From “I Do” to “Just Married”: A Breakdown of the Modern Wedding Ceremony

Newlyweds share a celebratory kiss at the end of their wedding ceremony at 10 South in Janesville, WI

You’ve booked your venue and locked in your vendors. Now comes the exciting task of planning the most important part of the day – your wedding ceremony. This guide will break down the different parts of a modern wedding ceremony, helping you craft a meaningful and beautiful experience that celebrates your love story.

The Processional
Your ceremony begins with the processional, where your wedding party enters in a predetermined order. Traditionally, the groom waits at the altar, while the bridesmaids and groomsmen walk down the aisle, followed by the maid of honor (or best person) and finally, the bride escorted by her parent(s) or chosen family member. However, we love seeing couples mix it up!

Welcome & Opening Remarks
The officiant, or the person who will marry you, will welcome your guests and deliver opening remarks that set the tone for the ceremony. This can be a warm greeting, a short reading, or even a personal anecdote about you and your soon-to-be. If you’ve chosen to have an unplugged ceremony, this is the perfect time to give your guests 30 seconds of picture-taking before kindly asking them to put their devices away for the rest of the ceremony.

Introduction & Love Story
The officiant might share a brief introduction about you and your honey, highlighting your journey together. This can be a heartwarming way to personalize the ceremony and allow guests to connect with your love story.

Readings are optional, but they can add a beautiful touch to your ceremony. You can choose readings from religious texts, poems, or quotes that resonate with your values and relationship. Couples sometimes invite family members or close friends to do these readings instead of the officiant.

Vow Exchange
This is the most anticipated moment! Here, you’ll express your love and commitment to each other through vows. You can write your own vows from the heart, choose traditional vows to recite, or a mix of both by crafting special vows to each other ahead of your wedding day.

Exchange of Rings
The exchange of rings is a symbolic gesture that represents your eternal bond. You’ll place wedding bands on each other’s fingers, signifying your commitment and love. Some couples choose to do a “ring warming,” where their family members pass the rings to each other during the ceremony and take turns “warming” them with love before the exchange.

Unity Ceremonies & Special Touches
Modern weddings often incorporate unique elements to personalize the ceremony. This could be a unity ceremony (like lighting a candle or planting a tree together), a cultural tradition, or something fun and edgy, like shots of your favorite liquor!

The Pronouncement & The Kiss
The officiant will officially pronounce you married, followed by the much-anticipated first kiss as a married couple! This is a joyous moment that signifies the beginning of your married life.

Closing Remarks & Presentation
The officiant might offer some final words of wisdom or blessings for the couple. Then, they will officially present you as newlyweds, ready to begin your happily ever after!

The Recessional
As newlyweds, you’ll exit your ceremony space together, followed by your wedding party. This is a celebratory moment – be sure to soak in the love and well wishes from your guests!

The beauty of a modern wedding ceremony lies in its flexibility. Personalize it to reflect your unique love story, values, and cultural traditions. Make it a ceremony that truly celebrates your journey as a couple and sets the tone for your happily ever after!

10 South can host indoor AND outdoor ceremonies! Learn more about our spaces here.

Photo by Amanda Ketterhagen Photography

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Bride poses in the indoor ceremony space at 10 South.
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