Wedding Ceremony – Anatomy 101

By Rev. Calvin Wulf

The anatomy of an American wedding ceremony has been handed down over centuries of western tradition. While the language style and some of the parts have evolved with time and custom, the essential outline presented here remains unchanged. This is how we do it!


Bridal Procession – Traditionally, the officiant enters with the groom and groomsmen, bridesmaids process down the aisle, next the ring bearer followed by the flower girl, and then here comes the bride.

Welcome to Guests – The officiant welcomes your guests and announces the names of the couple to be joined in marriage.

Presentation of the Bride – “Who brings this woman to be married to this man?”

A Reading and Reflection – A reading of poetry or scripture with comments from the officiant.

Affirmation of Intent in Marriage – Answering “I do” means you intend to keep your vows.

Exchange of Vows – “I take you to be my…” or you may write your own.

Exchange of Rings – The rings symbolize your commitment as a visible sign to the world.

Pronouncement of Marriage – “I pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss.”

Blessing of the Couple – A religious or non-religious tribute to the newly married couple.

Introduction of the Couple – “Here’s Mr. and Mrs…”

Recessional – The couple walks back down the aisle followed by the wedding party and officiant.

Party – You know what to do!