Wedding Ceremony Order of Service

Many Chicago area couples have used this as a typical order of events for a wedding ceremony. Since it is your wedding, you should feel free to add, drop, or alter the sequence of these events. When I meet with couples to plan their wedding, we discuss many of the options available to them. This makes a ceremony that is custom and personal, uniquely theirs, and according to their wishes.

It has only been comparatively recent in history that couples have been “allowed” to design their own wedding ceremony within a church setting. For your reference, you may want to look at the classic “Anglican Wedding Ceremony” from 1662 (pdf file), which was widely followed until about WW II, and which has the infamous “obey” clause for the Bride. (Note: The man had to give full title of all his “worldly goods” to his bride, so perhaps the “obey” part wasn’t such a bad thing for some wives.) And you may want to look at the “Book of Common Prayer Wedding Ceremony” of 1945 (pdf file), which is followed by many churches even today.

  • Ushers seat the guests (Prelude music playing)
  • Special music begins
  • Mothers/parents/VIPs enter and light candelabras
  • Parents of the Bride and Groom are seated
  • The Minister and Groom enter and proceed to the front
  • The Bridal party enters and proceeds to the front
  • The Ring Bearer and/or Flower Girl enter, proceed to front, sit down
  • Music concludes for bridal party
  • Ushers unroll the aisle runner
  • The Minister asks the audience to rise and welcome the Bride
  • Music begins for the Bride’s entrance (Processional music)
  • The Bride and her escort enter, and are met by the Groom
  • Bride’s music concludes.
  • Opening commentary
  • Bride and Groom light “family candles” to represent their families
  • Bride and Groom present flowers to parents and/or VIPs
  • “Declarations Of Intent” by Bride and Groom
  • First reading (religious or romantic literature)
  • Musical interlude (solo, etc.)
  • Second reading
  • Special music (musical interlude, or musical and vocal performance)
  • Exchange of wedding vows (traditional or customized)
  • Blessing of the rings
  • Exchange of wedding rings (traditional or customized)
  • Audience recites Lord’s Prayer (Roman Catholic or Protestant version)
  • Minister’s prayer of blessing for the Bride and Groom
  • Bride and Groom light Unity Candle (music in background)
  • Final commentary
  • Bride and Groom kiss
  • Introduction of the new couple by the Minister
  • Recessional music begins
  • Bride and Groom exit
  • Bridal party exits and forms reception line.
  • Minister’s instructions to the audience.

Wedding Planning Resources
Chicago wedding planning resources: marriage license information, vows, readings, customs & traditions, ceremony & reception locations.

Chicago Wedding Minister Officiant:
Rev. Daniel L. Harris
Elmhurst, IL 60126
630-712-8200
Click here to ask about Rev. Harris’ availability to perform your wedding, or to send him a message.