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In the same way that a bride wants her dress to fit just right, your wedding ceremony shouldn’t be any different. Writing your own wedding ceremony provides a unique opportunity to personalize the ceremony and make it truly representative of you as a couple.
Instead of the cookie cutter ceremony (Do you, [insert groom name] take [insert bride name] to have and to hold until death do you part?), there are unlimited possibilities for how the ceremony can be structured. From customized vows to special ceremonies that blend religious and cultural traditions to sermons that illuminate the essence of each couple, there are no restrictions when it comes to planning out the ceremony.
If you are considering creating a made-to-order ceremony, here are the top things you should consider:
Select your officiant carefully.
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Religious representatives typically have a style and rules that they like to follow when officiating, so customized ceremonies work best when a close friend or family member officiates. But not everyone is suited for this honor. It’s important to choose someone who is well-spoken, comfortable in the spotlight and can deliver the ceremony authentically. For such a significant moment in your life, you and your partner need to be able to trust that the person will have your best interests at heart and go the extra mile to ensure the ceremony flows well and casts you in the most flattering light possible.
Create clear guidelines.
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Once you’ve selected your officiant, don’t be afraid to spell out exactly what you’re looking for, particularly in the “sermon.” Tell him or her what information and stories you want to be highlighted and which ones are strictly off limits. If there are religious or cultural customs you want to weave in, please be clear about how you envision their presence in the ceremony. And it’s important to think about how long you want the ceremony to last so that the officiant can stay within the time limit.
Personalize the conversation.
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Whether you have input into the writing process or not, it’s important that the script for the ceremony flows well and contains appropriate information. The more specific anecdotes that can be included the better, but keep in mind that anecdotes should resonate with every guest, regardless of age, gender or length of relationship. In other words, stay away from the inside jokes in favor of stories that everyone will appreciate. It’s best to have the script written in a conversational nature so that the officiant sounds as natural as possible when delivering it.
Do a trial run.
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In many ways, weddings are a produced event. The same is true with the ceremony—rehearsal is required to make sure things go off without a hitch. Make sure that your officiant practices his or her part aloud several times and knows how to give cues. It’s a smart idea to hold an actual rehearsal so that everyone is on the same page. If you don’t want to hear everything your officiant plans to say on the actual day, you can just practice where everyone will stand and review the flow of each element of the ceremony.
Consider hiring someone to help.
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If the process of crafting your own ceremony sounds daunting, consider hiring a professional speechwriter. Sometimes, having someone to guide you through the process is necessary to keep anxiety at bay and deliver a winning finished product. Just think of it in the same way you may hire a party planner to oversee your event, a stylist to help with wardrobe selection, or a photographer to help tell the story of their celebration. A professional writer can help the ceremony shine just as brightly as the other aspects of the celebration and make sure that only the most appropriate and relevant information will be shared on your big day.
With more and more couples focused on personalizing their weddings, custom-written ceremonies are an exciting trend that help couples put their stamp on the occasion. By following these tips, you can bring your unique vision for the ceremony to life and create your own way of saying “I do.”