Think of the Procession, a Blessing of Space, and Giving Away of the Bride as a prelude or introduction. The Welcome marks the true start of your wedding ceremony and sets the tone for the rest of the proceedings.
“Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here today…” is probably the best-known Welcome, despite the archaic language. You want your Welcome to be strong, fairly brief (there’s a LOT of ceremony left!), and perhaps hint at what is to come.
For example, if you are Christian, mentioning that a husband should love his wife as Christ loves His church, would be appropriate. If you are more spiritual than religious, you might like a comment about God bringing the two of you together. Or, for the most modern of couples, a statement like, “On this day, two souls cry out for union!” might fit your beliefs and relationship.
The point of the Welcome is to express thanks to all who have gathered at your wedding. After all that debate of who to invite, who RSVPs, and who actually shows up, now is the moment to thank those present for supporting your new marriage.
Next is when your personalities start to shine – The Opening Words/Prayer/Readings.