You will spend many months planning your wedding celebration.
From the big decisions (venue, music, flowers, food) to the smallest details (seating charts, programs, favors), you want the “best day of your life” to truly reflect the two of you as you begin your marriage.
Your ceremony can set the tone for the rest of your celebration, whether deeply spiritual, steeped in tradition, short-and-sweet, or liberally touched with amusement, so you and your beloved should spend some time figuring out what makes the most sense for your special day. Here’s some food for thought:
One way to personalize your ceremony is to include a reading or two—this is also a great way to involve special people who are not part of your bridal party.
Choices are plentiful:
- A traditional Bible verse: “Love is patient and kind”—I Corinthians 13:4-8
- Classic poetry: “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
- Prose: “You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore” by Kahlil Gibran
- Something more lighthearted: “Falling in love is like owning a dog” by Taylor Mali
- Something quite funny: Imagine If the ceremony begins with “Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam…” (from The Princess Bride), your guests will naturally anticipate a fun celebration!
VOWS AND PROMISES
Some couples choose to repeat traditional vows—“To have and to hold, for better or for worse…”— while others prefer to recite their own words. Vows tend to be serious, but the “I Do’s” might include some humor: “I promise to love, honor and respect you, and do my best not to leave wet towels on the bed!”
To acknowledge the importance of a newly blended family, children might promise to listen, have a sense of humor, and be patient with their parents who, in turn, vow to provide a nurturing, supportive home and an example of love and commitment in marriage.
Including traditions from your heritage not only honors your roots, but also gives your guests some insight into what makes you, well, you. San San Kudo Sake Ceremony (Japanese); Veil, Cord and Coins (Filipino and Hispanic); Jumping the Broom (African American); Honoring the Four Directions (Native American); and Breaking the Glass (Jewish); are unique ways to share cultural traditions in your wedding.
Of course, your ceremony music is a great way to set the tone for your festivities.
The traditional couple might choose Pachelbel’s “Canon in D,” while the more eclectic couple may walk down the aisle to Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters.” Other ideas include a Celtic processional, which may be led by a bagpiper; or a mariachi band, which may provide recessional music for a traditional Mexican wedding.
Starting and ending your ceremony with songs that are meaningful to you and your beloved, whether contemporary or vintage, will help create an atmosphere that’s right for you.
Of course the best and most important way to set the tone for your wedding—and your marriage—is to marry your best friend and true love. Your enthusiasm and joy will be contagious, and everyone will celebrate with you!
—Rev. Jeri Murphy
About Rev. Jeri Murphy: Jeri is a non-denominational minister who has been performing weddings in the Sacramento area for more than a decade. She works with each couple to create a unique wedding ceremony that celebrates their love and sets the stage for their long and happy life together as a married couple.