Your Complete Ceremony Site Checklist Read these seven steps to ensure every ceremony detail is accounted for.
by The Knot
From booking the site to saying your vows, here's every box to check off for a seamless ceremony at the venue of your dreams, whether it’s a house of worship, a botanical garden or a beachfront property.
1. Find and Book Your Site First, you need to find the right ceremony venue. Researching ceremony sites should be one of your first to-dos, so if you’re getting married in 14 months, start the search process about 12 months out. You’ll need someone to perform the ceremony too, so research officiants around the same time to make sure you can score them at the same time as your venue.
Think you’ve found the right spot? Amazing! Before you book, have a chat with the site manager to make sure all your questions are answered and your ceremony needs can be met. Same goes for your officiant—ask them these important questions and iron out all the details before you sign anything.
Now it’s time to make it official, and, as with all your pros, you should absolutely get it in writing. Along with the basics, like the date, location and time of your wedding, here are specific points to include on both your ceremony site contract and your officiant contract.
2. Rent Ceremony EssentialsNot every ceremony venue will have everything you need. If your site doesn’t include essentials like lighting, electricity, tables, chairs or suitable restrooms, you'll need to contact a party rental company to complete the space. On the other hand, you may only be missing ceremony-specific items, like a ceremony arch, mandap or chuppah. Here are some must-have items you might need to rent for your ceremony:
4. Meet With Your Officiant Again Set up a second meeting to discuss any literature you intend to incorporate with your officiant. This is also the time to ask your officiant for any ideas and advice if you’re stuck on which readings or customs to use.
Have your officiant give you a copy of their standard ceremony so you can ask questions, clarify uncertainties and make changes to suit you (if allowed).
If premarital counseling is required, this is the time to schedule it and go. (Here’s what you might expect from a premarital counseling session.)
5. Finalize the CeremonyBy now, you should have a pretty good idea of the overall structure and main elements of your ceremony, including readings, candle lighting, other special rituals and music, as well as who will participate in each. If not, now’s the time to enlist trusted loved ones to do a reading (this is a special way to include a dear friend or relative who isn’t in your wedding party).
6. Gather Ceremony ExtrasDetermine which of the following ceremony items you’ll need and start shopping or make arrangements to have them made or ordered. Don’t forget, your florist or planner may also be able to provide a few things.
Get more wedding ceremony inspiration, etiquette and planning tips right here.
Crystal Vandegrift is a wedding photographer covering Virginia, D.C. NC and Maryland.
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Pictures were one of my top priorities for my wedding. I spent a lot of time reading through photographers and even contacting some. I was also pretty nervous, I had never been professionally photographed before. Crystal and her team were SO easy to work with and immediately took away the nerves. I trusted her completely and I am so happy I did. Cannot recommend enough! Ellen - Yorktown VA
If you're looking for an amazing photographer who is relaxed, has experience, and knowledge look no further. Crystal took our engagement and wedding photos. Not only were her photos amazing, but she is extremely responsive to messages and will even help you when planning your big day. It was important to us to work with a photographer who has experience with same sex couples, and Crystal and Casey did a great job capturing everything for my wife and I. We couldn't have asked for a better experience. - Emily - Nellysford, VA
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