Elizabeth Messina via Wedding Chicks
1. CHOOSE A VENUE THAT’S SPECIAL FOR YOU
If you’re not set on having a wedding in a church, consider choosing a ceremony venue that has special meaning to you as a couple. Anywhere that is flat enough for a few rows of chairs and has space to make a focal point at the top of the aisle can work. Also keep in mind that you don’t want your guests looking straight into the sun, even though the sunset would make a beautiful backdrop behind you on your favorite beach! You still want your guests to be able to see the beautiful bride and groom. Consider parks, sea fronts, even your favorite cafe. Even if the venue doesn’t typically hold weddings, you can always ask!
2. DECK THE AISLE
If you’re having a church wedding but aren’t sure how to make your ceremony look different than the thousands that have come before, consider decorating the aisle uniquely. Opt for a late-afternoon ceremony and line the aisle with candles (just make sure guests and kids are aware of them!), flower petals or confetti. Tie balloons or streamers from the ends of the pews, just adding a little extra creativity to your ceremony can set the tone for what’s to come.
3. HAVE A FRIEND OFFICIATE
If you aren’t having a religious ceremony, you can ask a friend to officiate. Think Friends where Joey marries Chandler and Monica in the snow storm! Anyone can get certified to officiate weddings online, and lawyers are automatically able to perform weddings as well. You can work with your friend to make sure all of the parts you’d like are included, like unity candles or your own vows, and your wedding ceremony will be instantly more personal because you know the person who marries you.
4. INCLUDE FRIENDS AND FAMILY IN THE CEREMONY
For our wedding, we asked my husband’s aunt to play and sing two old hymns during our ceremony. Most people ask friends or family to read poetry or religious passages, but feel free to get a little creative. We also asked my mother-in-law to pray a blessing over us during the ceremony, which was a really lovely way to start our marriage. People take their roles in weddings very seriously, so you’ll be surprised how meaningful and heartfelt the words your friends and family choose for you will be.
5. CHOOSE A MEANINGFUL PROCESSIONAL OR RECESSIONAL
Your processional or recessional music doesn’t have to come from an approved list. And your guests don’t even have to understand the meaning of your choice! You can choose a song that’s meaningful to you as a couple, maybe a song that isn’t appropriate for a first dance but has a beat you’d walk down the aisle to! When I was planning our ceremony, I decided I’d like to walk down the aisle to an instrumental version of Counting Crows’ Color Blind because I like the piano intro. When I went looking for the music online, I was shocked at how many people had had the same clever idea!
6. WRITE YOUR OWN VOWS
When my brother-in-law got married a few years ago, they decided they would write surprise vows for each other. His new wife surprised him with vows that compared their marriage to the game of basketball, since he was a professional basketball player at the time! She explained how she would be his teammates, his coach, and even the referee in all the different seasons and situations of their marriage. With all the basketball players in the audience, it was such a hit! Whether it’s basketball or baking, including meaningful references in your ceremony will keep your ceremony fresh for you as a couple and for your guests.