LOTS will happen on your wedding day, but let me guide you prior, during and after the ceremony. Trust me, I know my stuff!
Here is a small rundown of how a typical wedding generally plays out and what will happen on your wedding day. If experience has told me anything, it’s that this can change and will be different for each individual couple.
I will arrive at the venue approximately 30-45 minutes before your ceremony is to commence.
Generally, I am completing a last reading of the ceremony in my car before the organization begins!
Get there early! As the venue, guests, photographer and myself all want to have a piece of you, you still want to (try) and have some down time. So, as a guide, at least 30 minutes before the ceremony time.
…arrival time doesn’t necessarily equal ceremony time Just remember, if you wish to have your ceremony at a certain time, such as 3.30pm, this generally won’t happen if you pull up in the car at 3.30pm. You will need to factor in all bridal party getting out of the car, photographer and videographer taking photos and vision, organization of bags, any children in the ceremony, getting to the ‘starting line’, me running a through things with you, finalising attendant’s positioning and the cueing of music. NOT to forget to mention we haven’t factored in drinks, toilet stops or make up touch-ups as yet. So, keep this in mind, particularly if you are on a tight schedule with photos.
When I arrive…
I will head straight to the ceremony area, greeting the bride/groom and attendants on the way if spotted, and set up my paperwork.
CALM DOWN ANYONE, if needed!
If any of the bridal party are there, I ask them to come and see me straight away so we can run through a few things.
I will introduce myself to the venue wedding coordinator to check if there are any announcements to be made, confirm ceremony time, the logistics of the arrival, booklets/bubbles/petals to hand out and anything else I may need to know or do.
Introduce myself to photographer, discuss any aspects of the ceremony, where I will stand
and explain that they can do anything they like and I will announce a group photo at the
conclusion of the ceremony and where that will take place.
The process: Prior to the ceremony
Attendants and Groom/Bride positioning: position all attendants based on the space available, stance is chosen (hands left over right, right over left or behind the back, hold bouquet etc), reminder of photo once the processional has occurred.
Rings: Rehearse the handing over of the rings, remind Bride/Groom to drop his/her right hand and offer the left hand.
Get vows, candles, sands etc: Check I have any paraphernalia that is to be used in the ceremony!
Set up PA (if required) and meet music operator: Show music operator how to work the system, test it for volume, let them know my cues, check number of songs to be used. Check Microphone.
Meet readers: Check they know they’re doing a reading! If they don’t have a copy, give them on. Let them know when they are reading in the ceremony and where to stand.
Meet parents: Introduce myself to all parents and step parents. Make sure they are relaxed and enjoy the ceremony.
Run through the ‘Giving Away’: Anyone who is involved in the giving away of the couple, ensure they know that I will ask them to stand, deliver the chosen giving away, ask for their response, they respond and I will ask them to sit down again and their job is then done!
The above 3 steps and the ring rehearsal are also done with those who arrive in the bridal car.
Meet parents of kids involved: Any children who are involved in the ceremony, I introduce myself to their parents and let them know to enjoy the ceremony too and not to worry too much about the children; if the children are happy, we are all happy regardless if they are standing or sitting or enjoy to wander around a little.
Five to fifteen minutes before bride/groom arrival: Seat guests (on a hot day when the ceremony is outside I do this at the last minute), announce phones off, anything required about photos and/or social media, shouldn’t be long and I am off to wait!
I will be at the car waiting: Will allow you and others to take your time getting out of the car. PLEASE DON’T RUSH. Photographer will want to take shots etc. Whilst this is occurring I can generally have a chat with the attendants.
Attendants’ Chat: Check the order I have written down for them to stand is still the same. I remind them to walk, smile and go left. Will position them after the dress has arrived (if applicable) and the photo taken! Remind the bouquet holder they will be doing this; I will tell them when to hold it, when to give it back or that they might offload it at any time! It’s ok for them to hold it like a baby (those bouquets can be heavy!). Explain there will be a group photo at start before we settle into positions with a little more room.
Flower Girl/Page Boy: Make them feel at ease, check they’re ok, let them go if they refuse to walk etc. They will make it to the ceremony somehow!
The Bride/Groom: Calm you down (if needed!) ask any last minute questions, clarify anything. Have fun and enjoy. I will then see you on the other side!
Person walking down aisle and bride/groom: Take your time walking down the aisle, it’s not a race. Stop about a metre before your fiancé, kiss and cuddle for bride/groom and her/his chaperon etc, groom/bride to step forward and handshake/hug/kiss chaperon, get into position. Chaperon to be seated. I will make sure everything is in place. Generally the venue look after you at one end, I at the other. So the only time you are on your own is down the aisle!
Photo at the start if wanted: Gather all the bridal party in and facing the front for a group photo where the photographer and all guests can take shots. I will then spread out the bridal party and get ready to begin. Enjoy it, follow my lead and REMEMBER to face any which way you like and chop and change whenever; EXCEPT during the vows and the rings where I will tell you to face each other.
AWESOME CEREMONY: CONGRATS!
Signing/Photos: Make way to signing table/stand. Paperwork signed, photos taken. Sometimes one photo sometimes 20! Back to original positions for all.
Back to position: Announcements such as drinks/food arrangements, where the group photo will be taken, family photos to happen, save your big congratulations until later because of photo schedule etc
Present flower girl/page boy certificates: Hand certificate to child/ren, Hi-5, gift pack, hug the bride and groom, applause from guests.
Present marriage certificate and announce presentation name!
Parents/special people to congratulate you first.
Walk down the aisle, I will peel and pair up the bridal down the aisle after you.
Off to group photo location and the beginning of your life as husband and wife
I will be there for a little longer, talking to guests and venue staff, handing over the certificate to venue or family member and getting a photo of you both.
Have a happy married life…and if you loved how it all went, give me a review at www.easyweddings.com.au
or on my Facebook page, www.facebook.com/celebrantjulie