More and more couples are starting to creating their own custom wedding ceremony. Are you thinking of creating a wedding ceremony that’s perfectly you?
After all, you’re putting all your heart and soul into creating the perfect wedding day so it would make sense to put the same time into your custom-tailored ceremony. Most wedding ceremonies will follow a similar format and script, which you see often when the ceremony is religiously based, but there is usually an opportunity to customize the ceremony to reflect your relationship. If you decide to have a non-denominational wedding or choose to get married outside of a church, there is more room to create a ceremony completely from scratch.
But where do you begin?
This was the question I asked when I created my own wedding ceremony from scratch. I focused on wanting to weave the story of us throughout the ceremony, sharing it with our closest family and friends, while giving thanks to our past, celebrating our new beginning together, and honouring our future.
The wedding ceremony affirms who you are as a couple at this current moment in time, as well as who you want to become as a couple and as individuals.
If you choose to go your own way and craft your own custom wedding ceremony, there are so many options besides just a civil ceremony. When creating your ceremony, keep in mind that you want to show your life together as a couple and include pieces that are warm, personal and meaningful.
Ideal ceremony length
People have limited attention, so the ideal ceremony length is between 20-25 minutes—from when the Officiant takes his or her place to your first kiss. Anything shorter than 20 minutes may cause your guests to question why there was a ceremony at all (instead of just an elopement) and anything longer than 25 minutes—for a non-denominational ceremony or one that’s non-traditional—can be tough on guests’ attention spans. This is especially true if you have elders in attendance and if it’s located outside on either a hot or cold day.
Refrain from having the officiant lecture on the definition of marriage
The wedding guests are there to celebrate your love for each other and the beginning of a new life adventure. They aren’t there to hear new insight into the meaning of marriage. The guests are going to remember how they feel during the ceremony and the tone that is set, so you want them to leave your ceremony feeling refreshed, happy, and ready to celebrate with you.
When I was creating my ceremony, I wanted to touch on our story, but I also wanted to make the guests who were there (especially those who had been married many years) take a moment to fall in love with their spouses all over again.
Start creating a ceremony that’s perfectly YOU!
First things first is to figure out what you want in your ceremony and what you don’t. Is there a tradition you love,? Were you at a wedding and saw or heard something during the ceremony that made you think, Never at mine!?Talk to your Fiancé about what you both want in your ceremony, about what’s at the heart of your celebration, or whether you just want to fly through it and pop the champagne!
Now grab a pen, a fun pad of paper, or a laptop because it’s time to start writing the ceremony! Remember to follow this formula of structure, content, presentation, and heart.
Keep the structure simple. The big part of the ceremony is the exchange of rings and everything before and after that adds rich texture to the day. Make sure to have a beginning, middle, and end that continuously flow throughout.
Throughout the ceremony there shouldn’t be any moments that interrupt the flow. Try to avoid any extremely long readings and keep songs to a minimum of one or two (or incorporate music into a ritual during the ceremony). An example of this is having a dear friend sing while a unity ritual is performed or while a moment is taken to honour family members who have passed.
Personalizing the ceremony will allow your guests to feel grounded and renewed and it gives people the opportunity to give you a bear hug, bless your marriage, and feel the joy of it all.
When creating your ceremony avoid just adding random pieces to it to fill time and space. Everything that’s included in your ceremony should highlight the two of you and your relationship. Add pieces that are deeply personal—maybe it’s a favorite saying you both have, a song that defines you two as a couple, or even a poem.
Here are a few more of my favorite ideas to personalize your ceremony:
Remember to make your ceremony a reflection of the love between you two. Add little touches of your love throughout and throughout your whole wedding day. This will help your guests get to know who the two of you are, as a couple, even better and surround you with their love and blessings for a beautiful future together.
If you are looking for inspiring ideas for your own ceremony, click here!
Meet Rohana. A legacy wedding photographer and fine art portrait photographer based out of Duluth, MN.
When I’m not tearing up during wedding vows, or having endless belly laughs with my family’s, you’ll find me drinking coffee with a surprise of fruit snacks from daughter, dancing in the kitchen with my husband, or adventuring with my little family.
I’m a photographer, educator, and encourager with a heart of spreading more kindness into the world.
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