Brilliant Ceremony Checklist

Wedding Ceremony Checklist Prep Steps

wedding checklist

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Most of you have a wedding day checklist. I’ve seen your fat folders and bulging spiral notebooks. Planning the day, Your Day, is the first thing on any bride-to-be’s mind after saying, “I Do!” First Congrats! Second, don’t panic.


There’s a lot of pressure to get this right. And surely you know someone (who will remain nameless) that over planned, frazzled up, and lost their cool on the big day.


There is nothing wrong with having a plan. In fact, a well tailor plan can free your mind to concentrate on the things that are truly important. Having a beautiful day isn’t just about the dress, the flowers, or the venue. It’s about the care you take behind the scenes that will make a memorable day for YOU.


So, let’s look at the Wedding Ceremony Checklist you can start using today as a benchmark for your ceremony. I’ve been gathering examples of vows, readings and special ceremonies as a wedding officiant for over three decades…there’s so much to choose from it’s a relief (or so I’m told) to have a broad selection. There’s enough but not too much. As one of my couples, you have access to this “easy for you” resource.

Time to get type A about the things that matter so you can be breezy about the things that don’t.


1. What matters most to YOU as a COUPLE?

wedding ceremony checklistIf everything is special, then nothing is special. Dedicate real time to making a SHORT list of what you really want included and put that in your wedding ceremony checklist. If there are very few requests, you need to do some serious self-reflection. The “short and sweet” “list is equally unhelpful.

Make a realistic, meaningful list, and be absolutely non-judgmental about your preferences. Oh, and you do NOT have to include what your parents think you should want, please.

Exchanging vows

Hot take: The number one thing on this list should be your vows. If you miss on this, what’s going to come to mind in the future when you wonder what they heck you were thinking when you agreed to marry each other!

Refer back to this wedding ceremony checklist when you feel yourself getting lost in the details. Ask yourself, “Am I using my energy on something that really matters to us?” If the answer is no…make it easy, or let it go. You’ll be happy you did.


2. Plan lots and lots of  Zen Time

When planning your day it will feel realistic to schedule things back to back. You may say you want a short and sweet ceremony because you want to get to the party. Then you’ll want to dd to the time allotted for your ceremony a few hours for pictures, couples dance, cut the cake, cue the sparklers. So efficient.

Nope, nope, nope.

Couple meditatingDo yourself a favor and purposefully put in Open/Zen Time between scheduled events…and lots of it.

Should we work together, your ceremony will have in it what the master officiant, Chris Shelley taught me, A Moment of Zen. This brief period of time during your ceremony will help you get present to each other so your ceremony isn’t a blur. I encourage you to have Zen moments throughout your wedding day. 

Insert the Zen into your wedding day plans. Make sure this is part of your wedding ceremony checklist. This will counteract panic time, lost tie time, grandma went to the wrong church time, friends all want our time, time. This will also allow for quiet moments with loved ones, one extra picture, and peacefully holding hands.


3. Make a “Day Of” Bag and “Emergency” Bag

wedding ceremony checklist

Photo by Luis Quintero on Unsplash

Even the best laid plans are subjected to the natural law of “what the hell just actually happened”. So when a curveball comes…and it will…be prepared with the essentials.

Day Of Bag: Rings, vows (if you’re not repeating your vows after me), extra shoes, marriage license (envelopes, postage on said envelopes), extra copies of the schedule, tips for vendors (in individual envelopes), wedding contact list.

Emergency Bag: Pain reliever, nail polish, stain remover, deodorant, tissues, tampons, lint roller, needle and thread, safety pins, extra make-up, bobby pins, mints, snack, water bottle. Nylons and an extra bra too!

Repeat after me: “I Do” put these items on my wedding ceremony checklist.


4. Make someone else the point person for the day

wedding ceremony checklist

Stacy Nicole of Juniper & Lace Events

This is sooo important and must be on your wedding ceremony checklist. By making someone else the point person for the actual day, your plan has officially come full circle. Couples should only be worrying about each other and not pesky details (also another great reason for the Zen moments). That’s what a wedding planner and friends, aunts and uncles are for! Pass over the contact list and the schedule so you are free to enjoy the day.

Certainly have someone else be the contact point to make sure the flowers for the ceremony are in place, attendants know when to enter and how to exit (even if you’ve had a rehearsal), the microphones work, and who will make sure your signed marriage license goes into a safe place after the ceremony is over.

I promise if you dedicate your time to making the few things that matter most a priority, your wedding day will be unforgettable, in the right way. And if beautifully crafted ceremony by an experienced officiant is on your “What Matters Most” list, click below to set up a consultation. 

And while you’re at it, download our “How To Choose Your Officiant” checklist!

Contact Me for a Chat / Consultation

Take care and know I’m truly happy for you!

Wedding Ceremony checklist

Rev Crystal of Northern Michigan Wedding Officiants


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