He asked you to marry him and you said yes! Congratulations! If you know that you will be married in a church ceremony, as soon as you have shared the good news with close family members, it is time to think about when and where you will be married.
Once you have determined when, lock in the ceremony site and the reception venue. Then other plans can fall into place. As soon as possible, meet with the officiant and/or his/her representative to determine the “rules” guiding ceremonies in that church or synagogue. With that information in hand, you can begin to formulate your own personal touches with the goal of creating a beautiful setting that helps to establish the mood for your ceremony to come.
As guests arrive, the setting – candles, lights, flowers and music can create a lovely atmosphere.
Instruct ushers to make friendly small talk with guests as they arrive and as they are escorted to their seats. This is truly welcoming and helps guests to feel at ease. If yours is a small wedding, ushers can present a single flower to female guests along with a note from you welcoming them to the wedding. A welcome flower can also be presented along with the programs.
Consider having ceremony hosts welcome guests at the entrance doors. Choose one from each family – someone who is likely to recognize the majority of the guests as they arrive. Your parents may be mingling with guests at this point or may be needed with the wedding party.
If you have music playing as guests arrive and are seated, be sure someone is ready to cue the music to change tempo or volume or both so that special music plays as the parents of the bride and groom are seated. More and more couples are choosing to have a card or note from them along with a single flower or small wrapped gift waiting in the pew for parents as they are seated.
Consider having the music change again as the groom and his best man take their places. Then as the processional begins, the music should change again for the bridesmaids and flower girls.
The bride should make an entrance cued by more dramatic “announcement” music. If the church or facility can manage it, consider dimming the house lights and turn on pre placed lighting aimed at the aisle just before the bride begins her walk to the altar.
Above all remember that the ceremony is the cornerstone of the day and the reason the guests have gathered. The reception celebrates what has happened in that church.