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