Your Wedding Ceremony ….. It can be – and should be – the best part of your wedding day.
Work with your Celebrant to create the best Ceremony. Not as in hard slog work – but the word here is more like collaborate – to create one that is personal and all about you. And it’s only going to be bespoke and sound like your very own if you provide loads of input!
There is a draft Wedding Ceremony format I give couples that are a little overwhelmed about the Ceremony – What has to be included, what else is it actually saying, how long will it be – in other words “How long do I have to stand in front of my family and friends and be the centre of attention”!
It’s a guide only, for those who have no idea where to begin or what shape and form a Ceremony normally takes. The draft format outlines various traditional elements, and some modern ones, such as: processional, welcome, introduction, acknowledgements/in memory of, the bringing (giving away), the asking, readings, vows, joining or blending families, the ring exchange, kiss, signing, pronouncement and recessional.
The introverts love a ‘short and sweet’ ceremony, and are always ready to agree to half the elements in this draft format – a registry-style Ceremony with vows, rings and signing – and it’s done – they’re married!
And that is absolutely fine. But I would not be a very good Celebrant if I left it there and did not ask a few more questions – to get to know more about you, your dreams, future plans, a family tradition you may love, what you like to do in your spare time, what music you like, what you have seen at a friend’s wedding that you loved, or hated!
The answers to these questions can make a ceremony entirely unique, whilst still being short, fun and heartfelt if that’s what you want.
So do you need some help? Well, that’s what I’m here for and here’s a neat little list of things you need to consider and talk to your Celebrant about. Your marriage is just that – it’s yours, and is like no other.
Your Celebrant needs to know about the two of you, so let her/him know!
- What is your view of the world? This might seem like an odd question but what is expressed generally at this point is what you feel about life, faith, belief, music, work, hobbies – basically your likes and dislikes.
- As an experienced and accredited Celebrant, I have crafted and planned many wedding ceremonies and can give all sorts of insights into a variety of elements and options. I don’t expect you to know these details but don’t want to yap on if you do! So tell me what you don’t know about Weddings, and in particular, the Ceremony. Don’t be shy. Just be open and honest and prepared to talk around the topics you know nothing about.
- Communication is necessary – tell me what your fears or anxieties are. Fears can spoil your Ceremony for you, and the rest of your special day, if not spoken about. It is my role to create a Ceremony that would calm or minimise those nerves, and it is important to choose a Celebrant that not only understands this, but has the creative writing skills to create a calming effect in the Ceremony wording. Your personal Vows, however, can be quite emotional and it is an added bonus if the aura and posture of the Celebrant reflects calm.
- Express some ideas you may have. What you have liked that you have seen in person at other weddings, or online, so I can tweak the idea and make it yours.
- Insist on seeing a draft Ceremony. I would like to think that most Celebrants send you a draft about 4 weeks before the wedding in order that you can review the wording. Your initial reaction to it is what you should go with – each reading it separately. It is important to be brutally honest here. Make the changes or highlight where you would like something a little different. Don’t worry – you will not hurt my feelings! It’s your day, your way and there is no Take Two, no chance to do it as you want it the next time.
- Your Ceremony is the most important part of your big day. It is the start of your married life, so let me know what your vision is for the future – what your plans are and what you are excited about. Acknowledging the future also gives your guests something to feel excited about – and what to look forward to with you. The Ceremony is an affirmation of who you are at this moment as a couple, as well as who you want to become individually and as a partnership.
The exchange of rings may be a traditional element, but I believe it’s one that should always be included. Thought should be given to this ritual and how family with a meaningful connection to the two of you, such as your parents, grandparents, or children can be included to present the rings as a sign of their love and blessing.
Music that means something to you should be chosen carefully, not to be listened to while everyone stares at the musician or the two of you. It’s way too awkward! Instead of pausing the ceremony for a song, play music in the body of the ceremony to accompany some other action, such as a unity ritual or a moment honouring your families. Think about the tone you want to set for the ceremony and then choose music that amplifies that tone, whether it be sweet, nostalgic, traditional, or alternative.
Avoid cluttering up your ceremony with “stuff” just for the sake of filling time and space. Everything you include in your ceremony should be for the express purpose of highlighting the two of you and your relationship.
Your wedding ceremony should feel like you, smell like you, sound like you. It should fit you like a hand in a glove. It must never be cookie-cutter because every cookie couple is different! Your marriage is a marriage unlike any other, and your ceremony is the creation and celebration of that marriage.