Faster Than a Speeding Ceremony

Simon's wedding ceremony is running short but how can he extend it?

by Simon Prentice

Hands up, who has ever sat through a wedding ceremony that outstayed its own welcome? Yeah, I see those hands rising. You know the one. Where everyone begins wriggling in their uncomfortable seats after the first 50 minutes and the bride’s Nana fell asleep at the front. This is something that I am very aware of and do not want to subject our guests to, however, as it turns out, we may have the exact opposite problem!

My bride to be and I are straight shooters. Neither of us want a flowery service where love is defined for ten minutes. Nor do we want to subject our guests to answering questions in unison, knowing full well that if they stray from the herd they’ll be punished with bridal death stares which may end in spontaneous combustion.

We began with some helpful texts which were provided to us by our celebrant. While the examples were still too flowery for our tastes, it did provide us with a framework and an idea of what needs to be said. From there we turned to our good old faithful advisor Mr Google to help with civil ceremonies. We found a few which really spoke to us and to our stage of life. They spoke more of friendship and the future, rather than dwelling on love for too long.

Diary of a Groom: The Ceremony

photo by: Kelly Hornberger Photography

Once we had completed our first draft of what we would like our ceremony to look like (minus the vows and readings) we sent it off to our celebrant hoping that it was all done and we could tick this off of our list. No such luck! The reply conveyed a concern that the service was only 500 words and would be all over before anybody had a chance to sit down! Hmm. She is obviously quite keen to see the readings we’ve not yet chosen and to hear our vows.

But I’m at a loss of what more to add in? We have the Welcome, Definition of marriage, Vows and the giving of the rings. Oh, and the Readings (which does include walking time, to and from their seats). Will we just be padding out the ceremony for the sake of it and dilute the meaning of what we have written?

For those out there in the same predicament, I’d love to hear what you’ve put in your ceremony.

How have you padded your ceremony out? What is a good length for a ceremony?

> Find a celebrant in your area

> Wedding Ceremony: Ceremony 101
> Knotties Tell All: Personal or Traditional Vows?
> 20 Wedding Ceremony Traditions You Can Skip
> How to Find The Perfect Passages

by Simon Prentice


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  1. I don’t think you should pad it out unless you find something that you’d really like to read/have read. It’s your day after all and it’ll allow you more time to mingle with your guests before going off for your photos. If you feel that guests will feel like it was too quick, perhaps you could offer some entertainment or light refreshments for 30mins after the ceremony formalities.

  2. You don’t really HAVE to do anything, if you have found what you like and and are straight up kind of people, then it’s going to be a short & sweet ceremony. It’s your day do it your way!

  3. My wedding ceremony was only 9 mins long. We didnt even have any readings as that is not what we are about. We had the intro, meaning, vows (which were the simple ones – no handwritten ones from us), thent he conclussion. It was serioulsy 9 mins long. It was awesome. That being said we did actually get married one hour into our engagement party so we didnt want to et to long winded as that wasnt what our day as about. Gosh we didnt even walk back from the ceremony together we walked back with our group of friends to the hall. all our friends had drinks in their hands while we were having the ceremony and the kids were just climbing all over the rocks and stuff.

  4. Agree with all those points. Another suggestion which won’t dilute the meaning of your vows is to ask a close friend or family member to read a passage during the ceremony that reflects on you and your bride. This can be a nice gesture and can ‘pad’ out the ceremony a little. It can also be a nice surprise if you don’t know what they’re going to read (assuming you trust them!).

    I was recently a groomsmen for a friend marrying his Chinese fiancée. The groom’s sister read a nice traditional wedding passage and the bride’s brother read a poem about peach trees in Mandarin. I didn’t understand a word of the poem but it was certainly memorable and only personalised and contributed to the ceremony.

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