The ceremony is arguably the most special part of your entire wedding day, it’s the moment you commit to your partner for the rest of your lives. This is what we are all here for right? The best part is you can make it all your own – a memory you and your partner will cherish forever.
To make your ceremony extra special, there are a number of rituals and traditions you can incorporate. I have chosen just a few of my favourites so don’t feel limited – if you have something in mind, please let me know so we can work together to bring your dreams to life!
Write Your Own Vows
This is a well-known tradition but a firm favorite. When you include your personality in your vows, they’re far more fun and meaningful. Writing your own vows gives you the opportunity to share how you plan to care for and love your partner in your own unique way in this next phase of your relationship. Plus, it gives guests a whole other perspective on your relationship and how you think and feel as a couple. Don’t forget to send them to be a few weeks in advance so I can make sure your vows meet the legal requirements and get your vow books made.
Plant a Tree
Many couples are choosing to plant a tree together as a symbol of their new relationship and how they will grow together. You don’t need to dig into the earth and get dirty either. It can be as simple as you both pouring soil into a pot and adding a few seeds to it while I read the tree planting ceremony.
The Champagne Toast
Instead of just sharing a kiss after you’re pronounced married and your paperwork is signed, pop a bottle of champagne and toast with your guests. You don’t need to give all your guests champagne either – you can simply share a glass with your partner. What’s more, this tradition makes for some great celebratory photos that you can add to your collection. Don’t forget to let me know you want to do this so we can get it written into your ceremony script and stay on schedule.
Hand-Binding or Handfasting
Another meaningful way to highlight your union is to incorporate hand-binding or handfasting into your ceremony. Basically, your officiant will place a ribbon, rope, fabric, or delicate binding around your hands while saying vows of commitment or the handfasting ceremony script. It’s important to know which kind of handfasting you would like, if you are choosing this option as there are dozens of them to choose from depending on your culture or faith.
My personal preference and recommendation is to do the hand-binding or handfasting while you say your vows repeating after me. This is especially important if we are tying all of your hands together. If you are writing your own vows and need to hold your vow book – that will be challenging with no hands left. Trust me on this one. I had a couple insist on reading their own vows while their hands were tied together – they would not take my advice, and on their wedding day they very quickly realized they should’ve listened to me and they struggled to hold their vows, flip pages, and stay focused on the moment.
If you are writing your own vows, we simply do the hand-binding or handfasting immediately after your vows so it all flows smoothly.
Say a Prayer as a Family
This is an especially nice tradition if you plan to have a micro wedding this year. Right before your ceremony begins, have your family surround you and pray together. This is a wonderful way to include your family in the ceremony and a beautiful way to bless your union. If you would like me to lead your family in prayer just let me know in your intake form!
Childlike Descriptions of Love
If you are choosing to have an adult-only wedding, there is still a way to include the children of friends and family. In the months leading up to your wedding, get your guests to ask their children what love means to them. Your officiant can then incorporate these sweet and special answers into your ceremony. Please make sure to send them to me well in advance!
Another unique tradition that is used to symbolize how marriage is a commitment to stick together during joyful and sorrowful times is wine blending. Towards the end of the ceremony, the couple will pour sweet and dry, or red and white wine into a cup to highlight their promise to each other. Sand pouring is another take on this tradition. I did the wine ceremony at a winery not long ago and it worked beautifully! I have the perfect script to lead us through all the sips of wine!
There is also the wine box ceremony where you both put letters to each other with a bottle of wine, seal it in a box, then save it for when you are going through a challenging time in your marriage. You open the box, drink the wine, read the letters, and remember why you got married.
Combine Family Traditions
If you and your partner have different faiths or very strong family traditions, find ways to incorporate both into the ceremony. This makes everyone feel welcomed and loved and sets the tone for your life as a married couple. If your family comes from another part of the world, let me know what I can say at the start to welcome everyone in your language! Whenever I do this I see everyone’s face light up as I say hello and welcome in Arabic, Urdu, Italian, French…and I know nothing will make your Indian mother happier than when I arrive and say Namaste Auntie!
In 2020 I performed a marriage ceremony for a sweet couple who came from very different backgrounds. He is Jewish and She is Catholic. So…we stood under the Chuppah which was held up buy both of their fathers, the bride’s brother read from Corinthians, the groom’s sister did the Seven Blessings, and the groom’s mom took part by placing the wrapped glass the groom stomped on at the end of their ceremony. It was a beautiful blend of families, cultures, faiths, and traditions and I can honestly say…magic was in the air that day!
There are so many wonderful ways to make your ceremony even more special. Just remember, this is your wedding day, and you should always do what feels right for you. Don’t forget to inform your photographer if you plan to incorporate anything special into the ceremony and ask your Officiant how they plan to work with your photographer during your ceremony.
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