How long should a wedding ceremony be? This is a great question. I personally like ceremonies to be around 20 minutes long, give or take 5 minutes. I have been to ceremonies over an hour long, and I have been to those that are less than 5 minutes. Each one gets the job done, the couple is officially married. But here are my thoughts on the subject.
The 5 minute ceremony is too short. It is almost like the ceremony didn’t take place, by the time everyone gets in place, focuses on what is going on, the officiant pronounces them husband and wife, and it is over. You think about all the time that when into setting up the site, the decorations, the people making time in their scheduled to be there, and it is over in a flash.
The long ceremony is no better, (40 minutes or more) because most of the time people are not paying attention that long. The Bride and groom are usually nervous, and they’re are not listening to every word you say anyway. The audience becomes impatient and they start to wiggle in their seats and making more noise.
I personally like to keep the ceremony down to about 20 minutes. This include all the parts of the ceremony that I perform. The welcome, the giving away of the bride, the introduction, some scripture reading, short message on marriage, prayer, vows, ring exchange, the kiss, the pronouncement. Then the Bride and Groom may add some extra readings, songs, or things like the unity candle or unity sand.
I personally like to keep the early part of the ceremony light hearted and make it more personal but talking about how the couple met, what their first impressions of each other, what are the things that they love and admire about each other, how the groom proposed. This makes each ceremony unique, and more interesting to the guest that come to the ceremony.