How does a ceremony run?

Here’s a run-down of the flow of a wedding ceremony.  Remember, not all weddings look like this, and there’s only two parts that are legally required: The legal statement, and signing the paperwork.  


Take ideas from this and we’ll work together to incorporate the ideas you like and any others you may wish to include - as long as it’s not illegal, I’m up for anything! 

And similarly, anything you don’t want, we won’t do. 

Except the vows and the paperwork, otherwise you didn’t get married.

All the rest is entirely up to you as to how it’s done.


The Short Version / TLDR

  • Prelude - guests are arriving & mingling.

  • Seating - guests take their seats.  Any pre-ceremony announcements are made here; your I Do crew take their place at the front, or I will check in with you where you’re waiting to ensure we’re ready to begin.  I’ll ask guests to stand for the procession.

  • Procession - Wedding party make their entrance (i.e. flower girl, ring bearer, attendants etc). Then you make your entrance, and take your place at the front.

  • Welcome - the music stops, you take a moment to settle yourselves (fix the train, have a hug, wipe the tears).  I’ll welcome everyone, introduce myself and thank them all for being there.

  • Giving Away - if you want to include ‘giving away’ or similar words, this is where it fits (NB, really uncommon now!)

  • Reading/Poem/Song - a great spot to incorporate guests into your ceremony with a reading or similar.  

  • Unity Ceremony/Ritual - a good spot to include a sand ceremony, light a unity candle or other similar ritual

  • Your Love Story - based on information you provide, I’ll share your story, key moments, what you love about one another, what love and being married means to you both.

  • Vows & Declaration of Intent - Your promises to one another - the heart of your ceremony.  

  • Ring Exchange - you place rings on each other's fingers; with or without some words to go with it.

  • Signing the Register - the two of you, along with your two witnesses and myself step aside to complete the legal paperwork.  

  • Declaration of Marriage - I declare you to be married! 

  • Closing Remarks - we come back together, I say some lovely things and introduce you both as you desire

  • The Kiss - you kiss one another!

  • Recessional - you head back up the aisle, NZ’s newest married couple; then it's time to celebrate!

The Detailed Version

Pre-Ceremony Announcements

Things such as inviting guests to sit if they haven’t used the chairs, turn off their phones, letting people know about unplugged ceremonies, instructions on posting to social media, confetti, introducing your MC and any post-ceremony details etc.


I’ll also ask your guests to stand for your entrance, assuming they were seated to begin with. 
Don’t worry, I’ll get them to sit back down again too!

The Intro

In my intro, I will introduce myself, welcome your guests to your wedding celebration, and thank family and friends who have joined us. This helps to create an intimate air, right from the beginning.  If either of you wish to incorporate a 'giving away', this is the time.


Any special rituals or traditions that honour family fit nicely here, such as a flower presentation for parents, or a candle lighting or sand ceremony. If your guests are being asked to do anything during the ceremony, such as a ring warming, this is also a great place to introduce it, and get it started.


If you would like to include any remembrances, this is a good time to include them. A moment of silence, lighting of a memorial candle, a toast, or a mention of those that are no longer with us are all lovely ways to acknowledge lost loved ones.


If you’re wanting to do so, this is a great place to have a reading, poem, song or meaningful verse – this could be free flow, chosen, or a number of guests/family could be included in offering words of wisdom / advice / well wishes. Alternatively, I can incorporate a quote or some words in the ceremony.

Unity Ceremony/Ritual

If you’re wanting to include a unity ceremony in your ceremony, this is a great time to do it!  Whether it’s lighting a unity candle, sand ceremony, handfasting ceremony, tree planting ceremony, jumping the broom or similar, we’ll incorporate this perfectly.


Your Love Story

I’ll write an original narrative that talks about your love story! How you met, how you fell in love, and all of the beautiful adventures that brought you to your wedding day. I'll add in some words about what you love about each other, or what you're looking forward to in your marriage, your hopes and dreams for the future.  I’ll only include things you’re ok with sharing.  It's funny, touching, personal, and different with every wedding.


This is another spot you could include a reading if you want to.  Adding in personal comments, about what the piece means to you, is a nice way to really personalise it.  There are literally thousands of different readings out there - some come from scenes from movies, lyrics from songs, from books (children's or adults!), or from trusty Google! (Totally optional of course!)


Vows / Declaration of Intent

Your vows can be written by you, or I can provide you with some options for inspiration.  The law says that you must include the following statement (or words to this effect) in your ceremony/vows:


I, [full name], take you [full name] to be my wife/husband/partner.

This doesn’t mean that I can’t ask you both a question around your commitment to one another, in order to say “I do” during your ceremony - many people want to do this.  However, you must make the statement as well.


Ring Exchange

The exchanging of rings can be simply done at the end of your vows, with no additional wording required.  Or you can add in some words as you exchange your rings - the choice is yours.

You don’t have to exchange rings during the ceremony if that’s not your jam.  You might choose to do shots instead?

Signing the Register

This is the part where we’ll sign the ‘register’, or more accurately the “Copy of Particulars”.  


This requires your signatures, your two witnesses names, addresses and signatures and myself to sign and fill in some details.  There are two copies to be completed, and this typically takes about the same amount of time as 2 songs. 

Once we've done this you're legally wed!


I encourage you, once you have both signed, to return to the ‘altar’ together, have your flowers back in your hands and take a moment with one another while your witnesses and I complete the paperwork.  You're nearly there!


Closing remarks

I’ll recap on your ceremony, wish you all the very best and bring your ceremony to a close.

Declaration of Marriage

This is the part where we pronounce you to be married!  You're probably familiar with how this part goes -  

it's the "I now pronounce you husband and wife/ wife and wife/ husbands together/ partners for life/ married…" part! 

I’ll tailor it to your preference and the style of your ceremony.  

Then I'll present you to your friends and family, as:

  • Mr & Mrs  /  Mrs & Mrs  /  Mr & Mr  /  The newlyweds  /  New Zealand's newest married couple

  • Or however you'd like to be introduced!


And then... The Kiss!

There’s lots of different ways to say this.  Some are below, but as always, I’ll ask you what your preference is!


“You may now kiss”
“You may seal your marriage vows with a kiss”
“I invite you to start your marriage with a kiss,” or,
“Get your smooch on!”

After this, you walk back up the aisle, and it’s time to celebrate your love!