After your suppliers have set up, you will have your wedding ceremony. This breaks down into the prelude, the seating of the mothers, the processional, the ceremony itself, and the recessional.
i. Prelude: This is 30 minutes of music playing for the entertainment of your guests as they arrive and take their seats in the Theatre. Within the 30 minute prelude you may decide what you want played. If so, take into account the timing of each piece of music. Consider making up a CD with the music you want.
ii. Seating of Mothers: The mothers of the bride and groom are always seated last, after the rest of the guests are seated. First to enter is the mother of the groom, escorted by a favoured relative, her husband following behind. Next, the bride's mother, similarly escorted. Decide the time of this, which should be 5 minutes before the 'processional'. Write it all down in your schedule, including who is escorting the mothers.
iii. Processional: This often starts ten minutes or so late (as is the fashion) but should still have a set time. You may want a particular piece of music played for the processional. If you are on time, you may have organised a CD with all the pieces to be played in a set order and then you would commence the processional at the right moment - in theory. Assuming, as is more likely, that you are not on time, you may need someone to operate the stereo to play the right piece as the processional commences. If you are having a live orchestra, advise the conductor of the piece to play on commencement of the processional. The processional ends with the entrance of the Bride and Bride's father.
iv. Ceremony: Decide the time this is to start. Decide who is standing where. Draw up the order and location of the Bride, Groom and their respective 'attendants'. A civil ceremony is quite short, and normally lasts around 20 minutes.
v. Recessional: This is where the Bride and Groom leave the Theatre, walking back up the aisle to the double glass doors leading out into the courtyard. Decide the title of the music you will be exiting to. Plan in advance the order in which the main wedding party is to leave, including the mother and father of the bride and the parents of the groom. Decide if you want the photographer on hand to take photographs as you come out of the 'recessional', into the courtyard. These post-recessional photographs should not take up too much time as your remaining guests will have to remain seated, waiting to leave the Theatre.
Once you have left, the remainder of the guests should be signalled to exit the theatre by the glass doors. (If the weather is inclement, you and your guests could remain under cover by exiting through the side entrance into the function room. However this would mean the guests seeing the function room ahead of time and involve changing where you serve your welcome drinks).
Below is a brief outline of a typical wedding ceremony.
You may wish to consider what music you would like to be played whilst the guests are being seated, for the bridal party to enter, whilst you are having photographs and an upbeat song for you as you both leave the ceremony.
- Guests to be seated
- Bridal party walking down the isle
- Welcoming speech
- Expression of intent - ‘I do’s..’
- Vows - ‘For better for worse..’
- Now maybe a good time for a reading (NB: nothing religious allowed during a Civil Ceremony).
- Ring ceremony – ‘I give you this ring...’
- Pronounce Mr and Mrs -------!
- Group photographs with immediate family members and witnesses.
- Leave ceremony – prime opportunity for confetti photographs! (Confetti to be thrown only within the Opera house, not outside, for ease of cleaning).