So you’ve been asked to be the Best Man at your friend’s wedding and now you’re sweating because you know you have to write a Best Man speech. Don’t worry! As professional wedding officiants, we know a thing or two about writing speeches, wowing the crowd and talking about love.

Our tips below apply to anyone who has been asked to give a speech at a wedding, whether you’re the Best Man, Maid of Honour, Best Person or Best Friend. If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to writing your speech or have no ideas for your toast, we have you covered.

Below we’re sharing all of our best Best Man speech ideas, from how long a speech should be to the exact format your speech should follow. We’re also including an example speech and our top tips to ensure your speech doesn’t flop!

Let’s write your wedding speech! 

wedding toast at hycroft manor with young hip & married vancouver wedding, best man speech
by Mattie C Photography

How long should the Best Man speech be?

Aim for your Best Man speech to be three minutes long. No one wants to sit through a 10 minute speech, even if you think it’s the most hilarious or heartfelt writing in the world. On the other hand, only speaking for a minute or two can feel incomplete.

If you’re not sure how long your speech should be, ask the couple. They likely have a detailed reception schedule and will appreciate you sticking to it. You’ll also want to find out from them exactly when during the reception you’re speaking so you’re not at the bar (or in the bathroom!) when it’s speech time.

How should I start writing a Best Man toast?

Before you start writing your Best Man toast, check in with the couple getting married. Besides how long they’d like the speech to be, they may have some other things for you to keep in mind – or some stories they definitely don’t want you to tell.

Remember to be yourself. If you’re naturally funny, include a few jokes. If you’re more serious or poetic, don’t be afraid to get sentimental. Your friends asked you to give a speech – they’re not expecting you to be someone you’re not. The best wedding toasts and speeches happen when the speakers are comfortable, which means not trying to be a comedian if that’s not who you are.

Don’t worry about bringing down the house with a killer joke, don’t worry about making everyone shed a tear and don’t worry about having a unifying theme for your speech. Take a deep breath and remember that you’re just sharing some thoughts and stories about some of your favourite people. As long as you put in a little effort, it’s going to be great.

Ready to start writing? Follow our Best Man speech template below! 

wedding guest giving a wedding toast at reception
by John Bello Photography

Best Man speech template

Follow these steps to write your own incredible Best Man speech!

1) Best Man toast introduction

Start your speech off by introducing yourself and sharing how you know the couple. This can be as simple as, “Hello, my name is Taylor and I’m the Best Man. I first met Cory in 3rd grade gym class.” Easy, right?

Pro tip: A lot of speakers think they need to begin their speech by welcoming everyone and thanking them for coming. This is actually not something you should do as the Best Man. Unless you’re hosting the wedding (aka you’re the couple getting married or you’re paying for the wedding), it’s not your place.

2) Talk about your friend

After you’ve introduced yourself, it’s time to talk about your friend – the person who just got married and who asked you to be their Best Man. This is your time to share a few short stories that highlight who your friend is and what their friendship means to you.

While your speech doesn’t need to have an overarching theme, it’s best if each story you share has a purpose. Answer the question, “Why am I telling this story and what does it say about my friend?” For example, a story about how your friend let you crash at their place when you were between apartments can show how loyal and generous your friend is.

Not sure what stories to tell? Keep reading for our best inspiration ideas and stories you definitely do not want to tell!

best man speech at vancouver wedding reception
by Lumina Weddings

3) Talk about their new spouse

One of the biggest things wedding speakers get wrong is only talking about their friend. Sure, you may know your friend better, but today isn’t just about your friend. It’s about your friend and their brand new spouse. Take some time during your speech to mention this important person too!

You can share stories of your time together, reflect on how the couple first met or talk about how you knew this person was going to be a great match for your friend. Even if you don’t know their spouse as well as you know your friend, you should be able to add a few sentences about them to your Best Man speech.

4) Talk about them together

As you start to wrap up your speech, bring it back to the couple. This is where you can talk about how great they are together, share your well wishes for their marriage ahead and thank them for including you in their special day.

Pro tip: Be careful about including marriage advice in your wedding toast. It can be nice to include some advice for the newlyweds in your speech, but only if that feels appropriate to you.

If you’ve been married for 10 years, go ahead and share a secret to your success! But if you’re single or newly divorced, skip the advice and offer well wishes instead.

5) Wedding toast closing line

Every good wedding speech ends with a toast! Include a sentence or two to congratulate the newlyweds and then lead everyone in a cheers to their union.

Make sure to bring a glass with you when you go to give your speech so you’re not scrambling to find one. And make sure to invite everyone to toast with you by asking them to raise their glasses. Many speakers forget to give guests a warning that the toast is coming, leading to a pretty lacklustre cheers. Ensure everyone is ready by saying something like, “And now, if you will all join me in raising your glasses…”

wedding toast and wedding speech, wedding guests clinking glasses
by John Bello Photography

Best Man speech example

Here’s an example of our Best Man speech template in action:

“Hello! For those who don’t know me, I’m Dave, Brad’s Best Man and I’ve known Brad for what feels like forever.

Brad and I go way back, to the days when our biggest concern was getting into movies we were probably too young to watch and deciding what haircuts would make us look like rock stars.

One of my favourite memories with Brad was when we were driving to Florida. Picture this: we’re eight hours into our road trip and get stuck in the middle of the night with a flat tire. Most folks would be cursing their luck, but not Brad. He turns to me and says, “Well, unexpected pit stop. Let’s check out this town!” That’s just how Brad rolls; he always finds the silver lining and keeps everyone around him smiling.

We’ve been through some crazy stuff together, Brad and me, but today’s not about that – it’s about two awesome people, Brad and Jane.

I knew Jane was the one for Brad when I first saw them together at karaoke night. Brad was rocking out to ‘Livin’ on a Prayer,’ missing every single note and there was Jane, cheering him on like he was the only guy in the room. I knew then that it had to be true love because only someone who really loved Brad could put up with his terrible singing.

Karaoke nights aside, Brad and Jane just fit, you know? She brings out the best in him, and he gets her laughing like nobody else can. It’s like they’re each other’s missing puzzle piece; life feels more complete when they’re together.

So if you can all join me in raising a glass to Brad and Jane. Here’s to a lifetime of laughs, love, and whatever adventures come your way. Cheers!”

Toast and cheers at wedding reception
above & feature image by Pursell Photography Inc

Fun ideas to inspire your Best Man toast

If you’re struggling to think of what stories to share in your Best Man toast, here are a few questions to inspire you:

  • What are some of your best memories with your friend? Think of trips you’ve been on, events you’ve attended, traditions you’ve kept up over the years, etc.
  • How did you first meet your friend? What was the moment you knew that you were going to be great friends for life?
  • What challenges have you or your friend gone through? How have you seen each other through those times?
  • When did you first meet your friend’s partner? How did you know the two of them were right for each other?
  • How has your friend changed for the better since meeting their partner? How have they grown?
  • How would you describe their relationship? Is there a story or moment that perfectly explains why you describe it that way?

And here are a few ideas you may want to incorporate into your speech. Remember, these ideas aren’t for everyone and you shouldn’t incorporate all of them. Only choose ideas that feel authentic to you!

  • Rhyming: It can be sweet to include a few rhyming lines in your speech, especially if you’re known as a good poet or rapper.
  • Dictionary definition: While it’s a little tired, you could include a dictionary definition in your speech in a new way. You could even poke fun at this speech convention and turn it on its head by saying something like, “Webster’s dictionary defines love as an intense feeling of deep connection but I say love is Patrick bringing David a blueberry scone every Sunday.”
  • Props: Sometimes a story is more engaging for guests if you’re able to bring out a prop. But don’t go overboard! Only include props if they are relevant to your speech, such as a note your friend passed you in math class about the cute guy who is now their husband!
  • Quote: If you can’t find the right words, you can always include a quote that sums up how you’re feeling. Check out these quotes on marriage or our favourite wedding quotes for inspiration!
  • Messages from people who couldn’t be there: If some people in your friend group couldn’t attend the wedding, this is a nice way to include them in your speech. You could also expand on this idea and include messages from people your friend isn’t expecting to hear from, like their third grade teacher who first sat you two together in class!
wedding reception speech at Queen Elizabeth Park
by The Eunice & Co

7 Best Man speech tips to ensure your speech is incredible (and doesn’t flop!)

So you know how to write your Best Man speech and you’ve got lots of ideas to inspire the content. Before you get writing, we want to leave you with seven important tips to make sure your speech is as awesome as possible.

1) Keep the focus on the couple, not you

Remember, this wedding day and your speech are about the couple getting married. It’s not just about your friend and it’s certainly not about you. Please don’t spend your whole Best Man speech telling stories about yourself or only trying to make yourself look good.

2) Don’t force the joke

This is a speech, not a roast. While you can make a non traditional wedding toast and tease your buddy, this is not the time to make him feel bad, uncomfortable or embarrassed. If you’re not sure if your jokes are going too far, they probably are.

3) Don’t be afraid to get sentimental

Best Man speeches are known for being light and funny. Most people expect the Best Man to keeps things casual and tell a few jokes. But the best Best Man speeches are the ones that come from the heart. Because no one is expecting it, you can make a huge impact by being heartfelt and sentimental.

4) Don’t get drunk

We hate that this has to be said but please, don’t get drunk before your speech. This is a special moment that your friends are counting on you to deliver. You don’t want to be shouting, slurring and stumbling your way through. Save any heavy drinking until after your speech is over.

5) Keep it G rated

Unless told otherwise by your friend who is getting married, assume that both grandparents and young children will be in the room listening to your speech. That means you need to keep things G-rated! Your speech should avoid:

  • past relationships or exes of the couple
  • shitting on marriage or bad marriage jokes
  • sexist jokes (go ahead and avoid these anytime you talk, not just for this speech!)
  • anything sex related
  • any stories that involve illegal activities

Use your best judgment. If you wouldn’t want a story like that about you told to your grandma or five year old cousin, cut it from your Best Man speech.

6) Practice

Please don’t get up there and try to wing it. You may think you’ll come off sounding more naturally and conversational but you won’t. You’ll look forgetful, unprepared and like you didn’t care enough to put any effort into your speech.

Take the time to thoughtfully write a speech and practice delivering it beforehand. If you’re nervous, get feedback from a friend.

7) Don’t read off your phone

In this day and age, it’s not unusual to see wedding speeches (and even vows!) being read off of phones. But this is one of our biggest pet peeves! By reading your speech off of a phone, you risk technology letting your down – what happens if you don’t have WiFi or your phone dies? You also look like you’re just scrolling on social media in all of the wedding photos.

Take the time to write or print out your speech. You’ll feel more confident and the photos will look so much better.

We hope we’ve covered everything you need to know to write an incredible Best Man speech. But we’re not going to leave the rest of the wedding speakers hanging! Check out our other wedding speech and toast resources:

If you’re looking to save money and get married in a casual, meaningful environment, there’s nothing better than an at-home backyard wedding! Who doesn’t love a magical backyard venue where you can get married in the same place that you have created so many other awesome memories? Plus, you know availability won’t be an issue since your backyard isn’t likely to get booked up by any other weddings!

But sadly, a backyard wedding can be really stressful. There’s a lot to plan and work out when you take on hosting duties yourself, especially if you’ve never organized a big event like this before. A wedding in your backyard can even end up being more expensive than renting a venue!

So to ensure your backyard wedding doesn’t go over budget or cause you to pull your hair out with stress, we’re sharing our seven top tips for the perfect backyard home wedding. Plus, check out some fun ideas for your outdoor nuptials at the end of the post! 

at home wedding in garden with young hip & married
by Jordyn Keller Photography

1. Make it a small backyard wedding

One of the best ways to make your at home backyard wedding stress-free is to keep it small. Unless you live on a sprawling estate, odds are your backyard can only host so many people comfortably. So plan on keeping your wedding guest count low.

Not only do you have space constraints with a home wedding, but you also are missing venue experience. Assuming you haven’t hosted a backyard wedding before, there will be a lot for you to learn and prepare for. That’s a lot easier to do when you’re hosting 20 people, instead of 200. For example, with just 20 guests, you can probably use your own kitchen and bathroom instead of needing to hire portable toilets and construct an outdoor kitchen.

One of the biggest benefits of having an at home wedding is the fact that it can be so personal and intimate. The best way to keep that intimate vibe is with a small group of special loved ones!

2. Consider the logistics of an at home wedding

Before you dive too deep into planning your backyard wedding, make sure you’re thinking through all of the logistics. Remember, your house isn’t a professional wedding venue, so you’ll need to think about things that regular venues already have taken care of.

Here are a few logistics to consider before you get married in your backyard:

  • Do you need more electricity or power for everything you’ll have to plug in, like speakers and lights?
  • Do you need to rent bathrooms if the one(s) in your house aren’t enough for all of your guests?
  • Do you need insurance? This is especially important if you’re serving alcohol.
  • Do you need a permit? Check to see if you need a special event licence, particularly if you’re playing music.
  • Do you need to rent chairs, tables, etc?
  • What’s the parking situation like where you live? Will guests be able to park on the street all day/night?
  • How do you plan to handle the excess garbage and recycling?
bride greeting guests at her home wedding in the backyard
by Erica Miller Photography

3. Hire the right vendors

Because this is probably the first time you’re planning a wedding in your backyard, we highly recommend hiring a wedding planner. An experienced planner who specializes in backyard weddings will be invaluable, especially as you don’t have venue staff to fall back on. A planner can help you sort out everything – including things you didn’t even realize you needed!

In addition to a wedding planner, you may also want to hire people to assist with set up and clean up. Since you don’t have dedicated venue staff, this role may end up falling to your friends and family or even you. The last thing you want to be doing the morning after your wedding is cleaning up beer bottles from the lawn!

With all of your other vendors – such as your caterer, DJ and wedding officiant (we know good ones!) – make sure they’re aware of your outdoor space and that you’ll be hosting your wedding at a private home. Some vendors may need to see the space ahead of time or make arrangements with you to coordinate things they’ll need, such as a prep area in the kitchen for your caterer or enough fridge space for your wedding cake.

4. Have a rain plan for your outdoor home wedding

An outdoor wedding means crossing your fingers that Mother Nature is on your side. In case she decides not to be, you’ll want to have a rain plan ready for your backyard wedding.

Depending on the size of your group and outdoor space, you may be able to use umbrellas for a quick ceremony or move the party underneath an awning or gazebo. For larger groups and spaces, a tent is usually a good option. You could also plan to move the party indoors, though this will mean having enough space inside your home and getting it ready to host everyone.

Besides rain, you’ll also have to think through other weather challenges. If it’s going to be sunny, can guests find shade easily? You may need to set up some covered areas, provide fans and/or create a water station. For colder outdoor weddings, consider providing blankets or setting up heat lamps.

garden wedding at home with young hip & married
feature image & above by Clint Bargen Photography

5. Let your neighbours know what’s up

The last thing you want is for your backyard wedding to get shut down by a neighbour who thinks music past 7:00 pm is unacceptable. Or worse, a neighbour who holds a grudge against you for years for blocking their driveway with your wedding decor. Avoid all of that by giving your neighbours a heads up about your home wedding.

Reach out to your neighbours ahead of time and provide them with all of your wedding details. That way, they know exactly what to expect when, plus they can make arrangements if they’d prefer to be out of the house. It would also be a good idea to deliver this news in person. It’s harder for a neighbour to make a noise complaint if they recall your smiling face, rather than a piece of paper you put in their mailbox.

Even if you have given your neighbours a heads up, you should still be respectful. If you want to throw a rager with loud music, strobe lights and a fog machine until 3 in the morning, a townhouse backyard is probably not the place to do it.

6. Make decorating your backyard stress-free

One of the best parts about a backyard wedding is that you can keep your decor pretty minimal, saving you time, stress and money. After all, you’re getting married in a beautiful backyard setting! Lean into the natural vibe of your backyard environment rather than trying to transform it into something else with tons of decoration.

While you can keep decor minimal, you will want to make sure all of your yard maintenance is taking care of. This is something you may have to start weeks or even months ahead of your wedding date. Depending on your space this might mean regularly watering the lawn, pulling weeds, planting flowers, trimming bushes and trees, power washing the patio, removing nests, etc. Don’t forget to remove any personal or unsightly items before the big day, such as that fluorescent green garden hose.

Of course, if you want to decorate for your backyard wedding, you absolutely can. Keep things outdoorsy with fresh flower bouquets, pampas grass, hay bales or natural materials, like linen or distressed wood. If the rest of your backyard looks great, you can focus your attention on just one decor piece, such as an arch for your ceremony. This is also a great chance to do some DIY for your backyard wedding.

Young Hip & Married Shawn Miller officiating at backyard wedding
by Erica Miller Photography

7. Just the ceremony or a backyard reception too?

When planning your backyard wedding, you’ll need to decide if you’re just having the ceremony in your backyard or if you’re planning to have the reception there too.

If you only do a backyard ceremony, you’ll have less to plan. A ceremony is much shorter than a reception and doesn’t require as much space. You could ask guests to stand for a short ceremony, meaning you won’t have to bring in as many things or hire as many vendors. For your reception, you could move inside your house or all head to a nearby restaurant.

If you also have a backyard reception, you’ll need to spend more time (and money) planning a larger party. You’ll probably have to rent tables, chairs and a dance floor. You’ll also have to think about noise restrictions, alcohol licenses and what you’re planning to do if the night gets cold.

While more work, doing the reception in your backyard may be more affordable than moving to a new location. It may also give you the intimate environment you’re looking for.

Our favourite backyard wedding ideas

Now that we’ve discussed our top tips for planning a backyard wedding, we also wanted to share some of our favourite backyard-friendly wedding ideas:

Include your pet: An at home wedding is the perfect opportunity to involve your furry friend in your special day. You could walk down the aisle with your dogs or have a getting ready photo shoot with your cat. Just make sure your pets have a safe space they can go if they start to feel a little wedding-ed out.

Make the most of string lights: One of the most magical parts of an evening backyard wedding is seeing it all lit up with beautiful string lights overhead. We recommend testing out your lighting ahead of time so you can make sure the string lights work and you have enough. For larger spaces, you may need to bring in extra lighting so your guests can see what they’re having for dinner!

Set up backyard games: A fun idea for your cocktail hour or reception would be setting up backyard games for your guests, such as cornhole or giant jenga. After all, you are in a backyard! These games are easy to set up and usually quite inexpensive to rent (or borrow from a friend). Plus, they make a good alternative if you don’t want to have a dance floor. Glow in the dark bocce, anyone?

lawn games at backyard wedding
by Jordyn Keller Photography

Reuse your plants: Another huge plus of a backyard wedding is the chance to reuse your plants, rather than one-day florals that we see at most wedding. Of course, you can have flowers and greenery already planted in your backyard to use as a backdrop for your nuptials. For any new flowers or greenery you bring in, you can plant them in your backyard after your wedding or bring them inside as houseplants.

Serve farm to table: Farm to table dining is a great idea for a backyard reception, since you’ll be eating in a beautiful, outdoor space surrounded by nature. Bonus points if you serve anything you grew yourself in your garden!

Close off rooms: If guests or vendors will be using the inside of your house during your backyard wedding, such as using the bathroom or prepping in the kitchen, make sure you close off any rooms that are out of bounds. Of course you trust that your guests and vendors won’t be snooping, but closing off rooms makes it clear what areas are in use so no one gets lost.

Personalize your backyard wedding: One of the best reasons to get married in your own backyard is the chance to personalize your day. This might look like getting ready in your childhood bedroom or planting a tree right in your own garden during your unity ceremony.

Bring the indoor, outdoors: For small backyard weddings, you can save money on rentals by bringing some of your own indoor furniture and decor outside. You can use your own chairs for the ceremony, your own vases for centrepieces and even get creative, such as using your bookshelf to serve dessert or champagne. Of course, this idea only works if you’re okay with your indoor stuff being outside in the elements and potentially being damaged by guests.

Lean into the backyard theme: We’ve already encouraged you to lean into the backyard theme by embracing your natural environment, rather than bringing in tons of decor. But you can take it a step further! For example, start your ceremony with a lemonade stand, serve BBQ for dinner and end the night roasting marshmallows over a fire pit.

bride and groom kissing at a table at their backyard reception
by Erica Miller Photography

We hope these tips and ideas have inspired you to plan your own backyard wedding while keeping things as stress-free as possible. Speaking of stress-free, did you know that’s one of the phrases couples most often use when booking one of our officiants?

We’d love to be a part of your backyard or home wedding ceremony. Check out our ceremony packages and book today!

As you plan your wedding ceremony, you’ll be thinking about writing your vows, organizing your processional and having a memorable first kiss. Plus you’ll need to consider your ring exchange, declaration statements, officiant speech, marriage licence and more. But how long does that all take? How long is a wedding ceremony?

As wedding officiants with over a decade of experience, we’d like to think we’re pretty good at crafting ceremonies that are memorable, meaningful and well timed. So below we’re sharing our tips on the ideal wedding ceremony length, plus why you want to make sure your ceremony isn’t too long or short! 

On average, how long is a wedding ceremony?

The average wedding ceremony is about 20 minutes long. As professional wedding officiants, we recommend ceremonies last 10-30 minutes depending on the type of wedding you’re holding and any ceremony extras you might include.

To determine how long your wedding ceremony will be, you’ll want to look over your ceremony script with your wedding officiant. They will be able to tell you how long the ceremony will last and give you suggestions if the ceremony is running too long or too short.

Keep in mind that things like an elongated processional, multiple ceremony readers, unity traditions and any other additional elements can extend your ceremony length. That doesn’t mean you have to nix your unity candle or tell your wedding party to book it down the aisle; it just means you need to keep all of those things in mind when considering the total length of your wedding ceremony.

wedding party, bridal party with young hip & married
by Notting Hill Photography

Ceremony length by wedding type:

Intimate Elopement

Our Intimate Elopement is a a “gather and wed” style ceremony for small groups (0-20 guests) who want to get married in a casual environment. These ceremonies last 5-10 minutes and don’t include a processional, readings, etc. They’re perfect for couples who want a meaningful, but short, moment to celebrate their love.

Sweet & Simple Ceremony

Our Sweet & Simple package is perfect for full-size weddings where the couple wants a special moment but doesn’t need the ceremony to be customized to them. These ceremonies typically last 15-20 minutes and can include unity traditions and readings, but are usually focused on keeping things pretty simple.

Custom & Creative Ceremony

Our Custom & Creative package is our signature package where we write a script and design a ceremony completely personalized to you. This is the best way to tell your unique love story with unlimited edits and a rehearsal facilitated by your officiant. Because these ceremonies are so personal and often include special ceremony elements, they usually last 20-25 minutes.

However, because this ceremony is all about YOU, your officiant can write a ceremony with your ideal timing in mind.

ring exchange during helicopter elopement, how long is a wedding ceremony
by Emily Nicole Photos

Why you don’t want your ceremony to be too long

We’ve all sat through a boring presentation at work or lecture at school that dragged on and on until we could barely keep our eyes open. Don’t let that boring, long thing everyone wants to leave be your wedding ceremony!

You want to think about your guests’ comfort. If your ceremony starts creeping past the 45 minute mark, your guests are going to get restless. They may need to use the restroom, drink some water or get out of the elements if your wedding is outside.

And please, if your wedding ceremony is longer than 10 minutes, provide seating. No one should be asked to stand through a long ceremony!

Not only is a long ceremony tough on guests physically, but it also makes it harder for guests – and for you two – to connect to the meaningful commitment you’re making. If your vows happened 30 minutes ago and the ceremony is still going on, it’s only natural that you and your guests might forget about them.

If your ceremony is running long because of traditions that even you find boring, see if there are any elements you can nix or alter to shorten the run time. If it’s running long because of creative elements you’ve added, consider cutting some or moving them to another part of your wedding day.

young hip and married vancouver wedding ceremony, queer couple
by Kate Paterson Photography

And why you don’t want your ceremony to be too short

While no one wants to sit through a long ceremony, a too short ceremony isn’t a great idea either. We’ve had couples tell us, “We just want the shortest ceremony possible. We want to exchange rings, kiss and then get to the party!” And while we’re never ones to stand in the way of a good party, we encourage you to rethink a short ceremony.

When your ceremony is too short, it can be confusing to guests. They’ll think, “Wait, that’s it?” and wonder why you even bothered having a ceremony and inviting them to attend. Of course no one wants to sit through a boring ceremony, but most guests actually love attending a meaningful and appropriately long ceremony.

More importantly, when you rush through your wedding ceremony, you rush through the most pivotal moment of your wedding day. Sure, the reception is going to be tons of fun with great food and dancing. But your ceremony is what really matters.

Your ceremony is when you and your partner make your commitment to one another. It’s where you stand up in front of all of your friends and family and say, “I love this person and I want to spend my life with them.” That’s worth celebrating!

You deserve a real moment to recognize and celebrate your love, not a rushed ceremony you’re trying to get through as quickly as possible.

wedding ceremony with young hip and married
above & feature image by Erica Miller Photography

Planning the perfect ceremony length with your wedding officiant

Much like Goldilocks, the perfect wedding ceremony isn’t too long and isn’t too short, but just right! With an experienced wedding officiant by your side, you’ll be able to plan a wedding ceremony that not only is the perfect length but perfectly represents you two and your amazing love story.

Check out our ceremony packages and book your wedding ceremony today!

As wedding officiants, we know a thing or two about love stories. And that’s why we want to help you write the best story on your wedding website!

Keep reading to learn why the “Our Story” section of your wedding website is so important, read examples of wedding website stories, hear our top tips for what to include, and find out who to ask for help!

What is “Our Story” on a wedding website?

Our Story is the section on your wedding website where you share the story of your relationship – how you met, how you fell in love and how you decided to get married. It’s a chance to let your guests learn more about you two and remind them of the real reason why you’re getting married – love!

Do we have to write about our love story on our wedding website?

No, writing your love story on your wedding website isn’t mandatory, but it is a really good idea!

Some of your guests may be new friends who don’t know how you two met or family members of one partner may not know anything about the other partner. Your love story is a great way to catch all these people up on the important details of your lives.

When you’re in the midst of wedding planning, it can be so easy to get caught up in the logistics. You spend so much time planning out the food, the outfits, the decor, etc. It can be nice to come back to the reason why you’re having this whole party. Plus, putting together your website love story is really good practice for writing your vows!

What to include in Our Story on your wedding website

The “Our Story” section of your wedding website could include things like:

  • How you met: Take people back to the beginning of your relationship.
  • Your first date: Who asked who out? Where did you go? What were your first impressions of each other after that first date?
  • The proposal: How did you decide to get engaged? What did the proposal look like?
  • Your relationship milestones: Talk through the highlights of your relationship like moving in together, adopting a pet, changing careers, going on trips, etc.
  • Dreams for your future: What are you looking forward to? Most of your love story talks about things that have already happened so this is your chance to dream big for your future together.
  • Why you’re getting married: Share what you love most about each other and why it is you want to get married.
  • Excitement for the big day: Don’t forget to end your story with a line that lets your guests know how excited you are to celebrate with them at your wedding.

Does your story have to include all of these elements? Nope. Choose the elements that are important to your relationship and the stories you want to share with your guests.

wedding website templates from The Knot
Check out wedding website options on The Knot

8 tips for writing your love story on your wedding website

  1. Remember your audience: You’re writing this story for your loved ones, so it’s okay to be casual and conversational. But remember that your grandma might read this, so keep it PG!
  2. Write your love story together: Both you and your partner should contribute to writing your love story. You can each write different parts or you can write together.
  3. Include your personalities: This isn’t a cover letter or corporate website! Don’t be afraid to include funny stories and a bit of your personality throughout your wedding website.
  4. Keep it short: No one wants to read a novel. Stick to the important or special details and skip the rest.
  5. Make it easy to read: It’s tough to read a block of text so help your guests out by breaking up your story with short paragraphs, photos and headings (if needed).
  6. Get inspired: Before you start writing, take a walk down memory lane. Look through photos, videos, cards and letters to remember your best relationship moments.
  7. Choose a POV: You’ll want to choose a point of view (POV) to write your story in, either first person singular (I), first person plural (we) or third person (she/he/they). Check out the our story wedding website examples below to see these POVs in action.
  8. Stick to a chronological story: It’ll be easier for your guests to follow along if you tell your love story chronologically – in the order that events happened.

Woman typing on laptop

Our Story wedding website examples

Below are three examples of Our Story sections you might see on a wedding website!

Jenna & Sam: Short love story written in the first person from one partner’s POV

Our love story began with a disastrous blind date, set up by our prankster friends who thought it would be funny to pair two people with entirely different tastes. Our first date was a comically terrible karaoke night where we butchered classic songs. Sam’s attempt at an air guitar solo was unforgettable, and we couldn’t stop laughing.

Sam proposed with a comically oversized carnival ring, deadpanning, “Will you tolerate my love forever?” We laughed so hard but I managed to say yes through the giggles.

Our journey has been filled with hilarious moments, from navigating Sam’s action figure obsession to my attempts at converting him to indie music. We’re getting married because life is a riot with each other, and we want a lifetime of laughter, ridiculousness, and quirky adventures.

Our wedding will be a laugh-filled celebration of our unique love story. We can’t wait to share our humour and happiness with our loved ones as we embark on this new journey as spouses.

Alex & Jamie: Queer love story written in the third person

Alex and Jamie’s love story began in the heart of Victoria’s Pride Parade. Alex was dancing with friends when they locked eyes with Jamie across the street. There was an instant connection that felt like destiny.

Their first date was a cozy night at a quirky local cafe. Jamie and Alex talked about everything; it was an evening of shared laughter and shared dreams. They both knew they had found something extraordinary.

On a beautiful summer evening, Jamie took Alex to the same spot where they had first met at Pride. Surrounded by love and acceptance, Jamie got down on one knee and asked Alex to marry them. Tears of joy and the cheers of the crowd were their witnesses, and Alex said yes without hesitation.

Alex and Jamie’s love has been a journey of self-discovery and growth. They’ve built a life centred on love, acceptance, and activism. They’ve supported each other’s personal and professional endeavours, celebrating every milestone along the way. Jamie and Alex want to stand proudly together, not just as partners but as a symbol of love’s diversity and strength.

Alex loves Jamie’s fierce passion and their ability to make Alex smile even on the toughest days. Their commitment to their community and their love is inspiring. Alex’s strength, resilience, and their beautiful heart never cease to amaze Jamie. Their love is a guiding light in Jamie’s life, and Jamie will cherish every moment spent together.

Jamie and Alex can’t wait to exchange vows, dance to their favourite anthems, and share this moment with their chosen family. Their hearts are bursting with excitement as they embark on this journey together as spouses, proudly living their love story.

Sarah & Michael: Travel love story written in the first person plural (we)

Our love story began in the most unexpected place – an airport. It was a typical busy Friday evening and we were both waiting for a flight to Toronto. Across a crowded terminal, we locked eyes and smiled at one another, total strangers who just so happened to share a moment.

Our first date was a spontaneous adventure. We decided to grab a cup of coffee right there at the airport and talked for hours about our dreams, travels, and everything in between. It felt like we had known each other forever. Time flew by, and before we knew it, our flight had been delayed. It was almost as if fate itself conspired to keep us together that night.

Fast forward to a romantic getaway in Paris – the city of love. As we strolled along the Seine, Michael got down on one knee and asked Sarah to be his forever. It was a moment straight out of a fairytale, and she said yes without a moment’s hesitation. We celebrated our engagement with croissants and champagne, knowing that our love was destined to be an extraordinary journey.

Over the years, we’ve built a life filled with countless milestones. From moving in together and adopting our beloved rescue dog, Charlie, to supporting each other through career changes and personal growth, we’ve always been each other’s biggest cheerleaders. Our adventures, whether they were exploring new cities or cozy nights in with a good book, have strengthened our bond in ways we never imagined.

We’re getting married because our love story has been nothing short of magical. We’ve found in each other a best friend, a confidant, and a partner in all of life’s adventures. We share the same values, dreams, and a deep love that grows stronger with every passing day.

As we stand on the precipice of this incredible journey together, we are filled with excitement and joy. Our wedding day is not just about celebrating our love; it’s about joining our lives in front of our cherished friends and family. We can’t wait to dance the night away, share our vows, and embark on this beautiful adventure!

Wedding website options on With Joy
Check out wedding website options on With Joy

Don’t want to write your own story? Let the experts write it for you!

It can be intimidating to try and sum up your whole relationship in just a few paragraphs. You know you have a great love story but you’re just not sure how to tell it. So why not let the experts at Young Hip & Married write your love story for you?

Our wedding officiants have been writing and sharing love stories for years with their custom written ceremonies and the hundreds of weddings they’ve officiated. With your input, our officiants will write a story on your wedding website that is completely personalized to you.

Your love story. Our storytelling.

Get in touch to inquire about our wedding website story writing services and pricing!

5 fun alternative ways to tell your love story

Don’t want to write the same love story on your wedding website that everyone else writes? Try something different! Here are five different ways you could share your story:

  1. Timeline of your relationship: Instead of writing out long paragraphs, you could create a timeline sharing the different moments of your relationship such as when you met, when you moved in together, when you got engaged, etc.
  2. Interview with the couple: Sometimes it’s easier to write when you’re answering questions. Create or search for some relationship questions you can each answer in place of writing out your full love story.
  3. Ask your loved ones: Rather than answering interview questions yourselves, you could interview your closest loved ones. Ask them to describe your relationship and how they knew you had found the one.
  4. Art version of your love story: Consider yourself better with a paintbrush than a pen? Then you can draw, paint, craft or design your love story and share that in place of a traditional written story.
  5. Video sharing your story: Sometimes it’s easier to talk than to type. If you’re better at conversation than writing things down, a video with the soon-to-be newlyweds could be a great way for guests to really get to know you two.
wedding website options with Zola
Check out wedding website options with Zola

What else do we need to include on our wedding website?

Besides putting Our Story on your wedding website, here are a few other things your website should include:

  • The basics: Guests need to know who is getting married, where and when, plus when they need to RSVP by. This is the basic info that guests often forget, so make sure it’s prominent on your site.
  • Location info: Depending on your venue, you may want to provide a map, driving or transit directions, and parking instructions. If you have a shuttle or want to provide hotel recommendations for the local area, your website is a great place to let guests know.
  • Guest expectations: What should guests expect at your wedding? Let them know the dress code and any other info that will help them prepare for the day, such as knowing the outdoor ceremony will be on grass (don’t wear heels!) or that you’re not serving alcohol.
  • RSVP: Many wedding websites allow you to gather and track RSVPs directly on the site. Make this obvious so even your least tech-savvy guests can easily RSVP.
  • Gifts: Your wedding website is the perfect place to put information about gifts, such as a link to your registry or a note about how you’d (very graciously) prefer a monetary contribution to your honeymoon.
  • Photos: Not sure what to do with all of those beautiful engagement photos? Put them on your wedding website!
  • FAQs: This is a great place to answer all of the questions your guests may have so hopefully they don’t text you the week of the wedding to ask. Information about plus ones, kids at the wedding and unplugged ceremonies can live on your FAQ page.

Lastly, it’s a good idea to resend the link to your wedding website in the week or two leading up to your wedding. While you likely included the URL on your wedding invitations, mosts guests will have forgotten it by the time your wedding rolls around (and they may have thrown out your invite, sorry to break it to you!).

To ensure everyone has all of the info they need, you can send out a quick email or text to your guests with the link and letting them know how excited you are to celebrate with them.

With these tips, we know you’ll be able to write the best story on your wedding website. And if you’re not feeling up to the task, get in touch to let the experts handle the writing for you!

A virtual wedding? Isn’t that so 2020? While 2020 might have been the year of the virtual wedding, online weddings are still very much a thing in 2023 and beyond.

Keep reading to learn why virtual weddings are still needed post-pandemic, the different types of online weddings you can host, your options for streaming, and our top tips for a successful virtual and in-person wedding ceremony!

What is a virtual wedding?

A virtual wedding, also known as an online wedding, a live stream wedding or a Zoom wedding, is a wedding ceremony that is streamed online for guests to attend virtually from all over the world. These weddings became very popular during the pandemic when restrictions prevented large weddings from taking place.

In 2023, virtual weddings usually happen in addition to in-person weddings. For example, a couple may get married in a small elopement with just 15 guests in attendance, while streaming their wedding to many more loved ones around the world.

Why do we still need virtual weddings in 2023?

Even though most pandemic-era restrictions are lifted and large weddings are back, a virtual wedding could still be a good option for you in 2023. Here are five reasons why you might want to hold a virtual wedding:

  1. Virtual weddings are cheaper. Rather than paying for a venue that seats 200 people and decorating it, you can rent and decorate a smaller venue without compromising on your guest list by inviting some guests to attend virtually.
  2. Online weddings can be more intimate. If you’re wanting to elope but still want to share your wedding with a few loved ones, a live stream is a great way to have both a private moment and invite a few people to watch from afar.
  3. You can involve more friends and family. Whether due to budget or venue constraints, you may not be able to invite everyone you love to join your wedding in person. But when you stream your ceremony, your guest list is only limited by the number of Zoom attendees you pay for!
  4. You can involve loved ones who can’t attend in person. A virtual wedding is a great way to involve guests who wouldn’t otherwise be able to attend your wedding ceremony, such as those who live far away, can’t travel or aren’t well enough for a big event.
  5. You get a great keepsake of your day. With most virtual ceremonies, you’ll have a filmed version of your day to look back on. This can often include videos or written messages from your virtual guests, making it a great keepsake and memory of the day.
bride and groom set up the tech for the virtual wedding to live stream to guests
by Amber Leigh Photography

Different types of online weddings

Before you start setting up a camera, you’ll want to decide what kind of online wedding you’re looking to have. There are a few different options to choose from and decisions to make.

One-way or two-way video

With a one-way video, you’ll stream your wedding ceremony to your guests and they’ll watch it as if they’re watching a TV show. They won’t have their cameras on or be able to interact with you. With a two-way video, your wedding will be more like a FaceTime call with both sides able to chat and be seen on screen.

Most couples opt for a one-way video, as it can get very chaotic if hundreds of online guests are trying to speak or show their faces at once. You could also have a one-way video for the ceremony and then open up the video chat afterwards.

Hosted or not

Another virtual wedding planning decision you’ll need to make is whether to have your event hosted or not. A host can be a designated guest who serves as virtual MC, or may come included in your professional videography or live stream package. You can also opt to not have a host and simply start streaming your wedding at the appointed time.

If you do choose a host, you’ll have to decide if you want the host to be on-site and if they’ll also be the person to deal with any technical snafus. The host should not be the couple getting married or anyone involved in the ceremony, as they’ll be too busy in front of the camera to be behind it.

Stream just the ceremony or more of the wedding day

When it comes to virtual weddings you can choose to stream just your wedding ceremony or other parts of the wedding day. You may want your online guests to join you for speeches, even having virtual speakers take a turn at the mic, watch your first dance, or keep attending throughout the reception.

Keep in mind that while most virtual guests are happy to sit through a 20 minute ceremony, it’s not nice to ask them to stay glued to their computer screens for hours while you and your IRL guests party the night away. If you’re going to extend your live stream past the ceremony, have a plan for what virtual attendees will do.

Share your wedding live or later

While most Zoom weddings are live streamed, as in broadcast live online as they are happening, you do have the option to share your wedding ceremony after the fact instead. This could be a good option if you’re worried about internet at your venue, since you can film the ceremony offline and upload it once you have better wifi. This is also a great option if your guests aren’t able to attend live, since they can watch a recording whenever works best for them.

If you are planning to share your ceremony later, you may choose to just send out your wedding video, instead of a full live stream of the ceremony. Depending on what you work out with your videographer, the wedding video may include snippets of the full day in a beautifully edited package, which some guests may appreciate more.

Tripod set up to capture an online wedding at Porteau Cove with Young Hip & Married
by Emily Nicole Photos

Deciding how to stream your wedding

Just a few more decisions to make before you go live with your wedding ceremony! How do you plan to stream it?


You can choose to DIY your virtual wedding. This might look like setting up a tripod for your phone or camera, buying microphones and subscribing to an online video platform, like Zoom.

While DIY-ing your live wedding video is usually the most budget-friendly way to do it, it can also be the hardest to organize. You’ll need to coordinate all of the tech, plus ensure you capture good quality video and sound. I think we’ve all sat through a virtual pandemic wedding where you couldn’t hear anything and someone stood in front of the camera for half the time – don’t let that be your 2023 virtual wedding!

Professional videography

On the other end of the spectrum, you could hire a professional videographer to capture your wedding and stream it to your virtual guests. Many videographers offer live stream packages, thanks to their popularity during the pandemic, so are experienced in this area. You’ll also be able to rest easy knowing they’re going to capture the best audio and video.

Of course, hiring a professional videographer is going to cost a lot more than just setting up a Zoom account. But if you were planning to have a videographer anyway, asking about a live stream option may be a more affordable upgrade than you think. While we know it’s not in everyone’s budget, nothing beats having a wedding video to relive all of the sights and sounds of your special day.

PS: Check out our awesome elopement videography partner, Capture Media!

Online companies

A compromise between DIY-ing your online wedding and hiring a professional videographer would be going with an online company. A number of online wedding livestream companies popped up during the pandemic to help couples plan and execute their virtual weddings.

While these companies are usually more affordable than hiring a videographer, they often still leave the audio and video aspects of setting up a virtual wedding to you. But if you’re confident in your camera skills and just need someone to run the virtual part, one of these companies might be the way to go.

Newlyweds joining an online call to share their wedding with livestream guests
by Erica Miller Photography

10 tips for your virtual online wedding

Here are a few more tips to make sure your virtual wedding goes off without a hitch!

  1. Practice with your tech ahead of time. Especially if you’re going the DIY route, make sure you’re very comfortable with your tech and your online set up. If possible, do a test run at your venue to make sure everything is working.
  2. Have someone available to troubleshoot. During the livestream, designate someone to be your tech troubleshooter. If anything goes wrong, this person is responsible for trying to fix it. It may help if this person is on-site in case they need to adjust a camera lens.
  3. Have a plan B. This mostly applies to a DIY or online company livestream, but you’ll want to make sure you have back up options in case plan A fails. This might mean having a second camera charged and ready or a plan to hot spot off your phone if the venue wifi falls through.
  4. Prep guests ahead of time. Leading up to your virtual wedding, make sure your guests have everything they need to attend. Give them the time, the URL and anything they’ll need to login. It might also be helpful to have some tech-savvy attendees set things up for the less tech-savvy ones, such as sending your cousin over to grandma’s house.
  5. Be sensitive with your guest list. Hopefully, virtual guests will understand why they’re not being invited to attend in person and still enjoy celebrating with you online. But because virtual weddings are less common in 2023, you may get some pushback. Prepare yourself to politely answer any questions or deal with hurt feelings. And please, don’t demand or expect a gift from anyone who only attends virtually!
  6. Make it special for your virtual guests. To help let your virtual guests know you still value their presence, make the wedding a special event for them. You can do this by sending fancy e-vites, reaching out with personal notes, asking guests to dress up, or even sending care packages to virtual guests with fun party favours.
  7. Encourage guests to participate. Depending on what type of virtual wedding format you opt for, there may be a chance for your online guests to participate and engage in the ceremony. Whether that’s raising a glass to you in a virtual breakout room, turning on their cameras to applaud, leaving you a video message or writing in the chat, let your virtual guests know how they can participate and encourage them to do so.
  8. Let your vendors know that you’re streaming your wedding. Don’t forget to tell your vendors that you’ll be streaming your wedding. They may have some tips and tricks for you, or be able to help you get everything set up on the day. For example, your wedding officiant can make an announcement during your ceremony that the wedding is being live streamed, so in-person guests know not to block the camera. Your officiant can also give you a chance to wave and smile at the camera, which your online guests will love!
  9. Get copies of the video and chat. Most livestream platforms will have a way for you to record and save the video, as well as any comments that get left in the virtual chat room. And, of course, if you have a professional videographer doing this, they will definitely be able to provide you with an edited version of the ceremony. It’s so much fun to watch your wedding back and see what your guests were saying along the way.
  10. Don’t forget to enjoy your ceremony! Sometimes planning a virtual wedding can be stressful, especially if you’re trying to figure out all of the tech, audio and video parts yourself. So while it pays to practice and be prepared, don’t forget to also enjoy your own wedding ceremony. Your virtual guests won’t mind if you’re running a few minutes behind or there’s a little static on the mic, as long as they get to watch you share your heartfelt vows with each other. After all, that’s why everyone is tuning in!

Whether you’re having a virtual celebration, in-person or a bit of both, we’d love to help create a custom ceremony that’s personalized for you two. Check out all of our ceremony packages, meet our officiant team and get in touch to book today!

Congratulations, you’re engaged! Whether on bended knee with big shiny rock or a meaningful conversation on your couch, you and your partner have decided to get married and spend your lives together. Yay! But before you start planning your wedding and choosing napkin colours, you’ll need to decide how to announce your engagement. (Hint: It’s not with a post on social media right away!)

Keep reading for our best tips on how to announce your engagement, who to share the news with first, and creative ways to let your friends and family in on your good news. Once again, a big congrats from all of us here at Young Hip & Married!

What is an announcement of engagement?

An announcement of engagement, while formal sounding, is really just letting people know that you are engaged. This doesn’t have to be a formal announcement in a newspaper or sent via mail. It can be as simple as calling someone up and sharing your happy news!

Of course, there are other ways to announce your engagement, so keep reading for more on the do’s and don’ts of engagement announcements!

When should you announce your engagement?

There is no strict timeline for when you need to announce your engagement. You and your partner may want to keep the news to yourselves for a little while before sharing with the world. That being said, if your proposal happens in a public place, in front of friends and family, or is filmed and posted on social media, the cat will likely be out of the bag right away.

You’ll probably want to share that you’re engaged fairly soon after the proposal. Assuming you get engaged in private, many couples will begin sharing the news within a few days. Make sure you have a plan for who you want to tell, how and when (more on that below) and keep in mind that once you start sharing, word will get out, so you’ll want to keep telling people.

Lastly, make sure your engagement announcement doesn’t step on anyone’s toes or steal their thunder. For example, it would be a bad idea to announce your engagement at someone else’s wedding or engagement party.

Scrabble tiles spell out "we are engaged" how to announce your engagement

What happens after an engagement announcement?

Hopefully, a lot of hugs and congratulations! Once you announce your engagement, you should expect to be celebrated by your friends and family who are hearing the happy news. Expect hugs, handshakes or a toast in your honour!

You can also expect questions about the wedding. It’s not unusual for a couple to get engaged and moments later be asked, “So, when’s the wedding? Am I invited? What are your wedding colours?” You might think it’s a bit soon to be discussing the wedding…and you’d be right! Shut down this line of questioning by saying something like, “We’re just excited to celebrate our engagement right now and haven’t started wedding planning yet.”

Even if you have started wedding planning before your engagement announcement, hold off on talking about wedding plans with friends and family. It’s easy to get swept up in conversations and start making promises about your wedding that you can’t keep. Wait until you and your partner have had time to finalize your plans before offering to put someone in your wedding party or giving them a plus one.

Another thing you might want to do after your engagement announcement is have an engagement party. An engagement party is optional, but can be a fun way to celebrate this milestone in your relationship. Click here for more things to do after you get engaged!

Couple's hands showing off engagement ring

All right, now that you now all about engagement announcements, let’s break down the four steps of actually announcing your engagement: 

Step 1) Be on the same page for the announcement of your engagement

Before you start sharing the happy news of your engagement or posting ring selfies on social media, you’ll want to talk to your partner. The two of you should be on the same page about who you want to tell, how you want to tell them and when. In fact, you may even want to talk about this before you get engaged so one of you doesn’t accidentally text their mom with the news while the other is still wiping tears away from the heartfelt proposal.

You also have the option to keep your engagement news to yourselves for a little while. Especially if you get engaged in private, such as at home or while away on vacation, it can be kind of nice to have a secret only the two of you know about. You can spend time celebrating and talking about your wedding without any outside opinions or interruptions.

Step 2) Announcing your engagement to your closest loved ones

Once you’re ready to announce your engagement, start with your closest friends and family members. These are the people you would naturally want to tell first and who will be so excited to share in your good news.

As much as possible, try to announce your engagement to your closest people in person. Not only is this so much more meaningful than a text or email, but it also makes the celebration so much better. Wouldn’t you rather hug and pop champagne with your loved ones than have them send you a champagne emoji?

If you can’t tell them in person, try to tell them live. You can do this with a video or phone call so you can still see each other’s reactions and share in a joyful moment together.

Queer LGBTQ couple admiring their engagement rings, how to announce your engagement

Step 3) Engagement announcement ideas for the rest of your friends and family

Once your closest circle of loved ones have heard the happy news, it’s time to announce your engagement to more of your friends and family. This may be people who you don’t talk to all the time but you do see regularly and who would be excited to hear your news from you. Here are a few engagement announcement ideas for the rest of your friends and family:

  • Phone and video calls
  • An email thread
  • Sharing at a family get together
  • Announcing over happy hour drinks
  • Old fashioned snail mail with a cute ring selfie

The idea with this stage of your engagement announcement is that you want to reach out to people personally and share your happy news, rather than wait for them to see it online. While it can be fun to wait until you see everyone in person to announce your engagement, sometimes an email or call is more practically so you’re not waiting months to share the news.

Step 4) An engagement announcement on social media

The last place you want to announce your engagement is on social media. Before you post, make sure everyone who would want to hear your news personally has already heard it. You don’t want grandma finding out about your engagement through Facebook!

Remember that there’s no timeline when it comes to social media. You can spend weeks sharing your news with friends and family, enjoying the fun moments of telling people in person or on the phone, before you open a single app. And please, don’t stress about coming up with a clever caption your post – people will be excited for you no matter what. (Though here’s a little caption inspiration, if you need it!)

Once it’s posted, your engagement announcement will officially be out there in the world for everyone from your boss to your old kindergarten teacher to see. Enjoy all the comments that come in, knowing that all of your important people have already shared in your happy news.

Congratulations on your engagement! Once you’ve announced your engagement to friends, family and social media, you’ll want to dive into the world of wedding planning. While it can be overwhelming, we know one way to ensure a stress-free experience (seriously, just ask our past couples!): hiring Young Hip & Married to officiate. Check out our ceremony packages here!

When it comes to wedding ceremony guest behaviour, there are a few rules we believe all guests should follow. As wedding officiants who have married thousands of couples over the last decade, we’ve seen what happens when guests get it right and how bad it can go when guests get it wrong.

So guests, this one is for you! Read on for all of the do’s and don’ts of wedding ceremony guest behaviour so you can ensure an awesome wedding ceremony for everyone!

PS: All of the lovely guests pictured below are on their very best wedding ceremony guest behaviour, of course! 

Don’t arrive late

One of the biggest wedding ceremony sins a guest can commit is showing up late. It’s a wedding myth that ceremonies always start late. They often start on time, meaning that as a guest, you should plan to show up early so you have time to park, find the venue and get a seat.

There’s nothing worse than a group of guests loudly trying to find seats once the ceremony has already begun. As subtle as you think you’re being, you’re not. You’re disturbing other guests and being rude to the couple by interrupting their ceremony.

Or if the couple decides to delay the ceremony to wait for you, you’re actually delaying their entire wedding day schedule. That might mean vendors have to leave or events, like sunset photos, get cancelled. You don’t want to be responsible for that, so get there early!

Do follow the dress code

If the wedding ceremony you’re attending has a dress code, follow it! And if there’s not a specific dress code, make sure you’re still following some basic rules: no white dresses and nothing super casual. Try to find out from the couple or the wedding party how formal the ceremony will be, or do some research by looking up the venue.

You also want to dress for the season and venue. While you can hope that the couple will provide fans, blankets or umbrellas as needed, you still don’t want to show up to an outdoor winter wedding in sandals or a summer beach wedding in long sleeves.

parents of the bride and groom at wedding ceremony
by Aileen Choi Photo

Don’t try to find the couple before the ceremony

There’s always that one guest who thinks it would just be so great to find the couple before the ceremony and wish them well. They just have to get a photo, give a hug or share a few well wishes before things get started. They say, “Oh I’m just going to sneak upstairs and say hello. They won’t mind! I’m their favourite.” But trust us, you don’t want to be this person.

The couple getting married is busy before the ceremony. They’re taking photos, getting dressed, doing their hair and makeup, and taking care of so many last minute details. They don’t need to be interrupted by you, even if you mean well and you swear it’s just going to take a second.

If the couple didn’t invite you to get ready with them or hang out before the ceremony, odds are they don’t really want you there. Just wait to see them at the ceremony and catch up with them at the reception.

Do find your seat

Instead of finding the couple, what you can find is your seat! Another reason to arrive early for a wedding ceremony is to give yourself time to find a seat. Most couples are happy for guests to sit anywhere; seats aren’t often assigned and you usually don’t have to stick to a specific side. The only seats that may be off limits are the first row, usually reserved for immediate family, the wedding party or to honour passed loved ones.

Sometimes before a ceremony begins, guests will be mingling and standing around chatting with one another. As the ceremony is about to start, the wedding officiant or a venue staff member may make an announcement asking people to find their seats. Please, do so! The longer you stand around, the longer it takes for the ceremony to start.

Don’t be drunk at a wedding ceremony

Here’s a wedding ceremony guest behaviour we wish we didn’t have to talk about. You may have heard of guests getting drunk at wedding receptions but wedding ceremonies? Sadly, it happens. With many ceremonies happening later in the day, that’s plenty of time for attendees to start drinking before the festivities. Some couples even serve drinks or have a bar at their venue for guests to enjoy before the ceremony.

So enjoy, but don’t overdo it. The couple getting married have put a lot of effort into their special day and don’t want it ruined by someone getting too rowdy at the ceremony. Pace yourself and your friends (and your liver!) will thank you for it.

wedding ceremony guest behaviour
by Shari & Mike

Don’t have your phone volume on

We know. You haven’t had your phone volume on since 2012. You don’t even know what your ring tone sounds like! But do everyone a favour and just double check, okay? Because you do not want to be the person whose phone rings or whose alarm goes off in the middle of the ceremony.

Unless you need your phone for an emergency, silence it and make sure any alarms are turned off.

Do put your phone/camera away

If your friends are having an unplugged wedding, please respect their wishes and put your phone, camera, tablet, etc. away. Not sure if the wedding is unplugged or not? Do some digging. Most couples will have this information on their wedding website, on a sign at their ceremony, and repeated by their officiant before the ceremony begins.

While 20 minutes without looking at your phone might sound tough, remember that an unplugged ceremony means you can focus on what matters – your awesome friends getting married! It also means your friends get to see your smiling face and not the backs of your device.

Don’t block the photographer or videographer

Whether the couple has opted for an unplugged wedding ceremony or not, make sure you’re not blocking the photographer, videographer or any other wedding vendor during the ceremony. Your friends have paid good money to have these talented individuals capture their day. Don’t make their jobs even harder!

This means being aware of your surroundings. If you notice a camera behind you, try not to move around too much in your chair. If you’re standing and you see the videographer trying to walk by, step to the side. And please, do not jump into the middle of the aisle at any point!

guests blowing bubbles as newlyweds kiss, wedding ceremony guest behaviour
by Emily Nicole Photos

Do try to limit noise from your children or step outside

We get it – kids make noise. No one is saying you have to ensure your children are silent for the entire wedding ceremony. If the couple invited kids to their wedding, they know a meltdown or crying fit could happen. But you can do your best to avoid it!

Let your kids run around before the ceremony to get their wiggles out. Depending on how old your children are and their experience with weddings, you may want to talk them through what’s going to happen so they know what to expect. You may also want to bring some quiet toys to keep them busy, such as colouring books, or a quiet snack for them to eat. Heck, you could even bribe them with screen time if they stay quiet!

If your child does start to cry or fuss, don’t be afraid to take them out of the ceremony space. It’ll be better for everyone – the couple, the other guests, you and your child – if they can take a break until they’re feeling better. This is why we often recommend parents of young children sit towards the back and on the far end of a row so they can make a quick exit if needed.

Don’t interrupt the wedding ceremony

As best you can, try not to interrupt the wedding ceremony. Obviously, things do happen. In the case of an emergency or another important issue that needs immediate attention, please do interrupt. But if it can wait until after the ceremony, please don’t.

This means no whispered conversation with your bestie throughout the vows, no getting up to leave if you can help it, and no shouting out in the middle of the ceremony. Even if you just thought of a hilarious one-liner that you’re sure will have all the guests laughing, save it for the after party!

Do participate when asked

While interruptions are unwanted wedding ceremony guest behaviour, you should participate when asked. If the wedding officiant invites you to take part in a community vow, say I do. If a ring warming is taking place, warm the rings. And if the couple has asked you to join them in song, put those vocal cords to use!

More and more, couples getting married are trying to involve their guests in their ceremony. They want you to feel engaged, enjoy yourself and be a real part of their celebration. So even if you are not a big “participator,” suck it up and participate for your friends.

young hip and married vancouver wedding ceremony, queer couple
by Kate Paterson Photography

Don’t fall asleep!

We’re hoping this is a wedding ceremony guest behaviour you don’t need to be reminded about. But please, don’t fall asleep! No matter how tired you are, no matter how long the ceremony is and no matter how bored you feel, don’t let those eyelids close. Remember that your friends have put a lot of time, effort and money into this ceremony and they’d like you to stay awake for it.

Another thing you shouldn’t do if you’re bored at a wedding ceremony? Be on your phone. In addition to not sleeping, you also shouldn’t be texting, scrolling, swiping or otherwise staring at a tiny screen in your hands. Not only is this distracting to other guests, but it looks awful in photos and is just rude to the couple getting married.

PS: Couples, worried your guests are going to fall asleep or get bored during your ceremony? Not with a Creative & Custom Ceremony that is personalized to you two!

Do know where you’re going after the ceremony

The ceremony finishes, you clap and cheer as your friends recess back up the aisle…and then what? What are you doing and where are you going after the ceremony?

Depending on the wedding, you may move straight into a cocktail hour, you may be instructed to join the couple for group or family photos, or you may be on your own for a few hours until the reception starts at a different venue. Pay attention to any announcements the wedding officiant makes about post-ceremony plans and double check the wedding website so you know the schedule for the day.

Don’t bring your card/gift to the wedding ceremony

Generally speaking, you don’t need to bring your gift or card for the newlyweds to the wedding ceremony. Assuming you are attending the reception later that day, that is when you can bring your gift. The reception will usually have a designated spot, like a gift table or box for cards, where you drop off your present. Even better, most registries have the option to ship gifts directly to the newlyweds, meaning all you have to bring to the wedding is a card.

The ceremony, on the other hand, usually doesn’t have a designated spot for gifts. So there will be nowhere to put that giant KitchenAid Mixer you wrapped up. You’ll have to lug it around with you and you won’t be able to hand it to the couple, as they’ll be busy getting married or taking photos.

If you aren’t attending the reception, you can look into options to ship a registry gift or give a virtual gift, such as an e-gift card. You could also leave your gift or card with another guest who can bring it to the reception for you.

wedding guests celebrating as newlyweds kiss
above & feature image by Erica Miller Photography

Do have a great time celebrating your friends getting married!

Above all, the most important wedding ceremony guest behaviour rule is to have an incredible time celebrating your friends who are getting married. Do this by focusing on their love and the beautiful day they’ve planned. Enjoy yourself, cry those happy tears, and help your loved ones have a wedding ceremony they’ll look back on fondly!

Places, everyone! The wedding ceremony is about to start. But where does everyone stand during a wedding ceremony? Is everyone even standing or should some people be sitting? What about the wedding party, readers and the officiant?

Below we’re breaking down all of the blocking and placement that you need to know before your wedding ceremony to make sure everyone is where they’re supposed to be on the big day. Ready? Let’s hit the mark!

Where does the couple stand during a wedding ceremony?

where does the couple stand during a wedding ceremony, vow exchange vancouver wedding
by John Bello Photography

After the processional, the couple getting married usually stands at the front of the aisle, facing one another, centred to their guests. In some religions and cultures, the couple will face forwards instead of facing each other, and they may sit for parts or all of the ceremony.

However, if this isn’t a practice in your religion/culture, we recommend facing each other instead of facing forward. That way, you get to see each other and have an emotional connection throughout the ceremony. You also let your guests see at least half of your face – which is better than them staring at your back the whole time!

What side does the bride stand on?

Traditionally the bride stands on the left while the groom stands on the right. But not all weddings have brides or grooms, so we say you should stand wherever the heck you want!

Where does the officiant stand during a wedding ceremony?

where does the officiant stand during a wedding ceremony, young hip and married victoria wedding
by Jades Photography

Traditionally the officiant stands behind the couple, centred between them, facing the guests. In this position they’re able to both address the audience as they lead the ceremony while also assisting the couple through different parts, such as their ring exchange.

And a good officiant (like the ones you’ll find here at Young Hip & Married!) will know to move aside for all of the important moments, like your vows and first kiss. That way, you can have an intimate moment just with your partner and you won’t have your officiant in the background of all of your photos.

You may have seen a new trend where officiants stand in the aisle during the ceremony but… we actually don’t think this is the best idea. Since your officiant is mostly speaking to your guests throughout your ceremony, guests won’t know whether to look ahead at you or behind to your officiant.

And while the trend is meant to make things easier for your photographer to capture photos of just you two, it can actually be harder for your photographer and videographer to move around with your officiant in the aisle.

Where does the wedding party stand during a wedding ceremony?

where does the wedding party stand during a wedding ceremony, young hip and married vancouver wedding
by Lumina Weddings

Usually after processing down the aisle, the wedding party will stand on either side of the couple in a long line. Attendants for Partner A will stand behind them and attendants for Partner B will stand behind them.

And while this is the traditional format we see at most weddings, it’s not mandatory. You can choose to have your wedding party process down the aisle and then sit in the front row instead of standing with you at the front or you can get married without a wedding party at all. It’s up to you how you want your party to sit or stand during your ceremony.

Should guests be standing during a wedding ceremony or sitting?

guests standing during a wedding ceremony, young hip and married elopement
by Breezy Photography

Guests standing during a wedding ceremony is less common than having them sit. Standing is best for elopements with a small guest list and a short ceremony. That way, everyone standing can still see what’s happening and won’t have to stand for too long. For ceremonies longer than 5-10 minutes and with more than 20 guests, you’ll want to provide seating. Note that you may also need to provide seating for a shorter and smaller ceremony if your guests aren’t able to comfortably stand.

Where do guests sit during a wedding ceremony?

where do guests sit during a wedding ceremony, young hip and married vancouver wedding
by Beige Weddings

Traditionally, guests sit in rows on both sides of the aisle facing the couple and the officiant. Often these are chairs laid out in rows or benches/pews that you would see in a religious institution. It used to be that Partner A’s family and friends would sit on one side of the aisle while Partner B’s would sit on the other, but that’s just a wedding ceremony myth in modern weddings!

If you want to get creative, you could try a different seating arrangement. These creative ideas often work best with smaller guest counts, as they can be hard to execute with hundreds of people. Instead of chairs you could have sofas, hay bales with blankets, or small bistro tables set up around your space. And instead of sitting in rows, you could have guests seated in a circle around you. While we love the idea of your guests literally encircling you with their love, keep in mind that some guests will be staring at your backside the whole time!

What about parents of the couple, readers, honoured guests, etc.?

parents of the bride and groom at wedding ceremony
by Aileen Choi Photo

Anyone who is not getting married, officiating the wedding or in the wedding party is usually seated (or standing) with the guests. However, you can still ensure special guests get the VIP treatment.

Honoured guests, like your parents or close family members/friends can be seated in the front row. You’ll want to reserve these seats with a wedding sign and let these guests know the seats have been saved for them. Some couples also like to save a seat for a special guest who has passed away and can’t attend. This can be done by placing a photo, flower or other special marker on a seat in the front row.

For anyone involved in your wedding ceremony, such as readers or people assisting with a unity ceremony, ensure that they can get from their seat to where they need to be easily. This usually means sitting on the aisle, close to the front or in the front row. Once again, you may want to reserve these seats or let these guests know where they should sit.

Now that you know where everyone is supposed to stand during a wedding ceremony, it’s time to take your ceremony planning to the next level. Check out our Custom & Creative Ceremony Package where an officiant will work with you to create a personalized ceremony that tells your love story and is true to who you two are – no unnecessary traditions required!


written by Riana Ang-Canning
feature image by Erica Miller Photography

They say timing is everything and that’s certainly true when it comes to your wedding date! Rather than blindly pointing to a spot on a calendar or going with whatever your venue suggests, you can choose your wedding date based on what works best for you and your guests. Since you’ll be celebrating your wedding anniversary every year (we hope!), this is a date you’re going to want to pay attention to.

Let’s check the weather, the calendar and maybe even your horoscope to find you the perfect wedding date!

Step 1. Discuss the basics of your wedding

Before you can choose your wedding date, you need to nail down some of the basics of your wedding. Sit down with your partner and have some big picture conversations about what you envision for your day. Will you be hosting a wedding locally or doing a destination wedding? Are you picturing an intimate elopement or hundreds of your closest friends and family?

Even if you don’t know exactly when and where your wedding will take place, you can discuss the broader experience you want to have. Are you leaning towards an all night dance party at a chic downtown venue, a brunch wedding on a beautiful vineyard, a camping wedding weekend by the lake or something else entirely?

With these basics in mind, you’ll have more information when it comes to actually choosing and booking your wedding date.

outdoor vancouver wedding with young hip and married, wedding date
by Erica Miller Photography

Step 2. Pick a year: 2023, 2024 or beyond?

Starting with the most broad part of choosing your wedding date, you should first decide what year you want to get married. Generally this will come down to how much time you need to plan the kind of event you have in mind – this is why it’s important to know whether you’re planning an elopement for two or a big wedding for 200.

On average, couples are engaged for 12-18 months and spend about a year planning their wedding. Of course, that is just an average; some couples plan their weddings in just a few weeks and others book a wedding date years in advance. But generally speaking for your average full-size wedding, you should count on a year of planning.

You’ll also need to think about availability of your venue, vendors and guests. While you might be ready to get married next week, there’s a good chance your dream venue is booked, your vendors are busy and your guests can’t make it with that little notice. Popular venues and vendors often book out more than a year in advance, which explains why couples often need a year or more to plan their weddings.

Step 3. Decide what season to hold your wedding

With a year in mind, you can now think about what season you want to hold your wedding in. Typically, summer and late spring/early fall weddings are most popular and winter weddings are least popular. However, this will vary depending on where you’re getting hitched. For example, no one wants to get married in Arizona in July!

While getting married in a popular season usually means better weather, it may also mean busier vendors, more crowds and more expense. Wedding venues and vendors typically book out their busy wedding season dates sooner, so you’ll need to book early or have fewer venues and vendors to choose from. With more weddings happening during that season you might have a harder time securing a spot for photos, booking beauty services, hiring a limo, etc. And with wedding season often coinciding with tourist season, you and your guests may be paying top dollar for hotels and flights.

A wedding in the off-season might mean you’re putting up with worse weather and an outdoor wedding might be out of the question. But it could also mean more venue and vendor availability, discounted off-season prices, and fewer crowds and events happening around yours.

young hip and married vancouver elopement, queer wedding, how to choose your wedding date
by John Bello Photography

Step 4. Weekend vs weekday wedding?

As we discussed in our wedding ceremony myths post, it used to be that Saturday night was the only time for a wedding. But in 2023, we’re seeing weddings at all times and every day of the week. From early morning beach elopements to Sunday brunch and Thursday afternoon, it’s no longer taboo to hold your wedding on a weekday.

Of course, a Saturday or weekend wedding does have its perks. Most people have Saturday and Sunday off work, meaning you can plan wedding events all weekend long. Guests will be able to come in from out of town without taking too much time off and party the night away, knowing they don’t have to get up for work the next morning.

But because Saturday weddings are still the most popular, they’re also the most booked and often the most expensive. Many venues and vendors will offer discounts for mid-week weddings and have more availability. But keep in mind that not all of your guests may be able to attend a Monday lunch wedding.

Step 5. Consider holidays and events when you choose your wedding date

Before you choose your wedding date, you’ll want to double check that your wedding doesn’t overlap with any local events or holidays. Pull up your city’s event calendar and make sure there’s not a huge parade, race, event or party in town that will make it difficult for your guests and vendors to get to your wedding.

Sometimes it’s not possible to avoid holding your wedding at the same time as a big city event – perhaps the event was announced after you booked your wedding or you forgot to check. In that case, make sure all of your guests and vendors know about the event ahead of time and make plans so they can still arrive at your wedding. This may mean booking hotels much earlier and securing transportation for your guests.

Holding your wedding on a holiday long weekend can be a pro or a con. It may mean more guests can travel to your wedding without taking extra time off work. But it might also mean your guests will have established family plans or not want to travel during a busy and expensive long weekend. Steer clear of the most expensive travel times and family holidays, like Thanksgiving and Christmas, to have the best chance of keeping your guest list in tact.

victoria elopement with young hip and married
by Jades Photography

Step 6. Consider special, lucky or unlucky dates

Now that you’ve chosen a year, picked a season and established that your potential wedding date doesn’t overlap with any holidays or events, you may want to think about any particularly significant dates. For some couples, this is a really big deal. They want to tie the knot on the same day they got engaged or their dating anniversary. Or perhaps they want to choose a wedding date that is lucky in their culture or lines up with lucky numbers according to numerology or astrology.

If lucky dates don’t mean much to you, or don’t line up with the season you want to get married in, you could also think about unlucky dates. Are there any days you definitely don’t want to get married on? Friday the 13th is a popular answer. There may also be times of year that are particularly bad for a wedding, such as tax season if you’re an accountant.

Lastly, consider any other special dates on your calendar, such as holidays, weddings or events you’ve already committed to. Obviously you don’t want your wedding to overlap with anything else you have scheduled. You’ll want to pay particular attention to any other weddings that might be coming up, especially if you’ll have overlapping guest lists. Your family may not be able to afford to attend both your wedding in Hawaii and your sister’s wedding in Italy in the same month.

Step 7. Check in with your VIPs

The final thing you need to do before you choose your wedding date is check in with your VIPs. Usually these are people you wouldn’t want to get married without. If you can’t envision your wedding day without your grandparents or best friend, you may want to check in with them to make sure they are available. Give them a general sense of when you’re thinking (e.g. summer 2024) and see if there are any dates they can’t make.

You may also have some VIP vendors you really want to work with. (Who us? Oh stop it, we’re flattered!) If you’ve fallen in love with a photographer on Instagram or dream about hiring a particular baker, it wouldn’t be a horrible idea to check in and see what dates they have available. Many vendors won’t be able to hold a date for you without a deposit and knowing where your wedding is taking place, but you can still get a sense of their availability for your potential wedding date.

wedding couple, how to choose your wedding date
by The Apartment Photography

What’s more important: your date or your venue?

At some point on your journey to finding the perfect wedding date, you’ll have to decide what is more important to you: your date or your venue?

If you are tied to a specific wedding date, you’ll have less venue availability. You’ll only be able to choose from venues that are available for Sep 14, 2024 as opposed to venues with any weekend availability in September or October 2024. On the flip side, if you’re tied to a specific venue, you’ll only be able to choose your wedding date from the dates they have available.

Unless you are tied to a very specific wedding date, it’s best to go into your wedding venue search with a general idea of when you want to get married (i.e. a season, a year and weekend vs weekday) as well as any dates that don’t work. You’ll then share that information with any venues you tour and are interested in. They can let you know what dates they have available within your specifications.

Remember: You don’t have a wedding date until you have a venue. Once your chosen venue has confirmed availability and you’ve booked with them, you then have your official wedding date. You’ll need this date and the venue location in order to book all of your other wedding vendors. That’s why it’s important you book your wedding venue first!

Whether it’s a sunrise wedding on the beach or a midnight wedding to ring in the new year, Young Hip & Married would love to officiate and get you wed! Meet our team of officiants, check out our packages and reach out today to book!

Love knows no boundaries, and neither should the celebration of your love! In a world where no one wants to do extra paperwork, a commitment ceremony provides a meaningful alternative for couples to express their dedication to each other.

Whether it’s a vow renewal, a destination wedding, or a symbolic union for LGBTQ+ couples, commitment ceremonies offer an opportunity to honour love without the constraints of legal paperwork. Keep reading to discover what commitment ceremonies are, how they differ from legal weddings, and why hiring a wedding officiant can make your commitment ceremony that much more meaningful!

What is a commitment ceremony?

A commitment ceremony is any type of event or ritual that celebrates a couple coming together and dedicating themselves to one another. This could be an informal moment, such as a couple reading love letters to each other in their living room, or a more planned and formal event, such as a wedding ceremony.

Generally speaking, commitment ceremonies are non-legal, meaning that no legal paperwork is signed. The emphasis is on the emotional or spiritual commitment, rather than on the legal changing of marital status.

Stanley Park seawall wedding commitment ceremony
above & feature by Erica Miller Photography

Examples of commitment ceremonies:

A vow renewal is a type of commitment, or recommitment, ceremony. With a vow renewal, a couple that is already married plans an event to recommit to one another and share new, updated vows that reflect on their years of marriage. Because they are already legally married, no legal paperwork is needed at their vow renewal.

Many destination weddings are actually commitment ceremonies, rather than legal ceremonies. That’s because many couples find it easier to get legally married at home before or after their destination wedding, rather than have to deal with paperwork abroad to legalize their marriage.

Sadly, in places of the world where LGBTQ+ couples cannot be legally or safely married, many choose to hold symbolic commitment ceremonies instead. While they can’t sign any paperwork, they can still honour their commitment and celebrate with friends and family. Finding LGBTQ+ friendly wedding vendors can be difficult in these areas, proving once again how much harder queer couples have to work just to have their love acknowledged and respected.

You may have also heard of commitment ceremonies happening with blended families. Regardless of whether or not the parents are legally married, some blended families will choose to have commitment ceremonies with their children, involving them in the ritual of forming a new family. Commitment ceremonies are also popular in certain spiritual and religious groups where the legal importance of marriage is not as heavily emphasized.

family wedding ceremony with young hip & married
by Jordyn Keller Photography

How is a commitment ceremony different from a legal wedding ceremony?

The biggest difference between a commitment wedding ceremony and a legal wedding ceremony is the paperwork. At a legal ceremony, a marriage licence is signed and filed, registering the marriage with the governing body in your area and legally changing a couple’s marital status. With a commitment ceremony, no legal paperwork is signed or filed and no legal statuses change as a result of the ceremony.

Otherwise, these two ceremonies can be identical! You can still put on your fanciest wedding outfits, have wedding parties, exchange vows and rings, share a first kiss and celebrate with your guests. You can have a wedding officiant conduct the ceremony and even sign a document of your own making, such as the promises you want to keep to one another.

Importantly, a commitment ceremony is not a fake wedding. Just because a couple is not legally registering their marriage during the ceremony, it doesn’t mean their relationship and commitment to one another is any less strong or important. Nor does it mean they shouldn’t get to celebrate their commitment like everyone else! Since when does a government stamped piece of paper prove that your love is real?

Bloedel wedding in Vancouver with Young Hip & Married
by Breezy Photography

Why would you want to have a non-legal ceremony?

There are many reasons why a non-legal ceremony may make more sense for you than a legal one. As mentioned above, you may choose a non-legal ceremony to renew your vows, since you’re already legally married. If you’re getting legally married before or after a destination wedding, your ceremony in the destination would be non-legal.

If you can’t get legally married to the person you love, a non-legal commitment ceremony may be your only choice. There are also situations where getting married may impact your ability to get health insurance, apply for certain jobs or make use of certain benefits.

Of course, you may just feel like a commitment ceremony is the right choice for you two and a better fit than a legal ceremony. Perhaps the legal part of marriage is not important or appealing to you. That’s okay! You can still be completely committed to your partner without official paperwork and you can still plan a meaningful commitment ceremony without signing anything.

first kiss, non-legal commitment ceremony, wedding ceremony
by Erica Miller Photography

Should you hire a wedding officiant for your commitment ceremony?

If you’re planning a commitment ceremony with vows, guests and rings, a wedding officiant could be a great touch. (Though, of course, we’re a little biased!) While a wedding officiant is important for signing and filing the legal paperwork, they do so much more for your wedding ceremony.

An officiant can help you customize and design a commitment ceremony that tells your story and shares your love with your guests. They can offer advice on vows and readings, run your ceremony rehearsal, and answer any questions you have along the way. Importantly, on the big day they bring a sense of calm and professionalism to your ceremony. You’ll know that you have an experienced, reliable vendor with you who can guide you through the ceremony.

Get in touch to learn about how we can help you plan the perfect commitment ceremony!