Having a self-uniting ceremony means that we have a completely blank slate as far as what we want to include in the ceremony. The only legal requirements for it is that we say the words “I take you as my husband” and “I take you as my wife” to each other in front of two witnesses—our ceremony could literally be those two lines, nothing else, and we’d be married. However, we want something a little more, um, interesting than that.
When starting to shape our ceremony, there was one big glaring problem: self-uniting meant that we didn’t have an officiant. But without an officiant, it would just be me and Mr. Wizard, standing up there all awkward, with readers filtering in and out, also being all awkward. We were afraid that the ceremony would lose its thread and fall apart because there was no one overarching person to pull it all together and keep it moving. I discussed this problem one night with Wizard Aunt, and being the awesome aunt that she is, she said that she’d love to be our master of ceremonies—act as an officiant would, but not actually have any legal part in marrying us. I checked with Mr. Wiz, he agreed, and that was that. Not only is she a good speaker (she does readings at her church all the time and she speaks very clearly and comfortably), but it’s another great way to personalize the ceremony and include our families in the day. Wizard Aunt is my mom’s sister and the closest thing I have to my mom, and she and Mr. Wiz really get along, so having her emcee is perfect.
With our biggest worry taken care of, we were able to flesh out the ceremony a bit more. Mr. Wizard and I discussed the basics of what the ceremony means to us—it’s a time to reflect on what we’re about to do, what this means in our lives, how far we’ve come and how far we will go, our future, and so on. It’s a time to think about what marriage means and how to make ours great. It’s also a time to talk about being in love and how awesome it is, and a time to recognize our families and friends and their roles in getting us to this point.
Things we knew we didn’t want included were unity ceremonies (wine box, candle, sand, handfasting, etc.), and signing the register (that can happen afterward). Neither of those things particularly hold much importance for us, so we decided to nix them.
We also didn’t want it to be too short. Both having been raised Catholic and gone to our fair share of 70-minute full mass Catholic weddings, we’re used to wedding ceremonies that take their sweet time. It felt weird to both of us to have a short ceremony, because it didn’t feel like it held as much weight. The ceremony is a big, big thing—it’s the whole point of the day, and it’s a huge turning point in our lives—so we wanted to do it justice. We didn’t want it to drag on forever, though, so we settled to aim for about 30 minutes—short enough that people won’t get bored, but long enough that it feels significant.
II. Welcome & explanation of self-uniting ceremony
III. Thoughts on marriage
V. Introduction to the vows
VIII. Apache Wedding Blessing
X. Introduction as Mr. & Mrs.
Now it’s just a matter of filling in the blanks—choosing readings (and people to read them), picking our vows, and cobbling together a script for Wizard Aunt. No biggie, right? Having a blank slate is extremely awesome because it means that we can make everything personal and meaningful to us…and yet it’s completely daunting at the same time. I mean, seriously, we can do anything we want for the script, readings, vows, rings, etc. And do you know how many choices there are out there for each of those things? Approximately one kajillion. And that’s a lot.
How did you start planning your ceremony? How did you narrow down what to include and what not to include? Are you having a family member or friend play a major part?