How to Personalise your Wedding Ceremony
You may have been to just one or two weddings before or you may have been to LOADS but either way, I imagine you want yours to be different. Wedding planning is lots of fun! If you're not already you'll soon be thinking about colours, types of flowers, what kind of food you'll have, your music and many other of the exciting details that will help create a day that reflects who you are as a couple. But have you thought about how you will be reflected in the most important and defining part of your day, your ceremony?! This is the moment where you will stand in front of your family and friends and express your love and commitment to the person who stands there with you. We believe that in this moment your loved ones should witness something personal, not something they've seen before. They should be able to see what you truly mean to one another. So don't compromise, have your ceremony personalised with a Celebrant, and make it unforgettable!
But how do we do this? Well we have many tricks up our sleeves when it comes to creating beautiful, unique ceremonies and here are some of our favourites ...
Your ceremony should be about you! Your loved ones won't have come to find out 'what love is' or 'what marriage entails'. They will have come to celebrate the two of you as a couple. So let them in on your journey to marriage ... what you love about one another; your defining moments as a couple; the adventures or the laughs you've had! Let your Celebrant tell your story and you'll have your guests hanging on to every last word.
The wonderful part where you make your promises to one another. What do you want the future to hold? What means the world to you? Let these hopes and feelings guide you then turn them into your promises. Your Celebrant will be more than happy to help you with this so if you 'sort of' know what you want to say but you can't quite put it into words then just scribble down the important bits and 'voila' your Celebrant will create your vows. When it comes to your big day there are a few different ways in which you can deliver your vows...
Say Your Own
It's entirely up to you whether you and your future spouse work together on your vows or keep them a secret from one another. Once written, you may decide to read off of a sheet or cue cards on the day, or you could opt for the 'repeat after me' style where your Celebrant leads with the delivery, usually one sentence at a time. Or if you're feeling confident - go bold, go for the glory and recite them from memory!
Say Them Together
Writing and saying one set of vows together can be really, really fun and you'll have worked together to create shared promises that are special to you both. This is perfect if you don't like the thought of speaking by yourself, it will certainly turn the nerves down a few notches! Plus, it's guaranteed to win lots of smiles from your guests who are absolutely loving your togetherness!
Say 'I do'
If you love the thought of personalised vows but you're just not loving the idea of speaking, either on your own, or with your partner, this is the perfect option for you! You can write your own promises from the heart and simply ask your Celebrant to read them out for you so that you can declare 'I do'.
Involve your Family and Friends!
Asking loved ones to be part of your ceremony is the most wonderful way of showing them how much they mean to you. And there are many ways in which they can be involved ...
As a Celebrant, I find that readings, poems or self-written pieces are a beautiful way of giving the ceremony some variation and extra depth. Two is a good number, one after your Celebrant has welcomed everyone and introduced your ceremony, then another after you've said your vows, but there are no rules, it's entirely up to you! And other types of contributions are welcome to - from a song or instrumental piece to a full-blown 'Love Actually-style' surprise orchestra!
This is an opportunity for your loved ones to physically pass on their love and blessings to you as a couple. Each guests takes a stone and holds it throughout the ceremony, transferring their positive energy into it. Then at the end, all of the stones are placed into a vase of some kind for you to take home. What a keepsake! Each guest could even write their name on their stone so that you have a pretty amazing alternative to a guest book!
This is our favourite option when it comes to involving kids! Each of the couple and each of the children have their own colour sand, maybe their favourite colour or the colour of their birth stone, and take it in turns to pour their sand into the vase, creating a beautiful pattern of layered colours. The incredible meaning behind this ritual is that just as the grains of sand cannot be separated, neither can their union, as a couple or as a family.
Other Symbolic Rituals
The one symbolic ritual that is known and loved all over the world is the exchanging of rings, which is a beautiful part of a wedding ceremony. For some couples this is the only symbolic gesture they want and need but there is nothing from stopping you from have a second or an alternative. Here are some ideas ..
The true origin of handfasting is unknown but the typical, modern handfasting ceremony is derived from the Celtic tradition, pre dating Christianity. At this time, gold bands were afforadable only to the aristocracy, so handfasting was the more common symbolic ritual used in marriage ceremonies. Nowadays, handfasting is seen by many as a modern, visual and colourful way of bringing two people or even two families together. There are several different ways to perform the ritual but generally, the couple will place their palms together or will hold on to each other’s forearm, and with each spoken promise, a ribbon or chord is wrapped around their hands. This can be done by the celebrant or by someone in the wedding party and the ribbons are then secured by literally 'tying the knot' and even when removed demonstrate the eternal bond that the couple have made.
This involves each of the couple lighting their own candle that represents the energy and light that comes from their own being. The candles are then used to light one central candle to symbolise a stronger, larger and more powerful energy and light they have together as a couple. One adaptation of this ritual, which can have beautiful meaning, is the involvement of extra flames to represent those who are no longer with us.
What better way to represent the beginning of your new life together than to literally plant or pot new life - a tree, a scrub, your favourite flower! This works beautifully with a woodland wedding and even better with a ceremony in your own garden where you will be able to watch that plant or tree grow day by day!
A Unique Ceremony Space
This is where you can get your creative juices flowing from a visual perspective and set off the look and style of your day. Are you going for a relaxed, boho style; a look that is soft and serene; something more bold and vibrant? Whatever your style, it should begin with your ceremony space because that's where your day will begin. Think about the colours and textures around you, the flowers, the style of seating, the lighting - and create the feel that you want for your special day.
These are just a few ways in which you can personalise your ceremony but having a Celebrant-led wedding really does offer you limitless options to create a day like no other. It all starts with just a very laid-back consultation, so get your questions ready and drop us a message so we can arrange a chat!
Written by Natalie Davies, Independant Wedding Celebrant, Rose & Grace Ceremonies
Photography Credit: Natalie D Photography - https://www.nataliedphotography.
Check out the following Insta profiles for other contributors in this shoot -
Furniture and Props: @thelittleweddingwarehouse
Hair and Makeup: @kirstymccallmua