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Planning Your Ceremony!

Don't forget the marriage license: Don't forget to bring the marriage license packet to the wedding! Assign this task to a trusted friend or family member. A ceremony is not legal and complete without this; some ministers will even make you retrieve it from home while your guests wait.

A handkerchief is a must: Include a handkerchief in your wedding attire, or have your maid-of-honor carry one, for unexpected tears.

Make your ceremony special: The officiant can help to make your wedding ceremony meaningful for you and your groom. Ask about personalizing the ceremony-writing your own vows, selecting special songs, etc. They may be able to offer many suggestions that will enhance your ceremony.

Vows: Whether you use traditional vows or write your own, take the time to be sure that they reflect your relationship. Wording of traditional vows may vary within a religion or denomination; inquire about acceptable variations. Couples planning a civil ceremony may wish to consult with a church or synagogue when selecting their vows. If either of you has children, you may wish to include them in these sacred words. Be sure that your officiant has a copy of whatever vows you choose.

Ring-bearer's pillow: Don't tie the rings onto the pillow with "granny-knots." Practice tying them to the pillow so that they will stay on during the walk down the aisle, but will slip off easily during the ceremony.

Plan the timing of music: Prelude music adds a nice touch as the guests are being escorted into the church. To start the processional music, have someone signal the musicians at the appropriate time. Setting a specific time doesn't always work, since guests may still be arriving, or delays may preclude starting the ceremony on time. One way to handle this is to have your clergyman signal the musicians to start the processional music after a nod from the father of the bride. Provide cue sheets for your officiant and the musicians. One can unknowingly cut-off the other.

Approve your music selections with clergy: Make sure your clergyman is aware of your music selections. Ask about any restrictions on music. Some ministers or priests insist on approving all the music prior to the ceremony. Your favorite love song may seem offensive to the clergyman; none concerned would enjoy a last-minute confrontation.

Check all the rules: Make sure you know all the rules and restrictions about the church, chapel, or synagogue. Some have strict rules about photographs or videotaping, candles, music, etc. Sit down with the clergyman and discuss your ceremony from start to finish; then any details can be worked out early without last-minute difficulties.

Preferred vendors: Be sure to ask your ceremony site if they have a list of preferred vendors they work with. It is often easier to have vendors who are familiar with the site than to have someone who has never worked there before. Also keep in mind that some sites only allow you to work with vendors from their preferred list.

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