According to recent research, couples will spend close to 900 hours planning a wedding. However, when I start to work with a couple, I often find that their ceremony is lacking any type of thought or detail. I hear a lot of "we're just having a quick 20 minute ceremony" or "we're not religious". Religious or not, you need to fill that "quick 20 minute ceremony" with some substance.
Even Mindy Weiss, celebrity event planner, was recently quoted in an interview saying that the number one mistake couples make is not putting enough thought into their ceremony.
Couples think that an officiant will magically come up with meaningful material to make their ceremony beautiful. Often times, the officiant does not know the couple very well and struggles to come up with the right words to fit the couples personality. Couples wait until the last minute to pick readings, and to ask family or friends to be a part of their ceremony. Ceremony programs are usually an after-thought.
As a wedding planner, I encourage all couples to put just as much thought into your ceremony as you put into your reception. I see couples spend hours researching the best Photobooth company, yet they have no clue who will be escorting their mother down the aisle.
Set aside several hours during your wedding planning process to plan out your ceremony. Meet with your priest or officiant months before your wedding to learn what their process is and what they require from you.
Start to visualize how you want your ceremony to flow. Who can you ask to be a reader? What type of readings do you want spoken at your ceremony? And vows? Writing your own vows takes a lot of time and practice.
Spend some time thinking about the music for your ceremony. How do you want to exit your ceremony? Recently, I worked with a couple who had each wedding guest release butterflies as they were announced Mr. and Mrs. It was absolutely beautiful, and it was a reflection of who they were as a couple.
Your ceremony is a reflection of you and your soon-to-be-spouse. Even if you are not religious, a ceremony is a joining together of two people, and two families. So put some effort into your ceremony, and if you get stuck reach out to a planner for some expert help.