The Wedding Ceremony
The ceremony is often the most intimate part of your wedding day. It will be attended by your closest family and friends. Ever since they first heard you were engaged, they have been looking forward to watching as you and your chosen love become one. The reception afterward is a celebration of the lifelong commitment you have made, and will be making, to your spouse. The choices you make for your ceremony can and will be a precursor that lets your guests know what kind of reception lays ahead of them. Whether making traditional choices or nontraditional ones for your wedding ceremony, don't by shy to add your personal touch. In this article, we will discuss some ideas that have been picked up from various sources over the years that can add a special and personal touch to your wedding ceremony.
HERE COMES THE BRIDE
As a DJ/entertainment director, one of the first things I like to talk about for the ceremony is the musical selections. Will you be going with traditional or nontraditional music for your ceremony? Will you choose different songs for the bridal party and bride? Have you chosen your songs for your processional and recessional? If you are going with a more traditional theme, then your musical selections should also be traditional as well. Keep in mind that there are many different versions and interpretations of classical wedding music, and the same songs sound differently on different instruments. If nontraditional is your thing, then go wild (you've seen that viral YouTube video, everyone has). Make sure you have your musical selections down.
GROOM'S ENTRANCE SONG
Personalizing the music, and choosing a special song for when the groom comes out with the wedding officiant is also a perfectly fine option. This can often get the guests excited, and set a real good tone for the beginning of the ceremony.
WRITING YOUR OWN VOWS
Many people choose to write their own vows to each other to use at the ceremony. It can short or long, as simple as a list of things you love about each other, or a heartfelt promise written in your own words. When you incorporate your style, personality, and emotions into your vows, the moment becomes that much more special and memorable.
HAVE SOMEONE GIVE A SPECIAL READING
Having a friend or loved one make a special reading at your ceremony is a great way to involve a special someone who may not have been included in your wedding party. Whether a passage from the Bible, Shakespeare, or a poem, this option can add a more personalized touch to the ceremony.
EXCHANGING LOVE LETTERS
At a ceremony that I've done, a bride and groom wrote love letters to each other, which they asked their best man and maid of honor to read on their behalf. With hundreds of guests at the wedding, it was important to have microphones ready for them to use.
HAVE SOMEONE SING A SPECIAL SONG
If you have a family member or friend that can sing (well), this is a great way to let them play an important part in your day. Make sure that you prepare ahead of time with your director as far as music, microphone requirements, and where the singer will stand. If possible, get a sound check rehearsal in before the ceremony.
THE BINDING CEREMONY
The officiant uses a small rope to bind your hands together while you make promises to each other. After each promise made, the rope is symbolically wound or tightened until your hands are secured to one another.
A unity candle creates a symbolic act that represents your new union as one with your spouse. You can even have family get involved by having them light the outer candles that are used to light the unity candle. If you ceremony is outdoors, make sure you take wind conditions into account, and consider hurricane covers so that your candles will stay lit. Also, make sure you have matches or a lighter. Even a small votive candle on a table can have a nicer look than using a lighter or match to get your flame. Also, this is usually a good moment for a special song to be played in the background.
The sand ceremony is a great alternative to the unity candle if the conditions do not allow for candles. Fill two different containers (vases, seashells, antique bottles, mason jars, etc.) with two different colors of sand. The bride and groom simultaneously pour their respective containers of sand into a larger container (made of clear glass), creating a mixed pattern of sand. Family can also be included with additional containers with children or step children so they can be invited to participate as well. Once again, a nice song in the background is a good option.
PRESENT PROMISES TO STEPCHILDREN
If you or your fiance have children from another relationship, take a moment to present your commitment to your new stepchildren in a personalized promise that you read to them at your ceremony. Presenting them with a commemorating item (medallion, watch, bracelet, necklace, etc.) is also a nice touch. This helps to make stepchildren feel included in a very special way. A special song can be quietly in the background as well.
SURPRISE RING BEARER
When the officiant asks for the rings, the best man acts caught of guard and begin patting his pockets. Suddenly a special song comes on as a special friend walks down the aisle and presents the rings on a pillow for all to see.
PRESENT ROSES TO YOUR MOTHERS
Take a moment during your ceremony to present your mothers with a long stemmed rose in a symbolic gesture of gratitude. A nice song is a great option.
HONORING THE DEARLY DEPARTED
Take a moment in the ceremony to honor any departed loved ones. This can be done by lighting a candle, reserving an empty chair/seat with a rose or bouquet of flowers. Consider playing a special song that meant something to your loved one in the background.
FLOWER PETAL TOSS
Provide paper cones filled with flower petals on the inside ends of each row of chairs or pews. Have your officiant instruct your guests to get them ready just before he announces you as a married couple and you walk down the aisle. While you are making your exit, you will be showered in flower petals. It's a nice touch.
Provide your guests with a small paper box containing a monarch butterfly. Same as with the flower petals, have them get ready to release them as you walk down the aisle as a married couple.
A bagpiper, especially one that people do not expect, can add a very memorable touch to your ceremony. Don't worry about amplification, they are very loud.
RECEIVING LINE IN THE AISLE
The receiving line is a great way to ensure that each guest gets a small intimate moment with the bride and groom. The most common problem and complaint with receiving lines that they take too long and eat into other important events. A great way to handle this is to wait outside of the ceremony area, and greet each guest as they walk out. You can even go back down the aisle and greet each guest as they get up to exit. The rest of the guests will be fine waiting and people will be more inclined to keep their comments brief as there are people waiting to leave behind them.
These are all fine ideas for your wedding ceremony. In any event, make sure you plan enough to be able to pull them off. Thanks!