Your wedding day should be as perfect and happy as possible starting with the wedding ceremony. I will assist you in personalizing your ceremony so that it is a wonderful reflection of who you are as expressed in a narrative that is uplifting and joyous to touch your heart, as well as the hearts of your friends and family. I will accomplish this first by listening to “Your Story” about how you met and what your interests are---I will get to know you.
Next, I will ask you if you have any thoughts about the type of wedding ceremony you would like to have. More religious or spiritual or something in between? Still not sure? I will provide you with “A to Z” examples of ceremonies starting with a detailed outline to begin a discussion of options and possibilities. In fact, if you are still undecided, I will provide complete alternative ceremonies that contain numerous options for you to consider at your leisure.
Here’s an example of how we would proceed when we meet after we spent some time getting to know each other.
I will ask you if you are having groomsmen and bridesmaids and, if so, we will start to list them along with the best man and maid of honor, flower girl and ring bearer. ( All are optional—some weddings have many flower girls and ring bearers and some have none.) Also, do you want the groomsmen and bridesmaids to walk separately or arm in arm? Will the bride be “given away” and by whom? Do you want the bride’s mother to be pre-seated or to walk as part of the ceremony? If she walks down the aisle, who is her escort? Would you like the groom’s mom and dad to be pre-seated or would you like them to be part of the ceremony?
Some families are “extended families” with a stepmom or stepdad. They may also include children from previous relationships. My experience has taught me to identify ways to accommodate "extended families" as part of the ceremony or before the ceremony begins depending on your needs and desires.
I will also ask you what you would prefer to be called during the ceremony when I mention the bride and groom’s name which I will do numerous times---formal first name or nick name? I will also ask you what you want me to pronounce you at the end of the ceremony----Mr. & Mrs. (fill in the blank). Some couples never thought about the couples name until I ask the question—and it always makes me smile!
As the bride walks down the aisle and everyone is standing to welcome her, the groom and I will walk from the front to the first row to greet her. When we meet, the music stops so that everyone can hear my question: “Who giveth this woman to be married to this man?” The father of the bride—or other person escorting the bride—says “I do” and kisses the bride and shakes the goom’s hand before sitting down.
I will then welcome everyone with a short greeting. Next, one option is to thank the parents, on behalf of the bride and groom, for the love and support in raising them. (The thank you can be long or short depending on your wishes.) I will also offer a short “rememberence” for those who are not with us physically but are with us spirtitually, such as grandparents---again, this too is an option. ( Some couples would rather skip this and some want to mention family members by name---there is no right or wrong in this matter.)
I will then ask the guests to be seated. The bride and groom would then proceed with me to the front. The bride would hand her flowers to the maid of honor. At that point, the bride and groom would stand facing each other and I stand facing the guests.
I would begin a short opening prayer (of your choosing) which is optional. I would then begin the invocation focusing on the meaning of marriage. (I would provide you with optional invocations.)
Some couples like to have a friend or family member stand up to do a “ Reading” which can be a poem or scripture or something about the couple. This would be one opportunity to do so. ( I can provide “Reading” options for your consideration. In fact, you could have one, two or three “Readings” at this point or you could scatter them throughout the ceremony. It is completely up to you!)
I would then ask you if you have come here to be married willingly and without reservations. You respond: “We have.”
Wedding vows come next. Most couples prefer the traditional vows where I read a few lines and the groom and then the bride repeats. There are many traditional vow options which I can provide you. On the other hand, there are a few adventurous couples that prefer to prepare their own vows---all good, whichever you prefer.
Some couples prefer to have extended family members participate in the ceremony with the lighting of a Unity Candle or pouring of sand into one vessel. It can be a beautiful part of the ceremony which both acknowledges extended family members and gives them a place of prominence while demonstrating that the family is now blended into a larger unit with your marriage. Again, an option.
I will, at this point, offer you my best wishes for a long and happy marriage.
Next, I will introduce the ring vows by discussing the meaning of the vows and follow this with the actual ring vows. (There are many ring vow options that I will be happy to discuss with you.)
After the ring vows, I will offer you a “Nuptial Blessing” which is a blessing of the rings. (This is usually short and, again, optional.)
It will then be my great pleasure to pronounce you husband and wife---and then “The Kiss.”
Followed, finally, by my introduction: “Ladies and gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to introduce for the very first time in their new relationship as husband and wife, Mr. & Mrs. ---(fill in the blank)! “
You will then proceed up the aisle with wedding party following. I will congratulate your family and wish them well.
The entire ceremony runs between 20 and 30 minutes. I look forward to hearing from you—and good luck whatever you decide!