What are the main components of a typical wedding?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 12,773
    Rev. Bill Cochran discusses the main components of a typical wedding.

    Host: What are the main components of a typical wedding?

    Rev. Bill Cochran: Well probably one of the most important things is to make sure you get the bride and groom in there. Now of course you are planning to be there anyway. Well let's talk about the most important things. I am going to start at the middle of the ceremony and work both ways. Because I always brides and grooms the only thing you have to have in a wedding ceremony to legalize the marriage is your vows. Everything else is just kind of the fluff that makes it an interesting and fun ceremony.

    So now let me go back to the beginning then and make my way to the vows. The bride comes in, it is important to process with the bride how do you want to be presented? Is the officiant going to ask who gives this woman to be married to this man? Will you be presented by your father, by another relative will you be walking in by yourself? In other words how is that part of the ceremony going to being?

    Somewhere along in there is the welcome. Occasionally a family member wants to do a welcome. Most often the officiants ask to do that. Well that's something we need to process with you like who is going to do it? If you want to include in there to remember relatives who have passed away, who are no longer with us, do you want to just pause to remember them? If it is a religious ceremony, you may want to prayer in there somewhere at the beginning. Lot of folks dont want those in the lighter spiritual religious ceremonies. Then somewhere along the way I always encourage the bride and groom to think about things like readings or special songs that might add a thematic string through the entire ceremony.

    If you can give me some kind of a theme of something that's special to you, then I can weave everything in the ceremony around that and make sure all ties together from the beginning to end. A lot of officiants really specialize in trying to do that. So if you have say a reading that sets up something that's special to you, of course every theme at a wedding is love.

    But I am looking for that sub-theme that talks about your relationship and significance of it or what it was that brought you together? Or how you see the future together? Those types of things. The next thing you usually write in there is what we refer to as the homily. Lot of brides and grooms ask what is the homily? Because that is kind of a religious term and it is something you would find in a Church bulletin I suppose.

    What it really means is that's where the officiant gets to say something if you let him. I have discovered even though my background is a pastor I have discovered and I am okay with it, that nobody comes to a wedding to be preached at. You might appreciate that. People come to the wedding to honor the bride and groom, to celebrate the decision you have made to choose each other. They really want to see you being the front and center and the focus of everything that's taking place. So I do my very, very best to keep you front and center and most officiants like doing that.

    After all we do a lot of weddings and I want everyone to be different and I want to everyone to be lots of fun. That's what makes life exciting and interesting for me as well. After that somewhere very close would come the vows or another reading or may be a song of some kind. The vows are something that I will talk about separately, but you would want to process whether you are going to say your own, write your own or whatever.

    Then we come to the rings and the blessing and the ritual like lighting of the Unity Candle or there are a lot of different things people use. Finally the declaration of marriage and the introduction of the couple. Somewhere in there, there could be a prayer or blessing on the marriage, but by the end everyone wants to get off to the party. So we want to get this thing over with and introduce you and get you partying the day away.