A traditional church wedding is timeless. Take a look at your parents wedding photos. Whilst fashions and hairstyles continually change, the image of a bride and groom in front of a traditional church is an iconic one. It reflects a promise and commitment given in a building hundreds of years old that has borne witness to thousands of such unions.
Traditional does not mean something old fashioned. Couples make their own unique wedding days, adding personal touches to reflect their own personalities and life journeys that have brought them to this day.
This blog is a handy guide of what happens on the day. As a leading Cheshire wedding caterer we know research and planning is key to having an amazing day so please use our handy guide if you’re planning a church wedding and wanted to know what happens during the marriage. Follow any links for handy information such as music choices.
Order of service
This is a sample order of service for a traditional Church of England wedding. Different churches may do things slightly differently but this will give you a good idea of what is going to happen on the day and what kind of things you will need to think about and decide upon during the planning process.
The first big tip is don’t be worried or overawed by any of this. The minister will take you through the service and tell you where to stand, when to sit and so on. There will also be a full rehearsal before the day so everyone involved has a clear idea of what will happen. They will read out the vows to be repeated so it’s not necessary to remember lots of things.
The Entrance of the Bride
This is one of the parts most people will remember the most (no pressure then!). When the bride arrives at the Church there will be a few moments before entering the Church – usually to arrange the wedding party and for the entrance music to begin. When the bride arrives at the altar she takes her place next to the groom.
Our handy blog “Top 10 Church Wedding Entrance Music” gives a handy run down of options for entrance music.
The minister welcomes everyone to the wedding and church. Everyone does these slightly differently but the gist is that we’re all here to celebrate the marriage of the couple and how important marriage is.
There are usually three hymns in a wedding and the first happens quite quickly. Following the breathtaking entrance of the bride and the minister’s welcome it’s a great way to get everyone involved and for people to feel they are part of something with purpose and significance.
Hymns are a personal choice but our top tip for selection would be to try and choose ones your guests are likely to be familiar with. Your church will be able to help you with your choices and make suggestions. They may also have a choir that can also sing at the wedding service for a small fee.
Our blog “Top 10 Cheshire Church Wedding Hymns” lists the most popular hymns sung at UK weddings.
The minister will ask everyone present if there’s a reason why the bride and groom cannot get married. The bride and groom are then asked about their commitment to one another and the congregation are asked if they will support the couple in their wedding.
A bible reading is an important part of a church wedding and your minister will help you choose a reading. Most people opt for one of the popular wedding readings (our blog “Top 10 bible readings for your wedding” lists the most popular). Our top tip for bible readings is to choose something that reflects things that are important to you. Also take a look at the wording in the bible at church and make sure you’re happy with the style. There are different versions of the bible where the language varies from traditional to a modern. Your minister can guide you through this.
Our blog “Top 10 bible readings for your Cheshire wedding” list the ones most used.
Church of England weddings must have at least one bible reading (its a religious as well as legal ceremony) but why not also include other readings or even poems? There are plenty to choose from so let your inspiration lead you. Anything from extracts from Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare) through to the poem She Walks in Beauty (Byron).
Our blog “Top 10 alternative readings for your Cheshire wedding” has some ideas but this is very much a personal choice – as with all our lists we collate the ones that appear most often but let your imagination run wild!
The minister may say a few words now (or this may take place after the vows). Whilst not exactly a sermon this will be about marriage, the life ahead of you and all about commitment, love and loyalty. To reflect the joyous nature of a wedding most will intersperse this with some funnies and personal references to the bride and groom. If you’re a church regular then you know the minister and will be prepared. If you’re not a church regular it might be worth going along to some services just to gauge the style of the minister so you know what to expect on the day. And also give them a chance to get to know you to make the day more personal.
This second hymn usually comes just before the vows. If you have chosen three hymns it’s probably worth having the most thoughtful or reflective one here.
The Marriage Vows
Wedding vows cannot be re-written or changed for legal reasons. However it is possible to say additional things to one another and ministers will work with you to incorporate personal statements, vows or promises over and above the legal “set” of vows.
Rings are exchanged and the minister blesses the couple and declares them married.
There are usually a couple of additional readings from the bible or another source. These can be read by anyone and once again are a personal choice of the bride and groom. It is a fantastic opportunity to involve members of the family. We already mentioned some options earlier in the blog but here are the links again:
Signing of the register
The bride, groom, minister and two witnesses sign the register. This is generally done at the side of the room or even in a different room so music is played during this formal and legal part of the wedding.
If there is a young child in the family or friend who is an amazing singer this is their moment. Our blog “Top 10 register signing music for your Cheshire wedding” lists some of the options.
This final hymn should be the most joyous and uplifting of your choices. Everyone will be thrilled and looking forward to congratulating you individually so a big finish will be enjoyed by all.
A final blessing from the minister to wish the couple well on their journey as a married couple.
The Wedding Procession
The wedding party leave the church to some joyful and uplifting music and the congregation follows. Many of the musical pieces from our blog “Top 10 Church Wedding Entrance Music” are suitable for the processional so this is a good place to start looking at some ideas.
About Cheshire based Benjamin Lauren Event Catering
Lauren Rowlinson created Benjamin Lauren Event Caterers out of a love for events, big and small, and the knowledge that every client is unique. This passion combined with her extensive experience in the hospitality industry has formed the foundation for her business ethos – “edible excellence!”
We pride ourselves on our personal and flexible approach to wedding catering bringing our Cheshire brides their wedding their way. Every couple is different so every wedding is different and we provide a bespoke service to make their day extra special! And no matter how many couples we have catered for their day is always unique and something new to experience. All these experiences give us something new to take on and potentially share with future families.
We are known for our attentive service and our fresh approach to event catering. A personal service and fine dining experience no matter the guest numbers or budget. We really care and strive for exemplary standards, within the quality of all our ingredients and our service dedication to every client – creating unforgettable events every time.
To find out more or simply to meet up for an informal chat to discuss your exciting event get in contact with us today.