Parts of a Wedding Ceremony

parts of a wedding ceremony

From decor to lighting, planning a wedding includes endless choices. Every detail is important, but one stands out the most: the people you’ll have with you on your big day. Having the right people in your ceremony will mean a lot to you and them.

Here’s a breakdown of every part of a wedding ceremony with ideas on how to best include everyone.

The Wedding Procession

How to Choose Your Bridesmaids and Groomsmen

choosing your bridesmaids

A traditional wedding ceremony opens with all the bridesmaids and groomsmen walking down the aisle in pairs. Think about who you’d like to see filling these roles. Siblings, close cousins, and lifelong friends probably come to mind.

Choosing your best man and maid of honor might require more thought. Just think about who you feel closest to out of the group and who you trust to be there for you during this time. That’s the person you should have as your right hand. Usually, this is your best friend or closest sibling.

Plenty of couples also choose not to have a bridal party, which it totally acceptable. This way, everyone feels equally important.

How to Pair Up Your Bridal Party

The maid of honor and best man are an automatic pair. As for the rest of the pairs, first think about the relationship you have to each person. For instance, it makes sense to pair up the groom’s brother and the bride’s sister. Also, consider aesthetic elements like height.

Giving Away: Family Member or Friend

giving away the bride

Typically, the bride’s father gives her away. However, this tradition can be altered in many ways for different situations. For instance, a bride may want her mother to give her away, or the groom may also want to walk down the aisle with his mother.

In cases where parents are not an option, it may be fitting for a sibling, close friend, relative, or mentor to do the giving away. Choose someone who has acted as a guardian or role model to you. This ceremony will represent them trusting your partner with your heart and well-being.

The Officiant

Although the officiant at a wedding is typically a religious leader, this role can be played by anyone who’s been ordained. And it’s a simple process. If religion isn’t important to you, consider asking a family member, a mentor, or a close friend to be your officiant.

Run Away with Me typically provides an officiant as part of our all-inclusive package, but if you have someone special in mind, that works too!

Readings from Close Family or Friends

Readings can be a great way to add personal touches to a ceremony and include more friends or family members. Instead of picking a passage from a book for someone to read, what if one or two people close to you said a few words about you and your partner? These types of heartfelt readings can really add to the beauty of the ceremony.

Vowswedding officiant

Your vows are some of the most important words you’ll ever say to each other. Whether you make your vows religious or secular, make them uniquely yours. If writing them on your own seems overwhelming, we can think of plenty of sources of inspiration for a personal message to your partner.

Wedding Rings and Their Meanings

bride and groom exchanging wedding rings

Exchanging wedding rings goes back centuries and is shared by nearly every country in the world. Since ancient times, the strength of the material used for the rings has symbolized the strength of the marriage bond. Traditionally, wedding rings are made of gold. However, some couples prefer something more elegant and sparkly like a silver band with diamonds embedded, or something sleek and durable such as carbon fiber.

Where the ring is worn has significance, too. The ancient Greeks and Romans believed the fourth finger of the left hand contained the “vena amoris” or “vein of love.” As you place your rings on each other’s fingers, think about how they symbolize the strength of your love and devotion to one another. 

Unity Ceremony and Final Blessing

Here’s your chance for a special moment between you and your partner. Reflect and rejoice together. This can be done with a unity ceremony, a final blessing, or both.

Unity Ceremony

For your wine valley wedding, consider a fitting wine themed unity ceremony:

Wine blending ceremony:

In this unique ceremony, the couple each receives a glass of wine, one red and one white. With them, you make your own special blend together to sip as a married couple.

Wine box ceremony:

This is a sort of present to your future selves. Here the couple writes letters to each other. You then seal in a box along with a great bottle of wine. On your fifth year anniversary, open the box to sip the wine as you read each other’s letters.

Warming of the Rings:

This tradition makes your guests a part of the ceremony. Your wedding rings are passed around to guests to say words of love and blessings for your marriage. Alternatively, have a table set at the entrance of your wedding to have the rings warmed by your loved ones as the enter the venue.

Final Blessing

If you’re religious, a moment of prayer together can be a beautiful part of your ceremony. This is where some couples treasure having a familiar church leader as their officiant.

The Kiss

This part is easy! Make your marriage official with a romantic kiss!

wedding kiss

Closing Remarks

The officiant’s closing remarks should include some instructions for your guests. Make sure you talk beforehand about whether to tell the guests to head to the receiving line or to the reception venue.


The recessional can be much less formal than the procession. Consider picking an upbeat song for your wedding party to stroll out to.

Post-Ceremony Photography

Since most of the full wedding party photos will have been taken before the ceremony, make the post-ceremony photos all about you and your partner. In a Run Away with Me wedding or elopement, your couples’ photos will have a romantic winery backdrop.

wedding party photo bridesmaids

All About You

Your photos, like your wedding day itself, should ultimately be all about you two--and your amazing celebration! Choosing the right people for the right roles will give you so many cherished memories for everyone involved. See how we can help give you the most memorable wedding day.


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