Photo taken at Columbia Club by Summerly Photography
This is a quick rundown of things to remember when planning your wedding ceremony and what you will need to organize at before your rehearsal.
There are family members that you may want to seat formally as part of the wedding. You usually choose different songs to be played for each group or just one song if you like. It’s up to you.
Usually, those who are formally seated are grandparents and parents. If your grandparents are still with us they can walk down the aisle together. If you grandfather is no longer living you would want a gentleman - a family member or a groomsman to walk them down the aisle to their seats.
After the grand parents come the parents. Sometimes the groom will walk the mothers down the aisle which is very nice. Or, the groom can walk down the aisle with his parents.
The brides mother is seated last. It is usually done by her son or another family member or the groom.
The groom and the groomsmen can either walk in all together with the officiant or they can escort the bridesmaids in.
Bridesmaids walk in, Maid (matron) of honor is last followed by ring bearers and flower girls.
The music changes for the bride. The officiant asks everyone to stand and the bride is walked walks down the aisle.
When the bride reaches the front her father “Hands her over to her waiting groom.”
Here, you need to decide will your father just go sit down and wait for the question of “who gives this bride in marriage” or do you want the question right then and there before the ceremony begins. Both ways are fine you just want to make sure your dad knows what he’s doing. Dad’s can get really nervous and not remember what to do here. It is very cute!
You want to know who will have the rings for the ring exchange.
At the end of the ceremony I’ll pronounce you husband and wife and you get to kiss. This is a where your music person needs to know when to start the recessional. Usually I will pronounce you husband and wife. You kiss and the music starts and I speak loudly over the music “Mr. and Mrs……” Or, you may want the music to start after I introduce you by your new name.
When you rehearse, what I usually do is place everyone where they will be during the ceremony. The groom is on the right facing the front and the bride is on the left. The wedding party needs to know where they will stand and how they will fit next to you to make a great picture.
Know where any children in the ceremony will be. Standing up with the wedding party or going to their parents in the front row. (your daughter will be in the front row)
Then, practice the recessional. The bride and groom walk all the way down the aisle together then the bridesmaids and groomsmen follow. The next starts once the one in front of them get’s half way down the aisle.
Are there any announcements that need to be made for after the ceremony? Cocktails? Pictures? Where to go. That sort of thing.
Will the guests be dismissed by rows or will they just leave on their own?
Will there be a receiving line?
Now, Everyone practice walking in processing to the place they were already standing. Practice with parents and grandparents if they are there. Go over the important parts of the ceremony like the rings and vows to your daughter and then recess again, make sure everyone knows what they are doing and you are done!
When I meet with a couple for the first time I have a list of questions I ask. Usually, the first question I ask is if you have any any questions for me? I've found that often couples don't even know where to begin with questions so I go through all of my questions, with explanations. By the time we're done, you are pretty well educated on the wedding ceremony process.
Here is my current list of questions - I have explanations of why I ask them down below. I am a wedding officiant that is open to everyone. I marry any couple any way they want to be married. I don't judge your answers!! I want to get a better understanding of who you are and how I can best address your wants and needs. Your wedding ceremony is often very different from your reception and party. I'm open equally to atheists and religious couples but the conversation is going to be different in many ways. I've tried to list these questions in some list of importance but it's almost impossible to do so. I usually go through the list at some point in our meeting and make sure we addressed everything.
How did you meet meet? Tell me about your relationship. What do you do together?
I do not care if you met on a pick-up app. Many couples meet online!! Knowing more about who each of you are and how you relate to each other get my mind moving in the direction of the best ceremony options for you and how we may be able to incorporate your story into your ceremony and if you even want that. It will also see if we are a good fit for each other. Don't feel bad if we aren't. You need to find the officiant that is right for you.
What is the date, time and location of your wedding?
This is actually the first question I would ask. We would have already discussed this to make sure I'm available. I do clarify it from time to time, depending on your wedding. Small weddings can change easily.
Why did you choose your venue?
There is an almost endless list of places to get married. If you say you chose your venue because they take care of everything from start to finish you may want me to do that too. If it's the same place your grandparents got married that changes the dynamic. If you say you fell head over heels in love with the venue the moment you walked in that says something completely different!! If you say it's because it was super-cheap and you are on a budget I will discuss everything that I have to offer you that's within your budget.
How many guests do you expect at your wedding?
This changes the dynamic of your wedding ceremony. Intimate weddings of 50 are much different from a guest list of 150 or more.
Will there be children in attendance?
Some ceremonies can be more family friendly than others. I will want to make sure that if there are children in attendance that they will be properly attended to. If you are having kids at your wedding and are OK with them running around and having fun. I'm OK with that too! I just want to make sure we are on the same page. If you have autistic children or adults that are unpredictable with their behavior I'm OK with that too. (I'm MORE than OK with that!!)
What type of ceremony do you want? Religious, non-religious, something in the middle?
This is a hotspot with a lot of weddings. There is no right or wrong answer. I just want to understand what you are looking for and be honest with what I can and cannot provide for you. The majority of marriages I perform are non-religious. But I became a wedding officiant so couples can get married any way they like.
Parents want religious ceremonies, you don't. You might want something in between. In regards to formal ceremonies, that's often a basically non-religious ceremony with a short prayer or blessing. I perform a lot of Catholic-lite ceremonies. Jewish-multifaith ceremonies as well!
If you say non-religious - I'm going to ask if you are atheist - because with some couples, there's a difference. Secular Humanism is a choice and there are some more appropriate ceremony options. My basic non-religious ceremonies usually work for just about everyone - we usually add spiritual aspects to them if a couple chooses.
Your wedding is about you, your relationship and your love for each other.
If you say you want a Christian ceremony I'm going to ask what you mean by a Christian ceremony and why you are seeking a wedding officiant instead of your own pastor? Often the answers are because it's a second marriage and your pastor won't perform a second marriage. Maybe you are looking for a permanent church home but haven't found one yet and don't want to make a quick decision just to have a pastor to marry you. I have a strong Christian background but I'm not going to give a sermon and I don't feel comfortable with administering communion.
I perform several handfasting every year but I'm not a pagan or a witch. We often incorporate handfasting into more traditional wedding ceremonies. Every now and then a couple will want a traditional pagan handfasting ceremony and I'm happy to do that that but I'm going to want to know if this is c0splay for you or there is more meaning behind the ceremony.
Do you have a theme?
If you have a theme, sometimes your theme may work into your ceremony and sometimes it doesn't. It's fun to explore your options!
How many people are in your wedding party?
The difference between 4 and 14 will let me know what your realistic needs are for a rehearsal.
Will there be children in your wedding party?
Anything children in your wedding party do is perfect - just make sure it's perfect for you. Is there someone available to take care of the children? Do you have realistic expectations?
Is there anything atypical about your wedding party? Man of honor or best woman?
Men of Honor and Best Women are very popular and people who are trans are becoming more common. I want to understand the general dynamics of your wedding ceremony. Every now and then there will be possibilities of drama. I want to help in any way I can to make your ceremony about you and not other people's drama. You may not be able to not invite your transphobic grandma but I want to be able to address her appropriately if it come up.
Will you be drunk at your wedding ceremony?
I usually expect you to have had a few drinks while you are getting ready for your ceremony. Mimosa's or beers, maybe a shot of whisky. If you are going to be happy drunks I'm totally OK with that. I just want to know what I'm working with! If you are going to be drunk we will steer away from a religious ceremony and go more towards a lighthearted - fun wedding ceremony!!! More weddings are starting with cocktails before the ceremony. I think it's a great option for a non-religious ceremony. You have happy guests and the dynamic is less stressful.
Who will escort the bride/groom down the aisle? Do you want to be given away or presented in marriage?
Maybe you want to walk down the aisle alone? Your father, your stepfather - or both! Your mom can walk you down the aisle. Your mother and your father. Your children can be a great option. We've had foster parents escort a groom down the aisle. It's not uncommon to have both parents walk both the bride and groom down the aisle. It's a Jewish tradition.
It's totally OK for your father to walk you down the aisle and for him to give you away. We know, you know, and your father knows that he does not own you. This is a very sweet and timeless tradition. But if you prefer "Who presents this woman in marriage?" It's totally OK too. It's become more common to leave this part out all together. We have been adding a more inclusive options where we ask both the bride's parents and the groom's parents if we have their blessing for the marriage.
Do you want to write your own vows? Do you want to repeat after me with the vows or just say "I do."
Legally, some sort of "I do" needs to be said. Other than that, anything goes. You may want to write your own vows and not share them in front of everyone. We can discuss the many options.
Do you want a Unity Ceremony? Just the two of you or include others?
There are many options for unity ceremonies and they are also not a requirement. If it's not fun or meaningful to you, leave it out.
Will you have Readers or Performers?
You might want someone to share a reading. We'll discuss options. You might have a friend that sings or maybe your kids have a band and they want to play a song.
Will you have a DJ, musicians or will someone be playing from a playlist?
If you are getting married at Valle Vista they will have a person playing from a playlist - I also know they provide me with a lavalier microphone. Your DJ might only have a handheld microphone. You may be having a wedding in a place where I don't need a microphone. That helps me to prepare. If I know I'm going to have a handheld microphone without a stand I won't print out the ceremony - I'll read it from my tablet. It's easier.
Is there anything you must have in your ceremony?
I won't know if you don't tell me and I don't want you do be afraid to ask. Your options are limitless!!
Is there anything you definitely do not want in your ceremony?
The most epic answer to date is "don't mention God or Trump." Don't worry, you would have to ask me to include either!!
Are there any special needs I should be aware of?
Maybe you have anxiety? I will do my best to take the pressure off of you. Maybe you have guests with special needs? I have two children on the autism spectrum. I very opening welcome any special needs and will bend over backward to accommodate.
Are your parents still married? Remarried? Do they get along?
This may or may not be a tricky situation. I want to make sure I don't hurt anyone's feelings by accident. If your mom and dad need to be as far apart from each other as possible and your step mother is a trophy wife and it's a problem.... Let me know! Generally, there are possibilities of things that may go wrong but most people pull it together for your wedding and there are no problems. I do want to make sure I don't make assumptions at the rehearsal.
Are you grandparents still living? Will they be in attendance?
This can be emotionally difficult for some couples and their families. This also leaves options open for the rehearsal that need to be answered.
Do you want to remember anyone during your ceremony? Do you want a moment of silence?
Usually, we have a brief moment of silence acknowledging those who couldn't make it to the wedding or who are no longer with us. It's a blanket statement. Sometimes, we name people. Sometimes we leave this out. It depends on the situation. We don't want to stir up unhappy feelings on a happy day, but we also want to be respectful.
Will you have a day of event coordinator, wedding planner or someone organizing your rehearsal?
This helps me to assess what you will need from me more accurately. Some venues are all inclusive and take care of everything - including your rehearsal and making sure everyone gets down the aisle and that you have the perfect grand entrance. Sometimes, you need me to organize it all. If you have a day of event coordinator they will go over the procession details with you and I don't want to be redundant. I will always defer to your venue coordinator and take up where they leave off. Each venue is different. I have no problem doing it all at any time.
I Now Pronounce You Married!
Husband and Wife
Wife and Wife
Husband and Husband
Partners for Life
Spouse and Spouse
Please let me know what works for you!
Pronouncement Option 1
Name and Name, in the presence of your family and friends today, you have spoken the words and performed the rites which unite your lives. It is my great please to pronounce you husband and wife/married.
Pronouncement Option 2
Forasmuch as you, Name. and you, Name, have openly declared your wishes to be united in marriage, and in the presence of these witnesses have pledged love to each other, and have confirmed the same by joining hands, exchanging rings and declaring your vows, I, as a minister, and legally authorized to do so, pronounce that you are now, husband and wife.
Pronouncement Option 3
Name and Name, through their words today, have joined together in marriage. Because they have exchanged their vows before these witnesses, have pledged their commitment each to the other, and have declared the same by joining hands and by exchanging rings, I now pronounce that they are husband and wife. Those who have chosen to be joined together, let no one separate!
You may kiss the Bride!
You may seal this marriage with a kiss!
Don't kiss... it's up to you!
Final Words Option 1
Life and love are the greatest gifts bestowed upon humanity.
May your union grant you patience, tolerance, and understanding, as well as the passion and excitement every marriage should possess.
May you need one another, but not out of weakness.
May you want one another, but not out of lack
May you support one another, as a sign of mutual independence.
May you continually rediscover your love in one another as the greatest gift of all.
Final Words Option 2
Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be shelter for the other. Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth to the other. Now there will be no loneliness, for each of you will be a companion to the other. Now you are two persons, but there is only one life before you. Treat yourselves and each other with respect, patience, and compassion, and remind yourselves often of what brought you together. Give the highest priority to the tenderness, gentleness, and kindness that your love deserves. If each of you takes responsibility for the quality of your life together, it will be marked by abundance and delight. May beauty surround you both in the journey ahead and through all the years. May happiness be your companion and your days together be good and long upon the earth. Go now and enter into the days of your life together.
Final Words Option 3
May your marriage be filled with love. May your admiration, appreciation, and understanding of each other foster a love that is passionate, tranquil, and real. May this love between you be strong and enduring, and bring peace into your lives.
May you have a loving home filled with warmth, humor, and compassion. May you create a family together that honors traditions old and new. May you teach your children to have equal respect for themselves and others, and instill in them the value of learning and making the world a better place.
May you be best friends and work together to build a relationship of substance and quality. May your sense of humor and playful spirit continue to enliven your relationship. May you respect each other’s individual personality and perspective, and give each other room to grow in fulfilling your dreams.
May you grow older and wiser together. May you continually learn from one another and from the world. Together, may you grow, deepening your knowledge and understanding of each other and of your journey through life.
May you live and long and healthy life. May life bring you wholeness of mind, body, and spirit. May you keep each other well-balanced and grounded, and live long that you may share many happy years together.
May your life be filled with the art and beauty of this world. May your creative aspirations and experiences find expression, inspire you, and bring you joy and fulfillment. May you find happiness together in adventures big and small, and something to celebrate each day of your lives.
May you be an intricate part of your community. May you always be blessed with the awareness that you are an essential part of a circle of family and friends. May there always be within this group love, trust, support, and laughter, and may there be many future occasions for rejoicing in their company.
Final Words Option 4
Name and Name, may you live happily ever after. May all your days be blessed with love and friendship. May each day and night of your lives be a new beginning. May your home be filled with laughter and the warm embrace of a summer day. May you find peacefulness and beauty, challenge, and satisfaction, humor and insight, healing and renewal, love and wisdom, as in a quiet heart. May you always feel that what you have is enough.
Final Words Option 5
You came here today to affirm your love for one another and formally acknowledge that which your hearts already knew…that your lives are meant to be shared as one, that you are stronger together than you are apart, and that, for all the days yet to come, you wish to share together all life’s joys and challenges, committed one to the other. May you forever feel that the life you share is the life you have always wanted.
Final Words Option 6
As you make your home together, may you know great love together.
May your home be a place of happiness for all who enter it, a place where all are renewed in each other's company, a place for growing, understanding, and laughter.
When Shadow and darkness creep within its walls, may it still be a place of hope, strength, and love.
May those who are nearest to you be constantly enriched by the beauty and bounty of your love for one another.
Final Blessing Option 7
May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.
May God be with you and bless you;
May you see your children's children.
May you be poor in misfortune,
Rich in blessings,
May you know nothing but happiness
From this day forward.
May the road rise to meet youMay the wind be always at your back
May the warm rays of sun fall upon your home
And may the hand of a friend always be near.
May green be the grass you walk on,
May blue be the skies above you,
May pure be the joys that surround you,
May true be the hearts that love you.
Ring Exchange Option 1
With this Ring, I, marry you. Or With this ring, I, thee wed.
Ring Exchange Option 2
This ring is my promise to accept your imperfections and appreciate all that makes you unique and beautiful.
Ring Exchange Option 3
I give you this ring as a symbol of my love and faithfulness to you.
Ring Exchange Option 4
I Name, take you, Name to be my Husband/Wife/Partner in Life.
To have and to hold, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer,
in joy and sorrow, and I promise my love to you for as long as we both shall live.
Ring Exchange Option 5
I give you this ring as a symbol of my love for you. Let it be a reminder that I am always by your side and that I will always be a faithful partner to you.
Ring Exchange Option 6
Let this ring be a symbol of my promises to you and a reminder of my devotion to you. I am honored to call you my wife/husband/partner-in-life.
Ring Exchange Option 7
I give you this ring as a symbol of my love for you. I will be by your side now and forever.
Meaning of the Rings Option 1
The circle has frequently been used to symbolize eternity. The ring, like the circle, is a reminder of the perfection and endurance of you commitment to and love for one another.
Meaning of the Rings Option 2
The wedding ring is a symbol of eternity. It is an outward sign of an inward and spiritual bond which unites two hearts in endless love. And now as a token of your love and of your deep desire to be forever united in heart and soul, you Name, may place a ring on the finger of Name...
Meaning of the Rings Option 3
The ring is a symbol of the unbroken circle of love. Love freely given has no beginning and no end, no giver and no receiver for each is the giver and each is the receiver. May these rings always remind you of the vows you have taken.
Meaning of the Rings Option 4
May these rings symbolize your inherent wholeness and unity with one another, giving you the strength to happily honor your commitments to each other. May they remind you that marriage is not a destination but a journey, with no beginning and no end, just a moment to moment opportunity to love and be loved to the best of your ability.
Meaning of the Rings Option 5
The ring is an ancient symbol, so perfect and simple. It has no beginning and has no end. It is round like the sun, like the moon, like the eye, like arms that embrace. It is a circle; for love that is given comes back round again. Your rings are precious because you wear them with love. They symbolize your commitment in marriage. They remind you of who you are, where you’ve been, and where you’re going. As you wear them through time, they will reflect not only who you are as individuals, but also who you are a couple.
Meaning of the Rings Option 6
The wedding rings are a symbol of the vows you have made. The ties that bind you together as husband and wife.
Meaning of the Rings Option 7
Wedding rings are symbols of the journey taken together, a completion of one chapter and the start of another.
Meaning of the Rings Option 8
The rings are the universal symbols of marriage. They mean many things. From now on you will wear these rings and they will remind you... They will remind you of the endless circle that they are. Like love, there is no beginning and no end. They will remind you daily that you are married. Sometimes they will remind you of the commitment that you have made - for better or worse. But, may they always remind you that there is one other person in the world that has pledged to love you forever, through thick and through thin and with all that they have.
Meaning of the Rings Option 9
You’ve both chosen to wear rings as a reminder of these promises. People often say wedding bands are a perfect circle, with no beginning and no end. But these rings did have a beginning. The stones were formed a long time ago deep with the earth. Eventually, a series of lucky events caused them to rise to the surface, where someone dug them up. Metal was then liquefied in a furnace at a thousand degrees — molded, cooled, and painstakingly polished. Something beautiful was made from raw elements. Love is like that. It comes from humble beginnings, and through a combination of serendipity and effort, imperfect beings shape it into something extraordinary. It’s the process of making something beautiful where there was once nothing at all. As you look at these rings over the years, I hope you remember that. You’ve created something invaluable, and just as I know you’ll protect these rings, I’m confident you’ll protect the commitments you’ve made to one other today.
Meaning of the Rings Option 10
The wedding ring's circular shape reflects the unending power of love a force with no beginning and no end. You should wear these rings proudly, and let them remind you each day of your commitment to one another.
Meaning of the Rings Option 11
The roundness of the wedding ring is said to represent eternity and to symbolize unending love, devotion and that the couple is forever united in the marriage bond, in this physical life and the next.
The Marry Me In Indy!
Couples who book a Formal Wedding Ceremony can choose their own script or create their own ceremony!