Your Guide to Organising Your Wedding Ceremony

Legal & Ceremony

Image from Pam & Paul’s Real Wedding by Moat Hill Photography

We all love the idea of cake tastings, choosing daisies over dahlias and deciding on the exciting stuff like centrepieces, but the not so fun paperwork is a big and very real part of your wedding that needs some attention too. It’s easy to get swept away in a sea of tulle and confetti and forget about the logistics and legalities of getting wed but unfortunately the legal stuff needs to be added to the to-do list too – you’ll look back fondly at your wedding ceremony as one of the best parts of the day but getting to that altar may not be without some heartache. From choosing songs and music to filling out lengthy documents, it can be hard to keep abreast of all that needs doing. So to help those of you at this stage of the wedding planning journey, we’ve rounded up some useful articles we’ve put together to help you sort everything from the paperwork to the pew ends and everything else in between. Here’s a list of things you’ll need to sort for your wedding ceremony and some useful info on each little task!

Psst! If you’re still on the hunt for a spot for your civil ceremony wedding, be sure to check out our article on some of the prettiest venues to tie the knot in Ireland here!

1. Legal Requirements

Castle Leslie Wedding by Shane O'Neill - Aspect Photography

Image from Anna & David’s Real Wedding by Shane O’Neill – Aspect Photography

If you’re getting wed in a Church, it can be very hard to get your head around what it is in fact you need between pre-nup forms and letters of freedom, so we’ve put together a little guide to help you get started. See all the details here! Since the change in the Irish Marriage Licensing Law in 2007, you can now tie the knot in venues other than registry offices and churches, great for couples that like the idea of having their wedding celebrations in one spot for the entire day (and making it less stressful too). And a recent update and clarification to this law means couples can have civil and humanist ceremonies in a place that is open to the public so beautiful outdoor spaces can now be used as backdrop for your ‘I Do’s’ as well. So if it’s a civil ceremony you’ve opted for and need a little helping hand, we’ve got some useful info for you on everything from choosing your venue space to paperwork – check out our article here.

2. Song Choice

Picking your musical choices is a fun part of the planning but it can be quite a difficult one. If you’re having a church wedding there may be some stipulations as to what style of music is preferred, it can all depend on the church itself, the priest solemnising the mass or indeed the district or Parish so be sure to chat to your musicians and the church/priest in question before you set your heart on particular songs. The bridal entrance song and the exit song tend to have a little more flexibility for church weddings (as well as signing the register) and there is a lot more scope in terms of civil and humanist ceremonies when it comes to choosing your songs – if you do have creative freedom, it can be a really great way to put your own stamp on the ceremony and make it meaningful to you and the hubby or wife-to-be. For lots of inspirational song choice ideas, take a peek at Our Guide to Ceremony Music & Song Choice where musicians Catherine Byrne and Aisling Connolly share their suggestions.

Find musicians for your wedding ceremony in the weddingsonline directory here!

3. Readings


Image from Real Wedding at The Millhouse by Studio 33 Photography

Another troubling task is readings. It sounds fine in theory but you will have had your fill of Google by the time you’ve chosen your readings… and then comes the fun task of putting the booklet together! If you’re after reading suggestions for your church wedding, and have some great lists (again they’ll probably have to be cleared by your priest/church) or for those looking for touching and romantic non-religious wedding readings, we’ve done the hard work for you and rounded up a fabulous section of poems, excerpts and wise words (from the loveliest words in ‘On Your Wedding Day’ to a little wisdom in the ‘Art of Marriage’ by Wilferd Peterson), sure to put a sweet and heartfelt spin on your ceremony. Check them out here!

4. Ceremony Style


Image from Laura & David’s Real Wedding by Tomasz Kornas Photography

We decided instead of a candle ceremony that we would use a sand ceremony to sanctify our marriage. Dave’s parents had brought sand from South Africa and I gathered sand from my local beach, the ceremony was really beautiful and we couldn’t have asked for more.” This beautiful picture and quote is from Laura and David’s real wedding by Tomasz Kornasz, a truly unique and personal sand ceremony to symbolize their union. Their ceremony was full of the most beautiful touches, be sure to check out their real wedding for some whimsical and wonderful décor inspiration here. But there are lots of other ceremony ideas too from the traditional candle lighting ceremony (Candles Advanced, and V&S Handmade Candles all stock personalised wedding candles for those looking for a truly memorable keepsake) to a hand-tying ceremony (check out Nicola and Maurice’s beautifully tender hand-tying ceremony in Brooklodge, officiated by the groom’s father here). We also love real wedding couple Magdalena & Colm‘s symbolic and super sweet wine ceremony idea (the couple share a glass of vino, the idea being a good wine like marriage is the result of many years of hard work) at their Humanist wedding. Another lovely personal ceremony idea for those that want something to look forward to in a few years is a love letter time capsule (you can pick up a kit in the weddingsonline shop) – you and your OH pen a letter to each other saying just how you feel on this amazing day and it is buried away, to be opened on an anniversary a few years down the line – aww.

5. Wedding Bands


This little silver of metal will be one of the most special pieces of jewellery you’ll ever own and of course it’s going to make itself cosy on your finger for a very long time! If you’ve yet to buy your wedding rings and are looking for unique and unusual options or want to give it a meaningful and special twist, our wedding ring experts The Wedding Band Shop and The Dubai Diamond Company discuss wedding band trends here. From fingerprints and birthstones to Claddaghs, Celtic twists and heartfelt engravings (we love this ring that has ‘my everything’ inscribed on the inside), there are some gorgeous ways to make your ring that bit more personal. If you’re looking for the perfect place to store it for its trip to the altar, we love this cutesy dish from Etsy and it would be perfect for your bedside table beyond the big day too. But there lots of other creative options for carrying your rings from teacups to ring pillows and boxes to romantic books carved out with a special little space to tie your rings. For more gorgeous ideas see our article 5 fun alternatives to ring pillows here!

Browse wedding ring suppliers in the weddingsonline directory here!

6. Flowers


Image via Bloomsday Flowers | Image via Confetti Daydreams

When it comes to decorating your pew ends, there are so many gorgeous options from little cones filled with flowers to lanterns, the prettiest tulle and burlap bows and hanging mason jars like this simple, rustic style pew end from Bloomsday Flowers full of wildflowers, which brings a beautiful burst of colour to the aisle. Flowers are a great way to brighten a dark church or space and they add bundles of romance to any ceremony setting, creating a whimsical atmosphere. For more gorgeous ideas for your pew ends, take a look at 12 lovely suggestions in our Aisle Style article here. And if you’re having a church wedding and are pondering whether you are in fact allowed take your flowers from the church for your reception space, our experts from Jimazen Flowers, Wow Weddings and A Room in Bloom tell all here. For the most part it’s absolutely fine and makes good use of your flowers, but it might be best to check with the church first out of courtesy or if you’re more than happy to leave them, you can also give them as a donation to the church.

7. Here Comes the Bride Signs


Image via Etsy | Image by Brett Heidebrecht

So you’ve got the big stuff out of the way, now on to the fun stuff – wedding signage! As you know we are fond of wedding signs here in weddingsonline and nothing more so that an adorable ‘Here Comes the Bride Sign’, a fun way to let everyone know you’ve arrived!! Big Day Signs have their own batch of cool customised signs for sale – check out their range of styles here as do – they even have a cute Choose a Seat Not a Side Sign!) or if you just want to gaze at some more gorgeous, inspirational sign ideas, take a peek at our ‘Here Comes the Bride’ article here.