Friday, April 23, 2010

Ceremony Elements

I was flicking through my emails earlier and saw the email from our celebrant from a while ago which has a huge word document of ceremony examples attached to help us in creating our own.
Prior to meeting with our celebrant I always figured the ceremony bit of the wedding would be flat out standard, unless of course we wrote our own vows, which just isn’t going to happen. I’ve realised now that even without being good with words it is possible to create a unique ceremony by ‘borrowing’ pieces of others ceremonies that do it for you.

Here are a few elements that I love the idea of:

Rose giving ceremony. 
Basically goes a little something like this:
"Your gift to each other for your wedding today has been your wedding rings. This shall always be an outward demonstration of your vows of love, and respect, and a public showing of your commitment to each other. You now have what remains the most honourable title which may exist between a man and a woman - the title of “husband” and “wife“.

For your first gift as husband and wife, that gift will be a single rose.

In the past, the rose was considered a symbol of love and a single rose always meant only one thing - it meant the words “I love you”. So it is appropriate that for your first gift - as husband and wife - that the gift would be a single rose.

Please exchange your first gift as husband and wife.

In some ways it seems like you have not done anything at all. Just a moment ago you were holding one small rose, just as you are now. In some ways, a marriage ceremony is like this. In some ways, tomorrow is going to seem no different than yesterday. But in fact today just now, you both have given and received one of the most valuable and precious gifts of life - one I hope you always remember - the gift of true and abiding love within the devotion of marriage."

I like the last bit where it talks about how in some ways it seems that you have done nothing at all… I think this is a great way to acknowledge that even though a couple may already essentially live like a married couple, the actual act of marriage is still special.
Non-standard vows.  
As I mentioned, we aren’t good enough with words to write our own. I personally feel that it can be just as special if you incorporate non-standard vows that have been written by others – as long as it touches a cord with you.  Here’s an example of one I like:
"I call upon the persons here present to witness that I, John Smith, take you Jane Doe to be my lawful wedded wife.
I, John choose you Jane, as my best friend for life. Together, we can accomplish anything. Through the good and bad, I want you to always know that I will be by your side. When you need someone to encourage you, I want it to be me. When you need a helping hand, I want it to be mine. When you long for someone to smile at, turn to me. I will always love you and this is my promise to you."

Involving your guests by inviting them to recommit to a loved one. 
I saw this on Offbeat Bride the other day and think it’s a beautiful idea.
"When we got ready to do our vows Victor, our officiant, surprised us by asking our family and friends to also take the opportunity, should they choose, to quietly recommit to a loved one by holding their hand and joining in on the vows with us. It was a sweet way to share our day with the people we love and so many of them told us how much they appreciated being able to participate in that way."

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