This is not an exhaustive list, but some of the more common ceremony elements my clients choose to use. 
Not all of these will be appropriate for every couple, and that's okay!

                                    (ceremony seating near Max Patch)                                                   (candle & ring warming box)                          (wedding bands and oathing stone used during vows)

Family Support (formerly known as the "approval blessing")
  • A modern interpretation of the "giving away of the bride," typically occurring before or during the Greeting. Some escorts give each partner a hug and silently take their seat, while other times the officiant asks "who supports partner 1 in their marriage to partner 2." If the couple wants to honor two sets of friends/families, a friend/family thank you can be added later in the ceremony.
  • Officiant welcomes family and friends to the wedding. Sometimes special family members / friends are thanked for supporting the couple.
Warming of the Rings
  • Rings are passed around and guests are asked to say a silent wish or prayer for the couple while the ceremony takes place. Nice way to include guests and allow them to have a moment in the ceremony that matches their own philosophy while not infringing on the couple's vision for the ceremony.
  • A time to remember those who could not attend the wedding and/or those who have passed. Can name individuals or use a more general statement.
Expression of intent
  • Can be worded many ways, but is meant to ensure that both parties consent to the marriage.
  • The officiant or person that the couples chooses may read a poem, an excerpt from a poem or book, etc.
Family and Friends Response
  • Provides an opportunity for guests to participate in the ceremony by giving their verbal support. A fun, upbeat way to include guests.
Candle Lighting
  • Can take place at various points in ceremony; during the remembrance, vows, or as a unity symbol at end of ceremony
  • Verbal exchange between the couple solidifying the marriage promises. each party may write their own vow, or use a shared set of vows. I usually print vows on cardstock and hand them to the bride and groom when the moment arrives. This allows each partner to take a deep breath and say their vows slowly and with conviction, and sometimes, emotion. A more special moment than repeating phrases that the officiant whispers to you.
    • In traditional Scottish weddings, cords are used to tie the couple's hands together, symbolizing the union of two partners. Wedding rings are a modern interpretation of "tying the knot." 
Oathing Stone
    • The oathing stone tradition goes far back into the Celtic spirit. A physical object, such as a stone or piece of wood, was used to help transfer the wedding oaths to the spirit energies present in a sacred location. In the modern version of this ritual, the officiant will invite the couple to hold the stone while sharing their vows. After the ceremony, the couple may release the stone back to the elements by leaving it outdoors or keep the stone in their home.
Exchanging of the Rings
  • Rings are often given as a physical symbol of the vows. Some couples do this silently, while others incorporate a short set of ring vows. The officiant may say something about the meaning of wedding rings.
Wine Ceremony/Wine Box Ceremony
  • Drinking wine from the same glass during ceremony as a unity symbol
  • At the end of the wedding, locking love letters in a box with a bottle of wine to open on an anniversary
Sand Ceremony
  • Symbolizes two individual lives joining to take one path. Some couples incorporate children here.
  • The officiant concludes the ceremony by communicating hopes and wishes for the couple. 
Pronouncement of Marriage
  • Legal requirement. Officiant states that the couple are married.
Breaking of the Glass
  • Not just for Jewish ceremonies, a glass is broken at the end of the ceremony before the kiss to symbolize permanence of vows.
  • The couple shares a kiss to symbolize the sealing of the vows.
  •  Officiant introduces the newly married couple. Sometimes the officiant simply introduces them as, "... the newly married couple (first name) and (first name)," while other couples prefer something more formal that includes last names and Dr., Mrs., or Mr. as appropriate.
  • The wedding party exits the ceremony space, typically in the reverse order in which they entered (the newly married couple exiting first).
Children and Pets
  • There are many ways to include children and pets in the ceremony.  
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