You have found the love of your life, and you are getting married! You have politely listened to everyone (and their mother) give you suggestions of what you should include in your wedding celebration. And now your head is spinning trying to figure out what is best for you and your beloved. Take a deep breath and let’s get started.

There are many ways to make your wedding your own. Some brides I’ve recently worked with suggest:

Choose a distinctive location. For example, if you and your beloved love to hike, you might exchange your vows at the top of your favorite trail.

Select unique and personal music for the ceremony. Love the Beatles? AC/DC? Crooner music? Use it!  Or, honor your heritage by including a bagpipe, the blowing of a conch shell, or a mariachi band.

Remember the reason for the celebration. One bride said, “I had an intention, a wish if you will, for our wedding. What we wanted to express was the heart commitment we were making as a family. Having a clear intention allowed us to stay focused on what was important for us and kept us from getting caught up in all the drama that can happen.”

Since your wedding ceremony—the words that make this day possible—is the heart of your celebration, some additional suggestions to help you make it personal:

Decide what is important to you. If you’ve always dreamed of repeating the traditional vows (“for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, …”), including a unity candle and having your favorite uncle read from First Corinthians 13 (“Love is patient and kind …”), then make sure these elements are included in your ceremony.

You may want to honor and include others. Have your parents and soon-to-be in-laws all been married for many, many years?  Acknowledge their example of longevity during the ceremony. Or, ask your siblings to share in the reading of a special prayer or piece of poetry.  (Especially nice if you and your fiancé have different heritages or spiritual backgrounds.)

Include elements of your story in the ceremony.  Sure, you may have a wedding Web site or blog, telling how you met, when you got engaged, and how the wedding plans are coming along. But consider adding some personalization to the ceremony by including your “love story.”  The officiant might speak of what you each believe is essential in a successful marriage, your common interests, values and goals, what you admire in your partner, and what he or she brings out in you. Not only will speak to the depth of your relationship, but it also allows your wedding guests to share in your vision for your marriage, through challenges and good times.

Most importantly, as one newly-wedded bride says, “To make your wedding your own: do what you want and marry the one you love. You can’t go wrong with that!”


—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.