In all the hustle and bustle of planning your wedding, the ceremony itself is frequently forgotten or taken for granted. Remember this is the commitment that you and your love are making to each other. It should capture the essence of your love and commitment and say how you feel about your relationship.
In the past, religious officials frequently had a one size fits all ceremony. Remember, “love, honor and OBEY” or “does anyone have a reason that this couple should not be married.” I promise you, I will not ask you to obey. You are both equally unique individuals and this should be celebrated.
There are several ceremonies that you might consider including. Each one is different and adds an element of uniqueness to your words.
Here three candles are used - one representing the bride and one representing the groom. These lit candles are used to light a third candle that represents the union of these two beings into one light. This is not recommended for an outdoor wedding as the candles may blow out.
COVENANT OF SAND
This is similar to the Unity candle but using three containers. Two will contain sand representing the bride and groom. This sand will then be poured into the third signifying the joining of two into one. This is beautiful on the beach.
Here, each member of the congregation and wedding party are given a shell to hold during the ceremony. The minister will at some point bring everyone to the edge of the water where the shells will be thrown into the ocean representing the ripples crossing and recrossing.
This is a blessing of the bride and groom’s hands and their role in the past, present and future of the relationship. It can also include the possibility of an expected baby or existing children. It is a very beautiful ceremony and I have never seen a dry eye after this is performed.
BLESSING OF UNBORN CHILD
Where appropriate, this blessing welcomes the unborn child into the new family unit that is being created.
In this ceremony, the bridal couple each holds a long stem rose. At some point, the minister asks them to exchange roses as the first gift as husband and wife. It talks about setting up a special place within the home where a rose can be placed to deliver a message when words fail.
This is very beautiful and special.
JUMPING THE BROOM
Some traditions use this ceremony to signify the leap of faith that the bridal couple is taking in committing to a future together.
BREAKING THE GLASS
In some religious traditions, a glass is crushed asking that the years of happiness be no less than the fragments of the glass.
This acknowledges the parents with love and gratitude for raising the couple and setting an example.
Now that you are thoroughly confused, remember that your vows can be very traditional or words of love written and recited by each of you. I always insist that the bridal couple give me a copy of their original creations just in case they are too nervous to recite – I can then very easily slide into “repeat after me” and no one will know the difference. There are many, many ways to say what you want to say to each other and make it special. I can give you many examples.
POETRY, READINGS AND MUSIC
It is always nice to have the personal touch of a friend or family member adding something to your ceremony. There are many Biblical readings or poems that can be added into the text or read by someone you love and want to honor. If you add a special song, remember that something heard in the relaxed atmosphere of your home or car seems to be ten times longer when you are standing in front of a lot of people with nothing to do. You might want to consider having special music as you walk down the aisle.
Even more important than deciding between white cake and chocolate, or calla lilies and roses, is the commitment that you are making and the life you are stepping into together. I have heard from so many of my brides and grooms that thus was the most fun and inspirational part of their wedding planning. Reviewing the wording of these options, made them understand more fully the spiritual commitment they are making to each other and their marriage.
As a non-denominational minister, I am not bound by any one tradition and can help you create the most outstanding ceremony imaginable. Let’s have fun together.
Reverend Bonnie Lee Compton