Christian Wedding Proceedings
Though the different branches of Christianity conduct slightly different wedding ceremonies, there is a general consistency between the flows of the days. For one thing, for the most part, and unlike Muslim weddings, the wedding proceedings happen on one day.
Your wedding day should proceed how you want it to, however tradition being the only consistent source of advice, we offer this as a general “how your wedding day should proceed”. We add times only as a guide but do not suggest that these are the only acceptable times to do things by any means.
Stag parties and hen nights these days will usually be over at least a week before the event. Not a bad mutation of the traditional night before scenario that had potential for disaster.
10am Wedding Day – Preparation and photos
Your wedding morning will no doubt start with a good breakfast. The groom would have stayed separate from the bride for as long as a week before the day, and will be showered and no doubt already with his entourage at breakfast or already on the golf course / hiking trail / volleyball court / fishing hole / etc. Generally he’ll be doing something fun to pass the time to the wedding ceremony. Often your wedding photographer would have arranged to photograph the groom and his immediate party in the morning. It is up to you whether that is posed and dressed or relaxed and continuing activity. No, guys you should not need to finish off your speech, it should be ready, and you should be able to recite it into the mirror without prompts.
The Bride will be getting her hair, nails and makeup done as well as possibly having preparation photographs taken with her bridesmaids, flowergirls and no doubt her mum.
2:30pm Wedding Day – On your way
Bride and Groom are both prepared, dressed and about ready to go. The groom should be at or on his way to the ceremony venue, rings safely tucked into his best man’s pocket.
Candles are lit and some sort of musical interlude will commence about 10 minutes before the ceremony. The groom will be in the church chatting to guests or tapping his foot nervously in the front row. The bride will be doing final preparations and touch-ups and will be on her way to the church / ceremony venue.
3:00pm Wedding Day - Ceremony
All guests will be seated and the minister will be waiting outside to receive the bride. Once she arrives he will no doubt halt her out of site and will enter the wedding chapel and announce her arrival, at which time she will enter the church and the wedding ceremony will commence.
What exactly happens in the ceremony will be different depending on what the minister and you have decided on. Some branches of Christianity are quite strict about weddings and require longer ceremonies while others may be as short as 20 minutes. On average, wedding ceremonies seem to be about 30 to 40 minutes.
4:00pm Wedding Day – Canapes and photographs
It’s often nice to have some sort of entertainment at your canapé venue. This is usually an outdoor, picturesque venue, out on the lawn, by the lake, in the forest, or wherever is pretty and relaxing for your guests while you both go off for Bridal Party Photographs. Generally you will finish off the photographs, which will take approximately 45 minutes, with a group photograph with all of your guests at the canapé venue.
5:00pm Wedding Day – Cutting of the cake
This is not set in stone, and many couples choose to do this at the reception venue, however we thought that it was a nice idea to share with you. It is very nice to cut your cake at the canapé venue, even if the cake is then taken away and portioned for pudding later in the evening.
6:00pm Wedding Night – Reception
Between the cake cutting and the time that the reception is actually scheduled to start your master of ceremonies will have been ushering your guests towards the reception venue. Most of the time, starters will come pretty soon after the master of ceremonies has announced the arrival of the newly weds.
6:30pm Wedding Night – Speeches and Toasts
Depending on your chosen order of speeches, they will begin with the master of ceremonies introducing each speaker, or, more correctly, the speakers introducing each other. Get information about speech preparation here.
7:30pm Wedding Night – Supper and Dances
Supper will generally be served after the speeches and will be followed by the first dance between the newly weds and then the second dance led by the bride and her father.
8:30pm Wedding Night – Dessert, bouquet and gather
After dessert the traditional gather and bouquet tossing will happen and soon after this point, the newly weds may choose to leave the ceremony through a tunnel of guests, even if that leaving is just symbolic and they in fact return in lighter clothes to enjoy the rest of their party with their friends. In this author’s opinion, the best decision of our wedding was to come back and have a party with people we didn’t often see.