Exploring Wedding Ceremony Options

Among the dozens of decisions you will need to make when planning your wedding, one of the first ones is what type of ceremony you envision for your nuptials. The type of ceremony can dictate the location, or it may not matter at all. The type of ceremony may also control whether the date you have chosen is available. The type of ceremony can also determine the theme and overall feel of your wedding. Here's a look at the two main wedding ceremony options.

Civil Ceremonies

If a couple is not particularly religious or spiritual, they may opt to have a civil ceremony. Depending on the local state and county laws, a civil ceremony may be performed at the county clerk's office or at the courthouse by a judge, justice of the peace, or other legal official.

It may also be held outside a government agency and performed by an attorney or other officiant who has been ordained to legal marry people. This is ideal for couples who want to have more than just the basic, quick ceremony that is nothing more than the bare minimum legal requirements and signing the dotted the line. This type of ceremony will allow you to decide where you would like to get married instead of the lackluster setting of a courthouse. You could have the ceremony at the same venue as your wedding reception or outdoors or even a home wedding.

Religious Ceremonies

Couples who come from religious backgrounds will likely have a traditional ceremony at their place of worship, performed by the priest, pastor, reverend, rabbi (like Rabbi Baker), or whomever your religious spiritual leader is. As these are largely traditional weddings, you likely have decided you want to be married on a Saturday. As there are only 52 Saturdays a year, and a handful of those in the summer months when most people opt to marry, it's important to discuss church and officiant availability shortly after becoming engaged. You can't book a venue or entertainment or do anything else until you know the dates of availability you can choose from. Be prepared to not have your first choice, so make sure you and your betrothed have a few dates in mind.

If you are a different religion than your spouse-to-be, you will also have to make the tough decisions that come with interfaith marriages, such as which church to marry in and coordinate with the officiants for an ecumenical service.