The great thing about a modern wedding is you can be as traditional or non-traditional as you like (or feel free to mix it all up). Few realise that saying your full name e.g. “I Miss Piggy Lee take you Kermit the Frog to be my legal husband” (or words to similar effect) is all that is legally required to be spoken during your ceremony. Everything else is optional. A great celebrant will listen to your thoughts and ideas and will use their experience and knowledge to create a ceremony that you love.
Do make sure you feel comfortable with your celebrant – this is one of the most important, intimate days of your lives and you want to feel totally safe, comfortable and happy with them.
Your vow and ring exchange are the heart of the ceremony and are some of the most important you will ever say so do spend time on them. You don’t have to be a gifted writer: just focus on how you feel and what you want your marriage to be. You might like to think of your vows in two parts: the first being the things you love and admire about the other and the second focusing on the promises you are making. And if the words still don’t flow a great celebrant will happily guide you.
Do consider incorporating a little tradition or ritual into your ceremony – it can really add to the moment. Ask your parents/grandparents for ideas from their wedding that might replicate well. Or, if your family originated from elsewhere in the world, consider incorporating a tradition(s) from their cultures. Other rituals can involve lighting candles, sharing wine and breaking glasses, blessing of rings, time capsules…the list is endless.
Weddings often include blended families – and there are some great ways to include everyone. One I loved was the father and the step-father, who played a large part in raising the bride, both walking her down the aisle.
There are many ways to acknowledge those who can’t be with you. I’ve read out beautiful letters on behalf of special individuals who couldn’t be there. And there are numerous ways to respect the memory of loved ones without affecting the joy of the moment such as the couple lighting a lantern or ringing a bell. Or you might consider having members of the wedding party placing a flower on the wedding licence table on their way to the front, incorporating a keepsake into your bouquet or button hole, leaving a guest seat empty or a dedication on the wedding program. Finally, I love the idea of during the wedding speeches guests are invited to light candles in memory of someone they wish was sitting at their table.
Wedding readings should celebrate who you truly are so again do spend time looking. You’ll know straight away when a reading touches you. A good celebrant will offer lots of choices and of course Aunty Google is your best friend during this process. Choosing who is going to do the reading(s) is also a balancing act. Whoever you choose, make sure they are comfortable – public speaking is not for everyone. If it isn’t, allocate them a non-speaking role. Whoever you choose should ideally be happy and confident doing it.
Do consider how you want the ceremony to end – will it finish as you walk down the aisle? Or do you want to add a little something else in? One of my couples had a wedding cake made of local cheeses (cupcakes would work well too). They walked down the aisle, cut the ‘cheese-cake’ and their guests were handed bubbles which allowed the MC to immediately toast the couple. The cheese formed the basis of their nibbles immediately after the ceremony.
Finally, since this is wedding tips lets end with a KISS – KEEP IT SIMPLE (on the day) SWEETHEART! Ultimately, your ceremony is about celebrating your love – and the happiest brides are the ones who, on the day, only have to focus on feeling fabulous. The less you have to organise on the actual day the less stressed and happy you are going to be!
To see a traditional outline of a ceremony – just to start you thinking – go to my website and look under Resources.