Express Your Love. “How you express your love for each other can be very personal, depending on how you express yourselves in life. Are you both outgoing, or are you shy? How much of yourselves do you wish to share with your guests?"
Personalize Your Ceremony
Congratulations! You’re getting married! You’ve picked the venue, chosen your officiant(s), looked at dresses, lined up the DJ or band, and chosen the flowers. Now it’s time to decide on the kind of ceremony you would like to have.
“Your ceremony should express what you feel about each other, what you wish to say in public, and the unique way you wish to express it,” say officiants Reverend Deborah Steen Ross and her husband Rabbi Roger Ross, an interfaith couple who founded Loving Hearts Ceremonies in the New York City, Westchester County area and have a combined 33 years experience as wedding officiants.
Do you want to include elements of your religion but still be romantic and spiritual? Are you an interfaith couple looking to add elements of both religions? Are you an LGBT couple looking to do a ceremony that honors and reflects your thoughts and feelings on this, your most special day?
“How you express your love for each other can be very personal, depending on how you express yourselves in life. Are you and your fiancé(e) outgoing or shy? How much of yourselves do you wish to share with your guests? It’s been our experience that the most poignant and beautiful ceremonies are ones where the couple writes personal vows or reads a letter to each other during the ceremony, letting their guests share in what they say. Sometimes the vows are beautiful, sometimes they are funny, and sometimes they are both.
“One couple I married on the beach on Long Island had very funny personal vows,” says Rev. Ross. “Everyone knew he was an avid fisherman and in her personal vows the bride promised that when he caught his next 55 pound bass she would help him drag it up the beach and clean and cook it for him. In return, he promised to never let her go hungry. The guests got it because they knew this was so them!”
Reverend Ross also suggests including simple ceremony customs that relate to your culture or family, such as the Sicilian tradition of kissing the ring before you put it on your beloved’s finger or the hand-wrapping ritual from the Celtic tradition. In the Asian culture there is a Blessing of the Ancestors during the ceremony and the ritual of the Veil, Cords, and Coins in the Philippines tradition. Other couples include music, a poem, or song lyrics that reflect how they feel about each other.
“Ultimately, the most important part of your wedding is not who sits at which table or which grandmother’s handkerchief you carry during the ceremony. What is most important is what you say to each other, and what traditions you are comfortable with in your ceremony.”
Now that you’ve thought about the elements for your ceremony, the next step is to contact your officiant and run your ideas by him or her. “Clergy are most on point,” says Reverend Ross, “when they are willing to listen to the couple’s ideas, add some of their own for the couple to discuss, and then come up with the perfect ceremony. After all, without the ceremony that meets your needs and expresses your vows, it’s just a party.”