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Wedding Ceremony Vibes: Flow and Emotion Management

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Wedding Officiant Matt McMurphy

The key to a great wedding ceremony is to make it flow. And when we talk about “flow,” we’re referring to the words and the emotion of the ceremony, and that magical combination of saying the right thing at the right time. 

When planning a wedding ceremony, consider what traditions or readings will resonate with the couple and audience. Perhaps there’s a prayer, or a reading, or a traditional blessing that speaks to the couple's values or emotional state. Then, decide where to fit these parts into the ceremony. 

Think about the ceremony as a story, with each piece fitting into a logical order. Consider which pieces fit best leading into or following one another. I often write short transitions between pieces. Not only do the transitions help with the flow, they also give me an idea of whether one piece works well following another, based on how easy it is to write the transitional wording.

 

You're telling a story with joy, emotion, and gravity!

 

The kind of pieces that you choose, as well as the order they are in, allows you to manage the emotional flow. For example, if you have a more lighthearted piece, you could put it early in the ceremony to get the couple smiling and reduce their nervousness. Doing this gets everyone in a relaxed and joyful state of mind. 

Once you have everyone feeling the way you want them to (at ease, happy, and excited for what comes next) you can transition into pieces that are heavier/deeper while still early in the ceremony (e.g. the “we take this seriously” type pieces). 

From there you can go into personal stories, vows, and the ring exchange, shifting the emotion to light-hearted, which helps to send the guests and the couple into the reception with smiles on their faces and love in their hearts.

Try this order of components, and see how it feels:

 

1.    Formal introduction
2.    Happy, relaxed, lighthearted reading or talk 
3.    Heavier/deeper component (remind the audience of the importance of the ceremony and the commitment)
4.    Light hearted and personal components 

 

A quick example of a light-hearted and personal component is a hand blessing. This piece, which talks about the gift that the other’s hands are to them, fits perfectly after the ring exchange since: the couple are most likely already holding hands; the couple’s hands were just the focus of ring exchange; and the piece fits well emotionally following the promises of the ring exchange.

We know it’s not always possible, based on the ceremony, to create the perfect flow. However, taking flow into consideration as you create the ceremony will go a long way toward making the couple's day - and ceremony - perfect. 

 



Check out our popular Asked to Officiate workbook for many more details on creating a proper ceremony flow. Ultimately, the amount of thought and homework involved in a wedding ceremony is the biggest indicator of how successful it will be. Asked to Officiate unlocks the tips and hacks that will make guests think you’ve been officiating for years - even if it's your first time! 
 

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