Written by guest blogger Heidi Yorkshire
All the players have to enter the stage, and just wandering up there doesn’t cut it. A planned processional gets everyone to their proper spot for the ceremony, and music sets the tone and captures the attention of all assembled.
Photography by:Art of Joy | Sergio Mottola | Bryan Aulick
Early in the ceremony, the Officiant asks the couple to state their intention to marry. The question is usually something like, “Jason, do you come here with the intention of taking Anne as your wife, to be the companion of your days, as long as you both shall live?” (and vice-versa).
Photography by: Leah Verwey | Paul Rich
A wedding should celebrate the uniqueness of your love story. The important moments of your story – how you met, when you knew you loved each other, the proposal – should be woven into the rest of the ceremony.
Photography by: Ben Blood
You speak your wedding vows directly to each other, making promises for your life together. Some vows come from religious or traditional texts; some are spoken in modern language. One of my favorites includes this: “I promise to love and support you when it’s easy and when it’s not, in good times and bad, completely and forever. I promise you my unconditional love for all the days of our lives.” Some couples use wedding vows as an opportunity for personal creativity, keeping their individually written vows secret from each other until the ceremony. The bride’s and groom’s vows do not need to be identical, although they often are.
Photography by: Aaron Courter | Bryan Aulick
These are the words spoken as you place the ring on your loved one’s finger. They usually refer to the circle symbolism of the ring. The Officiant often begins with a ring blessing, such as, “All of us here bless these rings that you are about to exchange. May these rings represent wholeness, a state in which nothing is missing and everything is possible.” Then the bride and groom speak, one at a time, with a vow like this: “I give this ring to you as a symbol of my unending love. As it circles your finger, so shall my love circle you and protect you.”
Photography by: Bryan Aulick | Paul Rich
A unity ritual can be as simple as the bride and groom each taking a separate candle, lighting it, then together lighting a single “unity candle.” But there are as many unity rituals as there are cultures. These rituals can come from the couple’s family or religious backgrounds, or be chosen from dozens of possibilities. (Watch this space for a future post on unity rituals.)
Photography by: Stark Photography
Here’s the part that’s in all the movies. It can be traditional, “By the authority vested in me by [a government entity], I now pronounce you husband and wife.” But it can also be less formal, such as “I now pronounce you well and truly married.”
Photography by: Ashley Forrette | The Gemmers
Photography by: Sergio Mottola | Aaron Courter | Bryan Aulick
Don’t forget the recessional, which provides an elegant and satisfying wrap-up. A well planned recessional also lets the bridal party and family members leave before the crowd. Everyone gets a bit of breathing room before the congratulations start.
Photography by: Bryan Aulick
Heidi Yorkshire is a Wedding Officiant and Life-Cycle Celebrant in Portland, Oregon.