FIVE TIPS ON WRITING YOUR OWN WEDDING CEREMONY
I caught up with Lynn from Lynn Tierney Ceremonies again, and asked her to share her top five tips on doing your own wedding ceremony. You may want to hold your wedding in an alternative location that means that you can’t legally get married there… so you can either hire a celebrant (you can read more about what a celebrant does in my last post: WHAT IS A WEDDING CELEBRANT? ) or you could ask a family member or friend to do it. Here are Lynn’s tips to help plan your ceremony.
1. CHOOSE THE RIGHT PERSON
Choose someone who is confident enough to stand up in front of all your guests to deliver it on the day, and also deliver it in a way that gives it the credibility that you want. You want someone up there who can give it that stage presence. My ceremonies are fairly natural, but it is a bit of an act, and you do have to have a persona.
2. WRITE A CEREMONY SCRIPT
The person you choose to conduct your ceremony will need to write a ceremony script. You can do this together, or leave it up to them.
The way I start is to send the couple a questionnaire to fill out separately. I ask questions such as how you met, the proposal, the time you knew this one was a keeper, and as many other questions as possible. I then meet up with the couple to find out as much as possible about the day itself. I want to know how they are entering the ceremony, what songs are to be sung, any readings, decorations, why they chose that place to get married in, the vibe of the day, how crazy or how simple they would like the ceremony etc.
All this helps me write the script, and the first version is very very long… a brain dump where I write everything down. I then break the script into sections which may look a little like this…
The Introduction – I settle everyone down and welcome them to the ceremony and introduce them to the couple’s story.
The Bride Enters – (or they both enter together depending on the couple)
Vows – Most couples write their own vows and they read them to each other.
Exchange of Rings – I guide them to exchange the rings
Certificate – Some couples like to sign a certificate
Ritual – Some couples like to have a ritual (see below for more)
Closing Speech – This is when I end the ceremony, again using their questionnaire to help me write this part of the script.
Obviously every wedding is different, and this is just an example
3. PERSONAL TOUCHES + SYMBOLIC RITUALS
This isn’t for everyone, but within your ceremony there are opportunities to add various symbolic rituals and here are a few which I have used with couples…
HAND FASTING – This is literally tying the knot. The couple clasp hands and they provide a ribbon or other kind of binding and their hands are tied together while they say their vows. It stems from medieval Celtic tradition, from the times where there weren’t any legal marriages, and you’d go out to the village green and have your hands tied together. A lot of woodland type weddings go for this.
UNITY CEREMONY – The unity candle ceremony has two tall candles which are lit at the beginning of the ceremony to represent the two individuals, and at the end of the ceremony they each use their candle to light one larger candle to show that they are now united.
SAND CEREMONY – This is a popular one especially if there are children in the relationship. There are lots of different colours of sand and each person pours a small amount of sand into a large glass and it makes up a layered sand structure which is then a keepsake. The symbolism behind this is that those grains of sands can never be completely separated they will always be a mix, no matter what happens you could never tip it out and separate it completely.
WINE DRINKING QUAICH – I has a ceremony recently where the couple drank wine that they brought back from France. As they sipped from the quaich (a two handled cup) I spoke about why this wine was so significant to the couple, but also how wine represents marriage with sweet times. Then they take three sips each, one for love in the past, one for love in the present, and one for love in the future. And then they have their first toast.
MAKE UP YOUR OWN – So I had a couple who were writing their own wedding, but needed help in writing the unity part of their ceremony. They looked at candles and sand and it didn’t resonate with them. What they really wanted to do was make a cocktail of rum, champagne and pineapple! So I spoke about the unity of the Jamaican rum representing the groom filled with sunshine and his fiery spirit, and the champagne representing her and her bubbly energetic very sophisticated nature. I did some research and found that at one time the pineapple was used as a fruit to welcome guests and I though how fitting, so I wrote the words around that. They each poured the mix into a glass, with the pineapple juice and drank it together.
4. DO A WALK THROUGH OF THE CEREMONY
I can’t recommend enough doing a walk through before the day. Think about how you are each walking into the ceremony, how are other members of the bridal party coming into the ceremony, how the guests are coming in. Think about where you will stand, where any speakers will stand, who is playing music, where the bridal party stand or sit, how you will be leaving, will you be leaving to music / words / confetti etc… If there are children in the bridal party it’s even more important to do a run through with them so they can all know exactly what’s going on.
5. DO YOUR RESEARCH
There is no limit to what you can do for your wedding ceremony if you are doing it yourself. So my final piece of advice would be to do your research. There are loads of fun ideas out there, and while some couples want options for wayout ideas, and others want small and simple ceremonies. Do your research and see what works for you and your day.
To find out more about Lynn, please check out her website here: Lynn Tierney Ceremonies. And for more ideas for alternative wedding ceremonies, check out this post: SIX WEDDING CEREMONY IDEAS YOU WOULDN’T HAVE THOUGH OF.