Your wedding is the most personal event you will experience in your lifetime. Although most weddings are shared with family and friends, the ceremony…more
Your wedding is the most personal event you will experience in your lifetime. Although most weddings are shared with family and friends, the ceremony itself is a confirmation of personal and intimate promises between the bride and groom. Many couples believe that these moments are far too important to entrust to a pre-packaged ceremony.
However, finding the right words is never easy. If you and your intended decide to write part of your wedding ceremony yourselves, you must shoulder a considerable responsibility. While no one can tell you what to say, some tips and ideas can get you started. Personalizing your special day is truly a labor of love that is well worth the effort.
Tip 1: Start with a traditional ceremony. Before closeting yourselves in your garrets and tapping your creative juices, meet over lattes in a quiet patisserie and look over a copy of a standard wedding ceremony. Notice the basic components of the program:
- Welcome and introduction by the presiding official
- Confirmation the couple agrees to marry – “I dos”
- Confirmation of community support for the union
- Wedding vows
- Ring exchange
- Announcement of marriage – kiss
Discuss your views about the ceremony. Which parts are most important to you as a couple? Which parts seem superfluous? Many couples customize a traditional ceremony to better reflect their values and relationship.
Idea: Music is a wonderful way to instill personal meaning into the most traditional of ceremonies. Instead of readings, substitute a song that is significant to both of you. Instead of the traditional processional – The Wedding March – select music that sets the tone of your ceremony. Baroque, Classical, Jazz, New Age and Country all make unique stylistic statements.
Tip 2: Your official’s welcome is an important moment in the ceremony. Instead of the same words he or she has used to open hundreds of weddings, why not find a poem or quotation for the official’s opening remarks? The words should reflect the reasons you have chosen to wed, and the hope, anticipation, and excitement of the occasion. Try the following:
- On Marriage, Khalil Gibran
- Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven, William Butler Yeats
- For C.W.B, Elizabeth Bishop
Idea: Source material for your personalized ceremony from your own writings, those of a talented friend, favorite song lyrics, and favorite authors/poets. If your wedding has a theme, such as tropical, garden or environmental, use the theme in your search phrases online. Add keywords such as “love,” and “wedding” to find more content ideas for your ceremony.
Tip 3: Your Vows
When personalizing your vows, collaborate as a couple. Brainstorm a list of the most important principles and values you will practice throughout your marriage. You might include the traditional values of trust, respect and fidelity. You might add “laughter,” or “friendship.”
Some couples prefer to write their individual vows in private and not reveal them until the ceremony. This creates a nice sense of anticipation and a positive surprise for both bride and groom. Alternatively, some brides and groom read their personal their missives to each other at a different point in the ceremony, preferring to be in agreement on the vows.
Idea: Instill your vows with the specifics that affect you as a couple. For example, rather than just promising to “honor” each other, the bride could vow to honor the groom’s need for time to rehearse with his band, while the groom could vow to honor the bride’s time commitment to her horses.
Tip 4: The Rings
The exchange of rings is one of the more symbolic moments of a wedding ceremony, and many couples choose traditional words to reflect this time-honored practice. However, others choose personally meaningful words to say instead. As circular symbols, rings represent promises kept, everlasting love and ongoing commitment. When writing or selecting words for this part of the ceremony, let those concepts guide you.
Idea: Consider adding extra meaning to the ring ceremony with a unique touch. Perhaps the official could ring a silver bell before the exchange. Perhaps a song would be appropriate at this point in the ceremony. You could add a light-hearted note by recruiting a non-traditional ring bearer such as a well-trained beloved dog.
A wedding is the event of a lifetime. By infusing the ceremony with personal creativity, you can make it as lovely and intimate as your love. Sharing your personal words in front of family and friends is a wonderful way to envelop them in the magic of your very special day.
August 30, 2012
We loved this article and think it should be helpful. It is not easy to express your feeling in words so hope this helps as bit.
Happy Labor Day
Sheila, Robin, Amy