Here's the low-down on the "traditional" but we feels it's always better to arrange your ceremony to suit your style....
The Catholic Wedding Ceremony
If you're planning a Catholic ceremony, you have quite a few decisions to make. In addition to processional and recessional music, you'll need to choose hymns, Psalms, readings, and blessing. A little confused? Here's a step-by-step guide through the traditional Catholic ceremony to help you plan.
First the groom and the best man enter from the side of the church. Then the bridesmaids and groomsmen escort one another up the aisle, followed by the maid of honor, who enters alone. And last but certainly not least, the bride and her father (or another male family member) make their grand entrance.
The priest invites the wedding guests to join in an opening hymn (or song).
Greeting or Opening Prayer
After the hymn, the priest begins the mass with a greeting to the guests or an opening prayer.
Old Testament Reading
Here's your opportunity to include those people you couldn't squeeze into your bridal party—ask a friend or family member to read a passage from the Old Testament.
You can either have the church soloist or the entire congregation sings the Psalm. Choose one that your guests will know as then they can join in (if they want too!)
New Testament Reading
Here's another chance to include a loved one. Choose a friend or family member to read a passage of your choosing from the New Testament.
The priest will read a passage from one of the first four books of the New Testament, written by the apostles Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
After the Gospel, the priest will reflect upon what he has just read. Don't underestimate the importance of getting a priest who knows you as he can then relay some stories from your childhood, the day you made your First Holy communion etc., Whilst it may sound a little corny you'll really appreciate and enjoy the 'personal touch' on the day.
Vows and Ring Ceremony
You have at least three choices. You can memorise and recite the vows to one another, read the vows from the book, or have the priest read them and respond with 'I do.' Some priests might allow you to write your own vows or add a couple lines to the traditional ones. After you exchange vows, you'll exchange rings and the priest will bless them as symbols of your love and fidelity.
The priest blesses your new union with a prayer & the newly married couple say their prayer jointly.
Sign of Peace
The guests and wedding party exchange a sign of peace, by shaking hands and saying, 'Peace be with you.'
The priest offers communion to the members of the church.
Blessing and Dismissal of Congregation
One more blessing, and then the priest will dismiss the congregation by saying, 'This mass has ended. You may now go in peace.'
Make your recession in the reverse order of the processional.
Planning a Protestant wedding?
While most Protestant churches have similar ceremonies, some details vary, so be sure to talk to your minister or pastor before you start planning.
The processional: Traditionally, the groom and best man stand at the front of the church with the clergy, and the wedding party enters in the following order:
Maid of Honor
Ring Bearer and last, but certainly not least, the Bride and her father.
The introduction: The officiant begins the ceremony by greeting the congregation.
The readings: In most ceremonies, a friend or family member of the couple reads a passage from the Old and New Testament.
The vows and ring exchange: Most Protestant churches allow personalised vows and adaptations as long as they don't contradict Christian principles.
The final blessing and recessional: After the pastor gives a final blessing, the wedding party exits the church in the following order: bride and groom, flower girl and ring bearer, groomsmen and bridesmaids, parents of the bride, and finally the parents of the groom.
Remember, this is merely a general outline. There are various denominations of the Protestant faith, including Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian and many more. Some churches offer Holy Communion, others don't, some are happy to perform weddings outside of the church, some aren't. So before you book, check all options available to yo