In the past year and a half, I have seen lots of different wedding ceremonies. There are common themes among them and each had their own unique aspect[s]. I would not consider myself an expert on the subject yet but I have put together a list of 5 of my observations about what it takes to have the "perfect" wedding ceremony.
1. Accept that there is no such thing as the "perfect" wedding ceremony
I realize this contradicts the title of this post but honestly, I believe this to be the most important thing you can do! It is a fact. No matter how much planning or how many wedding planners you have, there will have always be something that goes wrong. I speak from experience. It could be that you forgot your vows at home or your ring bearer and/or flower girl cries down the aisle or the groomsmen are wearing the wrong boutonnieres or the officiant forgets to tell you it's "time to kiss your bride"... etc, etc, etc..! Things happen. How you react to them will determine whether or not your ceremony is perfect. In my opinion, the best thing you can do is laugh. Smile and laugh. Realize that it is a very small detail to an otherwise amazingly, spectacular day. The little mishaps and mistakes are usually what make your ceremony that much more memorable.
Perhaps it begins raining halfway through your ceremony so you and your guests have to run to an indoor location. This happened and you know what the bride said? "I got the best of both worlds! An indoor and outdoor wedding all in one!" http://vimeo.com/181productions/weddingweather
Perhaps your groom's phone goes off during the ceremony. This happened and you know what the bride said? "That is perfect!", said through laughter! Seriously, check it out: http://vimeo.com/73150946
Remember, you are there to marry the person of your dreams. At the end of the day, if you successfully married, then something went right and you can declare that you had the "perfect" wedding ceremony.
2. Don't overthink things
I attended a wedding rehearsal today and the officiant explained this point perfectly: "It is a worship, not a performance." You are there as two individuals declaring your love for one another. It is amazing if you have friends and family in attendance to watch but understand that it is about you and your partner. You don't need to put on a show. You just need to be yourselves! If you do that, not only will you be more comfortable but so will your guests! Trust me on this one. ;)
3. Take your time
It happens all too often that couples are so concerned about getting to "their spots" that they forget to actually enjoy "getting there". I know it's cheesy but it really is as much, if not more, about the journey as it is the destination. The best you can do is stop. At any point, just stop. Take a couple breaths. Look around. Appreciate what is happening in that exact moment. AND then, continue. It is only one day. We spend so much of our lives rushing from Point A to Point B that it can be easy to become oblivious to our surroundings.
4. Look your partner in the eyes
Specifically, during your vows! Nerves are running high, especially when you realize you are standing in front of 100+ people and all eyes are on you. The only pair of eyes that should matter are the ones you're about to spend the rest of your life with. Often, I will see a bride and/or groom looking at the officiant and repeating the vows to the officiant and rarely looking at the person who really matters. Whether you are religious or not, this is a sacred moment. Look at one and another and speak to each other, and no one else!
This is the best day of your life so enjoy it! Simply smile. One of my favourites quotes is "A smile is a crooked line that sets things straight." So smile and be happy. With that attitude, there is nothing that can ruin your wedding!