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Though most of us have attended several wedding ceremonies by the time we need to plan our own, the basic structure can still be confusing! I distinctly remember worrying that we’d somehow leave some important element out (like the kiss!!) just because we’d somehow overlooked it! Thankfully, our officiant was on hand to make sure everything important was included, and I’m sure yours will be, as well.

Photo by Blue Ribbon Vendor Nancy Ray from Whitney and Cory’s wedding

Depending on whether you’re getting married in a church and/or with the blessing of a certain denomination, you might have more or less latitude in designing your order of ceremony. Here, we’ve outlined the basic elements in a Christian ceremony to get your wheels turning on what might be included and where there are opportunities for customization (and so that you don’t forget anything truly important :)).

Don’t worry too much about how long or short your ceremony is – your guests love you, and if each piece of your ceremony is purposeful, they’ll see that. That being said, be sure to take your guests’ comfort into consideration – don’t make them sit outside in the sun or stand for an hour-long ceremony!

One final tip? Make sure you confirm with your officiant how you two would like to be announced for the first time: as Mr. and Mrs. John Thomas? As Mr. and Mrs. John and Emily Thomas? As John and Emily Thomas? It’s a big moment, and one you want to make sure and get just how you’d like it! :)

Looking for more ceremony tips? We’ve got a whole slew of them in our wedding planner, and I’d also recommend checking out our posts on how to write your own wedding vows and nine of our favorite romantic wedding vows for inspiration!

emily Written with love by Emily
2 Comments
  1. avatar Savannah Fannon reply

    Love it! Are there any suggestions for music in an outdoor ceremony?

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Savannah! I love that idea! We haven’t written that post yet, but I will put it on the calendar :) In the meantime, I think you can’t go wrong with live string versions of modern songs for an outdoor ceremony!

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The when, where, and look of a wedding seem to get all the attention, but don’t overlook the impact you can make with your song selections! Have you ever heard of those couples who make a pact to start swaying together whenever they hear their first dance song, even if it’s the grocery store? I have, and they always make me smile :)

At the same time, don’t despair if you and your fiance don’t have an obvious special song choice for your first dance — many of the Southern Weddings gals didn’t, either, but you can bet the songs we chose are special to us and our husbands now! Incorporating meaningful details from your relationship so far is one of the best ways to celebrate your love story, but your wedding day is also a great opportunity to make new memories.

If you’re looking for a totally fresh idea on the song front, we love the vintage warmth of Eamon’s new single, “Be My Girl” for a fun, upbeat option! Eamon was inspired by newlywed life with his new wife to write it – so sweet! “This is the kind of song that I’ve always wanted to write,” he says, “but it’s never come out of me. I think a lot of that has to do with being newly married and having my best friend as the love of my life.”

Photo by Rebekah Senter Photography from Rose Hill Mansion Wedding by Eventi Floral and Events

We’ve asked so many real brides to share their song selections over the years, and unsurprisingly, their inspiration has run the gamut: maybe it was playing during a pivotal moment in their relationship, it was popular when they were falling in love, or it’s the song they love to sing along to together most often.

Still others have chosen a new song they’ve fallen in love with specifically for their first dance to cement that memory in their minds (in that case, “Be My Girl” would be a perfect pick!). I also love the idea of borrowing a traditional song from your parents’ or grandparents’ first dances!


Photo by The Ganeys from Colorful New Year’s Eve Wedding by Ashton Events

Thanks to the great responses on this #SWFrontPorch post and a little brainstorming from our team, we put together this Spotify playlist for you to sashay around the kitchen to as you try out options with your beau! Here’s a cheat sheet of the tunes in store:

I’d love to hear: What first dance song are you leaning toward, or did you choose? I went with “Beyond the Sea” by Bobby Darin (a classic choice for our seaside wedding!), but “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz was a close second!

This post is sponsored by Red Music. Thank you for your support of the brands who make Southern Weddings possible!

emily Written with love by Emily
7 Comments
  1. avatar Kyla Fetzner reply

    Dillon and I chose ‘The Wedding Song’ by Matt Maher… The words were everything to us and our story!

  2. avatar Jessica Allendorf reply

    My husband Tucker (best friend of 26 years) picked me up from my college the first weekend of freshmen year (his sophomore year) and brought me up to his alma mater Clemson. Riding in the truck, windows down, he played Groovin’ Slowly by John Butler Trio. We’ve been dancing to that song for 8 years now, including our first dance 2 months ago today! 5/27/17

  3. avatar Lisa reply

    “She’s Like Texas” would be a PRECIOUS first dance song!!

  4. avatar Lauren reply

    We are going to dance to “I Cross My Heart” by George Strait for our first dance. We love George and we dance to that song in our living room all the time.

  5. avatar Meghann Richardson reply

    We actually chose “I Don’t Dance” by Lee Brice. My husband does not like to be the center of attention, but chose to dance in front of 200 because he knew it was important to me. I smile every time it comes on the radio.

  6. avatar Morgan Cox reply

    We danced to “In Case You Didn’t Know” by Brett Young… it said everything that we want to say to each other!

  7. avatar Brooke Foley reply

    My husband and I danced to From the ground up by Dan and Shay. It was absolutely perfect! We loved how it incorporated wedding vows and spoke of not only the hard work marriage takes but also the heritage and legacy it builds!

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Hey, newly-engaged friends! Have you moved on from that constantly-staring-at-your-ring phase? No? That’s okay, it’s a good one :) But when you do, you’re going to want to make sure you know exactly how to take care of that pretty sparkler so it stays in tip-top shape. We asked our friends at Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company, a company that specializes in protecting jewelry, for a few of their best tips, and here’s what they had to say…

Do regularly clean your ring at home. Jewelers Mutual recommends gently scrubbing your ring with a soft, baby-size toothbrush in a bowl of Dawn dish detergent and warm water. Dry it with a paper towel or regular cloth, being careful not to snag the prongs. Steer clear of open drains and floor vents – eek!

Do visit your jeweler twice a year for a professional cleaning and inspection. I only do this once a year, but I always do it in the month of my wedding anniversary so it’s easy to remember! My jeweler will do a cleaning and inspection for free for past clients — perhaps yours will, too!

Don’t wear your ring while doing certain activities. Jewelers Mutual recommends removing your ring before swimming, exercising, applying sunscreen and bug spray, gardening, and cooking with your hands. Which I’m sure is exactly what responsible people do. But can I tell you a secret? I leave my ring on for all of those things, mostly because I’m more afraid I’ll lose it by constantly taking it off than I am it will get damaged! If you’re going to go my route, be extra good about getting your ring cleaned and inspected regularly. And if you’re going to go the recommended route, choose one safe spot where you always keep your ring when it’s not on, like a pretty box or bowl.

Don’t pack your jewelry in a checked bag. Always wear it on your person or pack it in a carry-on, and handle your carry-on yourself. I’ve heard way too many sad tales of lost bags and airport mishaps to do otherwise!

Do turn your ring around if you’re traveling in a dangerous area. It’s a simple step to minimize exposure.

Do insure your ring. When I think about how much my ring means to me and how devastated I would be if I lost and couldn’t replace it, insuring it is a no-brainer. The cost is typically 1-2% of the value of your ring, and with Jewelers Mutual, you can choose your own deductible. They also cover replacement due to loss, theft, damage, mysterious disappearances (which, let’s be honest, most ring disappearances would probably be filed under “mysterious”), floods, and earthquakes. Many typical homeowners’ insurance policies only cover replacement due to theft.

For your own handy guide to all things cleaning and care for your engagement ring, download this guide from Jewelers Mutual today. While you’re there, get a quick quote to see how easy it is to protect your new sparkler. And now tell me (and be honest!): do you take your ring off or leave it on for things like swimming, exercising, and baking?

This post is sponsored by Jewelers Mutual, a company we’ve worked with for years. Thanks for your support of the brands who make Southern Weddings possible!

emily Written with love by Emily
1 Comment
  1. avatar Ashley Seda reply

    So glad I found this blog! I had been having trouble working with my current insurance company to add-on my ring. So excited to try out Jewelers Mutual.

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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