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The Order of a Marriage Ceremony

The Order of a Marriage Ceremony
Weddings today reflect the wishes of the couple.  They may be held in any venue at any time or on any day.  Your choice might be a beautiful building, a garden, a boat, a forest or beach.  Apart from some legal requirements you can structure the ceremony however you wish. Even though weddings are becoming more modernised, many couples still like to keep the traditional structure of a wedding ceremony, so Celebrant Shell Brown is talking us through the tradition order of ceremony...

The Procession
One party, (traditionally the groom) and his attendants wait at the end of an aisle, with the celebrant in front of the guests.  The second party, (traditionally the bride) is escorted by a specially chosen relative (traditionally her father).  They follow her attendants down the aisle to join her partner.  The attendants take their places on either side of the couple ready for the ceremony.

A more modern way to enter is to have the couple walking down the aisle together symbolising that they are taking this next step together.

The Celebrant's Welcome
This is the part where the celebrant will welcome the family and guests for coming to the marriage ceremony of the couple.  The celebrant will also introduce themselves and state that they are duly authorised by law to solemnise marriages according to the law - that part is a legal requirement.

The Monitum
This is when the celebrant stresses to the couple the seriousness of marriage using these words:
"Before you are married in my presence and in the presence of these witnesses,
I am to remind you of the solemn and binding nature of the relationship into which you are now about to enter."

And then explains what marriage means in Australia using these words:
"Marriage, according to the law in Australia, is the union of two people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life."

The Exchange of Vows
There are personal vows and then there are legal vows.  These are generally said one after the other.  Your personal vows can be anything that you want to say or promise to your partner at that moment; they can be as long or as short as you want them to be; they don't have to be the same as each other, and they should be meaningful to each other. 

The legal vows must say these words:
"I call upon the people here present to witness that I, (full name), take you, (full name), to be my lawful wedded wife/husband."

The Ring Exchange
Exchanging rings is a traditional ritual in a marriage ceremony.

The Pronouncement of Marriage
Once you say your vows in the presence of the celebrant and your two witnesses, then you are technically married, however traditionally the celebrant makes a statement to make it official "I now pronounce you husband and wife".

The Kiss
You are allowed to kiss anytime you want during the ceremony, but traditionally you are meant to wait until after the celebrant pronounces you "husband and wife" and then it's socially acceptable for you to go for it!

Signing of the Register
Once the marriage is official, then the couple, the two witnesses and the celebrant must sign 3 documents - the marriage register - which the celebrant keeps; the official marriage certificate - which is sent into the Department of Births, Deaths and Marriages to be registered and the commemorative marriage certificate - which the couple keeps.

Photo by: Shell Brown

Final Words
The celebrant says some final words and gets the guests ready to welcome and celebrate the new married couple.  

The Recessional
This is where the newly married couple grab each other's hands and race back down the aisle and into their brand new future, followed closely by their attendants, then they all congregate and wait for all their guests to come and congratulate them.

Within this running schedule, you might also decide to add addition rituals, poetry, the couple's story or history together and of course, music.
Find you local celebrant at The Celebrants Network - to help you create the perfect ceremony for you.


Comments 2

Rona Goold on Saturday, 03 August 2019 17:34
Thank you

Thanks so much for the feedback.
Reference updated as requested.

Thanks so much for the feedback. Reference updated as requested.
Guest - Rainbow boy on Saturday, 03 August 2019 16:06
Update please

as of 2017, this page needs updating

as of 2017, this page needs updating
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