{Planning Tips} Choosing your Ceremony Style

Obviously the most important part of your wedding day is the wedding ceremony itself (the part that actually makes you married)!  There are many types and styles of wedding ceremonies, and these days couples are essentially designing their own.  My husband and I did that.  We had already selected a beautiful outdoor venue but were denied by the Catholic Church to be able to have a priest perform a Catholic ceremony outside of a church.  So we decided to do our own thing in the venue we wanted, which we think turned out to be one of the best things that could have happened because it allowed us to completely personalize our ceremony and made it more meaningful for us.  At first we wanted to have someone we knew well marry us, but we also weren’t 100% comfortable with asking someone who wasn’t experienced in performing weddings to marry us just because they knew us.  In the end, we chose someone recommended to us by our venue, who turned out to be wonderful and just what we wanted in an officiant.

We then went to work deciding on the ceremony content.  We knew we wanted it to last about 30 minutes, not too long but not over in a flash.  We wanted a couple of meaningful readings.  We didn’t want to write our own vows (too many nerves, emotions, and pressure!) but didn’t want to say the traditional vows either.  We wanted to incorporate ideas that set our ceremony apart from the countless weddings we see on TV and have all been to…we wanted it to be more “us.”  And we wanted to include our guests.  And after it was all said and done (literally) we had a beautiful, emotional, and sincere ceremony.  Isn’t that the point?

Anyone who tells you that you can’t do or say something you want to do or say in YOUR wedding should, in my humble opinion, be ignored.  Listen to what your heart tells you that you want to do and say.  It is your wedding, after all…

Here is a basic outline of what our ceremony consisted of, which was combined with our officiant’s remarks:

Warming of the Rings (Also called a Ringwarming Ceremony.  This was done during the prelude music prior to the ceremony.  Our rings were passed around all of our guests in a bird’s nest and guests were asked to place their good thoughts and blessings on them)

The wedding rings are the strongest and most visable sign of the bond these two people are about to make. As these rings are passed amongst you, please hold them and give them your personal blessings. The ring warming means the rings will not only be a gift from the bride and groom to each other, but will be given with the love, support, and wisdom of all present.

-Prelude Music
-Processional
-Welcome Remarks and Opening Prayer (written and said by our officiant)

-First Reading:  “Why Marriage” by Mari Nichols-Haining, read by a family friend:
Because to the depths of me, I long to love one person,

With all my heart, my soul, my mind, my body…
Because I need a forever friend to trust with the intimacies of me,
Who won’t hold them against me,
Who loves me when I’m unlikable,
Who sees the small child in me, and
Who looks for the divine potential of me…
Because I need to cuddle in the warmth of the night
With someone who thanks God for me,
With someone I feel blessed to hold…
Because marriage means opportunity
To grow in love in friendship…
Because marriage is a discipline
To be added to a list of achievements…
Because marriages do not fail, people fail
When they enter into marriage
Expecting another to make them whole…
Because, knowing this,
I promise myself to take full responsibility
For my spiritual, mental and physical wholeness
I create me, I take half of the responsibility for my marriage
Together we create our marriage…
Because of this understanding
The possibilities are limitless.

-Group Declaration of Support for the Couple: (Guests respond by saying “We Do”)
As family and friends,

You form a community of support
That surrounds ________ and _________
Each of you, by your presence here today
Is being called upon
To uphold them in loving each other
Always stand beside them, never between them
Offer them your love and your support
Not your judgment
Encourage them when encouragement is needed
And listen to them when they ask for advice
In these ways, you can honor this marriage
Into which they have come to be joined today
Do you offer your love and support
To strengthen their marriage
And bless this family created by their union?

{We Do.}

-Exchange of Vows:
I, bride/groom take you, groom/bride, to be my husband/wife, my constant friend, and my love from this day forward. I vow to be your faithful partner, in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, in joy as well as sorrow. I promise to love you unconditionally, to support you in your goals, and to cherish and respect you. I will love and honor you all the days of my life.

-Exchange of Rings:
Groom, take Bride’s ring and place it on her finger and repeat after me:


I give you this ring as a sign that I choose you
To be my lover, my partner and my best friend, to the end of my days
Wear it, think of me, and know that I love you

Bride, take Grooms’s ring and place it on his finger and repeat after me:
I give you this ring as a sign that I choose you
To be my lover, my partner and my best friend, to the end of my days
Wear it, think of me, and know that I love you

-Second Reading:  A poem written for the couple and read by a family friend 
-Priestly Blessing
-Introduction of the Couple
-Recessional

Music is another important element (I think) in your wedding ceremony, so I am going to devote a future post just to the music itself.

 And because every post is better with a picture, here is one of our dear family friend and adopted grandmother Norma, reading the poem she wrote for us during our wedding:

{It’s in the details} Silhouettes

Personalizing your wedding with thoughtful or unique details is an important part of designing your wedding.  As I have mentioned in previous posts, I love DIY projects and cohesive elements that you can weave into different aspects of your wedding.  One detail that I think works great in so many different elements is the silhouette.  Silhouettes can be modern or vintage, and are always chic whether they are on stationery, programs, decor, or as cookies!

Top Row:  cookies by Sarah K. Chen Photography, garland by Leigh Miller Photography, stationery by Hammerpress, cookies by Amy Squires Photography, Middle Row:  cameo by Jewelry Basket, buttons by Flowertoss Photography, cookie and portrait from Martha Stewart Weddings, Bottom Row: programs by Amy Squires Photography, cameo by Tarina Tarantino, portrait banner by Amy Squires Photography, held silhouette by Jose Villa, stationery by Bird and Banner

{Inspiration Board} Down on the Farm

I came across the photo of the barn a while back and was inspired to design a wedding to take place in that beautiful barn!  Chandeliers and antique keys are two of my favorite things, but I’m loving the horseshoes too!

Top Row:  Chandelier and barn from Brides, Piano from Leigh Miller Photography, keys by Alisha Clark via Snippet & Ink Row 2:  pies from The Knot, envelope from Wedding Style Guide, cake by Jessamyn Harris, horses by Punam Bean,
Row 3:  Mini Pies from Wedding Style Guide, Chicken stationery from Bella Muse, apples from Rebecca Thuss via Snippet & Ink, rose from Ellen Silverman, stationery from Wedding Style Guide, Bottom Left:  horseshoes from Brides

{It’s in the Details} Guestbook Alternative: Fingerprint Tree

I’ve seen many guestbook variations and alternatives that I think are great:  recipe cards, using typewriters, quilts, postcards, guestbooks made with engagement photos of the couple or a book where guests take polaroids of themselves and write messages next to their photo.  There are so many fun reasons not to use a boring guestbook these days.  I think my favorite idea is one I just saw last week on a real wedding feature on Green Wedding Shoes.

What an original idea and neat piece of art to hang in your home after the wedding!  You could even do this idea, and then let guests write you messages on notecards and keep them in a special place in your home if you want more than a signature and ‘leaf’ fingerprint.  This idea is especially great if you are having an outdoorsy wedding or are incorporating nature into your decor. 

{DIY} Hot Cocoa & Marshmallows Gift or Wedding Favor

I’m a big fan of DIY projects and personalizing your wedding.  I saved my favorite DIY projects featured on other wedding blogs and want to share one of them with you today…Hot Cocoa & Marshmallows!  Originally featured here on Style Me Pretty and done by Kathleen of Twig and Thistle, this project is another great wedding favor for a fall or winter wedding or cute addition to out-of-town bags for guests.  It would also make a great regular party favor or hostess gift!

Go to the full post on Style Me Pretty for instructions!

You could simplify this as much as you need to.  If you can’t sew or don’t have a sewing machine (I don’t, but this project makes me wish I did!) you could always find small craft paper bags and print labels to put on the outside, you can use regular marshmallows, etc.  There are two more DIY projects that can be done in combination with this one that I’m planning to feature in the coming weeks.  Until then, happy crafting!

Simple Saturday

Sometimes I see a single photograph that I just love or am completely inspired by.  In an effort to dislocate my laptop from my lap on the weekends and spend more time having fun with my husband, I am going to start posting one every Saturday in lieu of a full post.  They might be photos a friend has taken, or that I took myself, or that I have found from one of my favorite blogs.  Today I am posting one of my favorite photos from one of my favorite photgraphers.

Photo by Elizabeth Messina via her blog, Kiss the Groom.