Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Q & A: Creative Wedding Ceremony Ideas

Reader's Question: We are looking for some things to add to our ceremony. I think your quilt and tree were neat ideas and they really personalized your service. We are having a very small service and we would like some type of unity ceremony that incorporates our guests. I have been doing internet searches and have not really found the right idea yet. I really struggle with wedding literature; 90% of it just offends me, so I thought I would write you to see if you had ideas of good resources for small ceremonies that might help me avoid having to wade through all the rest of the literature. Please let me know if you have ideas or thoughts off hand.

Another great question! We should definitely have more conversations around planning meaningful and memorable ceremonies.

Hm...the only thing unique unity thing I've seen is to have all the guests come forward and put their hand on another guest, so that everyone in the entire audience is connected to the bride and groom. I thought that was cool.

You could also do something with ribbon. Each guest could get two feet of ribbon and at the designated time, they could tie each end to someone else's ribbon to make a long line of ribbon. Then the group could form a circle with the ribbon and you and your partner could stand in the center. The ribbon would represent the support of friends and family that has no beginning and no end. Then, depending on your decorating taste, you could store the circle of ribbon in a glass vase in your home for years to come. (You could also ditch the ribbon and just have guests hold hands.)

I've read about guests blessing the rings as they get passed from person to person in the audience.

You could also have guests go around and share the one word they think is most important to maintaining a healthy and happy marriage (e.g., patience, love, understanding, caring, compassion, good sex, etc.).

I think that's all I've got for now. Ingenious readers, please share your ideas!

E-mail your questions to saracotner@yahoo.com

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Autumn said...

A few other ideas that might fit your bill:

-give your guests pieces of paper when they arrive at the ceremony to write well wishes, advice, or hopes for the couple. At some point in the ceremony the officiant offers everyone the opportunity to read them aloud or just deposit them in a pretty vase or something, that you can then keep and re-read for years to come.

-this isn't really a ceremony but we plan on having our families do a blessing, you could easily alter this for the whole crowd, something like:

As the (happy couple's) union brings together two family traditions and two different roots, it is their hope to plant a new family tree that will grow and flourish. Theirs is a personal choice and a decision for which they are responsible in undertaking. Yet their life is and will always be enriched with the support of the families and friends from which each comes.
Will you (parents, family and friends of happy couple), encourage (happy couple) in their marriage? Crowd: We Will
Do you celebrate with them the decision they have made to choose each other and will you continue to stand beside them with each passing year?
Crowd: We will

Elizabeth said...

We're planning on stealing a page from the Quaker book, and asking everyone to bring a blessing, poem, short story, or prayer for the couple (us!), then we'll have silence during a portion of the ceremony and ask people to stand and read what they brought as the feeling strikes them.

Marina said...

I'm asking all my guests to make origami paper cranes and mail them to me, which will then be strung together and used as the huppah canopy and as decoration. Paper cranes are meaningful to me both because of the idea that a thousand of them grant a wish, and as a nuclear-age peace symbol.

My mom brought origami paper to Thanksgiving, and it was more emotional for me than I thought it'd be to watch my aunts and uncles and cousins sit around and fold cranes while they chatted. I'm so glad to know that I'll have that family energy at the wedding.

Anonymous said...

Our celebrant actually suggested one of our rituals to us. A blessing or warming of the wedding rings. Our celebrant will explain that the rings to be handed around to all our guests to be blessed and warmed before we exchange them. I think it's a nice but easy way of including guests.

Anonymous said...

You guys have such great ideas!

I have seen a few ceremonies (and this works especially well with small groups) where the floor is opened during the ceremony to anyone who wants to say a few words to/about the bride and groom. It might be best to talk to a few people ahead of time to ask them to speak, so as to break the ice for others, but this is always so touching. You could do this in lieu of or in addition to the traditional reception toasts.

I love the ring warming idea, too, and that would also probably work really well in a small group.

I also really like the Quaker cermony idea where all of the guests sign the Quaker blessing. There are some Etsy sellers who make gorgeous copies of this, and who can customize the signature area to the specifications of your particular guest list. Or, of course, if you're a DIYer, you could always make your own.

Best of luck! :)

the petermanns said...

i recently attended a wedding where the parents surrounded the couple during the first song - - a sort of group hug. while the music played, they talked quietly, prayed, and laughed amongst themselves. during the second song, the attendants surrounded the couple and did the same thing. during the third song, the couple poured their dual-colored "unity sand" into a large, clear vase and then talked/prayed with one another. i thought this was unique and made the ceremony time more personal to the bride and groom - - as they got to actually interact with the important people in their lives during the service.

Anonymous said...

One idea I've seen that I really liked (which wouldn't work for anything but a small wedding) was that all of the guests lined the aisle and gave a flower to the bride to form her bouquet. You could even ask people to bring a flower from their own gardens!

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