Planning your wedding

Planning your wedding

It is always a real joy to be able to work with a couple to plan your wedding ceremony! In the lead up to the big day, the minister taking your service will arrange to meet with you to talk through and agree all the practical arrangements.

To help you begin thinking about what you would like to be part of your wedding, you can find below an outline of the service itself, suggestions for hymns and readings and a list of organ instrumental pieces, which you are able to request.

The Wedding Service

The wedding service itself has a very simple structure, with plenty of space to make it your own by choosing music, hymns and readings.

  • Arrival of the Bridal Party
  • The Gathering and Welcome
  • First hymn
  • Readings
  • Sermon
  • Second hymn
  • The Marriage
  • The Blessing and Exchanging of Rings
  • Prayers
  • The Registration of the Marriage
  • Blessing
  • Procession out of Church

The Rehearsal

When you meet with your minister to plan the service, you will also agree a date and time for the rehearsal. This is normally the evening before the wedding.

At the rehearsal all the final details will be checked, and the minister will walk through the whole service with you. This is also the final opportunity to pay your fees in full, if you haven’t yet been able.

We require the bride, groom, best man and chief bridesmaid to attend the rehearsal. In addition, if you’d like, there is the opportunity at some point for the whole bridal party to practice entering the church, including the bridesmaids and the person ‘giving the bride away’.

Choosing hymns

Our standard service has space for two hymns which the whole congregation will sing together, but if you would like to include more this is absolutely fine. We do suggest, though, that the service includes at least one.

Here is a selection of well-known hymns to help you choose.

Choosing Music

There is also lots of space in the service for instrumental music, during:

  • The Arrival of the Bride at the beginning of the service
  • During the signing of the register
  • For the final ‘procession’ at the end of the service

Our organists can provide instrumental music during these times in keeping with the sacred church setting for your wedding. Here are some options/suggestions:

At the Arrival of the Bride

*Johann Sebastian Bach – Prelude in Eb Major (‘St Anne’), BWV 552

Jeremiah Clarke – Trumpet Tune in D Major

*Jeremiah Clarke – Trumpet Voluntary (The Prince of Denmark’s March)

Georg Friedrich Händel – ‘Air’, from Water Music, 1st Suite

Johann Pachelbel – Canon in D Major

*John Stanley – Trumpet Tune in D Major

Richard Wagner – Bridal Chorus from Löhengrin

Starred pieces could be used at the beginning or the end of the service.

Procession out of church

Georg Friedrich Händel – ‘Alla Hornpipe’, from Water Music, 2nd Suite

Georg Friedrich Händel – ‘La Réjouissance’, from Music for the Royal Fireworks

Felix Mendelssohn – Wedding March from A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Charles-Marie Widor – Toccata (from Symphony V)

Alternatively, if you’d like to play recorded music you can discuss this with your minister. If you have friends who are musical, you can even ask them to play or sing something for you – particularly during the signing of the register in the middle.

Choosing Readings

Choosing readings and readers is another way to make the marriage service your own. The service should always include at least one reading from the bible, but you can also include other readings, like poems, if you would like.

Here is a list of bible readings for you to have a look through together and choose from.

Please also think about who you would like to give the readings. It’s really lovely to ask your friends and family to be readers – this is just another way to involve your loved ones in your special day.

The marriage vows

At the heart of the marriage service are the vows you make to one another. At a Church wedding, these are very special words which can only be said in a church ceremony, meaning they can’t be adapted or altered. You can find the full text of the vows below – you might like to spend some time as a couple, reading and reflecting on them together.

take you,
to be my wife/husband,
to have and to hold
from this day forward;
for better, for worse,
for richer, for poorer,
in sickness and in health,
to love and to cherish,
as long as we both shall live,
according to the will and purpose of God.
In the presence of God
I make this vow.

Any questions or queries?

Hopefully these resources and options will help you to begin thinking about what you’d like for your wedding ceremony.

If you have any other questions or requests, feel free to get in touch with the minister who will be taking your service, who will be only too happy to help you.