Wedding Order of Service
If you have decided on a traditional ‘Church Wedding’ then you will normally meet with your church minister and discuss the different options for your order of service. An order of service might include just the words of the hymns, or just the major parts of the service. On the whole it is best to include both. That way your guests will know what is happening and you will save them the effort of using hymn books.
The minister will also talk through the meaning behind the vows and the service with you and probably arrange a rehearsal. When choosing hymns, you should be able to have any hymns of your choice, however, it’s recommended that you discuss your preferences with your minister who’s approval will be needed.
Most churches have their own favourite hymn books which may or may not contain the hymns you would like. Therefore, when you meet with your minister, unless you know the hymns that you would like, you should ask for copies of the hymn books to take away. On the other hand, you may just wish to accept your minister’s recommendations. If you are unfamiliar with any of the suggested hymns, you should be able to arrange to meet with the church organist who will gladly play them for you.
On the Day
On your Wedding Day the ushers should be the first to arrive at the church to give out orders of service and to show people to their seats. The bride’s family and guests sit on the left of the aisle, and the groom’s on the right. The mother of the bride should be shown to the front pew.
The groom and his best man should ensure they arrive in plenty of time to allow for their photos to be taken before the service. The bridesmaids should wait outside for the bride. If in a church, the bells start to ring and the bride and her father generally arrive a few minutes before the service to allow for photographs to be taken and for the chief bridesmaid to have a chance to fix her veil and arrange the dress and train.
In the procession down the aisle, the bride should be on her fathers right arm with attendants behind. Catching eye contact with your guests is very special, but if you are too shy or overwhelmed don’t worry. Everyone will be looking at your dress anyway!!
When the bride reaches the front, the groom and best man should take their places on the bride’s right. The bride then hands her bouquet to her chief bridesmaid to her left or if she has no attendants then to her father who can then hand it to her mother.
After the entrance of the bride, there is often a hymn, followed by readings, possibly another hymn or psalm and an address from the minister. The marriage itself then follows. The father takes the brides right hand and gives it to the minister, who then gives it to the groom. The vows are taken and then the best man passes the rings to the groom or he can give them to the minister on the face of the prayer book and he will offer them to the bride and groom.
Then the bride’s father and the best man take their seats. The minister may then say a prayer and the congregation may sing a hymn, followed by a final blessing. The bride and groom follow the minister to go and sign the register, usually followed by their parents and the bridesmaids and best man. While the register is being signed and witnessed by two adults, a choir may sing or the organist may play some music. When the formalities are finished, the bridal procession leaves the church as follows: bride and groom, small attendants, chief bridesmaid and best man, bride’s mother with groom’s father and then groom’s mother with bride’s father.
The ceremony will be over quicker than expected. You are married. From now on you can rely on the people around you to make everything go to plan for the rest of the day.