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
Add a comment


  1. carousel Bee
    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.

  2. meerkat Bee
    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.

  3. 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!

  4. painauchocolat Bee
    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.

  5. 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.

add a comment

Get our weekly roundup of the best of Weddingbee.
I agree to receive emails from the site. I can withdraw my consent at any time by unsubscribing.

Find Amazing Vendors