There are so many ways to customize your wedding day, really the options are limitless. But, in my opinion, one of the most overlooked areas is there wedding ceremony itself. This is the main event of the day and it doesn’t have to be a cookie-cutter template straight from the book. So today I am sharing some of my favourite tips, as well as some personal experience, on how to customize your ceremony.
- Size Doesn’t Matter
First things first, your wedding ceremony doesn’t have to be long to be custom. If you are hoping for a shorter ceremony, you can still infuse it with your own personalities without adding to much, if any, time.
- Choose the Right Officiant
Whether or not you are having a religious-based ceremony, meet with your officiant beforehand and make sure you all mesh nicely before selecting the person who will start your marriage. If you have specific plans for your ceremony, let them know about them during the selection phase and find out if they are interested in helping you with them. There are so many options these days when it comes to officiants and in the Ottawa area there are some truly fantastic options!
- Ask for Advice
Your vendors go to a lot of weddings, which means they have seen a lot of different approaches to wedding ceremonies. Your officiant is probably one of the best places to start when trying to think of ways to customize your ceremony. In fact, if they are like the ones we used, they may even have great starting material you can use and adapt to fit your style.
- Flip a Coin
Before you get into your vows, flip a coin to determine who goes first. Not into something so random, try a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors.
Side Tip: If you aren’t a fan of the spotlight (welcome to the club), try a joint vow rather than separate ones. Dave and I had a joint vow where I said a few lines and then he did and that repeated a few times. It gave us the chance to write them together and use both of our talents to create something pretty awesome (if I do say so myself). Neither of us spoke alone for more than a sentence at a time, which made it easier for our introverted personalities to get through this public speaking portion of the day.
- Write Your Own Vows
I love personalized vows. They give you the chance to tell your spouse-to-be how much they mean to you and speak wonders about the couple as a whole. And of course, they allow you to customize your promises to one another.
- Highlight Your Talents
Play music, sing, dance, whatever you can think of really. Putting your talents (or perhaps those of your wedding party) into your ceremony makes it truly one of a kind! This one may be difficult for us introverts, but I speak from experience when I say it really makes your wedding ceremony special and truly memorable. Neither I nor any of our guests will forget when Dave played me down the aisle on the piano. It was nerve-wracking for him for sure, but he is so happy he did it. His music means so much to him (and to me too), and having him actually play what is now my song instead of hearing it played over a sound system was so incredible. In fact, the memory still brings tears to my eyes.
- Keep it Secret
Keeping that special part (or parts) of your ceremony secret will likely create a better reaction from your guests. It can also help if you have stage fright, as no one knows what is coming. When we decided that Dave would play the piano as I walked down the aisle with my Dad, we wanted only 4 people to know about it in advance: the two of us, our musician (who was the original source of the idea), and our photographer (so she would have a heads up to the incoming surprise and emotions). The reactions we got included crying parents, a sister who barely kept it together as she walked down the aisle, a maid of honour who was so filled with emotion that she swore at me when she realized what was happening (with love of course), and lots of smiling faces from our guests.
- Greet Your Groomsmen
If your Groomsmen are walking up the aisle to meet you, give them a personalized greeting as they get to the front. Whether it’s a standard handshake, a custom one, a hug, or a slap on the bum, it’s all good fun!
- Personalize the Music
You don’t have to stick with Pachelbel’s Canon or other traditional songs if you don’t want to. Choose a tune that means something to both of you for each part of your day. Our songs ranged from a beautiful piano piece from a popular video game we both loved, to some classic Beatles tunes.
- Jazz-up the Recessional
Whether you dance your way back down the aisle, have your guests greet you with bubbles or confetti, or stop part way for an extra bonus kiss, adding something special to the end of your ceremony can be a quick and easy way to customize the whole thing.
When putting together this list, it grew much larger, must faster than I had anticipated (that’s what she said) so if you are looking for more ways to customize your wedding ceremony, just get in touch as we would love to help!
Want more useful tips and tricks for your big day? Keep an eye out in the coming months for this new regular feature!!