The wedding ceremony sets the tone for the rest of the wedding celebration, from the entrance of the bride to the start of the cocktail hour and reception - when the real party kicks off! If you have ever been to a wedding with a great ceremony, you probably noticed that the guests left the ceremony and carried those feelings of love and joy into the reception - and well into the night. A great wedding ceremony starts the whole experience off on a positive note.
“The wedding ceremony sets the tone for how the guests will see the couple’s relationship,” explains Stan, a wedding officiant from the Houston area. “If the couple has a good mix of love and laughter, their ceremony should reflect that, instead of being boring and full of negative marriage advice.”
Stan says that couples often feel pressured to check certain traditional wedding ceremony boxes like religious or spiritual readings, but that’s not being true to who they really are. He says that if the couple is not religious, then the wedding ceremony should instead have readings, quotes and other components which focus on how the couple feels about love and commitment, instead of having religious focused content.
What matters most is that the ceremony is authentic. Period. Creating an authentic ceremony is all about expressing who you are. It’s your big day, so don’t feel obliged to give lip service to any traditions that you and your partner don’t ascribe to.
In order to have a ceremony that is truly representative of the couple, everyone will need to sit down and discuss the “feel” the couple wants for their ceremony.
Here’s some advice for the officiant:
Even if the couple isn’t writing the wedding ceremony, they should still see a partial draft of the ceremony a few weeks out from the ceremony, to make sure that the words being said represent and fit them. The draft being shown to the couple does not need to include personal stories, vows or other pieces that everyone wants to be kept secret until the special day but it should include pieces like the intro, readings and other content that is going to represent the couple. Although it may seem like this will spoil the “surprise”, it doesn’t, and it actually helps the couple be more comfortable and excited for their wedding ceremony.
Shireen, a wedding officiant from Seattle agrees. “A lot of couples come to me wanting a ceremony that is lighthearted, without undercutting the importance of the ceremony itself. The best way to achieve this is to work together to create a script that really shows who the couple are, and tells their story. As long as the guests feel like they “get” what’s going on, and are included in the experience, it’s easy to make everyone feel great.”