NonReligious WeddingsNonReligious Weddings

Staging your ceremony...

The traditional formation in which bride and groom stand before an officiant with their backs to the audience presents several problems. First off, it was designed to focus attention on the officiant and not the couple being married, emphasizing the authority of whatever church or religion the officiant represents. Bride and groom stand (and often kneel) in submission to this authority in order to be married.

The biggest problem is one of simple staging. The only face seen or voice heard clearly is the officiant's. For the audience, all the joy and emotion on the bride and groom's faces is lost, as are their words.

The simplest solution is for the bride and groom to stand facing each other, but turned out slightly toward the audience. This creates a much more enjoyable ceremony for the audience, who can then actually see all the beautiful apparel and flowers and share in the emotions on every face. Your photographer will get far better shots as well.

Staging very large weddings where bride and groom have numerous attendants can be much more of a challenge. If there is plenty of space at the front, an alternative I suggest occasionally to couples and wedding planners is a V-shaped formation with the officiant standing to one side and the bride and groom standing at center stage. The bride and groom's attendants stand with them in a "wing back" formation as shown here.

This V-shaped configuration has become more and more trendy the past couple wedding seasons as couples and planners experiment with fresh ways to present the wedding party. Its most obvious advantage is that everyone faces front and can be seen clearly. It's a wedding photographer's dream and makes for very pretty shots.

But because this formation doesn't lend itself to sharing a hand microphone, it's necessary for bride, groom and officiant all to be wearing miniature cordless FM "lavaliere" microphones in order for everyone to be heard. Be sure your DJ or sound technician can provide these specialized microphones. "Sound checks" before the ceremony are an absolute must, as cordless FM microphones are notoriously tricky.

Deciding on a nonreligious wedding
Transportation and timing
Weather and physical comfort
Taking care of business
Logistics and planning
Staging your ceremony
Some sound advice
Get the picture?
Let go, and delegate
Enjoying your wedding day

E-Mail: • (949) 793-1900
Certified Humanist Officiant, H.S., American Humanist Association