Ceremony: An Overview
Although each ceremony
will vary in length and style based on the religious
and cultural traditions incorporated, there are many
common elements in every wedding. Here is an overview
of the typical wedding ceremony and what to expect during
Simply put, this is the part where everyone in the wedding
party makes their way
to the front of the church. Uncertain
about who walks down the aisle when and with whom? Check
out our article entitled "The
Procession" to clear up any confusion!
Giving the Bride Away
Once the bride and her father are standing at the front
of the church, the officiant asks "Who
gives this woman to be married to this man?" The
bride's father responds "I
do" or "Her mother and I." He then
turns to his daughter and lifts the blusher veil
is wearing one), kisses her on the cheek and joins
in the front pew.
The congregation may be seated after the father has
taken his seat.
father of the bride gives the bride away. But sometimes
death or divorce has changed the circumstances.
The bride should choose whoever she feels
with. She may
choose her stepfather (if her mother is remarried), her
her grandfather, a close uncle, a close male friend,
or even her mother to give
In the case of a
second marriage, it is still appropriate for the bride
escorted by her father. Instead of asking, "Who
gives this woman...?" the officiant may ask, "Who
blesses this union...?" Alternatively, it is also
quite common for second-time brides walk down the aisle
children, or alone.
Beginning the Service
As the father of the bride and congregation are being
seated, the officiant turns and walks to the altar
followed by the bride and groom, the maid of honor
man, then the
flower girl and the ring bearer. At this point
the bride hands her flowers to her maid of honor.
The officiant will then proceed with the dialogue
for the wedding ceremony.
Exchanging Rings and
When it is time, the best man hands the bride's
ring to the officiant who blesses it and returns
it to the
groom. The groom then places it on his bride's
ring finger on her left hand after repeating
his vows. (Her engagement
ring, if separate, should be worn on her right
hand during the ceremony.)
Then the maid of honor
hands the groom's ring to the officiant who blesses it
and hands it
places it on the groom's ring finger on his
left hand after repeating her vows.
Finally after a blessing and a prayer - maybe
a song or two, the minister says "I now
pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss
the bride." The groom
kisses the bride and the recessional begins.
You've kissed, you've been pronounced husband and
wife, now how do you get from the front of the church
into your limousine? The bride takes her flowers
from her maid of honor and
by the flower girl and ring bearer and then
the maid of honor and best man. They are
followed by the other
attendants who step forward and pair off
with one usher escorting one bridesmaid.
Next the mothers are
escorted out, bride's mother first, and then the grandmothers,
After the grandmothers, the guests are
to stand and file out from front to back.