1. How Weddings Used To Be
Once upon a time there were
• registry office wedding ceremonies
• wedding ceremonies led by a registrar in a place licensed for weddings
• or church wedding ceremonies.
Some people chose a registry office ceremony because they did not have Christian beliefs or felt it was hypocritical to have a church wedding. Others chose a church wedding because they were Christian. And others felt a church wedding was more special and ceremonial than a registry office regardless of their own beliefs.
2. Your Choices Now
Happily, now there is another choice. You can create your own wedding ceremony. Hold it wherever you like. Have it led by a family member or friend or by a professional wedding celebrant.
3. Creating Your Own Wedding Ceremony Can Be Simple
Creating your own wedding ceremony is very rewarding. You get to choose exactly what you want in the ceremony. Your can choose
The readings that are most meaningful to you
The music that inspires you
The songs that have meant so much to you both during your relationship
Special rituals such as hand fasting, sand ritual or rose ceremony
Creating your own vows, expressing how you really feel about each other
Include some or all of your guests in parts of the ceremony
Celebrate with circle dancing or jumping the broom
The possibilities are only limited by your imagination. You can choose what you feel will work best for you, your families and your friends. There are not many restrictions other than those imposed by the limitations of the venue you have chosen.
4. Choose the Venue that Works for You
Talking of venues, you are not limited to a hotel or an ex-stately home!
How about having your wedding ceremony
in your garden
in the grounds of a beautiful house
on a boat
on a beach
in a bandstand
in a park, a field, or a wood
The choices are so many that you may have trouble narrowing them down. However, when choosing your venue, go for what suits you and your guests. It is no good arranging to have your ceremony on a beach if you have guests in wheelchairs; or choosing a very formal stately home if a lot of children will be at your wedding.
5. The Ins and Outs of Making Your Wedding Legal
Getting your wedding legalised varies depending on where you live. In Scotland and Northern Ireland you can legalise your marriage during the ceremony with the help of a professional wedding celebrant.
In England and Wales, the law does not allow this (yet!) so you would need to get the legal bit done at a registry office before your ceremony. This would not need to be a big event You can just turn up in your everyday clothes with a couple of witnesses and go through the basic process of getting your marriage certificate. Save your vows and ring exchanges for your wedding ceremony in front of your families and guests.
6. Writing Your Ceremony
If the prospect of creating your ceremony seems a bit overwhelming, you can start with a basic outline such as this one
or click https://www.innerradianceceremonies.co.uk/documents to find a typical wedding structure you can use.
Either of the above might give you exactly the order of service that you want or you can completely rewrite it to your own design.
There are so many sources for readings, poems, songs and music. You may already know what you want. If not I find a search on Pinterest can bring up some very original readings and poems as well as lots of more traditional or well known ones.
7. Hiring a wedding celebrant to help you write your ceremony
Still don’t know where to start? Then how about hiring a professional wedding celebrant to help you write your wedding ceremony. You will find a celebrant can give you ideas and guidance on what will work in different settings and for different audiences.
For instance, if you have a very traditional family who expected you to have a church wedding, then a wedding celebrant can help you to tailor your ceremony so that your family members may be more open and accepting of what you have decided to do.
There have been times when I have written a ceremony for a couple who were very worried about how members of their family were going to respond. Nearly always, the response has been great, even if there were some sceptical comments before the ceremony started.
8. Who will lead your ceremony?
You could ask a friend or relative to lead your ceremony, if there is someone who you feel confident can do this in the way that you want. The other option is to have a wedding celebrant to lead the ceremony for you. This will give you the reassurance that someone with experience is leading your ceremony and you can relax and concentrate on making your very special commitment to each other.
Hiring a wedding celebrant isn’t usually too expensive; probably only half the price of the wedding dress or less (depending on your choice of wedding dress, of course!) There are now many trained and experienced wedding celebrants available in the UK, so a search online should produce a good range of people to choose from.
9. What to look for when hiring a wedding celebrant
Make sure that you ask all the questions you need to before choosing your wedding celebrant. Having confidence in the person you have chosen will make your ceremony more beautiful and special for both of you and for your guests.
Most couples feel both excited and nervous before the ceremony starts. A celebrant will know how to make you feel more relaxed and able to focus on each other. They will also make your guests feel included and at ease.
Questions you might want to ask your celebrant
How long does the ceremony take?
Do you have emergency back up?
Can we write our own vows
Can we include friends and family?
Do we have to memorise our vows?
Can photos be taken during the ceremony?
What do you wear for the ceremony?
What time does will you arrive before the ceremony?
Can our children take part in the ceremony?
Is a rehearsal necessary and how much does it cost?
10. Final Thoughts
Where you decide you want your wedding ceremony and how you decide you want it to be, remember this is one of THE most important days of your life. You are making a serious and beautiful commitment to each other. Be sure that your ceremony reflects this in every aspect and you will have a day to remember for the rest of your lives.