How Long Is A Wedding Ceremony?

Many of our couples are unsure about how long their marriage ceremony should be. The answer is… as long as you want! The average ceremony we do is about 15 minutes. I did a ceremony a couple of weeks ago that was about 15 seconds long – that’s right, 15 seconds.

When you think about what’s necessary for a ceremony here in New Hampshire, it’s not hard to see where it could indeed last just 15 seconds.

There are only three requirements for a ceremony in NH:

First, there has to be a Certificate of Marriage present.

Second, the Celebrant needs to hear each member of the couple say that they want to marry each other. This is often achieved by the “I Do” part of the ceremony.  (e.g. Celebrant: “Do you, John, take Mary to be your wife?” John: “I do.” Do you, Mary, take John to be your husband?” Mary: “I do.”)

Third, the Celebrant must declare you married. (e.g. “I now pronounce you husband and wife” or “married.”)

After those three requirements are met, the rest is literally fluff. Of course, most of our couples would like a bit more than that, and some, quite a bit more. The longest ceremony we’ve ever performed was 35 minutes, and a Catholic marriage ceremony with a mass can last upwards to an hour.

So, how long “should” a marriage ceremony be? Anywhere from 15 seconds to an hour or even a bit more, with the average being about 15 minutes.

P.S. If you’d like more information on some of the events or activities beyond the “I do’s” take a look at our “Wedding Order of Service” page at our website.

About This Journal

Hello Everyone,

This post marks the launch of the Songs For Your Ceremony Journal. It’s going to feature articles and tips mainly on wedding ceremonies and ceremony music.

Much like our site, the Journal will concentrate on the activities that make up a ceremony. So, we aren’t going to have articles about wedding dresses and centerpieces for your reception tables.

Instead, we’ll focus mainly on things that we help couples with everyday, like vows, readings, and blessings for a ceremony. Along the way, we will address events that can be used in the reception also, as we have experience in that area too.

Enjoy!