Writing Your Own Wedding Ceremony
Whatever size or design your wedding party takes, you want your wedding ceremony to be the heart of the celebration. Long after you have forgotten the wine, and food, and music, you will remember the words you have said to each other.
First, set objectives.
As couples start to plan their wedding parties, they usually ask each other three questions:
Where? When? How much?
I THINK THE FIRST QUESTION SHOULD BE -WHY?
A wedding party is inherently a decision to be inclusive -- not just to have family, friends and acquaintances present, but to include them in a moment of your life that will forever prove a bond between you and them. Words expressed with intimacy and emotional vulnerability inspire and will become a foundation for the rest of your lives. Tell your story.
Separately, make a timeline from first meeting (even if it was in kindergarten) to present. On this timeline mark significant moments, odd coincidences, missed opportunities, and treasured memories. Compare your timelines and as you do so, tell your stories. Note which events were on both timelines. Tell each other the stories. Now, go to the internet and look for readings that express your feelings. Look for selections from books, blessings, songs and poems that express moments from your past and your hopes for your future. Don’t worry about appropriate sources. I once had a groom bring me a lyric from RUSH. It’s not a great song, but it was a great lyric. There are no wedding police. If it’s true to who you are, it will be filled with feeling and intimacy.
Now, you can put your stories into the frame of a wedding ceremony by thinking both visually and aurally.
Second, create an outline
Ritual follows a pattern that is reproduced in cultures worldwide.
1. There is a calling in and welcome followed by a statement of purpose expressed as a prayer or reading and symbolized by the lighting of fire, the drinking of wine, the binding (holding) of hands, the pouring of water, and/or the exchange of breath (a reading). This ritual is changing you from two to one. Look for the ritual formula which will tell your story. For instance, a couple from India and California had family come from Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas. They asked these people from all over the world to pour life giving waters representing the rivers and seas of the world into a crystal bowl as we read a blessing of the four directions. Water is life; the currents of life brought two souls from opposite ends of the earth together to be a family. The story was told visually and verbally.
2. The telling of your story that has brought all of us here to celebrate. Now the telling of your story makes the ritual personal. Don’t do more than is necessary. Most people know the details. Tell one moment that symbolizes your discovery that you want to spend your lives together.
3. Then, a profession of faith. This is a reading that speaks about your belief in the power of love.
4. Your promises and vows to each other.
5. Finally, the pronouncement of completion; a magical change has happened. You are declared husband and wife.
Third, write out the ceremony as you would tell it to someone.
There are lots of examples of ceremonies on the internet, but don’t feel you have to use someone else’s elaborate language because of the formality and importance of the moment. Simple words and actions are most powerful. Ask your family and best friends to put a flower in your joined hands. Say something about how much your value them in your lives. Share a wine glass and look into each other’s eyes. Have your friend, relative or even the church organist play and sing a song as everyone things about the miracle of two people finding each other. Promise to love each other, and let everyone clap and cheer as you are called husband and wife. Your own style will ornament this pattern, but if you want to write your own ceremony, be inspired, keep it personal, include details, and be who you are.
A wedding is a time to laugh, and cry, and feel a