Having a friend or family member officiate your unique wedding ceremony is personal, fun and, oh — it’s a lot more work. Don’t worry, we’re here to help. Follow these steps to curating a non-traditional wedding ceremony that stays true to you.
STEP 1: LAY THE MUTUAL GROUNDWORK
Before you do any ceremony planning, sit down with your fiancé and have a discussion about what your “ceremony style” will be. Essentially, you have to go on a date to your favorite restaurant to discuss which direction you want to get the ball rolling in. Call this your prescription for wine, pasta, and ceremony planning. How traditional do you want it to be? Maybe you want to do a traditional processional but you want to play your favorite song during this moment instead of the classic one. Are you going to incorporate any religious traditions into the ceremony?
STEP 2: DO YOUR RESEARCH
Grab a cup of coffee and get cozy on your couch—it’s time to get inspired. Books on relationships can serve as useful tools. If you are incorporating religion into your ceremony, look into that religion’s common practices for wedding ceremonies. You can also draw inspiration for ideas from wedding videos online. Any parts of the ceremonies that give you “all the feels” for people that you don’t even know probably should make the cut for your own ceremony!
STEP 3: START BUILDING
There are tons of poetic and beautiful meanings behind many of the unity ceremonies. You can do a sand ceremony, hand ceremony, unity candle, time capsule—the options are endless! Have your officiant explain the symbolism behind the ritual so that your guests can really connect with what you are committing to.
STEP 4: WRITE YOUR VOWS
Now that you’ve selected what you are going to do, you need to decide what you are going to say. If you are writing your own vows, you should start a few months before the wedding. You want to take your time writing your vows so that they feel authentic to who you are, what you feel and what you envision for your marriage. You should discuss the general format of your vows with your partner. This is your chance to use your own voice to share how you feel so just be yourself and speak from your heart.
STEP 5: FINALIZE THE TIMELINE
Before the big day, you need to sit down with your officiant and plan the order of events for the ceremony. Use this time to keep your officiant in the loop about who is doing readings and who will be walking in your processional. Discuss exact wording with your officiant. Do you want him/her to say “you may now kiss the bride” at the end of the ceremony? How should he introduce you before the recessional? Get everything on paper so there are no surprises.
Once the big day arrives, you will have a ceremony that feels authentic to you, your partner and the beautiful love between the two of you.
Style Me Pretty Contributor – Carly Ellentuck is a freelance writer and blogger bride. She is a gal behind the Cozy Curator, a blog that features life + style. Carly lives in Hoboken, NJ with her fiancé. This summer she is getting married on LBI, a small island off the Jersey shore.
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