You’re finally getting married. This is the moment you’ve been planning for and dreaming about for so long. You walk down the aisle, and the celebrant says some boring sh*t that means absolutely jack to you and your soon-to-be husband/wife, you say “I do”, kiss and it’s done. Well, that was anti-climatic right?
What a nightmare. You want a ceremony that strikes emotion, explores the journey you and your partner have been on and provokes one hell of a celebration afterwards! Not something pulled from the script of every wedding that ever was!
So, I’m going to share with you a few ideas on how you can improve your wedding ceremony to avoid this nightmare becoming reality.
Do I need to state the obvious? Write your own vows!
I know many people worry about writing their own vows because they don’t know what to say, or they don’t know how to express what they feel, especially in front of all of their family and friends. I get it, it takes some time to brainstorm your vows and put them into coherant sentences that you won’t stumble on. But remember that no one is expecting you to be Shakespeare – your vows don’t have to sound super romantic or poetic. They just need state how freakin’ excited you are to marry the love of your life! Another idea for those who are still a bit nervous, is to write your vows together. I think this is a super sweet way to come up with something original that reflects your shared values.
Tip: Find inspiration from your favourite books, movies, childhood stories, or from shared experiences like holidays and life plans etc.
Write your own ceremony!
Now admittedly, this one takes a fair bit of time and commitment (it took me about 8 hours in total to write our ceremony) but it is definitely worth the effort! When you write your own ceremony you’re able to mold it around your journey and your values. You can also modify the structure of the ceremony – don’t want a ring exchange? No worries, scrap it! Want two readings instead of one? Just add it in! There’s heaps of example ceremonies online for you to use as inspiration. My approach was to start with an example ceremony and then cut and re-write.
Tip: Almost all of the ceremony is customisable, except for a tiny section of legal jargon which your celebrant will fill you in on.
reinvent the boring readings!
For a 20-30 minute ceremony, there will usually be time for one or two readings to be included. This helps to round out your ceremony out and give a little bit more substance to it. You’ll find all of your classic readings online with one google search, but if you’re like me and can’t stand the idea of a stock standard passage that doesn’t relate to you or your partner remotely, then I’ve got another idea for you. Ask your family/friends to write their own reading. This is effectively a mini-speech in your ceremony. It might be a piece of advice they would like to give you or a favourite quote with a short explanation, or as we did, a “Letter to the Bride” and a “Letter to the Groom” read by our mothers.
include as many people as you like!
There are so many ways to include the important people in your life in your ceremony. It can be a really sweet way to acknowledge how important these people are to you, and how instrumental they have been in supporting your relationship with your soon-to-be husband/wife. Here’s a few ideas:
- Have multiple people walk you down the aisle
- Include a groom aisle walk with is mother and/or father
- Include a parental, or crowd, blessing of your marriage
- Include one or more readings from those who matter to you
- Have your wedding witnessed by people outside of the bridal party
make a ceremony book!
Your celebrant will already have a ceremony book or tablet to read from when performing your wedding. However, why not make yourself a ceremony book that you can keep after the wedding? We entrusted my mother-in-law with this task and ended up with a beautiful scrap book that contained our ceremony script (check out the image above). Apart from being a really personal touch, James and I now have a record of our ceremony to look back on in years to come!
So there you have it – five ways to turn your nightmare ceremony into something that actually means something to you and your partner, and something you will treasure for a lifetime!