Written by Teagan Dole, Melbourne Marriage Celebrant
Ok, we get it. Your wedding day is an incredibly visual event. You picture the perfect wedding dress, flowers, table settings and a witty hashtag plastered across perfectly curated signage.
But all these things are just a party without a wedding ceremony. When done right, your ceremony may be the highlight of your day. After all, it’s the actual moment you become husband or wife. So let’s squash the ‘get it over with’ attitude the wedding ceremony seems to have attained.
The modern wedding ceremony is light hearted but personal, relaxed but meaningful, detailed but punchy. It’s the beginning of the greatest party of your life so let’s do it justice shall we?
Together with Wedding Ready Co, I’ve devised 7 tips that will leave your guests swooning over your I Do’s.
1. Choose a celebrant that suits your vibe
Ok this is a biggie. As a celebrant myself, obviously your best choice is me. Choose me. Ok ok I’m kidding. I’m well aware that I may not be everyone’s cup of tea; and that’s ok. A quick coffee with your potential celebrant or a good old chat on the phone, is all you need to know if they suit you as a couple. Just have a chat. Ask them about their weekend, where they grew up, how they got into this biz, do they too, think Jack could have fit on the door with Rose .. you know, the usual small talk. Quite simply, your celebrant should be someone you actually like. It’s not a big ask.
Also, take note of their comms. A celebrant’s role is as much about writing as it is about presenting. So, if a celebrant can write one hell of an insta caption then he/she may just be ‘the one’.
2. Share a funny story or two
Your celebrant isn’t up there to deliver gag after gag about politics and pop culture. If you want a funny ceremony, you gotta give them the content! Your celebrant will ask you to complete a questionnaire. THIS is where the gags are hidden people. Share those funny, embarrassing or damn right idiotic stories. Share the funny traits in yourself or your partner; the ones that may get a giggle. Now remember, keep it light hearted – it’s not a roasting!
3. Acknowledge those that defined you
The key to the perfect ceremony is balance. Just as much as your guests want to hear the funny side of you as a couple, they want to hear the real and raw side. Too often, we forget to acknowledge those closest to us because it’s just assumed. But who we are individually is actually the reason we found the one to spend forever with. And that deserves a ‘thank you’ amirite?
Be it mum, dad, siblings or the neighbours, Jeff and Sharon; ask your celebrant to acknowledge those that got you here today.
4. Include the Folks
You may find this hard to believe, but your folks have dreamt of this day longer than you have and, in some cases, may have even contributed financially. So throw mum and dad a bone and share the spotlight a little! Here’s a few ideas;
- Add the mothers to the processional and have them walk down the aisle, arm in arm (I’m not crying you’re crying).
- Have the parent’s say their own I Do’s, something to the effect of;
Celebrant: May I ask the parents of the bride/groom to stand.
Celebrant: Will you take this man/woman into your family and into your hearts?
Parents: We do
Repeat with other party”
- Instead of the Best man and Maid of Honour – ask a parent on each side to sign as your witness, a legal requirement of any wedding.
- Have Mum, Dad, Stepparent, siblings or all of the above walk you down that aisle, ceremoniously handing you over to your husband/wife to be.
- Seat both sets of parents on the same side. Controversial I know, but hey after today, you’re officially family, right?
5. Write Your Own Vows
I say this with confidence; every guest is impatiently waiting for the vows section of a ceremony. It’s not often they hear you declare your love, so this is a moment ears prick up and tears may flow. So, wouldn’t it be nice to give them something a little more personal than ‘till death do us part’. For those that struggle to find the words, lean on someone that has them! Most celebrants are happy to assist with vows as part of their package. They may even have a document with real life examples. An easy way to personalise your vows is to have your celebrant create a template for each of you to fill in the blanks. This can be short and sweet or more detailed. The choice is yours. So don’t overthink it, ask for help and give your guests a little insight into that heart of yours.
6. A rehearsal is always a good idea
If you truly want a cringe-free ceremony, then a rehearsal is oh-so necessary. Nervous bridesmaids with no idea where to walk, groomsmen standing in a messy formation, ring bearers neglecting their duties, fathers butting heads with their new son/daughter because one went for the hug, the other went for the kiss (I’m actually under my desk in a cringe hole). These are all things that could have been avoided with a rehearsal. Plus, it’s a really great excuse to get the bridal party together for a drink. Need I say more?
7. Go out with a Bang(er)
Your choice of music sets the tone for the ceremony to follow. Couples put some serious thought into ensuring the aisle song gives you that ‘just stepped into a Sam Smith film clip’ feeling. But don’t forget the song that will introduce you as a married couple. My advice? Choose a banger that says; ‘the formalities are over, the booze is flowing and the party is officially started’.
About the Author:
Teagan Dole is a modern, fun loving Marriage Celebrant (Panache & Co.) based in Melbourne, Australia.
Teagan is a wife, mother, avid listener and absolute lover of LOVE. She values quick wit and exercises her ability to make people giggle. She rates a G&T, adores homewares and is completely obsessed with weddings. She waved goodbye to the corporate world to invest all her energy into creating memorable ceremonies for couples just like you!
You can check out Teagan’s Celebrant Services right here: Panache & Co.