Church Running Order
Traditionally, the groom's family and friends sit on the right
side of the church and the bride's sit on the left, so make
sure your ushers remember to ask who's who!
The bridegroom usually arrives first with the best man. Once
everyone has been shown to their places, the bride is then
led down the aisle on the arm of her father or a close relative,
followed by her bridesmaids.
Welcome & Introduction
The minister may offer a prayer and will declare the purpose
of marriage before asking, as the law requires, if anyone
knows any reason why the marriage cannot lawfully take place.
You will be asked to promise before God, your families and
friends that you will love, comfort, honor and protect each
other and be faithful as long as you both shall live.
Turning to each other, you then make the age-old vows, little
changed for 800 years!
To have and to hold, From this day forward
For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer,
In sickness and health, To love and to cherish,
Til death us do part.
As each of you speaks, you hold your partner's right hand,
symbolising that you are joining together in a new life.
A ring has been included in wedding ceremonies since the 12th
century. By exchanging rings, a symbol of unending love, you
complete your promises.
With this ring, I thee wed, with my body I thee worship, and
with all my worldly goods I thee endow.
The priest or minister proclaims you husband and wife and
pronounces God's blessing on you. After the register has been
signed and the bridal party has come back into the church
there might be a prayer for the couple.
Music and Readings
Either at the beginning or in then middle of the service there
is usually at least one reading. Hymns can also be sung during
the ceremony and the signing of the register offers another
opportunity for a musical interlude, rather than leaving all
your guests sitting in silence!
· Opening Statement
· Wedding reading/prayer
· Charge to the couple
· Questions of Willingness
· Presentation of the Bride
· Exchange of vows
· Blessing and presentation of the ring(s)
· Declaration of Marriage
· Signing of the Register
· Wedding prayer
· The Lord's Prayer
Who Gives This Woman?
Traditionally, the bride's father gives her away. For some
brides this harks back to a time when women were treated like
property, whilst other brides relish the chance to share this
special day with dear old dad. A bride may have difficulty
if her father has passed away or if she's closer to her stepfather
than her birth father. Whatever your situation, the walk down
the aisle is a matter of personal choice. It's perfectly acceptable
for you to walk down the aisle with your mother, your stepfather,
your uncle, the groom, or even on your own. Some caveats
Most churches are covered by Christian Copyright licensing,
which means you are not allowed to photocopy hymnbooks but
you can copy out the words and then have these printed for
your order of service. For other readings and pieces of music
you may need to write to the copyright holders for permission
to use them. Be sure to ask your registrar, minister or musical
director for advice well in advance.
Recording the Ceremony
Many couples want a wedding video so they can relive the magic
moment again and again. A video is also a wonderful memento
to share with friends and family who are unable to be with
you on the happy day. There are varying schools of thought
on whether it's appropriate for a vide cameraman to be moving
around during the ceremony so ask permission beforehand if
it's something you're considering. Some churches will allow
a video of the ceremony but may charge quite a high fee -
several hundred pounds - for the privilege because of copyright
You shouldn't have any problems with a video recording of
a civil ceremony providing the operator is unobtrusive. Don't
forget that a civil ceremony is still a serious occasion and
needs to be approached with the respect that a marriage declaration
deserves. Again, be sure to ask permission from your registrar
before booking a professional video photographer and ensure
your video company sorts out the copyright legislation and
fees for you.
What happens when the ceremony's over? Don't forget to think
about what you want to happen after you walk back down the
aisle as husband and wife. There's often a lull, as guests
don't know what to do next. If you're having a church service,
there is nothing like the chiming of bells to herald the start
of your new life together.
Traditionally, guests shower the couple with confetti but
it's frowned upon at some venues because of the mess, and
if it's raining the coloured confetti might stain your dress.
Alternatives include fresh or dried flower petals, confetti
made from biodegradable rice paper and even clouds of bubbles,
which are always popular with any children in the party.
For all these you will need to issue guests with the necessary
items and instructions so they're ready to do their bit as
you leave. Another idea is to plan a release of doves just
after the ceremony. White doves circling in the sky above
will symbolise the joy of the day and add a real wow! Factor.
'You and Your Wedding' Jul/Aug 04