There is so much more to your wedding ceremony than just showing up on the day and saying, “I do.” The ceremony is the most important part of your day because not only does it set the tone for the whole celebration, it’s also when you actually tie the knot from a legal perspective. Here are some of our top tips to help you plan a memorable ceremony:
- Reach out to your marriage officer well ahead of the big day so that you can communicate your vision for your special day with them. This will result in a ceremony that feels personal and reflects who you are as a couple.
- Consider the practicalities of your wedding ceremony location. Don’t pick a spot that is too far from your reception venue. Ensure that there is adequate and comfortable seating for your guests. You may have your heart set on an outdoor ceremony but make sure you have a backup plan that caters for wet, cold, or windy weather.
- The duration of the ceremony is important. It should be meaningful for you as a couple and at the same time, hold the attention of your guests.
- If you want your guests to be fully present during the ceremony, request that they turn their phones off and refrain from taking photos and videos during the ceremony.
- Choose your music wisely, especially the songs to be used before, during, and as you exit the ceremony.
- Think about asking a special friend or family member to do a reading or poem, or even sing a song but make sure you pick someone who is confident and equipped for the job.
- Chat to your marriage officer about the tone and content of your ceremony. Would you like it to be joyful, celebratory, and light-hearted, or reverent, quiet, and sacred? Chat about your beliefs and how you would like these to be reflected in your ceremony.
- Your marriage officer should share a detailed order of service with you prior to the wedding. If you opt not to do a formal ceremony rehearsal with your marriage officer, make sure that you share this information with your bridal party so that everyone knows what to expect on the day and no one is caught off guard by the proceedings.
- Your vows should be meaningful and from the heart so set aside time to work on these. We recommend that you either printed on a card rather than trying to remember what you want to say. Even if you have practiced, your nerves might get the better of you and it is important to focus on each other when exchanging vows.
- It is important that your marriage officer is well informed about all the legal regulations surrounding your wedding day. Your marriage officer will complete the marriage register, which will be signed and witnessed on the day, issue you with a SA marriage certificate, and will then register your marriage with Home Affairs within the stipulated timeframe.
Most importantly, remember that this is the day you have been waiting for and working towards for months and possibly even years. Cherish each moment.
By AJ and Beulah