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  • Meb McMahon

Five Ways to Personalize Your Wedding Ceremony

Houses of worship are less and less likely to host weddings with each passing year. In 2017, only 22 percent of weddings were performed in a church! As more wedding ceremonies move to banquet halls, country clubs, museums, and beaches, most of the liturgical restrictions begin to fall away. While many couples still opt for a familiar ceremony with a traditional structure, they may find opportunities to flesh out the content of the ceremony in ways that capture the heart of their unique love story. In this blog post, we outline five ways you can work with your officiant and your coordinator to make your wedding ceremony your own.

1. Get to know your officiant. At Wows and Vows, we tailor each ceremony to your unique love story. There are no two people exactly like you, and there is certainly no love quite like yours. In a custom ceremony, it's the job of the officiant to capture what makes your love unique and weave that narrative through the entire wedding. A good officiant will perform an interview with you and your partner to distill the history and quirks of your love story into a ceremony that feels personal, intimate, and romantic. Be vocal with your officiant about your vision for the day and the content that you'd like to see in the ceremony.

2. Write your own vows. Writing your own vows is the perfect way to inject authenticity and intimacy into your wedding. While the officiant is busy putting together the ceremony as whole, work on developing vows that feel right to you. You may work with your partner to develop vows that complement one another, or work separately and surprise each other on the Big Day. This is your opportunity to look each other in the eyes and share with your audience what you appreciate and love about one another. There are many resources online for writing personalized vows. If you’re interested learning about our approach, just drop us a line and we’d be happy to share our strategies.

3. Include your dogs in the processional. Perhaps you think that the last thing you want on your wedding day is an unpredictable animal. However, well-behaved dogs can add a touching element to your ceremony—after all, they are family. They love us unconditionally and they help us through our hardest times, so consider including them. Ask a member of your wedding party to guide your dog down the aisle with them, or even do it yourself. If restlessness or noise is an issue, you can always hand your dog off to a family member or friend who will take them out by a side aisle. Even less predictable dogs can be an endearing addition to your ceremony if you and your partner are open to the adventure.

4. Honor loved ones. Weddings are an opportunity to celebrate all of those friends and family who have shaped our lives. Asking your officiant to honor significant loved ones who have passed on can add a personal and poignant dimension to the ceremony. Giving thanks for all who have inspired the love that is being celebrated at your wedding means that those loved ones will be included in spirit.

5. Include a planting ceremony. A planting ceremony is an endearing and meaningful idea for gardeners and green-thumbs, but it can serve as a powerful symbol for any couple. This ceremony requires each partner to obtain soil from a significant place in their life (perhaps a childhood home). During the ceremony, they pot a plant in their shared soil, and water it together. The planting ceremony symbolizes the vow of partnership and the shared accountability that comes with true, lasting love. Just as you work to keep the plant alive, so should you work to keep your love alive. There will be moments of wilt and moments of bloom, but the planting ceremony focuses on the crucial definition of love through all of those highs and lows: effort, service, and care.

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