Tying the Knot

In preparation for our phone meeting with the officiant this Thursday, Mr. P and I are gathering ideas for our ceremony. We approach tasks very differently. Whereas I like to start with the maximum number of possibilities and narrow down from there (lest I miss something awesome), he begins with a much narrower focus and expands outward as necessary…

This explains why I currently have seven tabs of ceremony inspiration blog posts open in my Safari browser, a wedding workbook (from just-marrieds K&M), and a desktop folder simply titled “ceremony.” I’m fully capable of driving myself nuts.

Here’s summary of things we’d like to incorporate into our ceremony:

1. Write our own vows.

After reading about Mrs. Seahorse’s vow-writing stress, I knew this seemingly innocuous task would need to be done far in advance and given its own month.

2. Keep it (relatively) short.

It won’t be Vegas-fast or Catholic-church-long. Neither of us is game for an hour of standing (fainting?) in the June heat. The ceremony ought to be long enough for it to feel serious and official, but there’s no need to drag it out unnecessarily. Twenty minutes feels right.

3. Keep religion out of it.

By choice, we’re not getting married in a church. Thinking of uttering vows with mention of God, baby Jesus, scripture, and such makes me squirm. Also, no prayer, please. It’s a quirk or personality flaw, depending on your perspective. Mr. P is less anti-religion but recognizes the need for both of us to feel comfortable about what’s being said. Wed don’t consider ourselves religious, so we chose a secular-officiant service. Ironically, our officiant is a pastor of a small church. (This lends some legitimacy and calms my type-A fears.)

4. Audience participation.

Readings of the secular variety. Possibly a call-and-answer “we will/do” sprinkled here and there. Maybe ring-warming if we’re feeling crazy!


Paloma’s Nest on Etsy

5. Cultural mash-up.

Celtic handfasting is a favorite. When I first suggested this, Mr. P looked at me like I had two heads. In discussing the ceremony with him, he asked for a further explanation of handfasting. I selected Mrs. Cherry Pie’s words to read as an example and found myself choking up several times. Oh boy. (As an upgrade to this idea, I thought we might use a line [rope] from the sailboat on which we spend our summers.)



Ever since reading about the Jewish yichud, I’ve thought it was a spectacular idea that we should implement. Pausing post-ceremony in a secluded space to reflect upon what has just transpired (OMG, what have we done?!) will allow us some calm perspective before the chaos.

Our goal is to create a warm and sweet secular ceremony full of meaning for us, interspersed with personal touches and lighthearted moments. Moving forward with this intent, I’m leaning heavily on these posts gleaned from Weddingbee and the always inspiring A Practical Wedding:

How did you go about crafting your ceremony? Did you write your own vows (and subsequently bawl your eyes out)??


Mrs. Pain au Chocolat

Wilmington, DE
Wedding Date:
June 2011
I'm with the Band

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  1. Member
    apple82 15 posts, Newbee @ 3:28 pm

    I feel the same exact way about having religious vows! I am glad to hear I’m not the only one.

  2. Member
    meowmix318 966 posts, Busy bee @ 7:43 pm

    It should be up to the bride and groom if they want to briefly mention about their religion if that is highly valued in their relationship. And if you are a guest and you hear it at the next wedding you go to, just sit in your seat and listen. Understand that their faith in their religion is a HUGE part of their new lives together… and you were able to witness every part of that!

  3. Guest Icon Guest
    sarah, Guest @ 9:55 pm

    im the same way with the seven tabs and three notebooks. i feel the need to overwhelm myself with research and look at every single option to make sure i pick the best for me. sigh. in the end i feel better because i know i haven’t overlooked something. but really, i know how to pile on the stress!

    good luck crafting your ideally personalized ceremony!

  4. tartlet Member
    tartlet 3227 posts, Sugar bee @ 10:29 pm

    Your ceremony is going to be wonderful with all the time and thought you’re putting into it! I also love the hand-fasting ceremony.

  5. painauchocolat Member
    painauchocolat 2298 posts, Buzzing bee @ 11:32 pm

    @apple82: It’s nice to know I’m not the only one!
    meowmix318: Thankfully I only get squirmy when it’s directed as me (us).
    @sarah: Because how else will you know it’s exactly what you want. (Not being sarcastic at all.) Mr. P can’t believe that another person willingly does this to herself too.
    @Miss Tartlet: That’s the hope. There’s a lot of work between now and the big day. Setting aside the whole month of April to hammer out vows and ceremony details.

  6. magic Member
    magic 640 posts, Busy bee @ 9:21 am

    These are great ideas! We have just begun to think about our ceremony…and when the minister asked me to pick some scripture, I just about fell over. We will have some negotiating to do! Thanks for this extremely comprehensive post…I know it will come in handy to this bride. :-)

  7. Guest Icon Guest
    Marilyn, Guest @ 9:28 am

    This is exactly what I do. If you are getting married in southern NJ, give me a buzz!

  8. painauchocolat Member
    painauchocolat 2298 posts, Buzzing bee @ 9:36 am

    @Miss Magic: I did some negotiating too. Mr. P felt he HAD to get married in a church, although he hasn’t been to a non-funeral/wedding service in probably 10 years. “If it doesn’t make sense for us, why do it?” was my mantra.

  9. lox Member
    lox 1465 posts, Bumble bee @ 5:15 pm

    Our officiant has been an enormous help in crafting our ceremony. This is actually a project I need to revisit in the coming weeks to make sure we finalize everything and get it to her in time!

  10. Member
    Crown 578 posts, Busy bee @ 5:32 pm

    I am a wedding officiant, and am grateful when couples I meet have some ideas of what they envision for their ceremony. My approach is that the couple is the expert in what needs to be said and therefore we collaborate on the final script. I provide ideas to get the creative juices flowing, but more often than not, the couples truly make it their own by choosing a special reading, telling the story of how they met, or that “a-ha” moment when they knew the other person was “the one.” I recommend all couples take a proactive approach to the creation of their ceremonies…after all, it’s the most important part of the day! http://www.trinitycottage.com

  11. carousel Member
    carousel 590 posts, Busy bee @ 7:29 pm

    Great post, I love how you’ve gathered together your own ideas with the links to some great articles! I’ve bookmarked it as I’m still vague on the details of the ceremony, but we’re also forgoing the religious ceremony so I’m on your same page.

  12. meerkat Member
    meerkat 3257 posts, Sugar bee @ 10:36 am

    We did the same thing – secular with personal touches. We actually had my MIL write the wedding address and had her tell our love story in it. Everyone loved it.

  13. Guest Icon Guest
    Devon, Guest @ 12:06 pm

    Beautiful ideas! I love the thought of reflecting after the ceremony before the “chaos” errupts!

    Question for you- I am looking at the same venue you are using (Greenville CC) and can’t get a hold of their event coordinators! Were they hard to reach for you as well? Any advice? Thanks in advance- your wedding looks to be coming together beautifully!

  14. painauchocolat Member
    painauchocolat 2298 posts, Buzzing bee @ 1:41 pm

    @Devon: I’ve found them to be great at getting back to me. Try contacting Linda at events@greenvillecc.com or 302-658-3943. It’s a beautiful venue. Good luck and let me know if you have any questions.

  15. Member
    bRooklynRocks 4048 posts, Honey bee @ 9:24 am

    Ugh, something else I have to think about. I’ve been gathering inspirations but… let’s see how it goes.

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