Today's Bride

Real Bride Blogger, Denise – Ceremony Dreamin’ & Schemin’


It’s late April, which means Mike and I are a mere six weeks (!!) from the wedding, and I’m starting to learn that “wedding brain” is a thing. (Wedding brain would best be defined as operating at 1000 miles a minute because your to-do list is running on repeat through your head.) 

Over the last few weeks our invitations have gone out in the mail, RSVPs have been slowly rolling in, our entryway has continued to look like an Amazon warehouse from early gift receipts … and we’ve been working diligently to put together a ceremony that suits us. 

There are many factors that go into nailing your all-important nuptials and these are the ones we’ve been most focused on: 


The reason everyone will be attending, right? (Well, that and the open bar.) No pressure. When it comes to the ceremony, one of the first things you’ll probably decide is the type of vows you’ll want to say. 
Have you always envisioned saying the more traditional “in sickness & in health” vows to your partner or do you want to grab a pad of paper and rap it out with something more custom? We’ve chosen a mixture of the two. Because Mike is more of a private person, it felt strange to bear our souls in front of a crowd of people. Instead we’ll be reading private vows to each other during our First Look. That already makes me so giddy because it will be a special experience between the two of us – and who knows, maybe some of those words would make for a great overlay in our highlight video?
As for the ceremony itself, we’ll be reading the same vows to each other which will incorporate threads of the traditional, but also highlight some lines we’ve written on our own.


They say timing is everything. That’s especially true when it comes to your wedding ceremony. First, you’ll want to decide on a start time that fits cleanly into your landscape for the rest of the day. We knew that our Getting Ready process could take awhile. We also wanted to do a First Look and most of the photos prior to the ceremony. Our 5:00 start time was the perfect balance for ensuring we’d still have plenty of dance time later in the evening.

Perhaps even more importantly, you’ll want to put extra thought into how long your ceremony should be. I’ve been to wedding ceremonies that were nearly 90 minutes long and I’ve also been to ceremonies that felt like I was there just long enough to sit down. Our goal was to end up somewhere in between at about 25 –30 minutes in total. That’s something we continuously take into account when adding to or taking away from our ceremony outline.

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A Grand Entrance

Deciding how to have your wedding party enter is all really just a matter of preference. Our wedding parties don’t know each other very well, so having everyone pair off for a walk down the aisle together felt a little less organic than splitting them up. Mike’s party will be standing at the front with him, while my ladies (and yes, some of them are hams!) get to all have their moment.

And then, of course, there’s your entrance to consider! To this day, I still don’t know how I’ll be walking in. I’ve toyed with the idea of having my two brothers walk me the entire way, walking myself the whole way, or a combination of the two a la Meghan Markle? I guess that will be a surprise to us all when the wedding day rolls around. 

Readings, Unity Ceremony, & Other Personalizations

Vows aside, there are several other great ways to further personalize your ceremony – whether that’s your readings, unity ceremony, or what have you. Now’s your chance to draw those gasps & tears! 
I know a bride who remarried after becoming a widow. Not only did both her and her groom say a few words to each other’s children, but the bride’s former husband’s family was in attendance. She took a moment to thank them and reiterate how special it was to have them there. So sweet, and the crowd lost it, of course!
While Mike and I won’t have custom vows or many readings that hold meaning for us, we do plan on incorporating a tree-planting unity ceremony that will be true to our roots (see what I did there?) and also provide a fun keepsake when we buy our first home.

too much awesomeness

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In addition to writing out a powerful ceremony script, you’ll also want to add in music that truly makes the moment – whether it’s as the first guest arrives, during a unity ceremony, or on that wild exit you’ve always envisioned. Don’t put this decision off – I encourage you to give lots of thought to how music can help craft your ideal ceremony experience.  If you’re like us, it also helps get in more of your fave selections if you have a must-play list that’s a mile long!

Making your Exit

Now that you’ve said your I Do’s and sealed it with a kiss, it’s time to make your journey back down the aisle as an officially married couple! Obviously, you’ll need a stellar song to set the mood, but think about what you want to see in that moment as well. For us, we wanted to see our loved ones celebrating, so instead of doing a big sendoff at the end of the night, we’ll have tambourines and some other fun trinkets for our guests to do a ceremony sendoff. So excited for that photo opp!

Oh, and if I could add one final ceremony tip, it would be to remind your Officiant to step aside during the big kiss. It just makes for better images. 😉

Until next time, 


1 Comment

Brittany says:

I would have never thought to ask the officiant to move out of the way for photos! Thank you so much for the tip

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