As you prepare for your big day with your ceremony officiant, there are many things to consider and decide upon. Here is my checklist of useful things to consider:
How would you like to walk down the aisle? Traditionally, flower girls and page boys lead the way followed by bridesmaids/men, then the bride with her father. Nowadays there are so many options, so choose the one that reflect you and your relationships. If the bride is close with both of her parents, she can ask both of them to walk her down the aisle. Or choose whoever you think makes the most sense to ‘lead you towards your future’ (or as it more traditionally known ‘giving you away’)
Groomsmen can walk down separately or together with the bridesmaids whilst the groom can be walked down by parents as well. Or the bride and groom can walk down the aisle hand in hand together! Just know whatever you choose is up to what the two of you decide.
For flower girls and page boys, anyone under the age of four can be unpredictable. Walking them together is super cute and less stressful for them. A good ‘Plan B’ if they don’t want to walk is for the next adult (usually a bridesmaid) to take them by the hand and lead them down. I’ve had several small babies make an entrance in a little decorated trailer pulled by slightly older children and it’s very cute! And of course do not forget flower dogs can be included as well!
If you have a veil covering your face, choose whether you want to remain covered for the majority of the ceremony until “you may kiss the bride” or you can be ‘unveiled’ by your groom or the person giving you away at the start. Try to picture the two options and together discuss which one feels right.
A religious minister usually stands in between the couple but there is no reason a civil celebrant needs to. Check to find out where your celebrant will stand. Ideally it is off to one side most of the time and especially during the most photogenic moment – the kiss!
If the bride has a favourite side to take photos from, or her hairstyle shows off one side better (like a hairpiece), then make sure to stand so that side is the side facing the guests for all the photos! Hide tissues too for just in case moments – boys in their pockets, girls in your palms holding the bouquet!
Who is responsible for the rings and being your legal witnesses? Traditionally it is the best man and maid of honour but share the love (or roles) if you choose! Ask siblings or cousins or other friends like a mentor or parents. In Australia, the witnesses only need to be over 18 and understand the language the legal section of the ceremony is being conducted in. They do not have to be citizens of Australia so parents living overseas can be a popular option.
Agree beforehand how you wish to be introduced socially – for example, as Mr & Mrs. Or if the bride prefers not to be known by the same surname as her husband, discuss what you want and let the celebrant know to use those titles to set the tone. In Australia, a legal change of name is a separate procedure so a name change is not automatic once you are married.
If it matters to you, agree beforehand if you want to advise your guests about your wishes in regard to taking photographs and social media posting; ask the celebrant to make an announcement and/or include it in a little pamphlet.
Do not let these details stress you out. To be more prepared on the day just means you are able to enjoy your wedding that little bit more. At the end of the day, remember this: no matter what happens, you were married and the day was a success!
Ms Chinoiserie Says: Wonderful advice about witnesses – it gives you another opportunity to include loved ones in your ceremony!