Authored by: Rinette Emerson
May 29, 2017
The number one question we hear from couples when we first meet to discuss their wedding ceremony is never about what the officiant is going to wear, or if they should use a mic, or even about the processional order. It’s about the length of their ceremony.
As a group of professional wedding officiants who have officiated thousands of wedding ceremonies the most frequently asked question we hear is, “We want our ceremony to be short and sweet, just the bear bones. So how long will that take?” The couple usually say, “We’re shy”, or “We don’t like to be the centre of attention”, or “We don’t like public speaking”, or “We’re not sentimental people”. All valid reasons for sure, why the bride and groom would want to avoid a long-winded ceremony.
A “Short and Sweet” ceremony is certainly the order of the day, and what many couples want. It’s also something that most guests appreciate. That said, there is also such a thing as too short—which may not be so sweet.
Remember that your wedding ceremony is not just about you. The guests you have invited are the most important people in your lives. They are there to witness your commitment to one another and to celebrate with you. On more than a few occasions we have heard guests’ comment, “Wow, that went by so fast” and “Good thing we got here early, or we would have missed the ceremony altogether”. So, although some guests may applaud your brevity, others may feel shortchanged if the ceremony is a blink-and-you-missed-it event.
As your ceremony begins, give yourselves time to breathe and focus on the commitment you are about to make to each other. Take time to view the emotions on the faces of your families and guests. You want your guests to be engaged, to be present in your celebration, and to be able to enjoy what’s happening as it’s happening…and you can’t do that in 7 minutes. If however, if a 7-minute ceremony is what you want, don’t feel that you must add meaningless words to a very meaningful life event.
As you are designing your ceremony share ideas with your officiant, express your concerns about the length of your ceremony, and then work with her/him to create a wedding ceremony that reflects your personalities and dreams for the future. Your ceremony should be just long enough to emotionally engage your guests but short enough to keep everyone awake.
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