When it all comes down to it, until they’ve spoken to a Celebrant, most couples don’t really know what a “normal” ceremony format looks like. So here is a basic outline of how a ceremony would usually play out.
Having said that of course, the beauty of choosing a Civil Marriage Celebrant, is that there is no “usual”. It’s all about you! As long as we do three things within your ceremony (the Monitum, certain words within the vows and the signing of the register), you will be married. Of course there are other legal aspects to your Marriage that your Celebrant will help you with, but today, we’re just talking about the wording of your ceremony.
Introduction – This sets the tone for the rest of the ceremony. It might be a greeting on behalf of the couple, and the reason for their choice of marriage at this time and at this place.
Reading – There are thousands of beautiful poems and verses that capture the essence of your relationship. You may choose a poem about love and marriage or an inspirational reading about life and friendship. Together, we’ll select one that makes your heart and face light up when you hear it.
Celebrant Authority (Monitum) – This is simply a legal requirement of the ceremony that states powers of authority as a celebrant.
Presentation of the Bride/Groom (Giving Away) – The traditional ‘Giving Away the Bride’. While in the past it was always a father, or a significant male relative, in contemporary wedding ceremonies a mother of the bride, or the bride’s adult children might also involve themselves in this part of the wedding ceremony as itis seen a vow of support from those close to you.
Commitment to the Children – Including children in the wedding ceremony lets them know that they are a very important part of the marriage.
The Asking – This is a traditional part of the ceremony where you can influence the tone of your ceremony by choosing the many variations of language -traditional, modern or folksy. At this point the Bride gives her witness or Bride’s maid her flowers to hold.
Vows – Although you are encouraged to create wedding vows that are meaningful to you, legally they must include as a minimum, the following words: “I call upon the persons here present to witness that I, Groom/Bride take you Bride/groom, to be my lawful wedded wife/husband/spouse.”
Ring Ceremony – The ring is a symbol of one’s undying love as it is circular and has no beginning and no end. It is a popular for both partners to exchange them nowadays.
Rituals – It is here that you may choose to include rituals such as a sand ceremony, or candle lighting ceremony, a handfasting or celtic ceremony, dove or butterfly release to mention just a few.
- Declaration of Marriage
- Sign the Register
- Please Congratulate…
So hopefully that gives you something to start with. As long as your ceremony reflects the two of you as a couple, and your vows are promises that you are happy to base your Marriage on, you should not be bound by what others expect. Think outside the square, and talk to your Celebrant about how they will help you to personalize your Ceremony so that you will look back on the words you chose, in years to come, and still feel that they were perfect for you!
Article written by Fiona Roberts who believes that it is so important your ceremony is as unique as you are. Whether it is your marriage, reaffirmation of vows, commitment ceremony or name giving, Fiona is a civil marriage celebrant who brings to your celebration her own brand of warmth, personality and wit, ensuring that your special day is memorable.