Many couples, when we first sit down to plan their ceremony, ask the question “Can I have a Ceremony that is both traditional and personal?” To which the short answer is “Yes, absolutely!”
The marriage ceremony in itself is a tradition. It reminds us that the ability to love is the very best part of our humanity. But that hasn’t always been the case. The earliest marriage ceremony is thought to have taken place in 2350 B.C but it wasn’t until the Middle Ages that the motivating force for marriage was actually love. And even then, the institution of marriage was flawed in more ways than we can now fathom. That’s the thing with traditions – often they need to evolve!
The most important thing when it comes to your wedding ceremony is that is feels right for YOU. If you’ve considered the traditional ceremony wording but feel it doesn’t reflect who you are as a couple then maybe a more personal ceremony is what you’re looking for. You don’t need to know what you would like it to say. You just need a Celebrant to guide you through the process. As they do they will get to know you so that they can create a ceremony that you’ll love.
Often the first thing we do to guide our couples is talk them through a traditional ceremony structure like this one:
THE GIVING AWAY
WELCOME/OPENING FIRST READING/POEM COUPLE'S JOURNEY
COMMITMENTS TO EACH OTHER VOWS RING EXCHANGE AND/OR SYMBOLIC ADDITION SECOND READING/POEM
KISS CEREMONY CERTIFICATE SIGNING
CLOSING WORDS & CONGRATULATE!
Some couples choose to get rid of this instantly and that’s absolutely fine! But many like to include a lot, if not all, of these elements in their ceremony. Quite often a couple will say “No, we’re not interested in a traditional ceremony’ then as we go through the list above there’s an “Oh yes, we do want that bit” and “definitely that bit too” until they’re laughing out loud about having said yes to all of the traditional elements of a ceremony!
But this is where traditional meets original. It’s the wording of these elements that transforms the ceremony into one that represents the couple’s own values. Let’s face it, the antiquated meaning of the ‘Giving Away’ doesn’t have a place in modern society! But this part of the ceremony can be rewritten so that it reflects the love and support of the accompanying person, or even that of the couple’s families.
You may have spotted one element in the structure above that doesn’t appear in a church or registrar-led ceremony - The Couple’s Journey. This is exclusive to a Celebrant-led ceremony and something we are very passionate about. We make sure that your ceremony tells your story; that it draws on the important moments that have brought you to marriage as well as your hopes for the future.
Getting to know you as we plan your ceremony also allows us to help you with your vows if you want us to. If one or both of you would like to make personal vows but don’t feel confident writing them yourselves we would suggest writing down, from the heart, your wishes for your marriage and we will turn those into your vows for you.
We are also able to recommend readings/poems, should you want any. We’ll chat to you about what sort of tone you would like the reading to have and who will be delivering it. Then rather than you trawling through the web we can compile a shortlist for you to choose from. A reading isn’t just a traditional part of a wedding ceremony, it’s a really nice way to involve a close friend or family member .. and if you’re going for a non-traditional tone there are plenty of great options!
So we hope this helps you to envisage a ceremony that is written entirely for you yet honours the traditions that you know and love. The best of both worlds you might say! It’s our job to strike the right balance for you and ultimately create a ceremony that will stay in your hearts forever.
Written by Natalie Davies, Rose & Grace Ceremonies
Photography by www.sammytaylorweddingphotography.com