According to recent news reports the average wedding now costs £27,000 and can take up to 18 months to plan, with couples searching for ways to make their big day memorable and personal to them.
Equally, news of celebrity weddings focus on the venue, the outfits and who is (or isn’t) on the guest list, with little mention of the ceremony itself and, yet, without the actual ceremony a wedding is nothing more than a, very expensive, party.
With all the time and money invested in a wedding, it’s a real shame that so many couples are having to settle for an off-the shelf wedding ceremony. However, with the right support, a one-of-a-kind wedding is within everyone’s grasp.
In my experience, a memorable wedding is built on three golden rules: what you say, what you do and who you include and every couple should be given the opportunity to shape their own ceremony to reflect their personalities, beliefs and wishes.
A good celebrant will take the time to get to know the couple and find out what getting married means to them. They’ll listen to the couple’s ideas and find ways of including their beliefs and interests into the ceremony so that everyone goes away with a real sense of what has brought them together and how they intend on keeping their marriage strong. Not only does this make the service more meaningful but it makes it truly unique.
Unfortunately, most state appointed registrars and religious officiants do not have the time to create something bespoke for each couple, meaning that regardless of the budget or time spent planning the big day the ceremony will remain generic and far from personalised.
Three Golden Rules for a unique wedding ceremony
1. What you say and how you say it are perhaps the most important things on your wedding day. Of course, a couple can choose readings and write their own vows – though if the ceremony is being led by a registrar or humanist these cannot include any religious or spiritual ideas. However, it needn’t stop there; a couple might tell some of the story of how they met, fell in love or got engaged. And why wait until the reception to share good wishes and memories from friends and family?
2. What you do during your ceremony can be a creative way of making it more memorable. Couples are choosing to symbolise their union in more ways than just exchanging rings, everything from lighting candles to bringing in rituals from different cultures. And who says that walking up the aisle to a fanfare has to be reserved to just one of the participants?
3. Who you include in your ceremony can help tell your story whilst making everyone feel like they have played a meaningful role in the occasion…one they won’t forget in a hurry. There are lots of interesting ways of including significant people in the ceremony over and above readings and the role of bridesmaids and ushers. And they don’t have to be able to sing solo or play an instrument to do it.