From our perspective, it is always fun to conduct ceremonies and to contribute to the most important day in people's lives. The ceremony sets the tone for the entire day. It is also the most significant part of your day. Being the first person to introduce you as husband and wife is a delight!
Many wedding magazines, planners, and wedding shows provide a multitude of great ideas and resources to help make your day special. They focus on everything from hairdos and headpieces to transportation and can be a bride's and grooms best friend as they plan their special day. But what really makes your day special is the ceremony. A wonderful ceremony will make for a wonderful celebration. A terrible ceremony may cast a shadow over the remainder of your day. So being prepared and taking care of the small details, before your ceremony begins, can reward you with fun and pleasure for the remainder of your momentous day. So, we offer a few suggestions, from 'lessons we have learned' to help you have a stress free ceremony.
First, we suggest that you arrive early; not ON TIME or LATE, but early. Then after you arrive, if you want to be a little late that's OK. You are now in control. If possible it is a good idea for you to dress in the bridal room. If that is not possible it is still wise to arrive at least 15 minutes early even if you wait in the limousine. This will provide you with some 'personal time' to prepare for the most important part of your day. In most weddings, the ceremony usually begins a few minutes late. This is acceptable and often unavoidable as it usually takes a few minutes to coordinate the 'start up'. Beginning your ceremony reasonably close to the invitation start up time is a small way in expressing gratitude for your guest's presence and will assure a stress free ceremony.
[One final word on arriving on time. Some believe that it is 'fashionable' for the bride to be late. The truth of the matter is that it creates a lot of stress on the wedding party, the guests, and others involved in the wedding day. The ceremony may not go according to plan and many of the scheduled events following the ceremony are often rushed.]
Secondly, the good news is that most of the guests do arrive early and on time. However, the second potential cause of stress is when your ceremony is delayed because guests arrive late! For some strange reason this 'phenomena' is almost sure to happen. People either are notoriously late or may be late for legitimate reasons. Occasionally 'late arrivals' may even enter during the 'processional' with the bridal party. To prevent this from happening consider assigning someone, to 'HOLD BACK' 'late arrivals' until the wedding party has entered. Perhaps a friend, or the wedding hostess could be asked to assist late arrivals by 'holding them back'. After the wedding party has entered they may be escorted to their place.
Here are a few other suggestions you may want to consider:
Finally! Most of the ceremonies we conduct run smoothly from beginning to end. And we also realize that sometimes it is the 'unexpected' that adds life and laughter into a great ceremony. We like to see things go as planned. However, on occasion I have encountered a few 'awkward' moments over the past few years. Some of these 'moments' were due to unforeseen circumstances. They could not have been prevented. Many were not even noticed. However, others, happened because people did not understand the significance of a 'stress free ceremony'.
(Rev. John McKibbon BA. MA graduated from the University of Toronto and was Ordained in the United Church of Canada in 1975. He worked as the Director of Pastoral Services in Toronto Hospitals throughout most of his professional career. Now Ordained in the All Seasons Church of Canada, John has been conducting nondenominational, and spiritual wedding ceremonies in the Greater Toronto Region since 1985.)
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