How to Make Your Wedding Ceremony Special
Your Wedding Ceremony will always be the first moments of your marriage
– how do you want it to feel?
The ceremony is something couples
How To Make your Wedding ceremony, Yours
If you’re interested in making sure that your ceremony is perfect for the two of you, consider
- First step: Envision your ceremony
- Ideas to make your ceremony meaningful
- Who can perform a marriage ceremony?
- How to choose your Officiant
1. First step: Envision your ceremony
Before you sit down with any
Questions to guide your discussion
Your answers will help you decide what is most important to you, for your ceremony.
- Have you attended other weddings and really liked an aspect of the ceremony or have you seen something you absolutely don’t want within your ceremony?
- How do we want our ceremony to make us feel?
- Is there anything we want to be sure we include (or exclude) from our ceremony? E.g. music, readings, rituals
- Do we want to include or honour family and friends within our ceremony?
- Do we want to write our own vows? Will we each write our own vows, or both recite the same vows?
- How much say do we want to have in our ceremony content? Do we want a straightforward ceremony, a personalized ceremony or fully custom ceremony?
- Do we have a theme for our wedding
thatwe want to have reflected within the ceremony?
- Do we want to include religion or religious elements? Do we prefer a non-religious ceremony?
- Does anyone have expectations for our ceremony (e.g. family) that we might want to consider?
- How much of a priority is our ceremony within our budget?
Jot down your answers and make
2. How to make your ceremony meaningful
Consider what is special to the two of you as a couple–what are your hobbies, how did you meet, what do you enjoy together? The answers may give you some wonderful ideas for your ceremony. When you chat with an officiant, mention your interests such as… we both
Blend Your Backgrounds
When you look to your future, what aspects of your individual lives will you blend to become traditions or celebrations
Contemporary touches to old traditions: Some classic ceremony traditions can take on a contemporary spin to meet your vision. How will you approach “walking down the aisle”
Choices for flowers can be very meaningful and include a symbolic touch of recognition of family members
A wedding ceremony can be a beautiful time to acknowledge the influence of special people in your lives and their part in helping you become the individuals who are entering
Planning for seating or entry of these individuals
Honour Special People
You will need two witnesses and they don’t have to be in your wedding party! Although it is traditional to have the best men or maids of honour be the witnesses, this is not a legal requirement.
Do you have family members or good friends you would like to have this honour? It can be a beautiful aspect of the ceremony when a grandparent, favourite aunt or uncle, or children of the couple are the legal witnesses to their ceremony.
Do you have
Including readings in your ceremony can be a beautiful way to share your feelings. They can be poetry, excerpts from a special novel, quotes from a favourite speaker or sometimes couples
Choosing speakers for your readings can add a nice touch. It is a nice way to involve individuals
Have Meaningful Rituals
Meaningful rituals bring an energy to your ceremony! Think of the emotion that arises with the most familiar ritual in a ceremony
Rituals are a way to add a personalized touch to your ceremony
Maybe take a fresh spin on a traditional ritual such as a candle lighting, hand-fasting or a ring warming. It is the words and actions that accompany the ritual, that will make it uniquely yours.
A unique ritual that symbolizes what is important to the two of you could become a tradition
It is never too early to think about your vows! Your vows are the promises you make to each other about your future together. They can be the most personal part of your ceremony.
Will you each say the same vows? Will you write individual vows to recite as a surprise on your wedding day? An emerging trend is for each partner to recite a declaration of love and then recite the same vows!
There are many ways to recite your vows…
- Read your vows to each other
- Repeat your vows after your Officiant
- Answer “I will”, or “we will”,
tovows that are readby your Officiant
- Answer “I will”,
toquestions you ask each other about your future together
Suggestion: do not memorize your vows, it is too much pressure for your busy day! Prepare them double spaced and in a large font, so they are easy to read on-screen or from paper, if you get misty eyed.
Who Can Perform a Marriage Ceremony?
In Ontario, it is highly likely a religious Officiant will marry you - there are almost 23,000 Registered Religious Officials who can perform marriages. To be a Registered Officiant in Ontario,
Ensure that the Officiant you choose will be responsive and respectful of your religious beliefs whatever they may be, for the ceremony. For your ceremony to be meaningful to you as a couple, it is important that
Specialists in Ceremony Design: Life Cycle Celebrants® are relatively new to Ontario and many
How to Choose Your Officiant
Once you decide on your date and wedding venue,
Couples who make choosing their officiant a last-minute decision, really are at a disadvantage. As you get closer to your wedding date, the more likely you are to face decision fatigue about your special day. Your budget is likely getting stretched and skewed from your original priorities
If the ceremony is a special aspect of your big day, plan
Interview an Officiant to get to know them! As a first step, confirm an Officiant’s availability for your date, time and location; then request a time to chat about your preferences and the services they provide.
Keep your ceremony priorities in mind during the discussion. You want to find the Officiant
Questions the Couple Should ask an Officiant…
- Tell us about… your experience performing weddings
–do you have any favourite ceremonies?
- How do you… interact with
couples?Howwill we collaborate to plan for the ceremony?
- Are you comfortable… performing a ceremony that is:
inter-faith, includes certain rituals or is themedin a certain way, or …(be sure to specify whatever may be special to you)?
- Will you perform… the ceremony to our religious preferences? Be explicit if you prefer a secular (non-religious) ceremony.
- How do you decide… on the ceremony content? How will we know it meets our preferences?
- Have you had… any awkward ceremony experiences and how did you respond?
- What is.. your back-up plan if you cannot make it to the ceremony?
- How will you coordinate with
…individuals involved in the ceremony? E.g. photographers, videographers, musicians, speakers etc.
- How much time… will you reserve in your calendar for our ceremony on our wedding day? What happens if
key guests are delayedin their arrival? (This is very important to know. Some officiants book multiple ceremonies on the same day and may not be able toaccommodate a delayed start.)
- What are… your fee levels? What services do you include? Can we see a sample of your contract?
Compare the answers you get from the officiants you interview. Some officiants will ask questions to understand your priorities and will
As a couple you should get a sense of who will be the best-fit Officiant, to pronounce you married!
How Much Does an Officiant Cost?
One of the most common questions the couples have is How Much Does an Officiant Cost… Officiants offer very different service levels
There is quite a range in Officiant
You truly need to know what you want for your ceremony, to
Your ceremony can be the most magical and memorable part of your wedding day!
Invest the time to understand what will make your ceremony special to you and be sure to find an officiant who will provide a meaningful and joyful ceremony experience
Written by: Cyndy Neilly-Spence, Master Life-Cycle Celebrant and Registered Wedding Officiant, Serving the Greater Toronto Area. www