weddings 101

Wedding Ceremony Essentials

Everything you need to know about planning the perfect wedding ceremony!


Choose a florist based on your budget. Consider: bouquets for the bride (plus an extra one to throw) and bridesmaids, boutonnieres for the groom, groomsmen, fathers and grandfathers, corsages for the mothers and grandmothers, decor for ceremony and reception.

Is the florist booked by someone else on the same day? Do they require a deposit? What is the pay schedule?


Seat bride’s guests at left, groom’s guests at right. (Some couples are doing away with this tradition and leaving it up to guests to pick sides.)

Reserve space for family in front rows.

Friends of both the bride and groom can be seated on the side with fewer people to even it out.


How are you and your guests getting around? Limos? Book ’em now. Cabs? Call a company and alert a fleet well in advance. You can even rent a bus if you want.

Prepare a “Just Married” sign.

Write up a schedule of who goes with whom to the ceremony, photography site and reception.


Ideally, everybody participating in the ceremony should be there. It’s also nice to include out-of-town guests. Let participants know well in advance.

Plan a rehearsal dinner.

Delegate tasks to overzealous parents. Decide on their roles (e.g., who will give out seating cards?).

Present your gifts to parents, attendants and each other.


Before hiring, ask to meet them and request samples of their work.

Do they have assistants? Will there be a secondary shooter? How long will they be there?

Get a cost breakdown, including proofs, editing, copies and prints.

Prepare a comprehensive list of must-have photos/shots.


Check with the officiant about any restrictions on decor.

Consider redefining the ceremony space with archways and curtains. Discuss all ceremony decorations with the florist.

Look into tent rentals for inclement weather if you’re planning an outdoor wedding.

Image: Elisabeth Millay Photography

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