Following on from my recent post on questions to ask when venue shopping, I’ve collaborated with a celebrant for this post to give you some hints and tips for planning your wedding ceremony.
London celebrant Jeannene Powell was kind enough to offer some words of wisdom:
Be clear about what you want, only follow tradition if it suits who you are as a couple. For legal marriages in the England, two legal statements must be stated by the couple and the marriage register has to be signed (which is similar in Scotland). Other than that, the ceremony content is optional. If you are having the legal part separate from the main ceremony (or if you are having a Humanist ceremony in Scotland), you can have literally whatever content you choose – be it a blessing, celebration, sing along, a themed ceremony, or a replication of the legal part in a different location.
Think back to weddings or other ceremonies or celebrations you’ve attended and make a note of what you liked about them – such as atmosphere, music, length of readings or speeches, a short ceremony or a long one, unusually themed or traditional. Use Google and YouTube for ideas, too – if you want your wedding to be different, you may not find all the inspiration you need just from ceremonies you’ve attended personally.
Don’t be afraid to add a touch of humour. Of course, it’s a serious event, but the celebrant including an appropriate funny anecdote can bring a certain richness to the ceremony that will make your day as memorable for your guests as it is for you.
Personalise, personalise, personalise – from working with a celebrant to produce a customised and bespoke ceremony script, to including a Unity ritual, or adapting vows you’ve found on the internet. It’s your special day, don’t make it ordinary by having the same ceremony hundreds of other couples have done a thousand times before you. If you’re shy or a little nervous with public speaking, let your celebrant do the hard work. They can help you and can take the lead, initiate, or fully perform any additional script, traditions or rituals you would like as part of your ceremony.
Think as much about your exit as your entrance. It’s a great way to set the tone for the rest of the day. Use music and consider asking your guests to join in or contribute in some way. Some locations don’t allow confetti, but bubbles, sparklers or releasing balloons, can be great too (and also make for great photos).
With many thanks to Jeannene Powell for her wise and reassuring words!
sounds obvious, but start simple. There’s no point trying to run
before you can walk, so use this to help get you started. Start small
and let your officiant, celebrant or humanist guide you.
Jeannene Powell is an experienced London based Celebrant, who makes it her mission to ensure couples know all their options. With a wide-ranging background in the wedding industry, including civil and religious marriage officiating and registration, she has knowledge and expertise covering a variety of ceremony approaches. She says, “Once couples know what their options are, they can feel confident that their choices are truly the right ones for them.”
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