Wedding Ceremony Basics (what you actually need)

The wedding ceremony is arguably the most important part of the day. This is where you finally get to say “I do” to your partner surrounded by your family and friends. As you begin planning for this moment, you probably discovered there is more to consider than what appears on the surface. But, what do you actually need? As wedding planners, we are sharing our wedding ceremony basics to help you out! Let’s take a look at these must-haves.

Welcome Sign

If you are a regular reader of our blog, you have already heard us rave about the importance of signs at weddings. Place a welcome sign at the ceremony to greet your guests and ensure that they understand where to go when it is time for the event to begin. It doesn’t have to say “welcome”. You can mark this as the ceremony with a quote that you love or come up with your own saying. Just make sure that your guests can clearly distinguish that they have arrived at the ceremony location.

Gift & Guestbook Table

The gift and guestbook table can be placed at your ceremony OR reception. We love having these features available at the ceremony site because it will allow guests to set any gifts down they brought along. They will also be more likely to sign the guestbook if it is available to them earlier in the day. Here, you can include a sign with any other special instructions they need to know. If you desire an unplugged ceremony, where the guests keep their phones away for that portion of the day, let them know here. Place your welcome bags on this table as well if you will be gifting those.

Comfortable Seating

For the actual ceremony, comfortable seating is essential! You need a place for your guests to sit and watch the ceremony. Chat with your venue to see if they offer onsite seating. Otherwise, you will need to rent these out. No matter your guest count, having a place to sit will allow everyone to remain comfortable for the start of the day.


Most ceremonies are outdoors here in California. However, any place you hold your ceremony at will likely need a boost to help sound carry to everyone. Speak with your officiant, venue, and DJ about what type of sound system you will need. Microphones and speakers are a must for the vows and music (even if it is a live band).

Aisle Decor

With the right backdrop and setting, you can keep your ceremony decor minimal. Place some romantic floral pieces to decorate the aisle. This will create a cohesive look AND it will help you know where to walk when it is time for the ceremony to begin. Reuse your aisle decor pieces in your reception later.


The best way to bring a ceremony together is with a wedding arch! Choose the option that best matches your aesthetic and fits your venue’s guidelines. It looks amazing during photos and can often take the place of any unnecessary decor. Then, you can place it behind your sweetheart table during the reception.

If you loved these wedding ceremony must-haves, check out what you need for your wedding reception next!

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