Hey y’all, it’s Landan! While the experiences in this blog are my own, I couldn’t help but share photos from The Houck’s wedding because their ceremony had so many memorable moments that stood out when I was going through their wedding album. Ceremonies are normally one of the shortest parts of a wedding day, but they’re also one of my favorites. Enjoy!
I’ve been to a lot of weddings and have always loved them. I lost track of how many, and I’m not even sure how there were so many, but I’m eternally thankful for it. One of the first times my now-husband met my family was when I drug him home from college to go to a wedding with me. Fast forward to now, and we attended three weddings last year, have five to attend this year, and two more on the books for the following (so far). We’re practically professional wedding guests now. Celebrating our friends and family has taken us out of the country, to different states, and to backyards, but the one thing they’ve all had in common? The wedding ceremony.
Now, their ceremonies weren’t the same. Far from it actually. But they all had personal moments I can recall that made it completely and totally 100% them, and that’s what I love about wedding ceremonies.
Sometime in middle school, someone told me to look at the groom when the bride is walking down the aisle. At the time I thought it was slightly odd – ya know, everyone else was paying attention to the bride – but after doing it a few times I started to realize what was so special about it. The emotions that come out during a wedding are my absolute favorite part and there is nothing in the world quite like it. So now, when I attend a wedding, I still look at the groom when the bride walks down the aisle, but I also look for the personal moments. The little lines that are in the ceremony just for the couple. The stories that are told. The people that make it special.
And when I was planning our wedding? You know I thought through every second of the ceremony with that in mind. Funnily enough, I probably spent 10x longer planning our ceremony than actually *experiencing* our ceremony – they go QUICK y’all. But I don’t regret it for a minute and I’d do it all over again if I could. There are so many ways to make a ceremony custom to you, whether you incorporate one thing or every single thing you can (hint: I was the latter). Most officiants have a ceremony plan that they use and there are thousands of wedding ceremony templates online if you Google it, which is a great place to start. Once you get the baseline though, here are ways to plug and place custom aspects that are totally you, ensuring that your wedding ceremony will not only mean more to you, but it will also bring your guests in and set the tone for the best wedding ever.
Tell your Story
Hands down, this is one of my favorite things to incorporate into a wedding ceremony. Telling your story, whether it’s the story of how you met or just a fun tidbit about you as a couple, is such a fun way to kick off your ceremony. Often times a lot of people attending your wedding will either know one of you better than the other, or will know you as a couple but not the intricacies of how your relationship started. Telling a personal story not only grounds people in who they’re there to celebrate, but it also lets you highlight one of your favorite aspects of your relationship and give people something to talk about.
Write your Vows
Writing your vows is one of the most meaningful ways to personalize you wedding ceremony. I think it’s important to note that you don’t have to fully write your own vows to utilize this though. For us, it was important to have the traditional vows in our wedding ceremony, so we mixed it up and did both. We wrote short personal vows, then exchanged the more traditional wedding vows. I’ve also seen couples just talk to one another – not “vowing” anything – because that felt more true to them.
Incorporate Special People
When it comes to weddings, the people will always make it personal. While it’s common to highlight special people in the form of bridesmaids and groomsmen, there are also other ways that you can incorporate people into your wedding ceremony. Whether you have a friend or family member act as your officiant, have your grandmothers as the flower girls, your dog as the ring bearer, have someone do a special reading, incorporate your best friend’s skills as a singer or guitarist, have a military appreciation to recognize someone important to you, or ask people to be ushers, there are seriously SO many ways to involve people. Think about the people most important to you when planning your ceremony and see if there are ways to bring them in so they’re more involved than sitting in the audience.
Unique Unity Ceremonies
While candle lightings and sand ceremonies are phenomenal and popular for a reason, if you want to do a unity ceremony it might be worth trying to think of something that is unique to you as a couple. My sister-in-law burned candle wax to seal a box of wine that they picked out from the vineyard that they were getting married at. Paint a picture together if you like to be creative, mix together spices if you love cooking with one another, plant a tree together if nature if your favorite, or make a glass of lemonade if you met at a picnic.
Choose Quotes Carefully
While there are a ton of beautiful quotes for wedding readings, there are some that are used over and over and over again. It’s not a bad thing to choose a popular quote, but I recommend against choosing it solely because it’s popular. If you can find quotes, readings, or verses that actually mean something to you or ask the person doing the reading to choose one that reminds them of you, then it will be more special than a generic quote. This is especially valuable if you plan to do a voiceover from your ceremony in your wedding video. It’s something we have for ours and I’m so thankful that the quotes are meaningful to us rather than being generic.
Mix Up Your Seating
For years, I remember walking into weddings and being asked if I was there for the bride or groom and being seated for the ceremony accordingly. While the idea of letting people choose either side is becoming increasingly popular in recent years (I honestly don’t remember the last time I was asked which side I was there for), it’s still been tradition for the bride’s parents to sit on the left and the groom’s parents to sit on the right. While we stuck to tradition – I’m an emotional wreck and knew I wouldn’t keep it together if I was seeing my emotional wreck mother – one of the things someone suggested to us was flipping the sides our parents were sitting on so they could see our face when we stood facing one another. I thought it was a really cool idea to pass on to y’all.
Involve your guests
When it comes to all aspects of wedding planning, one of my favorite things is to think about the guest experience. One of the spots it’s not normally considered as much is within the ceremony though. While the ceremony is all about you, you can make it more special for yourself by involving your guests. Whether it’s designing a flower ceremony where each of your guests are given a single stem that you all combine into one bouquet for a unity ceremony, inviting all of your guests to a mid-ceremony toast, having your family members come up and circle around you for a prayer, or waving streamer wands to celebrate you walking back up the aisle, making your guests an active participant in your ceremony is a super fun option.
If you’ve been reading along with our blogs for awhile, you’ll know that one of the things I’m most passionate about is encouraging people to be true to themselves and not afraid to make decisions that they love, even if they aren’t “normal.” Embrace who you are as a couple and just go for it. You only get your wedding ceremony together once and it’s so short – make sure every moment of it means something to you. If you’re still trying to figure out where to start – or want to see some personal examples of things we included in our ceremony – head to our blog about creating your wedding ceremony here. Four of my absolute favorite tips for getting the best wedding ceremony pictures regardless of what you include in your ceremony are on that blog too, so I recommend checking it out even if you have your entire ceremony planned already. No matter what you include in your ceremony, soak up the moments. Focus on how you feel and the memories you’re making together in your first moments as a married couple. It’s truly one of a kind.
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This content was originally published here.