When you want someone to care
                          as much as you do.....
 Rev. Judith L. Guasch, M.Div.
                          Wedding Officiant

Serving S. Central PA, MD DC
                           (717) 222-9173 
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Ceremony Length

How Long Should the Ceremony Be?

            There is no rule on ceremony length.  Most ceremonies not in a religious setting last about 20-30 minutes.  However, think about the step you are taking. This will be one of the most memorable days of your life, and the ceremony IS the reason for the day! Without the ceremony, there would be no reason for the reception, so don't worry about time, and rush it. 


            You don't want to just rush through your ceremony and be done in five minutes.  If that is the case, then why not just go to a JP? Why bother to even put ANY thought into the ceremony? However, neither do you want to be standing there for two hours.

            When you customize your ceremony, the length then falls into your hands.  Are you including hymns or special music of some sort?  Count on about 4 to 5 minutes for each of those pieces.  Are you including religious readings, poetry or some other sort of reading?  Count on 2 to 3 minutes each.  When you include pieces such as the rose ceremony, sand ceremony or unity candle you can figure 2 to 3 minutes if you don’t use background music, 4 to 5 if you do include music.


            But rather than concentrate on ceremony length, think about the ceremony meaning.  What it is the two of you want to SAY to each other?  How does that come through in your ceremony?  Also, what do you want to say to family and friends who are…. or in some cases, are not…. there?  Do you want to remember family members who have died?  Do you want to pay tribute to family or friends who cannot be with you on your special day due to health, or perhaps military service?  Do you perhaps want to acknowledge special people such as an aunt and uncle or godparents who have helped guide you to where you are today? 

            Another way to bring forth meaning in your ceremony, is through the people you involve.  Yes, you may have attendants, but there are other ways to include special people in your ceremony.  You can have a one or more readers.  You can have those who my not be gifted in public speaking present things such as roses for the rose ceremony, and have parents light the unity candle tapers. 


            You only get one chance to proclaim your love through this type of ceremony, so be sure you don’t rush it.  Include the special pieces you want to include, and involve the special people you want to participate in your special day. 

              The bottom line is this.... you want your ceremony to have meaning!!  Sooo keep that in mind, and work with your Officiant to do just that. When you work under the premise of meaning, then length doesn't matter.  It can be simple and meaningful and take 15 minutes, OR it can be filled with childhood readings or religious symbolism and take 45 minutes.  Remember this… if it has meaning to the two of you, then it is right for the two of you!