The welcome

The welcome is used to open the wedding ceremony and is performed by the celebrant to greet the guests. A typical welcome would go like this: 'Friends and family, we are gathered here today to celebrate the wedding of Damien and Rachel, and their decision to spend the rest of their lives together as husband and wife.'

Each welcome is different, depending on where you are holding your wedding ceremony and how many guests are attending, and often includes a personal introduction by the celebrant. If you wish, the celebrant will then ask your parents whether they give their blessing for the marriage.

The Story

This is where the celebrant talks about you and your partner's history together, covering how you met or how long you've been together. While it's a nice touch, a story does not have to be included.

The reading

Performed by either a family member, friend, or the celebrant, a reading can be a piece from a favourite book, a poem, or even the words of a special song. Once again, this is not an obligatory element.

The formalisation

Here the celebrant uses words to reflect the commitment of marriage, for example: 'Today Damien and Rachel are formalising a lifelong promise, as marriage is more than merely sharing your life with someone.'

The vows

This is the part of the ceremony where you and your partner exchange your wedding vows, for example:
'I, Damien, take you, Rachel, to be my lawful wedded wife, to have and to hold…'. You have the freedom to make your vows as personal or experimental as you like, by either writing them yourself or getting your celebrant or someone else to help you.

Alternatively, you could use traditional vows or ask your celebrant to provide a fresh take on existing ones. Your vows can be read to you by the celebrant, repeated after the celebrant, or read aloud by yourself.

The Intent

The celebrant now formally asks you and your partner if you take each other as husband and wife. 'Damien, do you take Rachel to be your lawful wedded wife? Will you love her, respect her, honour her and care for her as long as you both shall live?, followed by the respective 'I do's.'
Like most other aspects of the ceremony, the intent can be personalised for you by the celebrant.

The exchange of rings

This is where you and your partner say a short piece about the significance of your wedding rings, for example: 'These wedding rings serve as a symbol of my never-ending love for you,' followed by their exchange.

The signing of the register

At this stage, there is a break in the ceremony and the signing of the register takes place. This is usually accompanied by a musical interlude and often the celebrant will explain to the guests the order of the day, for example:

'At the conclusion of the ceremony, please join the bride and groom for a group photo.' The celebrant will then pronounce you both husband and wife, and prompt you to take your first kiss with, 'Damien, you may now kiss your bride.'

The conclusion/final blessing

The celebrant or a friend or family member now closes the ceremony with a general conclusion, blessing or reading. Once again, the poem, or song. The celebrant then announces you and your partner. 'Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Damien and Rachel Smith, husband and wife.'