The ceremony is the most meaningful part of your wedding day. It’s the reason you’re having a wedding in the first place – to get married. It’s the part where you hold hands in front of all the people who have contributed to your lives, and say “yeah, let’s do this until we die”. So it makes sense to carefully consider who you want to marry you, and how you’d like to do it.
Welcome to our 8th blog post in our series on planning a wedding. We like to start out every post by acknowledging that there is no right or wrong way to celebrate your decision to spend the rest of your life together. We want to make it clear that our opinions about our wedding are a reflection of what we value and what’s important to us. You can read the other blog posts in our planning a wedding series here.
When we started planning our wedding ceremony, we called one of our favourite celebrants Hannah Noller for her professional advice. We had a very ambitious plan to pay for one of our close friends to become a celebrant just for our ceremony. Like most couples, we wanted our ceremony to be personal and meaningful, and for our celebrant to have a close connection to us. We quickly learnt that becoming a celebrant isn’t a quick course you can take over the weekend, it’s very time consuming and expensive! Hannah suggested that one alternative could be to have a friend write and deliver our ceremony, and have a celebrant there to officiate, say the legal parts and help us with the paperwork.
1 year after those initial conversations and 3 weeks before our own wedding, we had an experience that completely changed our hearts and minds on what we had originally thought a meaningful and personal ceremony ‘should’ look like. Coincidentally, Hannah was the celebrant at the wedding ceremony that opened our eyes to so many possibilities. Roxy and Stu gave complete creative control of their ceremony over to Hannah, and they had no idea what it would entail until it unfolded on the day. Hannah had coordinated a secret surprise group reading with Roxy and Stu’s family and friends. During the ceremony, small groups of people began standing to join others who had started before them, and began reading out loud. This continued until most of the guests were on their feet and speaking as one to share the message with Roxy and Stu. It was a moving experience in the same way a group of people singing together can be. Roxy and Stu wrote their own vows, and Hannah also had them (without them knowing it!) write vows for each other to read. Here’s a little excerpt from the vows they wrote for the other person to read:
Stu’s Vows (written by Roxy)
“…I promise I’ll continue to be awesome and never get old. I promise that I’ll back myself, take chances and have fun…”
Roxy’s Vows (written by Stu)
“…I promise you that you never have to change coz gosh darn it if you’re not the most perfect man then the perfect man doesn’t exist…”
Roxy, Stu, and their family and friends gave Hannah a round of applause at the end of their ceremony. That’s how awesome it was, and our words can’t really do it justice. Long story short, Lyndon and I realised that your ceremony can be meaningful and personal, even if you’re not married by someone who has known you for decades. It all comes down to collaborating with the right celebrant who knows how to involve your family and friends, and it helps if you give them creative freedom to craft your ceremony.
Inspiration for Your Wedding Ceremony:
A ring warming, where you choose someone who greets your friends and family as they arrive at the ceremony, and asks them to hold your wedding ring for a moment and think of a wish, blessing or prayer for your marriage. You may have also seen our blog post on the workshop we took to make our own wedding rings over here.
The photograph below was taken during a ceremony where for the first time we’d heard acknowledgement of the traditional owners of the land at a wedding. This was important to these two, because Sandy spent a lot of time working on land rights in the Northern Territory. A few months ago Lyndon and I had talked about this with our celebrant, because we want to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land where we will be getting married. If it’s important to you, you can mention it to your celebrant too!
There are no rules that dictate how many people you celebrate with. Some couples opt to elope, or hold an intimate ceremony with only close family and friends. Jayde and Grant held their ceremony in the backyard, and surprised all their family and friends that night at their ‘engagement party’ by announcing they got married earlier that morning.