How long is a typical ceremony?
Most American wedding ceremonies last between 15-30 minutes, with the exception of Catholic ceremonies (1 hour) and other cultural and religious ceremonies that require extra timing to include all of the necessary traditions. Some couples place less importance on the ceremony and will schedule it to be no longer than 10 minutes, so feel free to shorten the ceremony depending on your priorities.
What's the proper processional order? What about the recessional?
Typically for American weddings, the grandparents and parents of the couple will walk down the aisle to take their seats first. Sometimes the groom will walk his parents down the aisle and other times he walks in after the parents to take his place at the ceremony site.
Is it okay if I don't have a flower girl or ring bearer? What do I do if I don't have one?
Absolutely! Many weddings are childfree and thus have no child attendants. Normally the ring bearer and/or flower girl would walk down the aisle after the bridesmaids and before the bride. If you’re skipping them, then just have the rings given to the best man prior to the ceremony to hold in his pocket until the ring exchange.
Can I walk down the aisle to any song I want or should it be more traditional?
You do you!! I’ve heard everything from the classical wedding songs you hear in movies to songs by the Lumineers to other popular Top 40 tunes. Choose anything that has special importance to you. Infusing personal meaning into your wedding is far more memorable than being traditional for the sake of being traditional.
Where should immediate family sit?
It’s best to place immediate family members in the front row so that they have the best view of your vows and ring exchange. You can opt for reserved seating signs to mark their places.
Can my dog be included in the ceremony?
Yes, please!! Have someone your dog trusts to walk him or her down the aisle and then be their handler for the ceremony. I’ve also seen a bride walk her dog down the aisle before handing her off to a friend. Just make sure that your dog will be well behaved enough to sit through the length of your festivities!
Should we write our own vows?
There’s really no right or wrong answer when it comes to whether or not you should write your own vows. That said, speaking from experience I have noticed that guests react more enthusiastically to vows that the couple have written and reads aloud. From happy tears to tons of laughter, these emotions are usually more heightened when the couple adds that personal touch to their ceremony.