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"One of the World's Best Wedding Photographers", Nicholas splits his time between Australia and Paris. His photos have appeared in Harpers Bazaar, the New York Times and brides.com

Nicholas is the publisher of the School of Wedding Photography, a popular blog teaching wedding photographers around the world.

Writing a Wedding Ceremony: 6 Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs

Writing a Wedding Ceremony: 6 Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs

Writing a Wedding Ceremony: 6 Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs


From the beginning of the ceremony to the end of the reception, you have so many opportunities to make your guest feel welcome, to share your love for one another, and create a truly memorable experience for everyone in attendance. For many couples, the wedding ceremony itself is the perfect place to start an amazing day. Part of this is writing the wedding ceremony, then ensuring that their plans are executed perfectly.


There’s more to this than writing vows, although that’s important too. Done right, a wedding ceremony can be a touching reflection of the couple. All you have to do is avoid these 6 crucial mistakes.


  1. Making it Too Long


Bad news. Your guests care about a lot of things when it comes to your wedding. Your ceremony and readings don’t make that list. Keep things upbeat and interesting to maintain their interest. More importantly, don’t write a ceremony that lasts too long. A great ceremony is touching, meaningful, and ends before guests get restless. If you find it too complicated to combine everything you want to mention in a short speech, make a plan to organize your thoughts. This will help you easily understand what is the most important and what things you can remove from the script.


2. Choosing The Wrong People to do Readings


Consider your choices carefully. Choose the people who are best suited for the job. No matter how special someone is in your life, they may not be the best choice when it comes to speaking at your ceremony. Your best friend might be your confidante, your uncle might be a second father to you, but if both of them are painfully shy, delivering a reading will be painful for them and everyone else. Choose people who are comfortable with speaking in front of others.


3. Failing to Give Readers Enough Input


When you do pick someone, you’ll want them to deliver their reading with sincerity. If they aren’t comfortable with the material, that won’t happen. Whether you write something yourself, use a religious text, or a poem or quote, run things by your reader. Ask them:


  • Are you okay reading this?

  • Is it too long?

  • Are you okay reading this at this point in the ceremony?


Don’t forget to consider logistics. For example, if someone has small children attending, will there be someone to sit with them while they are reading?


4. Programs That Don’t Get with The Program


Wedding programs are important. They are more than just a keepsake. They give your guests a way to follow along and create a sense of cohesiveness. A spelling mistake or shoddy proofreading could be more than a little embarrassing.


Clean things up by using a few handy resources for editing and proofreading like Grammarly or check the list of online paper writing services. You can even use Canva to make your wedding program pop with great graphics.


5. Not Consulting the Officiant


It’s becoming more common for people to personalize their weddings. Some simply write their own vows or choose songs and readings. Others opt to write their entire ceremony. In that case, it’s imperative to get buy-in from the person officiating the wedding.


This isn’t just a matter of preference. Yes, it’s important that the person officiating the wedding is okay with your customization. It’s also important to ensure that your ceremony passes legal muster. Depending on the laws that apply where you have your ceremony there may be certain things that must be said and done in order for your ceremony to be legitimate.


6. Failing to Define an Overall Theme


James Daily, a professional writer, says, “I attend plenty of weddings as a guest of my employees and clients. The best have some recognizable theme that ties everything together. This might be spirituality, romance, humor, even a shared hobby or passion.”


There’s no need to turn your wedding into a fully scripted, roleplaying event. However, with a theme in mind, you give yourselves a bit of a focal point. You can even use the theme to tie your location, decorations, food, and ceremony together.


Parting Thoughts


There are so many good reasons to write your own ceremony. This is your special event with your partner, and you deserve to have a ceremony that is meaningful to both of you. By avoiding some of the mistakes listed above, you will be able to create an event that is memorable in a good way.


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