Christine and Steve Haslet wedding officiants from A Ceremony to Remember in San Diego, California talk about writing your own wedding ceremony and marriage vows. This article is one in a series of what they refer to as their wedducation series offered to couples as they plan their wedding. Considered experts in the field, they've performed nearly 2500 wedding ceremonies! These days it seems to be pretty rare that ceremonies aren't at least personalized in some form or another.
This can be simply choosing your own readings and songs to a traditional ceremony to creating a ceremony completely designed, written and choreographed down to the smallest detail. We've found, couples feel most comfortable writing or choosing a ceremony that is a reflection of their own beliefs and feelings. This certainly gives meaning to the words and events that happen at the "heart of the wedding day". In some ways, it can even be a process to bring a couple closer as they discuss and plan their ceremony together.
In most states you aren't required by law to use any specific language or wording, although many clergy do have some guidelines they ask that you abide by. Our only real suggestion when we work with brides and grooms is that they try to avoid creating any sort of tension by bringing up issues that may be touchy or cause guests and family to be uncomfortable. And certainly, for us,the final decision is left up to the bride and groom as to the content.
It is important to communicate your needs and feelings to your officiant, certainly you should feel comfortable sharing this with the person who plans to perform your wedding ceremony. Make your ceremony, a ceremony to remember. When designing a ceremony, generally speaking we have found that there are six basic parts: The Greeting: this is the welcoming of family and guests.
This can be very simple or quite elaborate. To say something as simple as "On behalf of the bride and groom, (using first names of bride and groom of course!) we welcome you. A more elaborate welcome can include special guests names or persons who have traveled from afar.
Or perhaps a mention of those who could not be in attendance. This portion of the ceremony sets the tone for the ceremony. Humor is always appreciated by the audience when done in good taste.
Blessings and Readings: often done by the officiant, or can be done by friends or family. Sometimes couples read something to each other at this time. We don't suggest trying to memorize something because of the unexpected tension that may overwhelm you at the last minute. As for the actual words you might choose, there are numerous "wedding" poems and readings available. Some of the most popular and meaningful are taken from the Prophet by Kahlil Gibran or Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Perhaps a scripture reading may be appropriate for you.
You can consult the internet, your local library or bookstore for more ideas. Your Vows: these are the promises you make to one another. Usually spoken by the officiant then repeated by you. They can also be read to each other as well.
These generally include the promise to love one another in sickness and health. . . although we've heard promises that include "always promising to leave the last piece of chocolate cake for the other person"! This can be as personal as you feel comfortable with. The Exchange of Rings: For the ring exchange, one ring for the bride is done on occasion or in most cases the ring exchange involves two rings. Perhaps a story about the rings, or their meaning can be included.
The officiant often will tell what the rings symbolize, their circular nature having no beginning and no end. The strength of the materials they are made of and perhaps their lasting and enduring beauty. Any of these attributes are worth mentioning.
Music: A song can be included at this point while the bride and groom hold hands, or perhaps light a unity candle or possibly give roses to the mothers and grandmothers. An instrumental piece of music or a vocalist are often used. We never suggest that family members provide the music because of the possible mishaps that may occur due to nervousness. Although we have certainly seen our share of musical mishaps along the way! The Pronouncement: The End, as they say in the movies! The kiss long or short followed by the the introduction. There are many ways to be introduced.
You can use your new last name as Mr and Mrs. Or be introduced with first names, and be presented as husband and wife. These days expect a round of applause, even in most churches. Followed by a slow walk down the aisle, so that your family and guests can enjoy your radiance. The parts of your ceremony that we have described can be arranged in most any order that you like.
You may even choose to eliminate a portion, that is up to you. If you would like more information about writing your own ceremony, we have a complimentary guide that we give to our brides and grooms as they plan with us for their upcoming wedding ceremony. This is one of a series of our articles that have been created to help -wedducate- brides and grooms about their wedding planning.
Christine and Steve Haslet of A Ceremony to Remember in San Diego, CA authors of articles that help -wedducate- couples about weddings. After 2500 weddings, experience has set them apart as experts helping couples find the heart of their wedding. http://www.aceremonytoremember.net