The Four Most Popular Types of Wedding Ceremony

... and choosing which wedding ceremony is just right for the two of YOU!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

You've possibly dreamed about your wedding ceremony for years, and now it's really happening! But there are so many choices, so many possibilities - how to decide? Where to begin?

What Type of Wedding Ceremony Do You Want?

Determining your type of wedding ceremony is one of the first decisions you and your new partner will have to make. It's easy if you have similar religious backgrounds, but if not, you need to both be happy and comfortable with the wedding ceremony choice you make.


1. Religious. By far the most common of the wedding ceremonies, a religious wedding ceremony, is still really popular. It becomes a 'problem' only if you and your intended are of different faiths, but many churches are working together now to help inter-faith couples marry. Depending on your chosen church, it's even possible to have two officiates marry you at the same time.

The best thing to do is to check with your minister, priest or rabbi and find out what the options are, and then discuss it. You may need to work on one of your first compromises - picking the best of both worlds to create something truly unique to you!

2. Civil. A civil wedding ceremony is one in which a Justice of the Peace, a judge, or a 'Marriage Commissionaire' is hired to marry you, outside of a church. These people are appointed by the state (or in Canada, the province). They will have some scripts you can choose from to say your vows.

Even though this sounds cold and impersonal, a civil wedding ceremony can be large and formal, or small; indoors or out - and every bit as romantic and elegant as a religious wedding ceremony.

DID YOU KNOW... There are essentially three 'styles' among today's brides: 1) The traditional "princess bride" -- a young woman whose parents are active in the planning and financing of their daughter's once-in-a-lifetime, fairy-tale wedding; 2) "Traditional independent bride" -- she is financially independent and plans her own wedding (sometimes along with the groom). She blends tradition with her own style; and 3) "Nontraditional independent brides" - typically marry later or were perhaps previously married; she plans a small, nontraditional wedding.

3. Military. If you or your partner is in the military (or retired after serving), you may be entitled to a full military wedding ceremony. This ceremony often takes place in the military chapel, but can sometimes be arranged for outdoors or elsewhere, too. The military person will dress in appropriate uniform (whites in the summer, dark for winter). Officers will sometimes carry a sword, and an 'arch of swords' is sometimes formed for the new couple to walk through on their exit.

Non-military guests at a military wedding ceremony dress in traditional attire, usually formal.

4. Non-traditional. A non-traditional wedding ceremony is similar to a civil one, but may have religious overtones if you as a couple, or one of you, is a member of a 'non-traditional' religion. You may have an officiate recognized by your organization who is qualified to marry you, and your wedding ceremony may contain some religious elements.

A non-traditional wedding ceremony gives you the most leeway to 'do your own thing' at your wedding - you can be as creative as your imaginations will allow!

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