Amidst all of the sparkle and champagne leading up to your wedding it is easy to lose sight of what the day is really all about-saying your I dos. Whether you decide to have a traditional ceremony or to throw the rule book out the window altogether, the following elements are essential to achieving a wedding ceremony that you and your guests will remember and cherish forever.
1. Setting The Mood
Set the tone for the rest of your wedding day by choosing the perfect backdrop for your wedding ceremony. What kind of mood do you wish to evoke during your vows, an atmosphere that’s grand and lavish or romantic and intimate? How about a place with sentimental value, like the church your parents were married in or lakeside of your family summer home?
Once you’ve settled on the perfect location, consider the following essentials: seating arrangements, sound, lighting, and decor. Not many couples consider alternate seating arrangements for their guests, but you can greatly improve sightlines and bring your guests closer by arranging the chairs in a semicircle or even a full circle around you. When selecting your ceremony location remember that you will want to consider the sound system (or lack of) so that everyone can hear the ceremony. If you have an outdoor wedding, you may have to rent a good sound system and figure out all of the electrical work that goes along with it.
When choosing your wedding ceremony lighting decor, don’t hesitate to keep it simple. Let your chosen locale dictate the décor and the tone of the ceremony. Remember, the ceremony is all about you and the commitment you are making to each other. Save the elaborate decor for your celebration to follow!
2. Finding Your Voice
Once you have decided on a location for your wedding ceremony, the next crucial decision is ask yourselves whether to choose to follow a traditional wedding ceremony structure or to make it all your own. Will you recite traditional vows or write your own? Will you ask loved ones to perform meaningful readings? Will the readings be religious or do you prefer love poems to be read instead? All of these decisions will infuse your personalities into the ceremony.
In addition to considering these important questions, you should also decide how long you would like the ceremony to be—typically they range from 15 to 45 minutes and who will perform the ceremony. Whoever performs your wedding ceremony should relate well to you and your Fiancé. Meeting once or twice prior to the event is important to establish a connection, which will translate into an effortless ceremony. Perhaps you already have someone in mind or seek out your friends, family, and other wedding vendors for referrals.
3. Celebrating And Creating Traditions
Oftentimes in a wedding ceremony, there is a symbolic ritual that represents two lives becoming one, the most common of which is the unity candle. There are alternatives to this tradition, such as the combining of two different colors of sand or the “blessing of the hands.” There are many different versions of this ritual that can be either spiritual or secular, and all are incredibly moving.
Because music has a special place in everyone’s hearts and lives I took choosing our ceremony music seriously. Walk down the aisle to the same song your mother did, choose a close family or friend to perform during the ceremony, or play your grandmother’s favorite song to honor her memory. Choose music that speaks to you and also reflects the overall tone and mood of your ceremony.
5. The Written Word
Ceremony programs aren’t just meant as a stand-in fan on a hot summer day. They present the perfect opportunity to add a little something extra to your day. Your program can include so much more than just the names of your bridal party and which readings will be read. If your ceremony has special traditions that your guests may not have seen before, include a little background information for them. Most importantly, include special dedications and express your appreciation for all those who have supported you throughout the years.
6. The Exit
There’s nothing quite like that moment when you’re presented to your friends and family as an officially married couple, and you get to walk back up the aisle to the cheers of your loved ones. Make it even more fun and add a little flair to your recessional with something a little different. Play a fun, upbeat song, have your guests let balloons fly, or my favorite have your guests toss the confetti!
I know there are a lot of elements that have to be considered when planning your wedding ceremony. What else would you add to this list? Please leave your comments below!
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