Step by Step Guide to a Humanist Wedding no.7 – The Order of Ceremony

It’s sometimes a good idea to have an Order of Ceremony, just so your guests know what’s happening.

It doesn’t need to be complicated: it can be a simple, single sheet of A4

It can be something clever that reflects your interests…

Or it can be simply a beautifully bound example of the printer’s art.

If you ARE having one, apart from the location date and time, here are some of the other things you may want to include:

What happens when – the names of the various sections of the ceremony, which can, (but don’t have to) include

‘The Introduction & Welcome’,
‘The Story So Far’
‘The Reasons We Love One Another’
‘Thoughts on Marriage’
‘Vows & Declarations’
‘The Exchange of Rings’
‘Readings & Songs’
‘Signing of the Marriage Schedule’
‘Last Words’
‘Wedding Blessing’

It’s generally a good idea to give the names of the people you’ve asked to give readings or songs and the title of their piece: you can include the text as well, but I find that if you do, everyone sits there reading it, rather than really listening, which I think is the point.

If you have live music, remember to credit the performers; if it’s recorded, at least tell us what the songs are. And if you want your guests to sing along with something, include the lyrics!

If you’ve got room, it’s not a bad idea to say something about the reasons you’ve chosen a Humanist Wedding ceremony; not everyone you’ve invited will know what it is, and while I will always say something about Humanism in the introduction to the ceremony, you may want to explain it in your own words.

And finally, two small and niggling points.

Please remember to describe it as an ‘Order of Ceremony’, rather than an ‘Order of Service’. It’s a small point, but it’s a Humanist Ceremony rather than a Religious Service.

Please remember to use the name and the title of the person conducting the ceremony, so if it’s me, please describe me as ‘Tim Maguire, Marriage Celebrant, Celebrate People’, rather than Tim Maguire Total Pedant About Trivial Things Like Titles…

  1. Some Things to Think About Before You Meet a Celebrant - Tim Maguire left a comment on August 25, 2022 at 11:05 am

    […] Are you having an Order of Ceremony? It’s not essential but is a good idea, as it allows everyone to see who’s doing what and when.  Click here for some examples. […]

  2. Are we allowed to sing? - Tim Maguire left a comment on August 25, 2022 at 11:21 am

    […] complicated, so everyone can join in – as long as you remember to print the lyrics in your Order of Ceremony. It helps if you’ve got a musical […]

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