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Sample Wedding Ceremony Order

Connecticut Justice of the Peace
Ernest Adams   —   (860) 543-2334

Celebrating Your Day Your Way!


Many people ask "What happens during our ceremony?", "Do we have to say our vows out loud?", and "Do we have to walk? Can't we just stand?".

Your wedding ceremony will be uniquely your own, and these are just some basic guidelines to help you make your decisions.

Would you like to be escorted to your wedding ceremony?

In all that follows, please keep in mind that you are in charge. Other than being asked if you are there of your own free will and being proclaimed married, everything else is optional. Together we will create the wedding that matches your desires, personalities, and senses of humor.

It cannot be stated too often that is a long listing of a very traditional wedding ceremony. Your ceremony will be uniquely yours, and probably very different!

Some ceremony elements have their own Pages on this Site. Clicking on a link in the text will take you to that element's Page. There are footnotes marked by #. The first footnote, Assumptions#, talks about the basic assumptions for this ceremony.

Sample Wedding Ceremony

Musical prelude
Guests are being seated or seating themselves.
Wedding party put on flowers, straighten ties, and help each other look their best.
Greeting and welcome by officiant
Groom joins officiant.
Groom's grandparents are escorted# and seated
Bride's grandparents are escorted and seated
Groom's mother is escorted and seated
Bride's mother is escorted and seated
Musical prelude fades away
Just a few seconds elapse as the guests quiet down in anticipation of the processional.
  1. Bridesmaids and groomsmen, bridesmaids on the left, beginning with those who will be standing farthest from the bride and groom.
  2. Best man and maid of honor.
  3. Ring bearer and flower girl, either together or in that order.
  4. Bride and her escort.
This is a happy day. Everyone should be smiling! The professional photographer and guests will be taking pictures as each couple comes down the aisle.
Opening words by officiant
The flower girl and ring bearer almost always take seats in the front row at this point.
Presenting in marriage
Formerly known as giving in marriage.
Prayer or reading
Often read by a close friend or relative.
Definition of marriage or "If any person can show just cause ...."#
Hand washing
Not appropriate for all couples. We will discuss it when we meet for our planning session.
Marriage vows
Your wedding vows are the heart of your wedding ceremony. There is a Vows Overview Page, a Sample Vows Page, and a How to Write Your Own Vows Page.
Reading, prayer or song
Exchange of rings
You will probably have separate Wedding Ring Vows for your exchange of wedding rings.
Unity ceremony
There are many choices of Unity Ceremonies. For example, there is the Unity Candle, the Sand Ceremony, and Handfasting, just to name three.
Exchange of gifts
Will you exchange roses?
Pronouncement of marriage by officiant
You're married!
The Kiss
One of the two must-have photographs of your wedding ceremony. There is a Page of First Kiss Hints for good wedding album photos.
Presentation of the newlyweds
"Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in congratulating ...!"
  1. Bride and groom.
  2. Best man and maid of honor.
  3. Bridesmaids and groomsmen, beginning with those who stood closest to the bride and groom.
  4. Parents of the bride and groom.
  5. Grandparents of the bride and groom.
  6. Guests.
  7. Officiant.
The musicians play for the recessional, then continue to play until the guests have gone.

When we meet to plan your wedding ceremony we will talk about exactly what you want (and don't want) in your wedding ceremony. This ceremony order is for a traditional, more formal wedding, with most, but not all, of the optional elements listed. You may wish to have a more relaxed event, such as a beach wedding, or you may want to include more participation by your family and guests. Please call me at (860) 543-2334 to arrange your free wedding ceremony planning session!

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Assumptions: For illustration purposes only, it is assumed that there are live musicians who will be playing, all of the bride's and groom's parents and grandparents are living, there is an equal number of bridesmaids and groomsmen, they will be processing in pairs, there is one maid of honor and one best man, there is one flower girl and one ring bearer, the bride is being escorted by her father, there will be one reading and one prayer, that you will each be giving and receiving a ring, and that there will be a unity candle or one other unity ceremony. "Left" and "right" are from the guests' perspective.

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Being escorted: In all cases, it is the lady who is escorted to her seat when a couple arrives at the wedding ceremony location. Here we will refer to the gentleman who will be escorting the lady as "the usher". (Usually, but not always, one or more of the groomsmen act as ushers.) The usher offers the lady his arm. Her husband (or other gentleman) walks behind her and the usher. (This is the most formal, most traditional style. Miss Manners would approve. Not everyone follows tradition.)

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"If any person can show just cause ...": Connecticut law does not require "If any person can show just cause why this couple may not be lawfully joined, speak now or forever hold your peace." It is very much optional. Some people like it because it is traditional, others do not want it at all. It is up to you whether the question is asked.

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Version 6.00   2 October 2013