Spotlight: Setting the Tone for Your Wedding Ceremony

Expert tips on how you can create a memorable experience for your guests
Written by
Laura Cross

Creating the perfect atmosphere for your ceremony is crucial when planning your wedding as it sets the stage for the entire celebration. The ceremony is not just another event - it is an expression of your love story and it requires careful planning and thoughtful execution. From the décor to the vows, every element should reflect the unique bond you have with your partner. Wedding experts share their insights on how to ensure your ceremony reflects you as a couple and leaves a lasting impression on your guests.

Personalize Your Ceremony

"Our team always reminds our couples that the ceremony is the true reason for the wedding day--it's the heart and soul of the entire celebration and it must be crafted with care and personal attention. We encourage our couples to incorporate meaningful personal vows and to work with their officiant to create a custom ceremony that infuses the couple's personal story into the ceremony itself. Processional songs, recessional songs, and readings done in the ceremony are also a wonderful place for couples to infuse their personalities, cultures, and love story into the ceremony to craft a truly one of a kind ceremony.” ~ Heather Farr, Heather Farr Events

Danielle Heinson Photography
Danielle Heinson Photography

Coordinate Vendors Seamlessly

"Find vendors that collaborate well with each other. Everything from food to floral to your photography should be in sync with each other. Vendors that have great connections make the day run smoothly. At Noble Catering, we understand your creative design and work hand in hand to make each aspect come together seamlessly." ~ Gwen Eckhardt, Noble Catering & Events

Prompt Guest Seating 

“A lot of people tend to linger around, chat, and well, not be seated before the ceremony. To help set the tone, we ask ushers to start getting people seated pretty shortly after they arrive, and ask the DJ to play music right away. I think this helps people get into the mindset of the ceremony, rather than just thinking about the party.” ~ Taylor Remiker, Barnwood Events

Paul Gero Photography
Paul Gero Photography

Choose Meaningful Music

“Music really matters. I would encourage couples to pick music that's a match of their personality; music that inspires them and reminds them of the love they share. 'Canon in D' is a beautiful song for the bride to walk down the aisle to, but only if it's a true fit to who she really is. And as the officiant, I suggest starting with a welcome announcement before the processional begins. This serves two purposes: One, the officiant can help set the tone for your guests by inviting them to celebrate the ceremony however the couple wants. For instance, 'Family and friends, during the ceremony, the couple invites you to clap and cheer. They want you to feel encouraged to celebrate their vows with enthusiasm'. Now compare that to, 'Beloved family and friends of the bride and groom, we ask that you please silence your cell phones and relax as we prepare to witness the joining of the bride and groom as they take their vows'. Big difference right? And the second purpose this announcement serves is to make a very clear and obvious start of the ceremony. As soon as the announcement is over, the music starts. This helps eliminate any confusion for the people involved or the DJ/musicians of when to begin.” ~ Mitch Buenger, Mitch and Jenna Weddings

Sara Glick Photography
Sara Glick Photography

Select a Unique Venue

"Find the special location that represents you and your partner’s unique connection and share the beautiful moment with your family and friends. Monona Terrace offers rooftop gardens that have sweeping views of Lake Monona, our lovely fountain and the Capitol building. Make sure you have indoor backup space for inclement weather and audiovisual capabilities to ensure your guests can hear your vows. Most of all, surround yourself with your loved ones and enjoy your special day in a location that inspires you!" ~ Breanne Chase, Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center

Tell Your Story

“One of the most touching ways to set the tone for your wedding is by sharing your love story. While the officiant may perform the ceremony, they might not know the intimate details of how you and your partner met, the milestones you’ve reached together, and the dreams you share for the future. Consider having a close friend or family member who knows your journey well share these stories. This personal touch not only engages your guests but also sets a heartfelt tone for the day. Let your loved ones hear about the quirky coincidences, the shared passions, and the tender moments that have brought you to this special day. Whether it’s the serendipity of your first meeting or the adventures you’ve embarked on together, sharing these stories adds depth and warmth to your ceremony.” ~ Kacie Vandiver, Graceful Events

Kayley Driggers Photography
Kayley Driggers Photography

Setting the tone for your wedding ceremony is about creating an atmosphere that reflects your unique love story and makes your guests feel included and appreciated. Trust your team of professionals to bring your vision to life, and you’ll set the stage for an unforgettable celebration.

Main Photo by Beau-Petersen Photography at Monona Terrace