Sample Wedding Ceremony Outline for Planning the Order of Your Wedding Ceremony

To determine the order of your ceremony, start with the sample wedding ceremony outline below. Customize by adding or dropping individual wedding traditions and ceremonies (like giving the rose, or lighting a unity candle).

    Sample Wedding Ceremony
  • Begin music 5 minutes before ceremony starts
  • Seat the grandmothers and mothers
  • Officiant, groom, best man and groomsmen enter and stand at altar (or groomsmen walk with bridesmaids)
  • Bridesmaids walk down the aisle followed by the flower girl and ring bearer if you have them
  • The bride enters with the escort of her choice and walks down the aisle. The escort can kiss her cheek and sit down, or wait for the giving in marriage
In the wedding ceremony outline, the flower girl follows the bridesmaids
  • Opening words, the welcoming by officiant
  • The giving in marriage (there are wording options to having the father give the bride away)
  • An opening reading (prayer in religious ceremonies)
  • The officiant speaks about marriage
  • The bride and groom recite their vows
  • Another reading, song or prayer
  • Exchanging of rings
  • Unity ceremony like the lighting of a candle (optional)
  • Closing by the officiant
  • The declaration of marriage
  • The kiss
  • Officiant introduces the newlyweds
  • Recessional

If you’re not sure about the order of the ceremony, don’t worry -- your officiant will help you make the outline. If you’re ordaining a friend or family member to perform the ceremony who is unfamiliar with how to make a wedding ceremony outline, you will have to do a little more work to make up for their lack of experience. 

The timing of your ceremony will depend on how long the aisle is, how big or small your wedding party is, and your personal taste.

  • For a small wedding party, you may want the bridesmaids to go down the aisle one at a time
  • For a large number of attendants or a long aisle, you will want to space the bridesmaids out by having them time their start by when the bridesmaid in front of them hits a certain pew or row, or have someone signaling each bridesmaid when to start

If you know how many feet it is from the start of the aisle to the altar, you can time the processional long before the rehearsal. You may even want to do this around the time you choose your music. I hope you've found this sample wedding ceremony outline helpful.

More Articles:
Wedding Ceremony Decorations Tips & Ideas
Decorations for Church Wedding Ceremonies: Tips & Ideas
Unique Wedding Readings
Biblical Wedding Readings
Hiring Your Wedding Officiant
10 Unique Wedding Ceremony Ideas
Plan The Wedding Rehearsal & Wedding Rehearsal Dinner
Know The Marriage License Requirements for Your State
Make Your Wedding Day Timeline

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