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5 Christmas Wedding Ceremony Ideas for Creative Couples & Officiants

Published Friday, Dec. 10th, 2021

Illustrations by Jessica Levey

Add one of these holiday inspired ideas to your winter wedding ceremony



With strands of twinkle lights and candles brightening every window, and family and friends gathering from near and far, December weddings -- and especially Christmas weddings -- are some of the most romantic events of the year. 


Whether you’re planning a winter celebration with just a dash of tasteful holiday spirit, a Winter Solstice wedding, or have been asked to officiate an elaborate Christmas themed ceremony... The 5 holiday-inspired ideas below will make sure your wedding is one to remember!




1. Mistletoe moment


Make the ‘first kiss’ moment seasonally sweet with mistletoe! After the wedding officiant pronounces the couple married, they’ll hold up a decorative sprig of mistletoe for the newlyweds to kiss under. This makes for a unique first kiss photo, and is sure to delight the guests! 


For those who are used to a wedding officiant rushing out of the frame in time for a photographer to snap a pic of the kiss, including them in the moment might feel risky. It’s not! Just let the photographer know the plan ahead of time, and take time during the rehearsal to decide where to stand so that everyone has the best view (and the best shot) of your mistletoe moment. 


As an added touch, place mistletoe in guest gift bags, or hang it in unexpected places around the ceremony space to encourage friends to share the love.


Did you know? Mistletoe has been a symbol of fertility and romance since the ancient Druids, when the scrappy herb was one of only a few able to flourish during long Celtic winters and pagan Yule celebrations, and historians speculate that it first became part of a kissing tradition in England in the 1700s.


Illustration of a sprig of mistletoe, gouache and ink lines, digital image by Jessica Levey

Mistletoe for a festive first kiss


2. A ceremony seating ‘wreath’ 


A charming circular seating arrangement can be turned into a festive holiday ‘wreath’ with the help of winter greenery, a few colorful ornaments, and enthusiastic guests! 


Circular wedding ceremonies, where a wedding altar is placed at the center of a circle of guests, are an increasingly popular alternative to placing guests on either side of an aisle. Also called a ‘ceremony in the round,’ these intimate circles let couples and officiants get creative. For example, placing aromatic greenery or miniature evergreen trees along the outside of the circle creates instant seasonal symbolism -- reminiscent of a holiday wreath.


To take the symbolism a step farther, hand colorful ornaments out to guests to decorate the wedding ‘wreath’ as they take their seats. These bright tokens of love and support can also be hung as part of a unity ceremony, saved as keepsakes, and can even be used to decorate a couple’s home as part of an anniversary celebration in the years to come. 


Illustration of an outdoor circle shaped wedding ceremony, with chairs set up around a circular wedding arch, with greenery and decorated Christmas trees

A festive holiday inspired 'ceremony in the round'


3. Eggnog or mulled wine unity toast


Nothing says Christmas cheer like a glass of eggnog or mulled wine! These seasonal treats can be served in a classy coupe or tulip glass during a formal indoor ceremony, or in favorite mugs as part of a rustic outdoor gathering. 


Eggnog and mulled wine (or cider) take the place of champagne or wine as part of a unity ceremony toast. They can be served warm or chilled during the ceremony -- just make sure to prepare enough for all your guests to enjoy during the reception or afterparty, with non-alcoholic variations for children and non-drinking guests


Illustration of eggnog with sprinkled cinnamon, served in classy coupe glasses, to use as part of a Christmas wedding unity toast.

Eggnog toasts get classy with coupe glasses and a sprinkle of cinnamon


4. Unwrapping the wedding rings


One of the most exciting parts of Christmas is watching loved ones smile in delight as they open gifts -- tearing off colorful ribbons and shiny paper to reveal the surprise inside. This magic can be part of the wedding ceremony! 


Instead of simply exchanging wedding bands, couples can exchange rings in small colorfully wrapped boxes. Vows or special messages of love can be written on the gift tags, and read aloud in place of a traditional vow exchange. After opening the gifts and revealing the rings inside, couples can slip them on while the officiant continues the ceremony as usual. 


If couples prefer to exchange a special wedding gift instead of (or in addition to) wedding rings, this festive holiday ritual can come after the vows and before the wedding officiant’s closing words and the pronouncement


illustration of a small red gift box tied with silver ribbon, sitting next to two wedding rings

Unwrap the best gift ever on your wedding day -- love


5. Reindeer get away


Watching newlyweds climb into a horse-drawn carriage for a romantic ride to the reception dinner is peak Christmas rom-com energy, and for good reason. ‘Just married’ carriage rides are incredibly picturesque, plus they give newlyweds a few quiet moments alone to celebrate, before rejoining friends and family for a big post-ceremony bash. 


Of course, finding a reindeer or two to pull a wedding-day sleigh is the most authentic choice. But if Rudolph’s already booked, horses can be outfitted with a few festive antler headbands to look the part. This cute solution always makes guests smile… especially children!


illustration of a brown horse wearing faux reindeer antlers while pulling a carriage decorated with holiday lights

Winter carriage rides are so romantic! 




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Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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