The bridesmaid’s bouquets, aisle runners, pretty printed programs… Often when I bring up the ceremony during the planning process with our couples, these are the things they begin talking about. These beautiful components accent what your wedding ceremony is really about; your marriage.

I have a feeling that the focus on these details this may be because they are unsure about what to include in the service itself. But; your ceremony, your vows, the music and your kiss can be just as unique and beautiful as your details.

Photo Courtesy of Smith House Photo

Photo Courtesy of Smith House Photo

So, I recently spoke with industry professionals to bring you their tips on designing your meaningful wedding ceremony.

1. Have a Clear Vision

It is always a pleasure to work with Pastors and Officiates who have married many couples, as they have seen hundreds of wedding ceremonies and know how that a memorable ceremony is all about personalization.

George Jacobus, a minister in College Station, offers this insight, “Discuss beforehand what you actually want your ceremony to be about. There are many different directions a ceremony can take, so from the beginning it’s important to think about what you want your ceremony to show to your guests and family attending.”

Is it important that the scriptures and rituals reflect family tradition? Do you prefer for a less serious ceremony where your officiant shares personal (and funny) stories or advice? Create a clear vision you both agree on, and it will guide you through your decisions.

2. Remember that your Ceremony is being Captured

On the photography side, Becki Smith, from Smith House Photo offers this piece of advice, “Remember to tell your vows to your significant other, not the minister. In some venues, the photographer must stay at the back of the pews, so if you are facing your minister the entire time, your faces won’t be in any photos. (not to mention, your vows are to your spouse!)”

Another fun tip, Becki says, “I like to tell my bride and grooms to stop half way down the aisle during their recessional (walking out of the church at the end of the ceremony) and kiss. It makes a great shot with their loved ones clapping and cheering in the background.”

With that, I always like to remind my bride and groom of where and how close to stand during the ceremony. In photos, standing off center or too far apart appears awkward, so keep that in mind and align yourself with the officiant (who should be centered!).

3. Have a plan- There’s an order to things!

Choosing the songs for your wedding party to walk down the aisle to, as well as who escorts your grandparents or mother are all decisions you make as a couple. The ceremony is a meaningful production that flows beautifully with the right preparation. If you don’t have a coordinator (which we hope you do!) speak with your DJ or whoever is playing your music about how many couples or people will walk down to each song. This allows them time to fade out music between each set and prevents last minute scrambling.

4. Stay Present

Ryan Smith, of Smith House Photo adds this, “My number one piece of advice is to, at some point, pause, take a look around, and realize that all of these people are here for you.” And, I completely agree: be present, be all there. Be in the moment and focus on every amazing emotion you may be feeling, because this is the whole reason for the celebration!

The beauty of modern day ceremonies is that you can shy away from tradition as little or as much as you'd like and make the ceremony work for you. Ask questions, and meet with your Officiant beforehand. Talk with your parents and grandparents, learn what is important to them. Most of all, enjoy the moment, because, woohoo! you’re getting married!