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.
Many people like to keep some of the traditional structure of a wedding ceremony so here is a run down of a traditional ceremony.
The groom and his groomsmen are waiting at the end of the aisle with the celebrant, in front of the guests. The bride, escorted by her father then follows her bridesmaids, flowergirls and pageboys down the aisle to meet her groom. The bridesmaids, flowergirls and pageboys take their places on either side of the bride and groom ready for the ceremony.
Photo by: Kingen Smith - Inside Weddings
A more modern way to enter is to have both the bride's parents walk her down the aisle, the groom walk down the aisle with his parents or 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 say hello, welcome and then thank the family and guests for coming to the marriage ceremony of the bride & the groom. 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 (The Warning)
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." (As of December 2017)
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, they just need to 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, however it is not a legal requirement, so you don't have to do this part - or you can exchange different gifts.
You can include the ring exchange whilst your saying your legal vows or you can do this part straight after your vows each saying special words like: "I give you this ring a sign of my love and commitment."
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".
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!
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Signing of the Register
Once the marriage is official, then the bride, the groom, 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 you keep.
Photo by: Shell Brown
The celebrant says some final words and gets the guests ready to welcome and celebrate the new married couple. Also, they will sometimes give instructions or directions for the guests to follow for after the ceremony.
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 the bridal party, then they all congregate and wait for all their guests to come and congratulate them.
Remember - this might be the traditional order of events in a marriage ceremony, but (apart from the legal wording and placement of that legal wording) you can add in other rituals, readings, poetry and stories, and you can involve family and friends into the mix which really helps to make your ceremony your own.
If you would like to speak to a TCN Celebrant about how they could create a unique ceremony for you - jump to our website and FIND A CELEBRANT in your area today.
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