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Pro Tips on Running a Wedding Ceremony Rehearsal

Conducting a wedding ceremony rehearsal is not as challenging as you might think, if you know the basic logistics of a wedding ceremony. Tan Weddings & Events and Wedwordy teamed up to produce a short 3 minute video of a wedding rehearsal for our friends Briana and Jonathan. The video depicts the couple’s partnership, personality, and family circle. Tailor the ceremony to what suits you and your partner, and your vision.

Here are a few highlight tips of running a rehearsal:

  1. Start with the ceremony line-up, so the facilitator can see who is in the Wedding Party, the honored family members, and + one’s who wanted to tag along!
  2. The Wedding party should be shoulder to shoulder, slightly angled, no sun glasses, no gum, and no locking the knees.
  3. The couple stands facing each other, hand-in-hand, throughout the ceremony.
  4. Next practice the Recessional (the exit), beginning with the newlyweds, then the Wedding Party starting closest to the couple, then parents and grandparets as applicable.
  5. End the rehearsal by practicing the Processional (the entrance).
  6. If possible, have witnesses sign the marriage license with the officiant/coordinator facilitating. It is one less think to worry about on the wedding day!

Enjoy the video!

A Spiritual Blessing Connects the Newlyweds to Nature

From the Blessings & Prayers element in Wedwordy, Gwen and Jay selected a Buddhist prayer that resonated with them. The couple had come from Oregon to exchange their vows at Drake’s Beach at Point Reyes National Seashore along the northern California coast. Though the couple may have hoped for some California sun, they were met with gentle rain, mist, cloudy skies, and wind! The weather only heightened the mood of reverence and spirituality for the couple’s intimate wedding ceremony. Reverend Rick Tan of Tan Weddings & Events presided the couple’s exchange of vows as family and friends huddled together to witness the magnificence of nature and a couple’s love!

Here is the Buddhist blessing, one of several passages available in Wedwordy!

Love people in their humblest human strivings,
for that is the semblance of Divine Love and is the highest love on earth.
Love all of Nature’s creation, the whole and every grain of sand of it.
Love every leaf, every ray of light.
Love the animals, love the plants, love everything.
If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things.
Once you perceive it, you will begin to comprehend it better every day.
You will come to understand that both of you are in all things.
Therefore, it is wise and fruitful to take in the whole world
With an all-embracing love.

And here is the Wedwordy promotional video produced by Rick Tan!

Words by Wedwordy, Wedding by Tan Weddings & Events, Love by Sara and Gabe

The recently married Sarah and Gabe embracing during their wedding day at The Maples in Woodland, California

We love hearing about happy newlyweds who used Wedwordy to compose their wedding words and enjoyed a wonderful ceremony, but we can’t take all the credit.  To make the entire celebration memorable and meaningful, it takes the concerted efforts of top notch wedding creatives. Our sister company Tan Weddings & Events hosts some of the most extraordinary weddings in the northern California area, and they work with other amazing wedding specialists in the region to bring a couple’s vision to life.

Sara and Gabe enjoyed a beautiful evening at The Maples in Woodland, CA, surrounded by family and friends. Their ceremony words reflected their love as a couple. Using Wedwordy, they customized their script with the addition of a wine letterbox ceremony, and by choosing to share personal vows. The ceremony was followed by cocktails and refreshments, then a dinner reception at this sprawling ranch estate.

A memorable gathering. Forever words of commitment and enduring adoration. Love and friendship. Wedwordy is honored to be a part of it!

Photography | Kaitlynn Tucker Photography
Coordination | Tan Weddings & Events
Venue & Bar | The Maples Wedding & Event Center
Florals | Camino Flower Shop
DJ & Lighting | A&A Music Events
Food | Sac Tacos
Catering Assistance | Gesche’s Gourmet
Cake | Zest Fresh Pastry West
Rentals & Linens | Celebrations! Party Rentals & Tents
Officiant | Tanner Vinson
Dress | Mafalda’s Bridal & Tuxedo

 

What’s Your Story?

Custom "story" section added to a wedding script, where an engaged couple can add a story of how they met

Every couple has a wonderful story of how they became a couple! A random evening at a restaurant bar. Undergrads at a party. Highschool sweethearts. Online dating. A young woman in a Little Mermaid costume stranded by the side of the road and rescued by a friend of a friend (a fun story shared by Tan Weddings & Events)!

In the wedding ceremony script, let your guests in to the funny, intimate, and sweet story of how the two of you met. Use Wedwordy to create your custom wedding ceremony script. Simply go to the Elements Library and add the element “STORY | ADMIRE” to your ceremony sequence. Typically, it flows well when placed just after the Greeting.

Provide your officiant with the following information so they can draft a 2-3 minute narrative of your story:

  1. When and where did the two of you meet?
  2. What were the circumstances at the time?
  3. What attracted you to each other?
  4. What were the first words spoken between you?
  5. When did you start dating?
  6. When did you fall in love?
  7. What qualities do you admire and adore in each other?
  8. What do you enjoy doing together?
  9. What do you look forward to in married life?

If you give your officiant access to your Wedwordy account, they can compose the script for you, including writing your story, or you can do it yourself! Your guests will love, love, love getting a peek into the beginning of your journey as a couple, and it makes the wedding day so meaningful.

Photo Credit | Valley Images Photography

Wedwordy and Your Romantic Elopement

Happy married couple after their elopement created quickly by the Wedwordy web app

The elopement trend has captured the hearts of many young couples wishing for something more than a courthouse exchange of “I do’s” and less than the overwhelming prospect of a big wedding production. Couples want something in between – romantic, memorable, meaningful – shared with just a few close family and friends.

Wedwordy is perfect for an elopement! The Web app makes it convenient to compose meaningful and personal wedding words in a relatively short time, which meets the “spur of the moment” energy of an elopement. Composing ceremony words with Wedwordy begins with choosing one of eight templates (Christian, Secular, Filipino/Latino, Short & Sweet, Spiritual, Catholic, Vow Renewal, and Custom). Except for custom, the other seven contain pre-selected passages. If the couple chooses to keep the passages, they can simply save, share, and print, and voila! a complete wedding ceremony script!

What’s fabulous about Wedwordy is that all the templates have ceremony elements that can be re-arranged, and the pre-set passages can be completely edited or switched out for other passage options! So, it is both convenient and customizable. And because the Web app can be used anywhere and printed anywhere, destination couples can begin their Wedwordy script at home, complete it at their bed and breakfast, and have their officiant print it for the wedding.

Photo Credit | Holly D Photography

Helpful Advice from Pro Officiants

Wedding officiant posing with a couple during a rehearsal for their marriage ceremony

Officiants of Tan Weddings & Events have collectively officiated over 1500 beautiful weddings! From their experience, they share a few gems that will make your wedding ceremony sparkle and shine!

Secure Your Officiant, Like NOW!

If you are hiring a pro officiant, don’t procrastinate! The best ones book really fasy, especially during the peak wedding season. Also, not waiting until the last moment gives the officiant ample time to get to know you and compose words with you.

Use Wedwordy to Compose Your Script.

Whether your officiant is a pro or a friend you’ve tapped, you can use Wedwordy to compose your custom wedding ceremony script. You might want to write the script entirely on your own, or collaborate with your officiant. Either way, Wedwordy gives you the balance of convenience and personalization. Go with a template with pre-set elements and passages, if the script suits your needs. Or create a completely custom ceremony. Or blend it, and make it your own. Wedwordy gives you peace of mind with a complete, formatted ceremony, ready for your big day!

Rehearse, But Don’t Stress if the Ceremony Does Not Go Exactly As Planned.

Your coordinator, independent or venue, will often facilitate it. It’s not always easy to have every member of the wedding party present, so you can ask accompanying friends and family to serve as proxy. Have fun with the rehearsal! The main components are figuring out the processional order, the ceremony formation, and the recessional. Talk to your Wedding party about NOT chewing gum, or wearing sunglasses! Coordinate the height of bouquets, and where hands are during the ceremony. Determine who will have the rings. If being given away, choreograph with your escort! If on the wedding day, your coordinator can get guests seated, your Wedding Party lined up, bouquets and bouts ready, rings ready – then you’re good to go! Don’t sweat the details, and certainly don’t worry if your Flower Girl dumps all the petals in one pile on the aisle – it makes the wedding day just that much more memorable and genuine!

Hold Hands, Gaze Lovingly!

Throughout the ceremony, hold each other’s hands and look at one another. Smile. Squeeze or stroke each other’s hands to let your partner know you both got this! Holding hands keeps you at a nice, intimate distance for your photographers, for mics to pick up your vows, and for your officiant to be close and personal.

Your Officiant Should Step Aside for the Kiss.

Unless you want your officiant to be awkwardly gawking above you during your newlywed kiss, you should advise your officiant to step to one side (of course, if your officiant is a pro, they already know this). Your officiant will feel more confortable, and the pictures will look much classier.

Breathe. Soak in the Love!

It’s hard not to care for your own health and sanity during the week before the wedding. Make yourself the priority – not selfish at all – just know your vendors got your back, and your friends and family are rooting for you! Catch your breath. Hydrate. Eat. Sleep well. Open yourself to positive energy flowing your way.

Photo Credit | En Pointe Photography

Blessings and Prayers for the Marriage Journey

A young couple walking in The Maples in Woodland, California about to begin their journey of Marriage

In a wedding ceremony, you can choose to add a blessing, prayer, reading, or poem. Penned by famous and less well-known authors, religious leaders or inspired artists, these literary passages give a grounding force to your ceremony script. Here is an excerpt from “Blessings for the Journey” by Buddhist Wendy Nakao. It is very special to Wedwordy and to couples who choose to add it to their ceremony. Sensei Wendy was so gracious in permitting its use in our app – we owe her deep gratitude for sharing such beautiful words with us. To select it in Wedwordy, go to the Element “Blessings & Prayers”. It is number 10 of 14 available passages.

“Let us vow to bear witness to the wholeness of life,
realizing the completeness of each and every thing.
Embracing our differences,
I shall know myself as you,
and you as myself.
May we serve each other
for all our days,
here, there, and everywhere.”

 

Photo Credit | Nick Graham Photography

In Your Ceremony, Share the Story of How You Met

A man and women walking down the aisle at an outdoor wedding ceremony

Every couple has a uniqe story of how they met and fell in love! Share yours in your ceremony to give it added intimacy, personality, and humor. Your guests will love it. Here’s how with Wedwordy.

Select the element “Story | Admire”

In your ceremony sequence called the “Elements Flow” in Wedwordy, add “Story | Admire” from the Elements Library.

Place it in your Elements Flow

A great place to tell your story in the ceremony is after the Greeting, when your officiant has welcomed the guests. In Wedwordy, simply drag the element Story | Admire to the position below Greeting in the Elements Flow page, and Save Draft.

Select the passage “Story of How We Met”

When you click on the element Story | Admire, it opens two passages you can choose from. Click on the passage “Story of How We Met”.

Respond to the prompts

Read and reflect on the prompts and you can start typing in your responses to help you organize your thoughts. You might decide that this is the section of your ceremony you will hand off to your officiant to draft your story. In which case, simply give your officiant access your draft or you can paste it in after he or she has written it. Here are the prompts:

  1. When, where, and how did the two of you meet?
  2. What attracted you to each other?
  3. When did you begin dating officially?
  4. When would you say you fell in love?
  5. When did you become engaged?
  6. What qualities do you admire in each other?
  7. What do you enjoy doing together?
  8. What do you look forward to in your married life?

Draft your story

From your responses, you or your officiant can begin drafting your story. It may undergo some revisions and refinements. If your officiant wrote it, you should review it and be clear that he or she follow the script (if you want to avoid the unexpected sharing of too-personal information!).

Here is a finished story!

Borrowed from our friends at Tan Weddings & Events, here is a story the officiant wrote for the couple. (The names have been changed.)

 

In a restaurant bar with billiards, one would expect to hear patrons enjoying meals and playing pool. However, on an evening in March of 2015, the clack of balls bouncing from a pool table onto the floor, followed by hysterical laughter, would draw some attention. Honing in on the mildly annoying cackle, Michael was amused to see a beautiful young woman with a pool cue! It was Lauren, who was there on the invitation by her potential employer. She noticed Michael staring at her half annoyed and half intrigued!

Despite her lack of pool skills, Lauren got the job and by July, had moved to San Francisco to begin work at the firm, where Michael was as a designer. They introduced themselves to each other, and sat in adjacent desks. Lauren and Michael discovered how much they enjoyed conversations with each other. They talked about favorite TV shows, and places to eat in San Francisco. After work, genuinely concerned for her safety, Michael would escort her home, leaving her to her routine of staying in and binging on How I Met Your Mother. Michael did his best to convince her to get out more and explore the City.

On a company outing, a co-worker blurted out to Lauren, “You should totally marry Michael!” Lauren responded, “Are you joking!?” Michael was within earshot and feigned disinterest.

With those words planted in each of their minds, the two spent more time together at work and friendly conversations became intimate. One evening in October, Micahel was determined to kiss Lauren. He also had been thinking of quitting his job, so if Lauren rejected his advances, he would simply leave work the next day to avoid the awkwardness. Well, luckily they kissed, and he kept his job.

The couple began dating, spending every moment together. Lauren eventually left her apartment since she hadn’t even used her keys for the past two months! She moved in with Michael on Valentine’s Day of 2016!

Their friendship and romance has grown. They enjoy time at the beach, obsessed with brunch and snorkeling, and driving up and down the coast just to talk for hours. They travel far to beautiful tropical locales, and near to the neighborhood diner every weekend for breakfast and coffee.

The couple shares a mutual admiration. Lauren says this of Michael, “Michael gets stuff done, he is obsessed with efficiency and optimizing things; he really, really cares about doing things the right way; he’s extremely empathetic, and he is the absolute most hilarious and ridiculous person I’ve ever met.”

Michael, in turn, admires Lauren for the following, “Her ability to be the very best at anything she takes on – she used to be the absolute most terribly worst cook on the planet; her love of spreadsheets, which maximizes every experience; how she makes me feel like the funniest person on the planet; and Lauren inspires me to have the confidence we will be happy together forever.”

On that evening of March 2015, for Lauren who did not show much proficiency with billiards, she landed the one perfect shot in her corner pocket – Michael!

 

Photo Credit | Nick Graham Photography

 

Create Your Ceremony with Wedwordy and Your Officiant

Officiant reading from a wedding ceremony script a man and his betrothed hold hands

With Wedwordy, creating your wedding script with your officiant has never been easier! Whether you have asked a friend or family member to officiate, or have hired a professional, you and your officiant can use Wedwordy as a collaboration tool to create the wedding ceremony script together. Here’s how.

SIGN UP

First, create your Wedwordy account. Just follow the prompts on the website.

SHARE

Share your username and password with your officiant. Both of you now have access to the app!

COMPOSE

To start composing your wedding ceremony script, you’ll first select a template. Then as you go through each of the elements of your ceremony, you’ll choose passages that best resonate with you. With some of the elements, you might use a “blank passage” to write your own or leave open for your officiant. The app auto-saves your work as an “In Progress” draft.

COLLABORATE

Direct your officiant to the “In Progress” draft in Wedwordy. Let them know what passages to edit and refine or to write completely. Being able to collaborate with your officiant is easy with Wedwordy. Allowing your officiant to write portions of the ceremony gives them an opportunity to impart it with a bit of their personality and speaking style. You might even have your officiant write the story of how you and your loved one met. How you and your officiant decide to work together will create the perfect wedding words!

SAVE AS DOCUMENT

When you have fine-tuned the draft, click on “Save As Document”. You now have your completed wedding ceremony script, ready to print for your big day!

 

Photo Credit | Holly D Photography

 

Fab Features of a Ceremony Your Guests Will Appreciate

Table displaying features for wedding ceremony guests including a book to write a message to the newlyweds

During the ceremony, all eyes may be on the two of you, but your guests will still be paying attention to the little details. From the guests’ first arrival to the venue, the wedding celebration is truly a sensory experience. What they see, hear, touch, smell – all add to their overall impression. Here are a few thoughts to consider to give your guests a welcoming and wonderful experience. This post addresses specifically the time the guests arrive to when you walk the aisle as newlyweds!

PARKING

Make sure that the venue has ample parking and if not, arrange a shuttle, or valet service. If you know there are guests with limited mobility, map out the safest route so ushers or signage can direct them accordingly.

SIGNAGE

Be strategic where to place signs so guests are properly oriented to the day’s events. Chalkboards are still the latest trends in signage, but wood planks and window panes are also popular. Try something different like blackened metal, marble, slate, and tile. Whatever the surface, make sure the signs are legible and most importantly, that they clearly direct guests with locations, instructions, and event timelines.

REFRESHMENTS

It’s no fun as a guest to brave some windy country road to your secluded venue destination on a hot day, only to arrive to the site, sweaty in a suit, without any cold water to drink! Pre-wedding refreshments not only welcome guests but tell them you care about their comfort as well as their health. Have a table set up with cool herb- and fruit-infused water. Wine and champagne are options to consider. Have candy and mints available, or go for lite appetizer fare if appropriate.

WELCOME AND GIFT TABLE

One smart landing spot for guests is the welcome table. Draped and decorated for a cohesive look with your wedding, the table can have the guest book, framed couple engagement photos, and space for cards/gifts.

MUSIC

The prelude music offers guests some level of entertainment and ambience that signals a special affair. Choose a DJ that will play that perfect song list or the live musician who can put your guests into the mood for a wedding.

SEATING

Whether you have invited 16 or 160, comfort is key. The chair itself does not have to be the most expensive to rent, but think about the placement so that guests do not have to withstand extremes of weather, for instance, glaring, direct sun. Also, angled, curved, and row length can affect the guests’ enjoyment. Ideally, every seat should have a good view of the two of you, and encourage getting to know each other.

CEREMONY LENGTH AND TONE

Your guests came from far and near to see the two of you exchange vows and kiss as newlyweds. They neither want the ceremony to be too short nor too long. But what is “just right”? That’s really up to you, but a typical ceremony length is between 20-30 minutes, including the processional and recessional. Also, you want the ceremony to reflect the two of you – do not feel obligated to entertain your guests with bells and whistles at the ceremony, they would rather experience something that is authentically you.

PERSONAL VOWS AND STORY

Some of the more popular elements of a ceremony are the couple’s exchange of personal vows, and a retelling of the story of how they met. Consider adding these to give your ceremony an extra personalized touch that your guests will connect with and enjoy.

Talk to your venue, your planner, your spouse about designing the ceremony space to maximize the guest experience. Dazzling decor and excellent entrees may get the buzz, but thoughtful details give the lasting, memorable impressions of your fabulous celebration!

 

Photo Credit | Nick Graham Photography