It is easy to get confused with so many words about weddings. Let’s look at what these words mean in the wedding world!
We need to start with a basic understanding of some of the differences in what we are referring to:
Wedding—A Wedding is when two people get married but for most folks the word wedding incorporates all the pageantry associated with the wedding day. This included the rehearsal, rehearsal dinner (if there is one), the ceremony and the reception.
Ceremony—This is the central event of a wedding day. This is what makes a couple legally married. It is the only legally required part of the day. It requires an officiant.
Officiant — Someone who is authorized by the State to solemnize a marriage by performing a ceremony. In NC this means a Magistrate, an Ordained Minister or the Head of an Indian Tribe.
What are the different ways to get married or types of ceremonies? (All legal weddings in NC require a marriage license, two (2) witnesses of legal age (18) and an officiant.)
License Signing—A license signing has the legally required language to make a couple legally married but otherwise has no ceremony associated with it. People often chose this when they are needing the legal protections of marriage yet don’t want a ceremony or are planning a larger wedding for a later date. It is asking the necessary questions and signing the legal documents. You are required to have a license and 2 witnesses at least 18 years of age.
Elope or Elopement—This is a short notice, quickly planned wedding. Often associated with “running away to get married”. It does not have to mean leaving your hometown. This is when you decide to get married in the next few days and only have 2-10 folks present. There is no wedding party (best man, maid of honor, flower girl, etc.) The ceremony is very short and contains the legally required words to make you a married couple. You can go to the magistrate’s office in NC or find an officiant who does short notice simple ceremonies. Unlike the magistrate, we will meet you in a park, your home, office, family member’s home or any other special place you want to remember on your wedding day. We also offer you options for the style of ceremony you want and will leave space in the ceremony for you to share personal vows.
Simple Small Wedding—This ceremony is a step up from an elopement. This is a simple wedding that does not include a rehearsal, has a small guest list of about 10-50 people, may or may not include a reception and is planned weeks or months out. If there is a wedding party, it is very small. (1 or 2 attendants per side.) When you are planning a small simple wedding, you will want more ceremony than an elopement provides. These ceremonies make room for more customizing and personalization. You can choose or write your own vows, include readings and even include a unity ceremony. Simple small weddings are often held in the family home, a local park or community center or small venue. Often the wedding couple and their friends and families provide many of the services needed for the day-food, photography and music. Some couples hire Professionals for the more public portions of the day, a photographer and dj for example.
Due to the variations on what couples need for Elopements and Simple Small Weddings they are not on our website. Email (email@example.com) us for complete information on how you can have exactly the ceremony you want.
Fully Customized Wedding—This is most often referencing all the traditions associated with getting married. This can include a larger wedding party, with multiple attendants including a flower girl and/or ring bearer. A rehearsal is held usually followed by a rehearsal dinner. The day of the wedding is filled with many activities focused on the wedding couple. The ceremony is the start of the public portion of the wedding. A Premium Ceremony reflects the couple’s love, beliefs, interests and relationship. After the ceremony, there may be a cocktail hour while the couple gets photos taken and then the reception is held. There are usually professionals hired for most of the tasks of the day: a planner/coordinator, a venue, a caterer, florist, decorator, photographer, videographer, and a dj. There are more guests, often between 50 and 200 or more. The ceremony can be held in one location and the reception in another or they can be held in the same location. Often the wedding is held at location that specializes in weddings or large gatherings.
We have experience in performing all types of wedding ceremonies from License Signings to the Big Fabulous Weddings. Let us help you figure out what you are looking for as you plan your big day and how we can work together to make your dreams come true! Check out our Services page for complete information about the different levels of services.
Call (336-937-0890) today to see how we can help you have exactly the ceremony you want!