Ceremony Style

{photography by chowen photography}

We talk lots about decorations, dress (of course!), food, drinks, guest books, flowers, and all the elements having a style, but what about the most important part, the ceremony?! There are so many different ways to celebrate with people, and it all starts here.
If you're doing a traditional religious ceremony, there are probably several things that are already required, and lots of traditional elements we expect (like dad walking you down the aisle). But even inside traditional ceremonies, there's usually room for variation. And if you're doing something outside of religious tradition, you can do just about anything.

Unity candles or unity sand is common these days, as are readings from friends or family, songs, or scriptures. There are several places where you can involve important people in your life into the ceremony. I've seen a few of the following, read about a few more, and might be entertaining one or two of these ideas for myself.

Walking to your favorite song. I loved hearing Beatles music at 3 recent weddings as either processionals or recessionals. It put a smile on everyone's face!

Hitting the highlights. My friends really wanted to get the party started, and knew that the most important part of their wedding was sharing time with people, not just standing in front of them. Simple vows, ring exchange, a kiss and 5 minutes later, we were headed into the reception!

In the round. Changing the seating orientation at a wedding changes the dynamic. Surrounding yourself with your loved ones (quite literally) let's you feel the love from all angles, and usually gives people a better view of you both. Stand with you backs towards an aisle for the best sight lines.

Remembering those who have past. This wedding the bride lost her mother several years before. They lit a candle and sent it floating across the water in front of their ceremony sight. Seeing the bride and groom taking a moment to speak to her mom's spirit and send it floating into the water brought a tear to everyone's eye and paid tribute in a beautiful way to our spiritual guests.

Playing hosts. I read about a bride and groom who hosted the bar in front of their wedding as people came in. It allowed people to see the couple before the ceremony, and immediately set the tone that this was going to be a casual affair

It takes a village. I loved when an officiant charged all of us as friends and family of the bride and groom to support them in their marriage. It made me feel like I belonged there, and reminded me of my commitment to help these two be good to each other.

Officiating on your own. The state of Colorado allows you to perform your own wedding without a separate officiant, meaning no third wheel to take away from the two of you. If you don't mind public speaking, I love this idea to add to the intimacy of a ceremony.

When in doubt, throw it out. Throwing tons of symbols on top of a ceremony can feel overkill. Think of three special moments you'd like to capture and focus there, rather than trying to cover your bases and taking on every ceremony tradition under the sun!