Designing a Wedding Ceremony

When a couple chooses to marry outside of a defined religion, they have the opportunity to customize their wedding ceremony so that it can reflect their individual beliefs, values, and customs. This article contains information on how to properly plan and customize your own wedding ceremony.

A good place to start the process of customizing your wedding ceremony is to discuss and explore you and your fiance’s individual tastes, desires, and expectations. Marriage is a representation of the commitment between two people to their union. It is important that both of the individuals’ personalities and styles are strongly represented in order to make the ceremony truly special and unique to the couple.

Once you have established a general idea of what components and customs you would like to include in your wedding ceremony, the next step is to choose and officiant. Many couples want a wedding ceremony that will speak to their shared values without focusing on the beliefs or requirements of a particular faith. It’s best to check your local marriage laws to see who is qualified to preside over your wedding, but here are a few choices that are available as typical types of officiants:

Minister, Priest, Rabbi, or Bishop at a place of worship
Ordained Minister or Clergy Member from a non-denomination church
Judge or Justice of Peace
County Clerks
Captain of a ship
When interviewing or speaking with an Officiant, ask about their flexibility over the customization of your ceremony. Make sure they are able to assist you and offer advice and assistance to guide you in the creation of your ideal wedding ceremony.

The next step in the process is to choose your wedding party and assign responsibilities. Will anyone in the wedding party be ask to give readings or special prayers or musical solos? Will the groomsmen also usher in the guests as they arrive at the venue? How many bridesmaids and groomsmen will you have in the wedding party? These are all questions that you will have to answer quite early in the process.

Once you have assigned roles to friends or family members that you wish to have participate in the wedding party, you will have to find a venue. There are many options available, and the decision will come down to the budget you have allotted for the venue along with your wedding style, theme, and formality. Museums, the beach, the park, a yacht, bed and breakfasts, and even historic inns can add charm and grace to the atmosphere of the celebration. Even if you have a plain banquet hall, the decor and floral arrangements can quickly and easily turn boring into beautiful.

After you have spent the time to book a venue, get the style, theme, and formality set, and choose the individuals who will participate in your celebration, you can being customizing your ceremony text and order of events. The wedding ritual is just a ceremonial container for the joyous celebration of a couple’s love and commitment for one another. The best thing to do first is create a rough draft. Create a list of readings, words, poems, vows, and religious or family traditions and customs that you would like to include in the ceremony. Once you have a list of the items to be included, put them in the order in which you would like them to occur. Here is a sample “order of events” that you could use to loosely base your wedding ceremony order on:

Opening Words, Prayers, of Sayings
Greeting or Gathering Words
Remembrances & Acknowledgements or Thank You’s
Readings & Songs
Declaration of Support
Marriage Address
Candle Ceremony
Wedding Vows
Ring Exchange
Final Blessing & Words
Wedding Kiss
You now have all of the details necessary in order to create a beautiful and unique wedding ceremony. The most important thing is to keep communication open between you and your fiance AND with the wedding Officiant you have hired to help you create a meaningful and special exchange of love and commitment.

Christa O’Conner is a Certified Wedding Specialist that helps brides and grooms create truly amazing Pittsburgh Weddings [] – Beyond her time as a Pittsburgh Wedding Planner [] she enjoys educated brides and grooms on simply techniques and tricks to make their wedding planning process easier and more successful.

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