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  • Helen McIlveen

5 Things People Forget When Planning a Wedding Ceremony

And how you can avoid them!


Your ceremony kicks off your whole wedding day. It is the moment you say in front of everyone you love that this person will be your partner forever…it’s a big deal! But when planning a wedding there is so much to think about that often the finer details of the ceremony can get forgotten.


So here are 5 tips to keep in mind when planning your ceremony so it runs smoothly and provides the perfect start to your big day!


(The good news is that if you work with me I will discuss all of these details with you so you don’t have to even think of them!)


1. Reserved seating

Lots of couples prefer a relaxed approach to seating which I am all for – however, it is worth thinking about who the really important guests are (parents, grandparents etc) and making sure that along with bridesmaids and groomsmen you do have some reserved seating. I always ask couples “is there anyone that if you walked in and saw them sat at the back you would be upset?” Think about these people. It doesn’t have to be too formal either, just tell whoever is welcoming your guests what the plan is and let them take care of the rest!


2. VIP logistics

Brides and Grooms are inevitably nervous on their wedding day, but often it is not just you that has the jitters. Your parents/VIP guests are likely to be feeling them too! So give some thought to the logistics involving them. For example, if as the bride you are arriving with both parents and being walked down the aisle by your father, who is walking your mum to her seat? It may seem like a small thing, but as all the guests will be seated it is daunting to walk down alone in front of everyone. Think about having a family member or one of the wedding party there to play escort. (This is a very traditional example but can be applied to lots of situations depending on how you are both entering your ceremony.)

Similarly think about those that are taking part in the ceremony – giving readings, playing music etc, make sure that they know who to speak to when they arrive and where they need to sit. This will put them at ease if they are feeling a little nervous.


3. Would the real wedding party please stand up!

When you begin your ceremony it is likely that members of your wedding party (bridesmaids, groomsmen) will be up at the front having just entered. But how will they be stood? (sounds like a silly question but I once had to stop 4 groomsmen standing at the top of the aisle facing the guests like they were about to defend a free kick …not the photos you want!) At what point do you want them to sit down? Do you want them to come back up for your vows, exchange of rings etc? Some people want their ‘squad’ up there with them for this important moment whilst others like to keep it to just the two of you – your choice!


4. Vows

Give some serious thought to what you want from your vows – after all, these are your lifetime promises you are making to each other. If you do decide to write your own think about who will have them (if you don’t have pockets) and what they are printed on… crumpled paper never photographs well! I always print out a copy for couples on card – that way if there are any shaky hands on the day, no-one can tell!


5. What comes next?

I am always amused by the behaviour of people once they become part of a large group – at a wedding ceremony guests don’t stand, sit or even clap without being told (it is actually quite a powerful position to be in as the celebrant!) That means that after you have exited there can be an awkward moment where everyone looks around and wonders ‘where now?’ Talk to your celebrant about where you want people to go after, do you want people to grab a drink/ gather for a photo/ throw confetti/ or head to another venue? Ask your celebrant to build this into the closing remarks so everyone knows what the game plan is.

Want someone to take care of all of this and more? If you are thinking that a bespoke and personal humanist wedding ceremony is the way you want to mark the beginning of married life together – then get in touch, I would love to chat!


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