Making a preparatory list detailing the running order of the wedding ceremony you are about to engage in is pragmatic as it will help to assure all goes as designed. Depending on the type of wedding you are planning, the running order of the ceremony can vary, and certain elements of a traditional wedding may be absent altogether in a cultural specific ritual. Nonetheless, below is a typical schedule for conventional wedding practices.
- Larger formal weddings typically have elected ushers, and those appointed will greet arriving guests and direct them to their appropriate seating. Groomsmen will also be a part of this, and sometimes in lieu of ushers. The groom’s guests and his family members designated seating customarily will be to the right of the ceremony facility, while the bride’s is to the left.
- Once all of the guests have been seated, the parents of both the bride and groom are escorted by the groomsmen to their assigned row of chairs in the front where the ceremony is to take place. The escorting of the parents down the aisle suggests that the ceremony is about to be underway.
- As the ritual begins, the groom will enter from the right side of the room near the front where he will be positioned for accepting his bride. He is usually led by the minister or wedding officiate. If the bridesmaids are not going to be escorted by the groomsmen, the groomsmen will follow the groom from the same entrance point.
- The bridesmaids will commence their walk down the aisle once the men are all situated. The maid of honor will succeed the last bridesmaid.
- The ring bearer followed by the flower girl advance after the maid of honor.
- Once the bridal party is situated, the bride begins her walk. She is typically escorted either by her father or other family member and should walk on the left side of her escort. Alternatively, the bride can walk unaccompanied as well.
- As the bride approaches the front of the room where her groom is standing, the officiate will normally ask the person escorting the bride, “Who gives this woman to this man?” Once the appropriate response is given, the bride is handed to the groom and the officiate begins his presentation, which may include an opening prayer, an introduction of the couple entering into marriage, scripture readings, vow and ring exchange, unity candle lighting, pronouncement, and a wedding blessing or poem.
- At the conclusion of the ceremony when the couple is pronounced husband and wife, the recessional begins. The newlyweds, naturally, are the first to proceed down the aisle followed by the rest of the group in the exact order as they arrived. The parents will exit behind the last person in the bridal party.
- After those in attendance congratulate the newly married, the formal photography ensues, then it’s off to the reception.
A running order schedule of the ceremony is nothing difficult to prepare, and mapping it out for all of those who will be participating is a good idea so as to make certain that everyone knows exactly how to proceed. A running order schedule of the reception is equally important to plot and is an easily assimilated item that will also help to reassure the bride and groom that the wedding events at the banquet will progress in an orderly and timely manner.
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