Wedding flowers.

Weddings – The Ceremony

The following information gives a recommended format for a wedding celebration. It is not fixed, apart from the legal requirements, so there is plenty of room for making sure the ceremony itself meets your needs and wishes.

Carol likes to work closely with you on the content, make suggestions about the process and ensure that all the important and relevant people are included in the ceremony. You will see there is included a poetry section. Click here to view. Carol has plenty more to show you if you need to see more.

Processional in or positioning of bridal couple

For some couples a processional in past invited guests to the place of ceremony is really important. For others a simpler positioning is all that is needed. No matter what, somehow both of you need to be in a visible position in front of your guests so they can hear your commitment to each other.

Introductions and Welcome

Introductions are typically made by the celebrant, but not always. This is the gathering together of the wedding party and a focusing of everyone present on the purpose of the celebration. Here it is common to welcome those who have travelled for some distance, mention those who are unable to be here on the day, outline some of the story about the development of your relationship and talk a little about the purpose of weddings.

Here, too is the place for something to be said about your values/dreams/ideals.

You may like to have some music playing while your guests gather. Some couples provide something for guests to drink and perhaps a nibble as they wait for the bride/bride and groom to arrive.


There are many sources of readings for a wedding. You may already have some you are considering.

The following are titles of readings you can buy or find in your local library.

Optional giving away/supporting of the bride

In traditional ceremonies the bride is given away by a parent, guardian or someone close to her. If you would like this included as part of your ceremony it is important to think of who and how you would like to do this.

Second Reading or Song

Choose something that is special to you both and that feels relevant to the occasion.


The saying of vows is the core purpose of your wedding and the essence of the ceremony. You will also find others in books, on the Net or at other ceremonies you have attended. You may use any that appeal, adapt some of the ones you like or completely write your own. While you will see in some of the examples that each person says something almost identical to the other, this is not necessary. Each of you may have different vows to make to each other. What is critical in terms of New Zealand law is that you say the words "I, XYZ, take you ABC to be my lawful wedded wife/husband.

Exchange of rings

The giving of a ring or rings is the symbolic enactment of your marriage vows. You may both exchange rings or only one ring may be given if this is your choice.

Declaration of marriage

Here is the legally required pronouncement that you are married!


It is common to conclude a wedding ceremony with a blessing to the bride and groom and to all the guests present. It does not need to be a prayer as there are several short blessings that will provide a natural conclusion to the ceremony.

Signing the register

You will need two witnesses to sign the register along with both of you and your celebrant. These people may be anyone of your choosing over the age of ten years, but important where possible to choose people who are significant to you both.

Often here music is played or songs are sung while the wedding party signs the legal documents.

The celebrant then presents you with the marriage certificate and you are ready to mingle with your guests as a married couple.

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It is useful to think about how you would make the transition from the registry table to your guests. Some people have a processional past their guests, others like to share some fruit or flowers, others again like to join with their families and have the rings blessed by all the guests. Some people like the guests to throw rice.