So you’re planning your wedding, and it’s time to consider wedding ceremony ideas. Well, the good news is this ain’t your grandmother’s wedding – you can get creative! Or, you could have the same ceremony as your grandmother because it’s beautiful and meaningful – and that’s the point. Wedding ceremony ideas are about what is beautiful and meaningful to you!
In this blog, we’re going to explore some traditional and non-traditional ceremony ideas that come from real weddings with our awesome clients! We hope that as you tour them, they’ll offer inspiration for your own ceremony ideas and a little glimpse into what you have to look forward to you on your big day.
Lighting a unity candle is all about the coming together of two people, two lives, two families into one. It’s a special moment traditionally undertaken after the completion of vows and the ring exchange. You and your partner each take a separately lit candle and together light a single candle with each flame. The flames of each candle sometimes represent the soul of a couple and in some traditions, the spirit of God.
Another classic and an opportunity to get crafty at the altar! This ceremony idea is similar to the unity candle ceremony with the flame. You and your partner pour sand from two different glasses into one, mixing them together as you are combining your lives.
Sand ceremonies offer an extra opportunity to get creative. You can pick sand, stone, pebbles – all different colors, or colors that represent each of you and/or your families. You can use any container you like, specially made by you or for you by loved ones. You could even use a special picture frame to surround a future picture of you and your partner. The options are endless.
Handfasting ceremonies are very old rituals with roots in ancient Celtic traditions. It symbolizes the binding of love and future. In this case, you and your partner join hands, the officiant or a friend bind your hands with rope, and in some cases the vows are said here or an additional vow is read specific to a handfasting ceremony.
Like many of the ideas here, there is a lot of space for personalization! The words spoken during the ceremony can be personalized, as can how you bind your hands, the colors you choose, or the material you use. One awesome idea is to use bits of clothing, quilts, or cloth from important family and friends!
This ceremony idea is literally about tying the knot! The ritual of knot-tying symbolizes the creation of an unbreakable bond between you and your partner, and it usually takes place after the vows and ring exchange are completed. The newlyweds tie together two pieces of rope, traditionally into a fisherman’s knot, which is considered one of the strongest knots – but you could tie it into any knot you like!
Writing Your Own Vows
As far as wedding ceremony ideas go, this one may seem pretty straight-forward. Instead of using pre-written or traditional wedding vows, you and your partner write your own. But when you begin to explore this option, a whole world of possibilities open!
Writing your own vows gives you the opportunity to speak directly to your partner from the heart. You can get as creative as you want, read or write poems, celebrate your own inside jokes, and infuse your vows with personal and unique meaning. There’s rarely a dry eye in the house!
This is one of our favorites in the realm of wedding ceremony ideas! You and your partner plant a small tree or plant together during the ceremony. Usually you plant it in a pot, and then you can replant the tree on your property or in a neighboring area. If it’s a good tree or plant for the house, you can keep it inside!
A planting ceremony is a great idea if you’d like to go green on your wedding day. It offers the symbolism of hope, coming together, and sharing in the creation and nurturing of a new life together. Plus, you get a neat leafy keepsake!
Perhaps you and your partner are from two different backgrounds. Or you are from two different cultural backgrounds yourself and would like to honor both of them on your big day. Cross-cultural ceremonies are an awesome way to celebrate that and to honor the coming together of families!
We have had clients who have two ceremonies, each in the tradition of their different backgrounds. You can also include culturally-specific rituals or moments into a single ceremony. It’s a great opportunity to connect with loved ones from your different backgrounds and learn about your own cultural traditions!
Incorporating Loved Ones
While it’s not entirely practical to include all the special people in your life in your ceremony, it’s definitely possible to include some of your favorite people! Perhaps you’d like to honor your close relationship with a sibling parent, or friend. Maybe someone in your life has a special skill set they’d like to show off!
We’ve seen ceremonies where loved ones do a reading or perform a song. Sometimes a friend or family member officiates the wedding ceremony. We’ve even seen a theater troupe of friends perform during the ceremony!
Working glass into your ceremony can be particularly unique. Glass is fragile and beautiful, and it makes a visually-striking metaphor for coming together in love! This ceremony has a lot in common with candle-lighting and sand ceremonies in that it is rooted in combination.
During your ceremony, you and your partner pour colored glass together into a vase or container, layering different meaningful shades of glass crystals. Then, you deliver this to a glass art vendor who turns it into a beautiful work of glass art for you! You could even learn how to blow glass together and make your own.
Include Your Pets!
Our pets are such a huge part of our lives, and to many of us, they are family. Including them in your wedding ceremony is a great way to honor your relationship with them. Plus, they are just so darn cute and dapper! We LOVE pets, and we’re always so excited when our clients want to include them in their engagement sessions and weddings.
We also understand that big events aren’t always the best place for all pets. Some pups might be a little too nervous or get a little too excited. That’s okay too! There are plenty of other ways to honor them, like having them at your engagement shoot in a more controlled environment. You can also hire professional help with vendors like Doggy Social, who offer full service pet care during events!
And just remember…
Your wedding ceremony is a deeply personal experience between you and your partner. Choose whatever you want, whatever means the most to you as a couple – whether it is traditional or offbeat! And don’t forget, it’s okay to cry 🙂