He asked and you said yes. After months or perhaps years of planning and dreaming, imaging and hoping, your wedding day is finally here. You have the perfect dress, the amazing location and all the other things that make up the Day.
Wait…all the things that make up the Day? Isn’t your wedding, no matter how big and glamorous or small and intimate an affair, supposed to be about two people committing their lives to one another – for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health until death? I’m not saying that the reception isn’t important, but what about the reason for the reception?
We asked guest blogger Celia Milton, a New York/New Jersey officiant to share with us ways to make the ceremony the focus of the wedding and not the reception. Celia has created and performed hundreds of marriage and civil ceremonies that reflect the individuality of her couples.
…”my couples express themselves in ways that are truly meaningful to their families and friends; to introduce them to readings, music and other resources that can make their wedding day a celebration of their unique journey and the future that awaits.”
Here are Celia’s tips and advice on how to make your ceremony the most memorable portion of your wedding day.
There are so many ways to personalize your wedding ceremony! Here are some delightful little notions to consider.
Who do you pick? Best Women? Men of Honor? Moms? Dads? Siblings? Your Children? Your Dogs? Or no one? Those you choose to “stand up” with you should be chosen carefully, not out of obligation, but because they belong next to you, as they’ve always been. The “sides” don’t have to balance out!
Switch up the sides! Have the bride’s family sit in the front row of the groom’s side so they can see her face, and visa versa! Or better yet, come up to the ceremony space and then switch! They’re ALL on your side!
What music do you love? Reggae? Gospel? Vintage Sinatra? Depeche Mode? You can choose music that expresses your personality and your relationship in many original ways beyond the traditional classical selections. For the processional, you need to be able to walk (or dance!) in to the beat. The recessional should be a joyous accompaniment to your first walk as married partners!
How will you all get down the aisle? In a crazy dancing group? Will your dads, moms, or both walk you down? Will your children walk with you? Your dog? Or will you walk together. Each choice sends a different message about your history, your present and your future.
So many people to thank! The most popular gratitude ceremonies include moms or other treasured women, handing them roses, photo journals, or other tokens of your thanks. You may have sponsors or mentors who have been key to your growth as individuals and a couple. Who are you the most thankful for? How can we express that!
“We are all the culmination of the people who came before us, and we are here to finish the dreams left unfinished.” Playwright Welly Yang. There are many ways to honor the friends and relatives who are such an important part of our histories. A moment of silence within the ceremony is one; photos and mementos displayed at the reception are as well. If you’re wearing your grandmother’s ring or your uncle’s bow tie, let’s mention that as a fond acknowledgement of their presence and influence in your lives.
It is yours alone! What makes you special? What is unique about him, about her, about yous twos together? What do even people who THINK they know you, not know? What is your fondest, maybe unspoken dream for the future? What is your funniest guilty pleasure?
Who do you know who tells a great story? Sings like a pro? Play the harp? Do card tricks? Great! Enlist them to participate in the ceremony in ways that are comfortable for them. Your guests will love a break from ME talking, and your talented friends will know that they’ve given you a special gift.
Write them, steal them, repeat them after me. Read them from an antique book or a velvet notebook; read them from your ipod, blackberry, from post it notes, valentines or, as one of my grooms did, write it on a banana. Make them funny, make them serious, make them rhyme. But make them you.
With this Ring
How about a “ring warming”, a beautiful ritual in which each guest holds the rings and infuses them with their hopes and dreams for you. How about your parents presenting you with your partner’s ring and giving a little blessing or a few words of celebration as they do? How about tying them (securely!!) to your dog/ring bearer? How about, instead of a ring pillow, a treasure chest? A cupcake? A fishing pole? Something that is as original as you are?
Of course, there is the unity candle ceremony. But there is also the pouring of the sand, various sharing of beverages (wine, tea, tequila, sake, chocolate milk…you name it; if it can be shared, I’ve helped couples share it!) There is a sharing of chocolate, sushi, bread and salt, even water. You can saw a log in half (if you’re Swedish and your venue will let you….), you can include a handfasting or drape your shoulders in a blanket or cord.
Before you dance down the aisle, we’ll announce you as husband and wife, partners and family, Pinky and Brain, or anything else you’d like to be called. Maybe we’ll break a glass (or a Christmas bulb, as one of my mixed-tradition couples did). Or jump the broom. Or leave to a shower of bubbles, noisemakers, confetti canons, birdcalls, rattles, bells rose petals, popcorn or sparklers. Your imagination is your only limit! And now, let’s get this party started!
Do you feel that your ceremony is the centerpiece of your wedding day?
Do you hope your ceremony will be personal, creative and inspiring?
Do you want a celebrant who will be your partner and friend in the planning?
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Many thanks!!!! to Celia for offering such amazing advice on how to add something more to your ceremony, the most important part of the wedding.
Did you do something during your ceremony that made it uniquely yours?
Have you been to a ceremony and thought what a beautiful moment when…?
Leave us a comment and share your “Sweet” moments.