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How to Word a Wedding Order of Service
Where to Start
As a wedding stationery supplier I often see many people struggling with the layout of an Order of Service. Which is not surprising since getting married is a first for most of my customers. I will describe a 4 page Order of Service as this is the most common size. However, for longer ceremonies a 8 page Order of Service can be used.
The First Page
The first page is, what might be described, as the title page. It contains the place of your wedding, your names and wedding date. For example:
St. Mary's Church,
Henry James Harris
Saturday, 21st of July 2012
at 1.30 p.m.
The Second Page
This page will differ depending on your wedding, some couples like to use this page to introduce the members of the wedding party.
The Best Man: John Robinson
The Chief Bridesmaid: Sandra Thompson...
It will carry on like this listing the Bridesmaids and Ushers. Some like to use this page to thank people who have helped with their wedding day such as special members of their family or friends. However, the most common use for the second page is as the beginning of the Order of Service. The beginning of the service will be headed with the words "Order of Service" in large text. Sometimes directly under the heading will be the name of the person carrying out the service.
Following on from this is the Bride's entrance. This part names the song and composer of the music piece you wish to walk down the aisle to.
Now usually comes the first hymn. The hymn's wording will be written out in a clear font which is easy to read. This will allow your guests to sing along. Followed by this might be a reading. The reading itself is not written out as your guests do not need to follow it along. However the title is written out sometimes followed by the name of the person who is to do the reading. If you are not having any readings or more hymns before the marriage then the words "The Marriage" or "The Marriage Service" will placed after your first hymn. Below is an example second page:
Order of Service
Conducted by Reverend Michael Andrew Smith
At the Entrance of the Bride
BRIDAL MARCH - - - - - - - Wagner
Love Divine, all loves excelling,
Joy of Heaven, to earth come down...(your hymn will be written out in full in an actual Order of Service)
1 Corinthians 13. 1-7
The Third and Fourth Page
Following on from your marriage is normally another hymn possibly followed by another reading or poem. This may then be followed by prayers and the signing of the register. If a song is to be played whilst you are signing the register the name of the song and composer will be listed. Then follows the exit music, below is an example third or fourth page.
Give me joy in my heart, keep me praising,
give me joy in my heart, I pray...
SIGNING OF THE REGISTER
A Whole New World - - - - Alan Menken
Wedding March - - - - Mendelssohn
How to Word Your Order of Service
Each couples' Order of Service will be different, I have seen Orders of Service of less than two pages, some up to eight. Your religious leader will be able to help you with the wording. They will be able to talk you through the different elements of the ceremony and make suggestions for hymns and readings. Before submitting your Order of Service to a printer make sure to finalise the wording with your religious leader as this will save having to make amendments later.
It is impossible for me to cover all the different ways to word a Wedding Service, so the above should be used as a guide to help you plan yours. If you are ever in doubt you can always ask your wedding stationer as they will be experienced in this field.