be. A good rule of thumb when deciding this is around one attendant per 50 guests. However, this is a completely personal decision and tradition does not take precedence over what you decide. If you want to have 10 bridesmaids, then go for it! Just remember that you may want your groom to have an equal number of groomsmen to keep everything in balance.

3. Determine The Length Of Your Ceremony

Let’s talk about the length of the wedding ceremony. I get this question quite a bit. There are several factors that figure into how long your ceremony will last. During your consultation with your officiant, this is one of the things you will discuss. You and your officiant will decide if you want to include a ceremony add-on such as a sand ceremony, hand-fasting, unity cross, etc. You may also want someone to do a reading, which will add more time to your ceremony and it’s a great way to include someone who is important to you but is not a part of the actual wedding party. There’s also the processional to consider. A big processional is typically more time-consuming.

Be sure to include the moms in the processional. They should be the last to be seated by an usher before the actual processional begins the trek down the aisle. This is a great photo op to look back on years from now. Taking all of this into consideration, the average length of a ceremony is around 20 minutes from start to finish.

Jessica Yahn Photography

Jessica Yahn Photography

4. Rehearsals Are A Must

Are you wondering if rehearsal is something that is really necessary? The answer is a resounding YES! This is where your choice in officiant really comes into play. The officiant will line everybody up and go through the processional and recessional several times. During this time, moms will practice being seated immediately before the processional begins. Then, depending on the style of the processional you choose, traditional or midwestern, the wedding party will go down the aisle to the appropriate place up front.

  • Traditional processional: The groomsmen come in from the side and line up. Next, the bridesmaids, maid of honor, flower girl and ring bearer stroll down the aisle separately.

  • Midwestern processional: The groomsmen and bridesmaids are coupled up going down the aisle versus separately.

No matter which style you choose, they will be coupled up when going back down the aisle during the recessional. Dads will need to be present as well to practice the giveaway, even if it’s not formal. It’s best to download the music that will be played during the ceremony so that it can play during rehearsal and ensure that the timing is correct. The officiant will go over how the wedding party needs to be standing during the ceremony to ensure uniformity. As a rule of thumb, it is best to leave the alcohol consumption for after rehearsal or at the very least keep it to a strict minimum. This ensures everyone is paying attention and understands what to do the next day. A proper rehearsal should take 30 to 45 minutes. It’s time and money well spent because on your actual wedding day, everyone will be comfortable with what they’re doing and much more relaxed!