10 Steps to Plan Your Wedding Ceremony

Updated: Nov 13, 2018


What is the reason you’re planning a wedding? You’re the couple, spending hours and dollars planning this wedding. What is its purpose? The main event?

Your marriage ceremony.


Photo by Gsquared Weddings

You may or may not be surprised to hear that many peoples get so wrapped up in planning the other details of the day that they leave the ceremony for the last minute. Seriously! So many couples are scrambling in the final weeks to write a script, write their vows, decide who and how they are going to be married.

Listen up, friends. The ceremony is the reason you are having a wedding. Go ahead and dream and pin for a few days until you’ve defined your vision and priorities (those Foundation pieces), but after that? Dream about, draft, and organize the logistics for your ceremony. Here are 10 steps along with tips and templates, to plan your wedding ceremony.

1. Plan it first!

Start thinking about your ceremony from the beginning. Keep it in perspective that your entire wedding is about this short moment. Getting ready, traveling, taking photos will take hours before it. Celebrating, eating, drinking and dancing will take hours after. There is so much going on, and all of it is centered around this one approximately 30 minute chunk of time. Keep it high on the priority list, get it taken care of first, and return to it any time you begin to feel overwhelmed by the details of the day. Your ceremony is the reason for the wedding. Don’t forget about it.

2. Read up on the legal requirements for marriage in your state.

Each state and even county has its own laws and requirements for getting married. Typically, you’re going to need to go into your county registrar's office together to apply for and receive your marriage license. In Washington, you can do this as early as 60 days before your wedding and you must do it no less than three business days before your wedding. You’ll have to go together, or fill out the applications with a notary to mail it in. Get to know the laws so you can be sure you are making it legal. Here is a link to all the county websites and requirements for the State of Washington.

3. Define your ceremony style.

Thankfully in the US and especially in Washington, you are free to have a ceremony that really fits you, your personality, and the story you want to share. You can have a religious ceremony full of formal traditions and lead by a church leader. Or you can have a completely religion and tradition free civil ceremony. Your ceremony can be as relaxed or as formal as you want it to be. Here in Washington, the only part that is already defined for you is the Declaration of Intent (declaring that you are willfully and intentionally entering into a legal partnership). Everything else is up