This outline covers each of the typical elements of a Christian wedding ceremony. It is designed as a guide for planning and understanding each aspect of your ceremony. I've tried to include every possible element of the ceremony, however, not all of these must be incorporated into your service, nor do they have to occur in this order. You may choose to add your own personal style or expression that will give special meaning to your commitment as a couple.
Your Christian wedding can be personally tailored, but it should also be an expression of worship, reflecting joy, celebration, community, respect, dignity and love. The Bible gives no specific pattern or wedding ceremony order to define exactly what should be included, so there's room for your creative touches. A primary goal should be to give each guest a clear impression that you, as a couple, have made a solemn, eternal covenant with each other before God. Your wedding ceremony should be a testimony of your lives before God, demonstrating your Christian witness.
Pre-Wedding Ceremony Events
Wedding Party Pictures
- This should begin at least 90 minutes prior to the start of the wedding and be finished at least 45 minutes before the ceremony.
Wedding Party Dressed and Ready
- The wedding party should be dressed, ready and waiting in the appropriate locations at least 15 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony.
- Any musical preludes or solos should take place at least 5 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony.
Lighting of the Candles
- Sometimes the candles or candelabras are lit before the guests arrive. Other times the ushers light them as part of the prelude, or as part of the wedding ceremony.
• More Resources for Lighting of the Candles
The Wedding Ceremony
To gain a deeper understanding of your Christian wedding ceremony and to make your special day even more meaningful, you may want to spend some time learning the biblical significance of today's Christian wedding traditions.
Seating of the Parents
Having the support and involvement of parents and grandparents in the ceremony brings a special blessing to the couple and also expresses honor to the previous generations of marriage unions.
The processional music begins with the seating of the honored guests:
- Seating of the Groom's grandmother
- Seating of the Bride's grandmother
- Seating of the Groom's parents
- Seating of the Bride's mother
Bridal Processional Begins
- Minister and Groom enter usually from stage right. If the Groomsmen are not escorting the Bridesmaids down the aisle to the altar, they also enter together with the Minister and Groom.
- Bridesmaids enter, usually down the center aisle, one at a time. If the Groomsmen are escorting the Bridesmaids, they enter together.
- Maid or Matron of Honor enters. If she is being escorted by the Best Man, they enter together.
- Flower Girl and Ring Bearer enter.
Wedding March Begins
The Bride and her father enter. Typically the Bride's mother will stand as a signal for all of the guests to stand. Sometimes the Minister will announce, "All rise for the Bride."
• Samples of Different Types of Wedding Processionals
Opening Remarks - The Call to Worship
The Opening Prayer
Congregation is Seated
- At this time the congregation is typically asked to be seated.
Giving Away of the Bride
Worship Song, Hymn or Solo
- At this time the wedding party typically moves to the stage or platform and the Flower Girl and Ring Bearer are seated with their parents.
• More Resources for the Worship Song, Hymn or Solo
The Charge to Bride and Groom
- At this moment in the wedding ceremony the Bride and Groom face each other.
Exchanging of the Rings
Lighting of the Unity Candle
- Many times couples will incorporate Communion into the wedding ceremony, making Communion their very first act as a married couple.
- More information about Communion
The Closing Prayer
- Minister: ____, you may now kiss your Bride.
Presentation of the Couple
- Minister: It is now my privilege to introduce to you for the first time, Mr. and Mrs. ____.
- The wedding party exits the platform, typically in the following order:
- Bride and Groom
- Maid or Matron of Honor and Best Man
- Bridesmaids and Groomsmen
- Flower Girl and Ring Bearer
- The Ushers return for the honored guests who are escorted out in reverse order of their entrance.
- Ushers may then dismiss the remaining guests, either all at once, or one row at a time.
Gain a deeper understanding of your Christian wedding ceremony and make your special day even more meaningful by learning the biblical significance of today's Christian wedding traditions.