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Quick and Easy: The Nine Parts of a Traditional Wedding Ceremony

Updated: Dec 7, 2023

Maybe you've never been to a wedding. Maybe you have been to a wedding, but you weren't paying attention or too busy crying (no judgement).

Either way, you have no idea what the parts of a wedding are. It's not a problem; I can totally help.

Now, take this with a grain of salt, because there is only one element that is required for a wedding in most states. Unless you are being married within a religious institution, you can mix and match/add or subtract almost anything in the ceremony; you should feel free to make your ceremony a reflection of you as a couple.

The Processional - this is the part when everyone settles down and the ceremony is set to begin. Anyone that is in the wedding party/important will walk down the aisle. This includes parents of the couple, flower children/ring carriers, the wedding party, and the couple. You should work with your wedding coordinator/officiant to decide the order of the entrances.

The Invocation - The officiant welcomes the wedding guest, makes a speech about love and the importance of marriage, and gives a blessing/well wishes for the couple.

Readings - Depending on the tone of the wedding, here is where any scripture or poem readings would go. This is totally optional. Some couples like to include additional family/friends in the ceremony by asking them to read.

Declaration of Intent - This portion is the only part of the ceremony that is required. In a "sign and dash" elopement, all the couple has to do is say they intend to marry their partner. This is the famous "I Do" part.

Vows - Here, the couple makes promises to each other. You can write your own, or any officiant worth their salt will have prewritten vows or quotes for you to read.

Ring Exchange - If you are exchanging rings, that part goes here. Usually, a small statement about the symbolism of the rings.

Unity Ritual - With the exception of jumping the broom or breaking the glass, most unity rituals happen next. This includes lighting of the unity candle, tasting of the four elements, hand-fasting, etc. Technically, this part can go anywhere.

Pronouncement - Here, the officiant pronounces ("to declare officially or ceremoniously") the couple as married. The big kiss happens here and the celebrant introduces the couple per their request.

The Recessional - The wedding party leaves the ceremony in reverse order. It may look like a lot, but believe me, it goes quickly when you're in the moment. What parts are your favorite? Do you plan on adding a unity ritual to your ceremony? Let us know by dropping a comment below or reach out to us on IG!

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