When it comes to wedding planning, couples crave custom details. One of the most popular ways to personalize your big day is through the wedding ceremony — the milestone moment when you officially become married. How exactly do you design a ceremony that feels like you both and celebrates your relationship? As a professional wedding vow and ceremony writer, I’m here to provide you with five ways to create a custom wedding ceremony that will embrace your couple style.
Choose a Close Friend or Family Member to Officiate
Selecting someone close to you to officiate your wedding is a more special and intimate approach. They know you on a personal level and can help to design the ceremony. They’ll have material to work with since they already appreciate the story of your first date and have witnessed the evolution of your relationship. If your favorite uncle isn’t already ordained, he can relatively easily and affordably become legal.
First, he should review your state and city laws to ensure he’s eligible to officiate in your area as these laws can vary by state and city. Next, he should complete the process of becoming ordained, which several online sites offer such as American Marriage Ministries or The Universal Life Church Monastery.
Write the Ceremony
So your friend agreed to officiate your wedding. Now what? They take ownership over the organization, flow, and creation of the entire ceremony. They’re also personally responsible for speaking the opening and closing remarks, and an address to the couple. The address is typically where the officiant bestows words of advice or describes the commitment of marriage. But for couples who are looking to personalize their wedding, this is where their officiant can get creative and create an address that’s specific to the couple.
Perhaps your friend tells a brief story of how she witnessed you both grow from when you first met to what led you to this moment: the joy and giggles, the challenges that made you stronger, and the qualities you bring out in each other. For your newly ordained officiant who is completely overwhelmed with creating the ceremony logistics, get them help.
Write Your Own Vows
Those traditional, I take thee, wedding vows don’t speak to what’s uniquely in your heart. Choose to write your own wedding vows instead.
To get started, free write any memory and feeling that comes to mind when you think about your relationship and your future together. The key here is to not judge. Just let the thoughts flow. Once you have this brain dump of ideas on paper, you can start to identify themes. Maybe you notice many of the stories you described show how your fiancé is always supportive and makes you laugh. These could be two anchor points to center your vows around.
Your wedding vows are a love note to your future spouse. If you simply write how you feel, your personal vows will add to the sentiment of your day and your marriage. If you really struggle, consider collaborating with someone or get a little professional advice.
Choose the Music
Music can be a significant way to illustrate a person’s personality. Don’t feel obligated to select traditional ceremony music. Felix Mendelssohn’s classical Wedding March is sentimental. But if it’s not your style, choose a jam that is. Maybe Love Me Like You Do by Ellie Goulding or God Gave Me You by Blake Shelton is more your vibe. If you like a song but feel the lyrics might be a distraction, play an acoustic version of your favorite song for a more elegant feel.
Honor Your Loved Ones
Celebrating your wedding day without the presence of a loved one can be difficult. Consider how to include their spirit into the day. I attended a wedding where the groom had lost his mother and the couple left a chair in the first row empty with a bouquet of flowers on it to symbolize her attendance. Brides I’ve worked with have stitched their dad’s favorite shirt in the shape of a small heart on the inside of their wedding dress skirt. This is their way of still having him walk her down the aisle. A sweet way to honor your grandparents is to display their wedding day photos. There are several ways to include your loved ones so they can be a part of your special day in your own unique way.