HOW TO CHOOSE THE PERSON TO CONDUCT YOUR WEDDING CEREMONY
You have decided to marry! Your ceremony is the place for sharing with everyone what it means to you as a couple to get married. It’s at the heart of what you are doing on the day. You are going to make promises to each other in front of witnesses – it’s a big deal! And it can really set the scene for the celebrations that follow. Your ceremony should be unique and meaningful for you.
What does that mean for you? Do you want something relaxed and personal? Or formal and serious? Do you want to have all of your friends and family surrounding you or to make your promises quietly with two witnesses you may never see again? Do you want it to feel traditional or edgy, romantic or practical? Or a mix of these? What aspects of your life do you want to reflect in the ceremony? Who would you like to have involved? What traditional things would you like to ditch? What things would you be prepared to include to please others such as parents and what things are non-negotiable?
What options do we have?
In most of the UK (there are some slight differences in Scotland), couples mainly consider whether to have their wedding conducted by a faith leader or a Registrar. However there are other options. As an Independent Celebrant I encourage couples to think about what kind of ceremony best reflects them and their personalities and values. If your favourite place is a open beauty spot in the middle of nowhere or your local pub then think about whether you would like your ceremony there. As for a Christening/Naming ceremony, you can register your marriage and do the legal bit at the Registrar’s office, and then have a ceremony led by a Celebrant or a close friend at a time and place to suit you and in a style which is meaningful for you.
What should we ask a Celebrant or Minister or Registrar when planning Ceremony?
When you are deciding who to choose to conduct your wedding here are some questions that might be helpful:
- Will you work with us to draw together a ceremony that is meaningful to us?
- Can you tell us about wedding ceremonies which you have led which you found particularly inspiring?
- Are you comfortable with the things we want to include in our ceremony?
- Will you work with us so that we can write our own vows or make more traditional vows feel right for us?
- Are there any things you wouldn’t want to or be able to include in a ceremony – and why?
- Can you give us suggestions of how to involve our parents/children/friends in our ceremony?
- What do you want to know about us so that the ceremony reflects us in a unique way?
You may want to contact a couple of different “officiants” to see what they have to say. Then consider – who do you trust and like? Who makes you feel confident that your ceremony is in safe hands? And who will help you capture the joy of becoming a married couple?
Then when you have decided – be open with that person. Let them see what is important to you and trust them to reflect that as you draw up the ceremony together. And enjoy!
For comments from some of our happy couples visit here
HELP – I’VE JUST GOT ENGAGED! NOW WHAT? TEN TIPS TO KEEP YOU SANE!!
Congratulations! Whoop, whoop! You got engaged! How exciting. But now your brain has gone into panic mode. Are there things you should be doing? How can you make sure you don’t miss anything?
TEN TIPS TO KEEP YOU SANE!!
1. Take time to celebrate
just the two of you, enjoy the moment!
2. Call your closest relatives and friends.
Don’t let your nearest and dearest have to pick this momentous information up from a change of status on Facebook!
3. Once you have called the key people you can
put the #Isaidyes proposal or ring selfie on your social media of choice!
4. Look out for your ring!
If the proposal included an engagement ring take the time to protect it. Get your ring sized to be sure it won’t slip off and even more importantly get your ring insured!
5. Prepare for the question!
Not “Will you marry me?” But “When are you getting married?” Agree what you are going to say when people ask. If you are going to marry within a year or so, say so and maybe choose a season – we fancy a Summer wedding or whatever. If you think there is no rush agree to say something like “Not before 2020 so there’s plenty of time to plan”. Set a timetable however vague.
6. Feed your imagination.
Create a wedding Pinterest board, buy some wedding mags, sign up to some blogs, get a folder to put ideas in. Daydream a little.
7. Talk about budget –
will you be looking for a low budget affair or do you want the day of your dreams with no expense spared? Start a wedding savings account or maybe a money box.
8. If you want to get married within two years and have some ideas about what you want,
start to make enquiries about venues,
particularly if you have restrictions with dates as some places get booked up a long way in advance.
9. Book priority suppliers –
caterers, photographers, wedding stationers and of course wedding officiants – Clergy, Registrar, Celebrant!
10. Plan some regular date nights –
no wedding talk. Take time to be together. Wedding planning can become overwhelming and stressful. Remember why you have committed to being together. And enjoy being in love!
Why not carry on reading to feed your imagination – think about choosing the person you want to conduct your ceremony, or music to walk down the aisle or readings to make your heart go zing!
And now enjoy this fabulous time – you’re engaged! Congratulations!
CHOOSING WEDDING READINGS TO MAKE YOUR HEART GO ZING!
Choosing wedding readings for your ceremony shouldn’t just be about filling a space or padding out your wedding ceremony. Readings should reflect something of who you are. Chosen well they help set the scene for your day. They really should help to make your heart go zing!
Setting the scene
What do you want your guests to remember about the feel of your ceremony? Are you the most romantic couple they know? Do you have a theme such as Sci-fi films or Disney and want your guests to feel that your ceremony fitted in with the whole day? Maybe you don’t take yourselves too seriously and would like the readings to reflect that. If you have favourite song lyrics, but haven’t included the song in your ceremony as a piece of music, you could have those as a reading. Or a passage from a favourite book or sacred text. And, of course, you could write something yourself.
I’ll come back to wedding readings from time to time (and for other ceremonies as well) but below are some examples of readings people have used in ceremonies I have taken as a wedding Celebrant in the last couple of years. All of them were chosen to suit the couple as part of unique, personal meaningful ceremonies.
Choosing your readers
It is important to consider carefully who you want to do the readings in the ceremony. If you are choosing the readings make sure that you give your readers plenty of time to get a feel for the reading and to practice. You may want the person you ask to choose their own reading and – if you trust them – for it to be a surprise to you. At one wedding I led this year the grooms Grandmother did this and chose “Friendship” by Judy Bielicki, after which she included her own few words – I have left them under the reading for you to enjoy. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. She had shared her choice with me in advance so that it went in the best place in the ceremony. Even though I was expecting it, I still felt really moved.
An excerpt from a children’s book can be particularly special if read by a child or young person, as the reading from “The Velveteen Rabbit” was at a recent wedding. Just fabulous.
Provide a spare copy
On the day your officiant should have spare copies, printed on card in a reasonable sized font, of all the readings. I’ve found that bridesmaids, in particular, will suddenly realise that they had been focusing on other things – like remembering to pick up their bouquet – and then as their reading approaches they start gesturing to me to ask if I have a copy of their reading!
Whatever you choose to do about readings – make sure they will make your heart go zing!
If you would like some help planning your ceremony contact me for a free consultation.
PS One key thing that you need to take into account is where you are going to get married and who will be leading the ceremony. If you are having a faith based ceremony, for example in a Church, you will need to be respectful to the requirements of that faith community. Many clergy are open to a wide range of readings, but others are less so. If you are having your wedding led by a registrar in the UK, they have legal restrictions which mean that readings should not contain religious content. One registrar’s office information says: “Religious content is not permitted in any of your readings, personalised vows or music so we ask that you submit a copy of readings and vows with your checklist so this can be checked ahead of your ceremony.”
Of course, if your ceremony is led by an Independent Celebrant you have separated your ceremony from the legal requirements and you are free to have the content of your choice! (The “Mash-Up” below written by Rod and Martin really makes that point. It brings together a wish for some tradition and love of those famous words of 1 Corinthians 13 from the Bible, with a sense of fun and love of music of a particular era). Tradition with a twist!
A selection of readings are attached below. See what appeals to you.
If you also want to think about music to walk down the aisle (or otherwise start things off), then click on this link: