The ceremony is the single most important part of the wedding, and often it gets the least amount of attention in terms of planning. In order to have a “perfect” wedding ceremony it is best to be clear about what you envision, what you want.
There are several important questions to consider…
Where and when will the ceremony take place? If the ceremony is outdoors, is it a comfortable space? It can get pretty hot and humid in the summer; a noon outdoor wedding in July may not be the best option. Thinking about a beach wedding? You need to consider the wind and sand. If the ceremony is indoors, are there any limitations to the ceremony space?
When considering an outdoor venue, have you factored in the lighting? Where will the sun be at the time of your wedding? Where will the shadows and shade be? The factors of lighting and space can also be considered for indoor venues. Such things can make all the difference between photographs that are sensational and those that are disappointing.
How long do you want the ceremony to last? How long would be “too long”? How short would be “too short”? Of course, we have all had the experience of 45 minutes that seems like 10 as well as the ceremonies that last 15 minutes that seem like an eternity. How will you ensure that your wedding does not become that event that seems to have no end in sight? An experienced officiant and ceremony planner can be a great help in this!
Is it important to personalize your ceremony or are you wanting a wedding that is more standardized? There are many, many ways to personalize your ceremony and make it your own. Write your own vows, or at least have secret vows. Add your story. Add a specialized ceremony.
What is the feel you want for your ceremony? Are you wanting it to be traditional or more contemporary, formal or casual, serious or light-hearted? Which style best reflects you as a couple?
What about God? Are you wanting a ceremony that has religious/spiritual elements or are you preferring something more secular/civil? Even though bride and groom may be from different faith traditions, a ceremony can still be crafted which emphasizes their shared faith, rather than any differences. I, also caution couples, even if they are not active in the church, they need to consider their guests, especially immediately family. A simple opening prayer can make most everyone feel at ease.
What about vows? Will you want to go with the traditional vows or a more contemporary version? Will you want to write you own? How do you wish to exchange vows? Will you repeat phrases after the minister, speak extemporaneously, or read from a card?
Are you wanting to exchange rings? Again, with the ring exchange there are many options of things to say and do. You both can repeat the same 2-3 sentences as you place the ring on the finger (traditional) or both of you can together repeat your ring vows. Some couples choose to say some words from their hearts at this moment.
Are you doing a “specialized ceremony” within the ceremony? This would be something like a Unity Candle, Unity Sand, Unity Cross, Wine Box Ceremony, Rose Ceremony, God’s Knot etc. The possibilities here are as endless as your imagination and creativity.
Is there anything else that needs to be discussed in order to make your ceremony your own? An experienced officiant will take the time to go through the details with his/her couple. Make sure you take the time to personalize the ceremony to be heartfelt and reflect your love and personality! Don’t be afraid to add humor, or your story! My favorite was the groom that promised to always share his bacon, that she never wants to order, but always takes some of his!
As a wedding officiant, I start working with my couples immediately and slowly build their ceremony. I don’t start pushing them too hard until the 1 month point. I know the bride is focusing on the other aspects of the wedding (food, decoration, dresses, flowers, etc…). But I ask them to seriously work on the ceremony that last month so it is not rushed through. The last thing anyone wants at their wedding is:
Written by: Penny Reynolds