When it comes to weddings, couples naturally want to make the day as memorable as possible. So a lot of time and energy is devoted to choosing the right clothes and accessories, hiring inventive florists and decorators, and planning elaborate receptions and after parties. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that, and I say go for broke and make your wedding day an experience to remember.
However, don’t forget the ceremony itself. Too often couples put all of their imagination and creativity into planning the perfect reception, allowing the wedding ceremony itself to remain rather staid and traditional. But there’s no law that says you can’t apply a little creative magic to your wedding ceremony, adding a few unique touches that will put your personal stamp on the service. If you want to say good-bye to tradition, here are a few ideas to help you reshape your wedding ceremony to make it a great day!
Love Letters from Around the World
These days it’s not unusual for family and friends to be scattered across the globe, and it’s not always possible for everyone to make the journey to attend a wedding. In the past, people would send telegrams to be read during the wedding ceremony, expressing their good wishes for the happy couple. Telegrams may have gone the way of the Dodo, but the practice can be easily updated.
Encourage distant friends and relatives who can’t attend on the day to send letters of love and support which can be read during the ceremony. It’s a great way to include far flung friends, while adding a unique touch to the proceedings. You might even ask your friends and relatives to record video messages, which can then be played during the ceremony.
The Anniversary Time Capsule
Remember that time capsule you buried when you were in grade school? Well you can do much the same on your wedding day. Have all of your guests write short messages (advice for the married couple, reminiscences, glad tidings, etc) and seal them away in a time capsule to opened on your first anniversary. This is a great way to include all of your guests in the wedding ceremony, while creating a living memory that you can both share when you finally open the time capsule. To make this work, of course, you will have to put a note on your wedding invitations and on your wedding website informing telling your guests to come prepared with a message or a memento for time capsule.
The Extended Vows
It’s not unusual for couples to write their own vows, but there is a growing trend for writing extended vows. For example, after the bride and groom take their own vows, the officiant may ask the gathered guests if they “pledge to love, guide and support” the new couple in their lives together. Extended vows are particularly effective for blended families, and are a great way to include children in the wedding ceremony.
For instance, the groom may promise to love and respect the bride’s children, to support them and protect them as his own, as they share their new life together with the woman they all adore. The new bride may make similar vows, and both should make it clear that they have no intention of replacing anyone, but hope to make their own place in the children’s hearts. For blended families extended vows are about more than putting a unique spin on the wedding ceremony, they are an opportunity to bring a new family together.
The Unity Candle Ceremony
The Unity Candle Ceremony is an age old wedding tradition where the mothers of the bride and groom each light a candle, and then the couple uses those flames to light a larger couple candle symbolizing their new union. To make the ceremony more inclusive (and frankly more stunning), hand out unlit candles to each of your adult guests. To begin the ceremony, you will each light a single candle which you will use to light the candles of your bridesmaids and groomsmen. They will in turn use their candles to spread the flame among the guests. As the flame is spread among the guests, the service comes alive with light and love for the happy couple. A stunning finish to any wedding ceremony.
The traditional wedding ceremony has its place, and its beauty and elegance can not be denied. However, tradition is not for everyone, and there is no reason couples shouldn’t feel free to put their own stamp on their wedding service. When planning your wedding, dedicate a bit of your creativity to making the ceremony itself something unique to you both. The results will be magical and memorable.