Church Ceremonies – How they are traditionally meant to run.

Every wedding needs organisation in order for things to be glitch free on the big day. Bridal Party members have traditional roles on what they should do on the day itself so things run smoothly. These traditions are not gospel, that said, the bridal party have undertaken the role not just to look pretty and be highly involved in the wedding but to help out the best they can!
The groomsmen – your role
The groomsmen will be first to arrive at the Church. It is necessary to send two of them to The Church a little earlier to ensure they are there before the guests arrive. Their duties include ushering guests to their seats and directing them to either side (If you are doing this). They will also hand out the mass booklets. The groomsmen are also responsible for lighting the candles on the altar, this can be done as guests are arriving.
Best Man & Maid of Honour – your roles
Important roles for these guys!! Best man must ensure that the groom gets to the Church on time!
The Maid of Honour is there to assist the bride, she will take her bouquet from her when she gets to the altar and will ensure that the bride’s dress and veil are perfectly laid out at the altar. The Best man and Maid of Honour will also be required to sign the Marriage Certificate post ceremony.
Order of Procession
This is entirely your choice. In America the groomsmen walk down the aisle but that doesn’t happen in the UK and Ireland. The groom, priest and bestman will enter through the side door or already be present at the top of the aisle. The grooms father should accompany the mother of the bride to her seat and one of the groomsmen should escort the mother of the groom to her seat. These people should be the last to be seated.
Traditionally it is best to let the flowergirls and page boys go first, whether they are carrying signs or sprinkling petals. Bear in mind  children under 4 may get very overwhelmed by the crowds and stop in their tracks. Have their parents take aisle seats so that they can go to them if they get a little anxious. Also prepare the next bridesmaid to walk down to take their hands and accompany them down if needed.
There is no particular order your bridesmaids should go in. It is best to have an order prepared however to avoid confusion on the day. Either have them walk in according to height, age or where they need to be seated for readings. Maid of Honour is always the last bridesmaid to walk down infront of the bride.
After a few moments, the bride’s entrance music will begin and enter bride and her father (or whoever is giving her away). This will be very over powering and emotional so remain calm and take your time.
The Service
Depending on  the religion each service will be conducted in a different manner. Christian Churches tend to follow this general order of service.
– Welcoming of guests and couple, opening remarks and a call to worship
– Opening Prayer
– Congregation is seated
– The ‘giving away of the bride’. Whoever is doing this is asked to declare it.
– Song or hymn
– The charge of the bride and groom (this is when the priest/minister outlines their duties as husband and wife and the role of marriage)
– The Pledge (I do solemnly declare……)
– Wedding Vows
– Exchange of rings
– Lighting of the unity candle (this sometimes happens at the beginning of the ceremony)
– The Pronoucement (Officially declaring that they are husband and wife)
– Communion
– The Closing Prayer
– You may now kiss the bride!
– Presenataion of the couple by the Priest or Minister
This is when the bridal party exit the Church they should follow the same order that they entered the Church in. This time the groomsmen should link with a bridesmaid and the best man with the Maid of Honour. The parents should then follow the bridal party out the Church.
Now that you have a better idea of how things will run on the day it will be easier to know what happens when and where you would like to have singing or instrumental pieces. Once you have picked your Church the priest or minister will give you a clear indication of readings and periods where music is normally played.
Now you can take a breath, relax and know that you will enjoy your day!
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