The Ultimate Wedding Ceremony Checklist

You won’t forget ANYTHING with this comprehensive wedding ceremony checklist!


Keep this valuable checklist in your wedding binder, check off items and tasks as you’ve completed them or omit items you don’t want to include. Created by our wedding pros as a helpful tool to minimize the stress brides often feel when planning their wedding because they didn’t have a thorough checklist for their ceremony. You’re guaranteed to eliminate hours of stress trying to remember every little detail for your ceremony, as well as improving the quality of your ceremony with this wedding ceremony checklist.


Begin with the Top 10 most critical wedding ceremony checklist items:

_____1) Once your date is chosen, set a total budget for your ceremony

_____2) Decide how many guests you will invite to the ceremony vs. reception

_____3) Choose a church or venue that best matches your dream ceremony – read the venue contract thoroughly so you know what you can & cannot do before signing

_____4) Set up a plan and outline for how you want your ceremony to flow, what décor you envision, and what, and who you want to be included:

  • Decide what time you want your ceremony to begin. Get advice from your venue.
  • Decide in advance if you will allow guests to photograph your ceremony; remember that you hired a professional photographer and you may not want everyone’s cell phone screens in all of your pictures.
  • Establish the flow of the ceremony – a beginning, middle and end
  • Choose the overall style, colors, and look and feel you want for decor
  • Decide on your music selections – don’t leave until the last minute
  • Processional and Recessional plans will need to be decided
  • Wedding party – who will be your best man, maid of honor, bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girl(s), ring bearer(s), reader, etc.

_____5) Choose An Officiant / Celebrant, and pay their deposit to secure them

  • Friend or family member
  • Justice of the Peace
  • Minister
  • Pastor
  • Priest
  • Rabbi

_____6) Hire a Ceremony/Wedding Coordinator – may be included with your venue

_____7) Choose a set up & tear down crew & plan –chairs, tables, coordinator & décor

_____8) Meet with your officiant to get to know each other and plan out the details

_____9) Meet or talk with your DJ to discuss music; do not leave this to the last minute

_____10) Find out when rehearsal time options are from your venue so you can alert

your out of town wedding party members before making their flight plans


Comprehensive Ceremony Checklist

_____A Greeter at the door or ceremony entrance to greet guests and direct them

_____Aisle Decorations and aisle runner (include tape or weights to secure runner)

_____Altar decorations

  • Backdrop
  • Canopy
  • Chuppa
  • Fabric / Draping
  • Flowers, vines, greenery
  • Lighting

_____Attire for officiant – Remember, your officiant will be in all of your pictures; will they allow you to recommend certain attire and colors for them to wear?

_____Broom – for the jump the broom ritual

_____Bubbles, rice, confetti – find out what’s allowed


  • Chair coverings for chairs

_____Delivery charges for any rental items that must be brought in

_____DJ – pay deposit, ask if they attend the rehearsal or if that is extra

  • Microphones – stand or lapel
  • Music during the ceremony (sand ceremony or unity candle or other)
  • Pre-ceremony music while guests are being seated
  • Processional and Recessional music (entrances and exits)

_____Flowers / Petals

  • Boutonnieres for fathers, stepfathers, grandfathers and groomsmen
  • Bride’s bouquet
  • Bridesmaids bouquets
  • Corsages for mothers, stepmothers and grandmothers
  • Fresh flower arrangements for aisle or aisle chairs
  • Fresh flower arrangements for altar
  • Petals for the flower girl(s)

_____Flower girl(s) (who will purchase their dresses?)

  • Flower girl basket(s)
  • Wagon and Décor for wagon (if pulling a baby down aisle)

_____Gift table

  • Card box or other item for cards from guests
  • Linen for gift table

_____Guest book table

  • Décor for guest book table – candles, pictures, flowers, programs, etc.
  • Escort cards or place cards (sometimes these are on this table)
  • Guest book, photo album, signature matt or other item for guests to sign
  • Linen for guest book table
  • Pen for guest book

_____Handicap accessibility plan and proper seating arrangement set up

_____Lighting – up lighting or romantic lighting

_____Marriage license

_____Memory table to honor those who have passed

  • Candles
  • Flowers
  • Pictures in frames
  • Linen for memory table
  • Signage

_____Microphone for officiant, singers, musicians

_____Monogram for the wall or floor


  • Chairs, music stands, microphone, sound system or DJ, time for arrival

_____Parking – be sure there is plenty of parking for guests

_____Pen to sign the marriage license

_____Personal touches – other special and unique ideas you want to incorporate


_____Podium for your officiant

_____Prayers or scriptures you choose to have read at the ceremony

_____Programs – can be formal or fun and entertaining also


_____Rehearsal time, location and coordinator to practice the ceremony

_____Rental items – misc. items you choose to personalize your ceremony

_____Ring bearer(s) – (who will purchase their suit or tuxedo?)

  • Fake rings for the ring bearer pillow
  • Ring bearer pillow(s)
  • Signage “Here comes the bride”, etc.
  • Wagon and Décor for wagon (if pulling a baby down aisle)

_____Rings / wedding bands

_____Rituals and other spiritual items; what items are needed for those rituals?

_____Sand ceremony items

  • Colored sands
  • Main vase or decanter
  • Small vases for colored sands
  • Table for sand ceremony set up
  • Linen for table

_____Seating arrangements – family & reserved seats. Figure this out in advance to minimize stress, especially if parents are divorced and you want everyone to feel special

_____Shawls or blankets, if ceremony is held outside during fall and winter months

_____Signage – directing guests where to sit, coat closet, restrooms, or other

_____Signing the marriage license with 2 witnesses – during or after the ceremony


_____Stage or platform to slightly elevate you above guests

_____Tissue – for the couple, parents and grandparents


  • Car
  • Horse & carriage
  • Limo

_____Umbrellas, Sunscreen, hand held fans for outdoor ceremonies

_____Unity candle ceremony items

  • Candles
  • Candle holders
  • Lighter
  • Linen for table
  • Table
  • Votive candle



_____Vows – you can write out your personal vows and read to each other or have your officiant read them for you to repeat; holding notecards is acceptable for reading.

_____Water or beverages for your guests

_____Wedding party, what order they will enter and stand, duties, etc.?

  • Best man to carry rings and Maid of honor to hold brides bouquet during ceremony and straighten bride’s train on her gown

_____Wow Factors – does your venue offer something unique that guests may have never experienced before, a décor item that will have them speechless, a fun program that educates and entertains them? Remember your ceremony and the rituals you choose are symbolic, represent who you are, and the reason for the celebration; spending time to create the type of ceremony you want will create lifetime memories.



Written by Elisabeth Montoya – Designer/Co-owner of The Bella Sera Event Center    

Brighton, CO

Venue: The Bella Sera Event Center

Photo by Mark Alison Photography

An Adult Only Wedding

Deciding to have an adult only wedding or wedding reception can be a sensitive topic, and for some couples there are advantages and disadvantages to each choice. Whether the decision not to have children at your wedding ceremony and/or reception is made based on budgetary reasons or simply a personal preference, either choice is perfectly acceptable. The trick is how you communicate this to family and friends, and how you deal with some of the consequences!

A great place to start is by talking to your immediate family members and wedding party first. By letting bridesmaids, groomsmen and immediate family in on your choice for an adult only wedding, it allows them to spread the word in a thoughtful and informal way to all of your guests.  They can also help you weigh out the pros and cons to this decision. Once you’ve made a decision to stick with an adult only wedding, the next step to informing your guests will be on your invitations.  While printing the phrase “No Kids Allowed” on your invitations is generally frowned upon, less negative alternatives include the wording “Adults Only” or “Adult Only Ceremony & Reception”.  You can also specify the names of the people that are invited to the wedding for example,  “Mr. & Mrs. Jack Smith” as opposed to “The Smith Family”. Another option is notifying the guests on their invitation that a certain number of places have been reserved for them at the wedding.

Once you have decided, be sure to stick with your decision. Consistency is a key element when making sure that all of your guests gracefully accept your decision not to invite children to your wedding. Don’t feel upset because you made some exceptions for certain guests who may have their child as the flower girl or ring bearer.  If your adult only wedding stirs up too many concerns with a large number of your guests, look into helping arrange a babysitter or two that can care for many of the children during the wedding. Offering a possible solution for your guests might allow you to maintain the adult only wedding that you wished for. It is our experience, that sometimes couples have been disappointed by several friends opting out of attending their wedding because they wanted to bring their children and don’t want to hire a babysitter for 8 – 10 hours while they take off and attend your wedding. This can be one negative side to choosing an adult only wedding.

No matter what your decision is about inviting or not inviting children to your wedding, be sure to think it through.  Your vision of an adult only wedding might include you and your fiancé as the stars of the day with an elegant seamless transition between each element of the day, without distractions. Kids can be messy, they can be demanding and they can cry right during the middle of your wedding vows. However, they have also been known to be the creators of some of the cutest moments at weddings, and lets face it weddings really are about family, young and old alike!

Unity Candle Ceremony

There are many types of unity rituals that can be part of a wedding ceremony; each one is beautiful and meaningful in its own way. At the Bella Sera we have seen many types of ceremonies, Sand Ceremonies, Hand Fastening, a Love Letter Box, a Fisherman’s Knot, a Salt Covenant, a Unity Candle and many others that were very unique and charming just like our couples! This week we wanted to shed some light on the significance of the Unity Candle Ceremony.

The Unity Candle Ceremony involves two taper candles and a large pillar candle, the Unity Candle, in the center. At the beginning of the wedding ceremony, a representative from each family lights the two taper candles, generally this is the mother of both the bride and the groom. It is a wonderful and significant way to incorporate them into the wedding ceremony. Later after the formal vows have been performed, the bride and groom use the two taper candles to light the large unity candle together. The two outer candles represent the bride and grooms individual lives before the day of their wedding. They represent all of their past experiences and each of their individual families. The lighting of the Unity Candle represents all of those experiences and lives joining together as one.

Some couples choose to have a specific song playing during the Unity Candle Ceremony, one that is representative of the joining of their two lives. Alternately couples can choose to have the meaning of the Unity Candle Ceremony explained to the guests as they light the candle.

It is not uncommon for the bride and groom to save the unity candle, which is often beautifully decorated, and relit it on their anniversaries.

There are so many different types of unity ceremonies that can be part of a wedding ceremony; we feel that it is truly important to understand the meaning and significance behind each one! Stay tuned in weeks to come for more information on these beautiful and creative ceremonies!




Personalizing Your Wedding

There are no two alike, not snowflakes, not fingerprints and certainly not weddings! Every year there are more than 2.2 million weddings across the United States and after being in business for more than ten years and hosting countless celebrations, we can confirm that there have never been two weddings that were the same. Personalizing your wedding is something we have become experts at!

Every person, every couple and every family has its own unique story to tell and we feel so privileged to be a part of the tale. One of the things that we are so proud of at the Bella Sera is our endless effort to get to know our couples and their story. It’s important to us because it guides everything that we do. Walking couples through the process of finding those special characteristics that are unique to them and then helping them use those things to transform their wedding celebration into a truly unique and tailor fit event is what makes coming to work everyday so exciting!


We have helped couples incorporate the way that they met into their décor, into favors that they have given to their guests, and even games that have been played during the wedding reception. We have helped groomsmen and bridesmaids with a special surprise for the couple and we have even helped the bride and groom with surprises for each other!

We encourage every couple to really think about what things are special to them, to think about their story leading up to their engagement and to let us help them create an event that reflects that in every way possible! Personalizing your wedding with special detailed touches is truly what we love the most! Check out more ideas on our weddings page.

Created by The Following Wedding Professionals:
Wedding Photography: Mark Alison Photography / Wedding Venue: The Bella Sera Event Center / Packages: Bellissimo /  Wedding Designer: Elisabeth Montoya-Bella Sera/ Catering: Bella Sera Catering /  Décor: Bella Sera Event Center /
%d bloggers like this: