The Ceremony Brainstorm: a Ceremony Within a Ceremony?

Mr. D and I did not know that there was so much involved with planning a ceremony. Soon after we decided against writing our own vows, we realized that there were other things to consider. Such as, what kind of ceremonies to include during the ceremony. There are all kinds to choose from. We could do a unity candle ceremony:


Image via Luster Studios

A variation of the unity candle ceremony—the unity sand ceremony:


Image via Aislinn Events

Or maybe a wine box ceremony to be a little different:

Image via Heather Neckers

Or a handfasting ceremony:


Image via Style Me Pretty / Shannon Leahy Events

There are so many things that a couple can do to make their ceremony special and reflect who they are as a couple. Mr. D and I were definitely overwhelmed at first about all of the choices. The norm around here is a unity candle. Almost every wedding I have been to has had one, only one has had a unity sand ceremony instead of the usual and everyone raved over how different it was (granted that was like six years ago, but I still always see candle ceremonies).

Mr. D wanted to know the reasons behind having the ceremonies, the traditions and symbolism of each one. As we started going through each one, we began to realize that none of them were fitting what we wanted out of our ceremony. So we are doing the unthinkable (at least to some). We are not doing any other ceremonies during our wedding ceremony. Our ceremony is going to look like this:

  • Processional
  • Invocation
  • Wedding Message
  • Exchange of Vows
  • Exchange of Rings
  • Wedding Blessing
  • Presentation of the Groom and Bride
  • Recessional

Our ceremony from beginning to end will be about 30 minutes. Why none of the extra ceremonies? For us, the most important thing about our ceremony is to show our commitment to each other and to God. As Christians, we are going into our marriage knowing that it’s not just between me and him, but between us and God. God brought us together and it is our belief in Him that brings us even closer together. I know that this isn’t for everyone, but it was extremely important for us. We felt that none of the other ceremonies really captured that belief or added anything meaningful to our ceremony.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe that those ceremonies are beautiful and I love what they mean to the couple, but for Mr. D and I, they just were not us. Momma Doily has asked several times if we are sure about not doing a unity candle ceremony, because everyone will be expecting one. But as much as it is a day meant to celebrate our love with our friends and family, it is Mr. D and I who are making the vows to each other. I don’t want to something because other people expect it, I want to make sure that it reflects the things that are most important to Mr. D and me.

What things are you doing or not doing during your ceremony that other people may be surprised about? What kind of ceremonies are you including during your ceremony?


Mrs. Doily

Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Wedding Date:
March 2012
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  1. Member
    FootballGirl 54 posts, Worker bee @ 10:08 am

    We went through a similar though process and are simply doing a ceremony without a ceremony within. The ceremonies such as a sand or candle or wine ceremony, just do not match who we are. The only thing we really did consider was including vows to my FI son or a ceremony where we give him a small momentous gift.

  2. Member
    therascalqueen 204 posts, Helper bee @ 10:10 am

    The ceremony is the most important place to NOT bow to “what people expect.” Good for you and Mr. D for sticking to what feels right for you!

    P.S. The unity candle ceremony was invented by the writers of General Hospital for Luke and Laura’s wedding. I always think it’s funny when people insist that it’s “tradition” : )

  3. sunhat Member
    sunhat 1453 posts, Bumble bee @ 10:24 am

    I don’t think we are doing any other ceremonies either!

  4. honey Member
    honey 1684 posts, Bumble bee @ 10:49 am

    We are sticking with just the ceremony as well!

  5. funnelcake Member
    funnelcake 1171 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:06 am

    Yaaay, we are not doing any ceremonies in the mass either. We are just having a normal Catholic mass and that’s it.

    Mr. Funnel Cake kind of liked the idea of a unity candle, but I personally loathe them and they are not allowed in Catholic ceremonies anyway. So that’s that. 😉

  6. parasol Member
    parasol 2955 posts, Sugar bee @ 11:19 am

    We’re not doing any ceremonies within our ceremony either! Our outline looks eerily similar to yours as well. We’re both no frills people, and to us, these ceremonies weren’t really meaningful. So we decided to forgo them and just focus on incorporating beautiful words–and getting married, of course!

  7. Guest Icon Guest
    Gentelly, Guest @ 11:20 am

    I am originally from Hawaii and while I wanted desperately to go back there and get married on the beach, it just wasn’t an option for us–maybe a honeymoon? Anyway I’m getting off topic here…we are exchanging lei’s of flowers. The leis are like the rings, they signify our unending love. The deacon at our church was so excited about our idea and loved how personal it was for us. It’s like having a little piece of home with me :)

  8. Member
    Melini 1078 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:26 am

    We didn’t do any ceremonies either. Our ceremony was done in about 15 minutes, max. We didn’t have any rings, singing, or prayers. The officiant gave a welcome and a few remarks. DH’s sister read a passage from the Little Prince that is really special to me, and we did our vows. The officiant pronounced us married, and then they started pouring the champagne.

    By trimming out all of the other stuff, I have a very focused memory of our ceremony…”You become responsible forever for what you have tamed.”

  9. ticket Member
    ticket 501 posts, Busy bee @ 11:31 am

    We decided to do the sand ceremony mostly because I love the idea of seeing a vase full of sand on our mantle place and thinking of our wedding every time I see it. “For us, the most important thing about our ceremony is to show our commitment to each other and to God.” Couldn’t have said it better. Our ceremony is supposed to last approximately 30 minutes as well, we decided we want a wine box but we don’t want it to be part of our ceremony. It’s something personal that we wanted to keep to us, so we will be putting our letters in the box and having our MOH and BM seal the box after the ceremony.

  10. Member
    tinylittlebird 1743 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:51 am

    Good for you for sticking to your guns!

    I really can’t stand when people say “But everyone will expect you to…..” or “But you’re supposed to do it this way….”

    Seriously? If they want to relive their own wedding, go watch the video.

    If they want to attend the wedding of another person, recognize that it isn’t their wedding, and that it may be different.

  11. Member
    piglet_625 2541 posts, Sugar bee @ 12:12 pm

    We didn’t like any of the options (sand, candle, etc) so we made up our own!!

    We tied a knot using two colors of climbing rope and the knot we chose is actually 2 knots pulled into 1 and cannot be undone.

    It’s a variation on handfasting that we both loved and was so us, because we’re very outdoorsy and now we have a knot hanging in our home forever!

  12. Member
    CurlyRN 355 posts, Helper bee @ 1:14 pm

    I too was suprised at the amount of stuff one can put into a ceremony. A long talk on a windy road last weekend with FI made us determine we do want to be married in front of God. I want to include a ring blessing ceremony and this is about it, maybe personal vows as we have been on a journey to find each other.

  13. ladyfingers Member
    ladyfingers 1257 posts, Bumble bee @ 2:03 pm

    We’re not either. We just couldn’t find anything that fit *us*. Hear, hear, simple ceremony bride!

  14. mspony Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 9:17 pm

    We’re doing a wine box ceremony, not only because I like the sentiment, but because we’re getting married at a winery :) But I think you should make your ceremony 100% what you want, rather than what people ‘expect’.

  15. Member
    stephbonthego 710 posts, Busy bee @ 5:09 pm

    @tinylittlebird: haha, *two snaps* you go girl!! I like your sass!

  16. Member
    Coffee cup 2319 posts, Buzzing bee @ 2:13 am

    @Mis Funnel Cake: I’ve seen candle ceremonies in catholic weddings, maybe my cousin’s priest was more flexible than yours.

  17. kettle Member
    kettle 926 posts, Busy bee @ 9:37 pm

    We’ve been contemplating unity ceremony to do. I think researching all the traditions and purposes behind each one will help us decide. Thanks for this post.

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