Setting Thesaurus Entry: Wedding Ceremony (Church)

A church and all that it usually contains, soft lighting, real or electric candles, candelabras with wax dripping down the sides, flower arrangements, white silk bows on the pews, cloth runners down the aisle, rose petals strewn down the aisle, men in tuxes standing in a row at the front with boutonnieres in their lapels, a priest/pastor/officiant, attendants in matching dresses, bouquets of roses/lilies/babies breath, a flower girl and ring-bearer, a pillow with rings on it, the bride in white, a long train and veil, sequins and lace, dressed-up guests, pictures of the bride and groom, a guest book, a table piled with gifts and envelopes, printed programs, tissue boxes a the ends of the pews, flashing cameras, black-clad videographers and photographers, the wedding planner standing at the doors and directing attendants, a sound tech running lights and sound equipment at the back

guests whispering, programs being turned and folded, babies fussing, soft piano/keyboard/organ/harp/flute/guitar music, doors opening, a hush that falls when the ceremony begins, the rustle of silk and taffeta as the attendants come down the aisle, oohs and aahs when the flower girl and ring bearer appear, crescendo in music as the bride appears (the wedding march, Canon in D, Trumpet Voluntary, etc), the rustle of everyone rising and turning, sniffling, crying, noses being blown, amplified voice of the officiant, quiet responses from bride and groom as they say their vows, prayer, songs being sung, applause/whistles as they are pronounced man and wife, kissing noises, louder voices from guests as the ceremony ends, the officiant inviting guests to attend the reception (ie, get out so we can start the hour-long picture-taking extravaganza)

Burning candles, wispy candle smoke, flowers, hair spray, perfume, cologne, chewing gum, mints

tears, gum, mints

a sharp-cornered envelope with a check inside, the boxy weight of a wedding present, stiff/starchy feel of new clothes, your shoes sinking into the thick carpet, a hard wooden pew, a soft-cushioned pew, people pressed closely together, folding/rolling of the program as you wait for the ceremony to start, papery tissue in your hands, silky pew bows, twisted neck or back as you try to see around people, the prickle of tears, warm tears running down your cheeks, quivering chin and wooden feel of your cheeks as you try to smile instead of cry, perfumed air wafting your way as a guest fans herself with a program, warmth from many burning candles, bass notes from the organ vibrating up through the floor, goose bumps during a beautiful song or touching part of the ceremony

Helpful hints:

--The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.

Example 1:
The wailing was so loud, Drew could barely hear the pastor. Good grief, she sounded like a paid mourner. He screwed up his face and cocked an ear to hear the words he was supposed to repeat. Mumbling the vows--no one would be able to hear them anyway, bar shouting--he gave his bride a tentative smile. She winked and rolled her eyes at his mother's dramatics, and Drew's smile grew. He guessed she knew what she was getting in for.

Example 2:
Flower arrangements covered every inch of the stage. Daintily drooping lily bouquets adorned each pew. The grand piano was in danger of slamming shut under the weight of roses on its lid. I wrinkled my nose as the mix of floral scents assailed my sinuses. Instead of birdseed baggies, they should've passed out samples of Nasonex.

--Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.

Example 1: (Simile)
Squeezing me into that bridesmaid's dress was like pushing pudding through a sieve; it was possible, but no one really wanted to do it, least of all the pudding.

Example 2: (Metaphor)
Sunlight shone through the stained glass and bathed the couple with color, God's personal wedding gift to the happy couple.


Traci Kenworth said...

Ah, the sweet moments of life. Thanks for reminding us of all the little details that go into a wedding, sometimes it's hard to focus on a scene until just the right words jogs your memory.

Bish Denham said...

Nice. I think this is one many can relate to.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Very nice. I especially like your writing examples. For my wedding, you'd have to add near-hysterical laughter. Even though I'd done everything just so during the rehearsal, I kinda blew it during the real thing. I was supposed to kneel at a little side altar while one of our choir members wailed a hymn. (she was a nice old lady, and I didn't have the heart to tell her no) But instead of staying at that side altar until the (endlessly long) hymn was done, I knelt, breathed a quick "Thank you!", grabbed my new husband and took off up the aisle! The wailer was still wailing, and my hubby and I were outta there. Everybody laughed so hard, they couldn't hear the hymn anymore. But, we're still together almost 42years later, so I guess starting out with a good laugh wasn't such a bad thing.

Angela Ackerman said...

Nice job here Becca--I agree with Traci this brings back memories. I remember the smack of rice to the face leaving the church, lol.

Susan that is so awesome! I can just picture it. Luckily the wailer would have just thought you were eager to start your life with Hubby, not trying to get away from the agony of her song!



C.R. Evers said...

GREAT entry! you RaWk!

Lenny Lee* said...

hi miss becca! i didnt ever write about a wedding but im gonna save this for when i ever do. i been saving all this symbol stuff you guys post. for sure its gonna help me be a way better writer.
...hugs from lenny

Lydia K said...

I like the format of these posts! Really great stuff including a few I probably would have forgotten, like the hairspray, or techs in the background.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Great description, Becca! I always appreciate the metaphore and simile examples. Thanks! :-)

Becca Puglisi said...

It's amazing to hear how many people have funny wedding stories. We got married in a church with two aisle that angled toward the stage, instead of one center aisle. When I entered, Al couldn't see me from where he was standing, so he walked across the front of the church. Later, he said he was aggravated that everyone had stood up so he couldn't see, lol.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Angela...nice to meet you. Thanks for the follow. You have an awesome blog.

Angela and Becca....thanks for a lovely post. I enjoyed reading every description and could clearly visualize every bit of it. The bride in her white lace gown and the groom holding the ring and the people listening to the vows. *Sigh*

Marina DelVecchio said...

This is such a great site. I'm a new subscriber, and I just recommended you to a new writer friend, also. I have so much catching up to do. Thanks for all your hard work and for sharing with the rest of us.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

So cool - I need to spend some time delving into the thesaurus here again, once I start my first draft of the new WiP.

BTW, I'm celebrating bloggers with high NICENESS COEFFICIENT on my blog today, and Shannon gave you a shout-out! I agree. :)

Matthew MacNish said...

I always love the setting entries the most, probably because I'm such a description nerd.

Susanne Dietze said...

Excellent! As a romance writer, I've got to write weddings... Thanks for the tips, too.

Becca Puglisi said...

Welcome, Marina! And thanks, Susan. I'm headed over to check it out!

Stephanie Faris said...

Great tips! I love the way the church seems to come to life in words.

Lisa Gail Green said...

Awww, this is a nice one. But I don't get to use wedding imagery too much in YA! Too bad.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

This almost makes me want to pull out my wedding video. Oh wait, I can't. I don't have a VHS anymore.

Great job as always. I can't enough of your setting and emotion thesauruses.

Joanne said...

I just learned about your blog from Chuck Sambuchino. What a great aide when the right word fails to materialize!


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