wedding ceremony planning

ceremony

Filled with hope and joy, you'll share your commitment to each other with your family and friends at your wedding ceremony.

Make the day you've always dreamed of very special with careful planning and close attention to detail.

Among the many things on your bridal checklist, the first thing to do is secure your ceremony site and officiant. Spring and summer are the most popular seasons for weddings, but it's always a good idea to begin planning right after you've announced your engagement -- even if your getting married in the winter.

Ask your clergy or officiant about the dates and times available, the costs and if there is a permit required. Is the fee for the officiant included in the site fee? Ask about any restrictions so you can assess how much freedom you will have with your choices regarding songs, vows and attendants.

A traditional, religious ceremony is likely to have some guidelines and restrictions. Be sure you check with your clergy regarding the unity candle, readings, songs, vows, programs, and attendant selection.

all-in-one solution

Some couples prefer to have their ceremony and reception at the same site. Make sure there is adequate space and seating for all of your guests as well as the additional tables that will be needed for the food, cake, etc. Plan your seating arrangements according to the building layout, and make sure paths are not too narrow.

Find out what extras the facility provides and if any fees are applied to these items too. If you're planning an outdoor ceremony, have a back-up location for unfavorable weather conditions and be prepared to use it at a moment's notice.

seating arrangement

Traditionally, close family members (parents, grandparents and whoever you see fit) are assigned front row or near front row seats. The bride's side is the left side and the groom's is right.

The ushers will ask your guests if they are there for the bride or groom, and seat them accordingly. This isn't required anymore, unless you want to stick to the old tradition. People don't usually care what side they sit on, and the bride and groom's family haven't necessarily invited the same number of guests to equal out each side.

If you're planning a military wedding, it can get a little trickier. You can consult your branch of the military to get some general ideas for seating arrangements. You'll need to consider the ranking of guests and plan the seating in advance. This way, you can avoid confusion and hurt feelings.

ushers

The ushers will seat the guests with female guests on their right arm and simply leading male guests to the pew or row. Family is seated at the front and is escorted out first after the ceremony. Close family joins the bride, groom and attendants in the receiving line to greet the guests, who are dismissed from alternating rows, front to back.

If the groom is in the military, he may opt to wear his uniform. This is just a preference but keep in mind that if other's are in the military too, you will have to make a decision on who will be wearing uniforms and who will be dressed in civilian clothing.

ceremony rehearsal

The wedding rehearsal is very important but is often rushed because everyone wants to get to the rehearsal dinner and party. Don't waste this valuable time to fine-tune your wedding ceremony. If something isn't right, stay until you're satisfied.

Discuss any potential problems in advance with your fiancé, so you're not bickering in front of your attendants and clergy on the eve of your wedding. There is often more than one way to solve a problem, it's up to you to do what works best for you as a couple.