Photo: Marisa Holmes
There are a few standard things that happen in every wedding ceremony: A walk down the aisle, an exchange of vows, your first kiss as a married couple. And you might say that those traditions are the most important to follow. But personalizing your wedding ceremony and making it feel special and memorable for you and you guests might mean adding a few extra moments into the wedding. These little touches will make all the difference when you think back on your big day.
A Moment of Silence
While you don't want to dwell on sadness the day of your wedding, remembering family and friends who aren't with you is a lovely way to honor those who have passed, while also making it feel as though they are part of this special day. Have your officiant ask for a moment (it really only has to be a moment) of silence before beginning the rest of the ceremony. Include names of grandparents or parents if it's important to you, but if you're worried about a long list or leaving out special friends and family, keep the sentiment more general.
A Love Story
You're here to celebrate the love you share for one another, but oftentimes you never hear the bride and groom's love story at their wedding. Don't leave out yours. Come up with a way for your officiant to include your couple history. Just make sure to keep the story short and sweet — there's no need to get bogged down in the details of who kissed whom first or what you were wearing!
A Special Reading
Including a reading in your wedding is a personal decision, but it's a great way to involve friends or family who aren't otherwise a part of the wedding. Have cousins, a close friend, or a beloved aunt and uncle (or some combo of all of these people!) share in the reading of a favorite love poem, a blessing, or a psalm. Avoid letting them write their own speech though — the wedding ceremony is not the time for toasts.
A Loving Glance
One thing bride and grooms often forget is to take everything in — and the wedding goes by in such a blur! The ceremony, with everyone gathered in one place, is the perfect opportunity to take in and appreciate everyone who has come out to celebrate the two of you. Incorporate a pause in the ceremony when you turn around to face and take in the crowd. You won't need to fake a smile for the camera when you see all the love looking back at you.
A Favorite Song
Whether you ask the musicians to play it or call on a friend with a great singing voice, including a song in your wedding ceremony can be a beautiful moment that adds some pause and weight to your ceremony. Like a reading, include it somewhere in the middle as a break from all the talk about the two of you. It can be a favorite love song that just didn't work as your first dance tune or a religious hymn. If it feels too long to incorporate, consider cutting it down to a favorite verse or two and one round of the chorus.
A Family Memento
Many wedding ceremonies include, for lack of a better word, props. Whether it's a prayer shawl or your wedding rings, consider using family heirlooms or mementos. If your wedding calls for a unity candle, ask your grandmother to borrow her candlestick holder. If it calls for a wine glass, consider something your aunt gave you as a present years ago. And no matter what you use, if it has a special meaning, make sure the officiant explains that to the crowd — it will help personalize your ceremony greatly.