Wedding ceremony structure

What you need to know about structuring your wedding ceremony

A lot of people are guests at many weddings but don't pay detailed attention to the structure of the ceremony so when it comes to planning their own wedding ceremony are a little confused about where to start.  This is totally normal and nothing to worry about.  Your marriage celebrant will help guide you to create the perfect wedding ceremony just for you both.

Every ceremony is different and can be personalised, but here's a general outline for how most ceremonies are structured.


The brides' bridal party and the bride walk down the 'aisle'


Start off with a welcome and introduction, why we are here etc.  This can include stories about your journey to your wedding day, a tribute to absent friends and family and words of appreciation to friends and family.

Reading 1

Here is usually where there is a reading or poem. It is optional.  It's a good way to include people in your wedding that are not in your bridal party. It doesn't have to be religious but can be a lovely way to summarise the way you feel about each other, marriage and love.


There is some wording that must be said for legal reasons for weddings in Australia.  This includes what is known as the 'monitum':

Groom name and Bride name, before you are joined in marriage, in the presence of these witnesses and myself, I am to remind you of the solemn and binding nature of the relationship into which you are about to enter. Marriage according to the law in Australia is the union of a man to a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.

The Asking or Declaration of Intent

This is where you answer questions about marriage and where you get to say "I do"!  This can be a good area to introduce a little humour and personalisation or you can keep it traditional eg

Do you groom first name take bride first name to be your to be your wife, to share your life with her, and do you pledge that you will love, honour and care for her, with tenderness and affection, through all the days of your life? I do

Wedding Vows

Wedding vows can be personalised but do need to include a line of legal wording, this is:

I call upon the persons here present to witness that I, (Groom’s full name), take you (Bride’s full name) to be my lawful wedded wife.

I usually suggest you start with this and then add to it.  You can write your own or select from a list of vows that I have.

Exchange of wedding rings

You can have a separate ring ceremony and wording for exchanging your wedding rings or you can exchange rings during your vows.

Declaration of marriage

"I now pronounce you husband and wife"and kiss ♥

Signing of the register

This is where the bride and groom and their two witnesses sign the legal marriage paperwork.

Closing remarks

Any final remarks about marriage and or the couple.  Can include a reading or poem about marriage.

Introduction of couple

"Please welcome for the first time Mr and Mrs..." or variations to suit your preferences.


Walk back down the aisle to be greeted and congratulated by your friends and family.


Trudy is a professional marriage celebrant based in Brisbane who services the greater Brisbane region as well as the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast.  Contact Trudy today for a no obligation quote.