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Tips to Have a Flawless Wedding Ceremony

bride and groom during wedding ceremony
Photo by Fotografed

Have a Rehearsal

There is a reason such things as a Rehearsal Dinner exists, and that is to follow-up the wedding rehearsal itself. I highly recommend you do not skip this activity, and give yourselves an opportunity to run through the motions and order of events for your wedding ceremony. This is the time to ensure everyone knows their order walking down the aisle, as well as what the space and length of aisle will be like. Being able to go through the motions prior to the actual wedding ceremony will help everyone feel comfortable and result in a smooth wedding ceremony. If the music you plan to walk down the aisle to is accessible, I also recommend practicing with this to get an idea of the timing you will need. Additionally, you want to practice the Recessional as well, which is when everyone walks back down the aisle once the wedding is over. You want to make sure the Bride and Groom get down the aisle before anyone else begins walking so they can get those great "just married" aisle photos. It's great to practice this during the rehearsal so the bridal party can know when to walk down the aisle without being prompted.

Print extra copies of everything

It's a good idea to be prepared and print off extra copies of everything that will be read during the ceremony. This goes for the officiant's speech, any readings that will take place, and yes, even your vows. Even if you plan to read your vows from a cute Vow book, I recommend still typing them up and having printed copies available, just in case.

Mark off the first row or two of the ceremony

You would think it is common sense to not sit in the front row of a wedding ceremony if you aren't immediate family, but unfortunately, that isn't always the case. It's a good idea to have some kind of indication that the front row (or two if you need) is reserved for immediate family so those seats are available for parents/grandparents etc, especially if they are included in the processional.

Block off the aisle if you have flower petals or runner

If you plan to have anything adorning the aisle in any way, you will likely want to block off your aisle from the back so your guests don't walk through the aisle and mess anything up. Just be sure to have someone un-block the aisle before your processional starts!

Have officiant make an announcement about unplugged ceremony

Unplugged wedding ceremonies are increasingly popular and many couples are choosing to have unplugged signs at their wedding ceremonies. This is great, however, it doesn't always accomplish the goal. Having your officiant make an announcement prior to the ceremony beginning is the best way to ensure guests won't be taking their own photos or having their phones visible during the wedding ceremony.

Have officiant move out of the way for First Kiss

Talk to your officiant during the rehearsal to make sure they know to move out of the way after announcing for you to kiss for the first time. This way you won't have them awkardly in the background of all these photos.

Be familiar with where center is at the altar

Another thing to check during your wedding rehearsal. Know where center is so you can make sure to stand there so all your photos are aesthetically pleasing.

wedding ceremony set-up
Photo by Ashley Rhian

Make sure DJ knows what the last words officiant says before recessional

Discuss with your DJ ahead of time so he knows what the cue is to play your recessional when walking back down the aisle.

If you have any animals involved, make sure to have a wrangler

We love a doggy ring bearer, but make sure you have a plan for who will be in. charge of the dog leading up to the wedding ceremony, once they walk down the aisle, AND following the wedding ceremony for the rest of the wedding reception.

Overall Best Practices if you're having small children in your ceremony

  1. Have them present during the rehearsal if possible. This way they can practice and feel a little more comfortable with the other adults that will be with them during the processional.

  2. Don't let ring bearer carry rings if they are under the age of 8. If you have toddlers as ring bearers, as cute as they are, they should not be held responsible for precious items. Use prop rings or no rings at all and have the Best Man carry the rings in his pocket.

  3. Have a seat for them available in the first couple of rows that they can access easily after walking down the aisle.

Make sure officiant tell everyone to sit back down

As everyone will stand when the bride walks down the aisle, make sure the officiant tells guests to sit back down before proceeding with the ceremony.

Make sure you have a microphone

Regardless of the size of wedding or location your ceremony is in, I always recommend having a microphone for both the officiant, as well as yourselves, for your wedding vows.

Turn around and PAUSE after your kiss

Don't just rush back down the aisle right after your first kiss as a married couple. Turn around and face your guests to soak it all in and create a great photo opportunity.

Don't forget to get your bouquet back before walking back down the aisle

On a similar note, don't forget to grab your bouquet following your first kiss. You want to have this for photos when walking back down the aisle.

bride and groom kiss in the middle of ceremony aisle
photo by Katy Shay

Pause either in the a middle or end of the aisle for photo

Chat with your photographer to see what their (or your) preference is and then decide whether you want to pause in the middle of the aisle or at the end for a photo opportunity.

If you're wearing a veil, have your MOH be on the lookout

If you're getting married outside and planning to wear a veil, they can sometimes have a mind of their own if there is any sort of wind. Task your MOH to either remove your veil or hold it down with a toe or finger (depending on length) to make sure it isn't flying all over or in front of your face for all your wedding ceremony photos.

Go over any announcements the officiant needs to make

Communicate with your officiant before the ceremony about any announcements you need them to make following your wedding ceremony, for example, telling guests to move to a specific space for cocktail hour or directing immediate family members to a location for portraits.

Highly recommend the Bride, Groom, and bridal party escape somewhere guests can't interfere

After walking back down the aisle at the end of the ceremony, I recommend choosing a location everyone can go to immediately so you aren't getting stopped by your guests right away, which can cause a huge delay in timing during your cocktail hour. Sneak off and have some alone time and then get to your portraits so you can rejoin your guests and enjoy your evening!

If you prefer to watch your wedding planning tips, check out my YouTube Channel

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