Expert September 2020

How short is too short for a ceremony?

Terra, on July 3, 2019 at 10:06 PM Posted in Wedding Ceremony 0 15
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I guess I've decided the next part of wedding planning I'm focusing on is the ceremony, haha. I'm a little lost, though. Neither FH or I are religious, so we're going totally secular. It'll be officiated by my coworker, who is licensed, but he's only done a few weddings and it's been quite some time. He's up to incorporating/skipping basically anything we'd like. SO we're writing our own (and by we I mean me) and I'm struggling to find anything to lengthen it.

FH and GM will all be standing at the front already. The only people walking will be my 3 BMs and myself accompanied by my grandfather. We're skipping all the unity ceremonies, we're not going to ramble on about what the ring represents, we're not having anyone sing, it's secular so there are no prayers, we're not strongly tied with our heritage, there aren't any family traditions. The only thing left I can think of are readings, but I haven't found a single one worth using. They're all very stereotypical and honestly seem kind of pointless/disingenuous.

At this point it's looking like the whole thing will be under 15min. We'll probably only be standing up there together about 6min. How would you react to what is essentially a 6min ceremony? I really can't think of anything else to add. It seems like the whole thing is really just going to be "welcome, walk, I do, kiss, leave." What readings are you using? Or any quirky aspects you're adding?


  • latasha
    VIP September 2019
    latasha ·
    I’d appreciate a 6 minute ceremony haha. I am religious but still don’t want a long ceremony. 20 mins top and that’s close the longer side for me. I’d really like to be done on 10-15 minutes.
  • Jennifer
    Devoted October 2020
    Jennifer ·
    I am aiming for 15-20 minutes tops! I feel like guests would be appreciative of a short and sweet ceremony! We aren't doing anything extra special.
  • Jessica
    VIP September 2020
    Jessica ·
    I haven’t decided on anything yet, but there are a few poems I’m considering. I think our ceremony will be around 20 minutes, we aren’t including anything religious either but we are thinking of doing s unity glass ceremony. Here are some different idea for readings https://lover.ly/planning/news-tips/wedding-101/17-untraditional-readings-ceremony-unforgettable/?amp_markup=1 and one of my favorite poems:

    How short is too short for a ceremony? 1
  • Rebecca
    Dedicated August 2019
    Rebecca ·
    Have your coworker share some things about your relationship. At my brother’s wedding, the man who set him and his wife up told their love story and about their initial reactions to each other, important moments in their relationship. It was really beautiful. I went to a wedding with a five minute ceremony but was disappointed that I didn’t learn anything about the couple. I’d like to know how you two met, your first impressions of each other, when you knew when you were in love, etc.
  • Gabrielle
    Dedicated January 2020
    Gabrielle ·
    You could maybe have your officiant go more in depth about your relationship and your backstory together (how you met, what you thought of each other, how you knew each other were the one).
    Or you could extend your walk down the aisle by having a fun song and dancing your way down.
    Or you could present some sort of video or slideshow about you two.
    You said you’re not religious so there won’t be any prayers, but you could still have someone speak a blessing of hope and prosperity (and other good things) over your marriage.
    i don’t know 🤷‍♀️
    But I also don’t think it’s a super big deal that your ceremony looks like it will be short
  • CDickman
    VIP September 2019
    CDickman ·
    Ours is about 20 minutes. it is secular we are doing a reading from nightmare before Christmas them another reading. A native Americans blessing and a poem be Robert frost.
  • Rachel
    Dedicated July 2019
    Rachel ·
    We aren’t particularly religious (although our parents are more religious than us) so we are also skipping a lot of the reading type stuff. My fiancé’s step dad is officiating and this is his first wedding (he is literally so excited and has been planning for months!) he suggested adding a cute little thing where he had us each write down something that first attracted us to one another and give it to him and he will read those quick little stories as part of the ceremony. It will add probably 2-3 minutes and will give us a little surprise too. Overall ours will be about 15-20 min long of standing up there.
  • Megan
    Devoted March 2021
    Megan ·
    I'm expecting our ceremony to be less than 20 minutes also, we aren't religious either so pretty much just the walk, talk about us and marriage leading into vows, I do, I do... kiss... And done let's drink!
  • Jeanelle
    Super September 2018
    Jeanelle ·
    We had our officiant welcome and pass the torch over to our best lady to give her toast, then the best man gave his toast. Back to the officiant with some words for marriage. I said my vows, then my husband said his.

    It was all a part of the design since neither of us are religious, we wanted it to feel intimate, and truly reflected or love and celebration. Each toast was 2-5 minutes and our vows we 3-4 minutes each. The whole ceremony was about 20 minutes long.

    I'd gladly attend a wedding with a shorter ceremony, as long as you feel like it's what you want.
  • Cheryl
    Expert October 2020
    Cheryl ·
    View Quoted Comment
    This is an awesome idea! Our whole relationship has taken place 5-10 hours from our families. Only the family that has Facebook knows anything about us.
  • MOB So Cal
    January 2019
    MOB So Cal ·

    Clearly, you can do whatever you want to. I'm just going to share an experience and my reaction to it. We went to a DW that involved 85% of the guests flying cross country to attend. It was in a lovely venue. There was a string quartet. The guests were seated for the ceremony. The parents entered. There weren't any attendants. The groom was at the front already. The bride entered with her dad. The officiant was a past law professor of the B's. The officiant began by introducing herself, and shared more specific info than necessary about herself and her recent promotion to law school dean... (probably 3 min? -- super awkward and kind of inappropriate). She then led the B&G through exchanging basic vows/rings and pronounced them husband and wife. The "ceremony" literally lasted about 2 minutes.... The entire thing, from the bride entering until they walked out together was 5-6 minutes. Honestly, as a guest? It seemed really weird. Everyone sat there trying to figure out what we were supposed to do. Clearly, the venue was caught off-guard, as they were NOT ready to begin cocktail hour -- the food wasn't out and the bartender wasn't ready for at least 30 minutes. The whole thing was super awkward. Especially if you are going to have a very short ceremony, be sure anyone who needs to know (e.g., venue) is aware, and help guests transition from the ceremony to whatever they are supposed to do next. The reception was very nice, but, honestly, I flew 6000 miles that weekend and spent ~ $2500 to attend; a 2-minute ceremony seemed weird to me. Just my opinion.

  • Lily
    Savvy December 2019
    Lily ·
    MAWWIAGE. Mawwiage is what bwings us togewah today.
  • Terra
    Expert September 2020
    Terra ·
    View Quoted Comment

    That seems increeedibly awkward! I would imagine a DW would make a bigger to-do about it. Can't help but wonder if that was intentional or not. But tbh I hadn't thought to alert my vendors how long I expect the ceremony to be! I guess that would probably be helpful, huh? Haha.

  • Terra
    Expert September 2020
    Terra ·
    View Quoted Comment

    I reaaalllyyyy though about it! Lol. FH has very different tastes in movies, though, so it's a no go. I'm sneaking it in by playing the Storybook Love instrumental.

  • Katie
    Dedicated November 2020
    Katie ·
    We are gonna have a short ceremony too. We are aiming for like 20 mins. Maybe have some readings, songs, unity ceremony. I dont really know what else to add

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