If you’re like most brides, you’ve probably been mentally planning parts of your wedding for years. You already know you want your favorite flower in your bouquet and who will be your ring bearer.
You know what many of the details of your wedding will look like, but how much have you thought about the most significant part of the day – the wedding ceremony?
Some couples work hard to create a wedding day full of personal touches, yet often the ceremony follows the same old script. Don’t let that be you – working with your officiant, create a ceremony that’s deeply personal to you.
The first step to planning your ceremony, even before you pick your officiant, is to decide on your style: Do you want a traditional religious ceremony with personal touches, a totally secular ceremony, or something in the middle? Is this about the two of you, or is it about the community of loved ones that surrounds you? Once you have decided on the basics, you’ll have a foundation to fall back on when making decisions on the details.
It’s important to decide what you want before you look for an officiant, because some will only perform ceremonies within a certain framework. Church weddings, for instance, can be more difficult to customize than other types of
An important aspect of creating a personal wedding ceremony is finding an officiant you get along with and asking if they are willing to let you customize your ceremony. (For tips on vetting potential officiants, see our worksheets.) Forming a connection with your officiant is an important step in a process that will allow them to speak about you and your partner with familiarity and authority.
If you can’t find a professional officiant that you connect with, don’t panic; you’ve got options. A friend or family member who’s comfortable with public speaking can become ordained (usually a fairly simple process online) and serve as your officiant. If they don’t feel comfortable going through the legal process of becoming an officiant, you also have the option of getting married in a brief civil ceremony sometime before your wedding – if you’re already legally married, your officiant doesn’t have to be certified.
The easiest way to figure out what you want out of your ceremony is to start with a traditional framework and decide which parts you like and which you don’t. Once you’ve chosen the basic elements of your wedding service, you can reorder them, add pieces from different traditions and tailor each element to you.
Your wedding will be that much more special if it feels like your ceremony was created just for you.