Wedding Ceremony FAQs

Getting prepared for your wedding ceremony can be a big job. Most brides will have many questions along the way. These are some of the most common wedding ceremony faqs, along with helpful answers.

Who can marry us? This will vary somewhat by jurisdiction. In most places, a minister, priest, rabbi, or other clergyman has the power to conduct a wedding ceremony. Justices of the peace and judges usually do, as well, but not in every state. It is a myth that a ship’s captain is automatically vested with the power to officiate a marriage; he would also need to be a clergyman or j.p. Not all ministers are created equal in the eyes of state governments. For instance, in New York, a minister must have some sort of physical church or ministry; in other words, getting ordained by the Universal Life Church through the mail does not cut it in the Big Apple.

Who should walk me down the aisle? In Christian or secular wedding ceremonies, it is most often the father of the bride who escorts her down the aisle and “gives” her away. Of course if the bride’s father is not in the picture, she could be escorted by her step-father, uncle, brother, or mother. In the Jewish faith, the custom is for both the bride and groom to be escorted down the aisle by their mothers and fathers. When it is a second wedding, the bride typically walks alone, as her father cannot “give” her away again, since she is technically no longer his to give (and certainly no one wants to see the ex-husband manage the transfer!).

What are the legal requirements to get married? The first one is that you must be eligible. This means that both parties are 18 years old (or have followed the special rules in their state pertaining to the marriage of minors), are not close relatives (some states will marry first cousins, but many will not), and have been legally divorced, if they were previously married. The bride and groom will have to purchase a marriage license from the state in which the wedding will take place; there may be a waiting period of a few days before it can be used, and most licenses will also expire at some point, so timing is important. After the marriage ceremony is concluded, the officiant, bride, groom, and their witnesses will sign the marriage license to the state to make it legally binding.

Do I have to wear wedding jewelry gifts I received for my ceremony? It is a nice custom for grooms to give gifts of jewelry to their brides on the morning of the wedding. However, the reality is that most brides will already have their jewelry for the day planned by that point. So, the answer is no, you are not obligated to wear any last minute gifts of wedding jewelry to your ceremony. Consider them to be keepsakes that will serve as beautiful reminders of your wedding for all the years to come, and enjoy wearing the pieces on special occasions, especially your wedding anniversary each year.

There are many other personal decisions that a bride an groom must make about their wedding ceremonies, from the music to the vows and readings to the decorations. Your officiant will be able to help you with many of these, and there are also great ideas to be found in magazines and online. With these faqs answered, you should be well on your way to planning a perfect wedding ceremony.

Bridget Mora writes for Silverland Jewelry on wedding planning, style, and etiquette. Show your appreciation with special wedding jewelry gifts .