We’ve all witnessed a wedding ceremony and, more likely than not, didn’t retain much information from it. When the ceremony is for your own marriage, however, the meaning becomes extremely important. In the moment it will also matter to your guests, but ultimately you and your spouse will be the ones thinking about that moment for years to come. Here are some questions to ask yourselves to make sure you and your future husband or wife are on the same page for the marriage ceremony.
1. Who will officiate our wedding?
A hometown pastor is a frequent choice for a wedding ceremony, but with people living far from their hometowns these days, it’s entirely possible that a wedding officiant could be a total stranger. Decide with your partner who the officiant should be, since every couple is different and may want to have a different level of connection with the person who marries them.
2. Are we following a single spiritual tradition or combining aspects of various traditions?
Many couples these days come from different faith backgrounds, so starting from each of your wishes about the ceremony is smart. Some couples include one person of faith and one person who isn’t religious, so it’s important to consider how much religious discussion the ceremony will have at all. Lastly, some couples have family members who expect a certain amount of spirituality in the ceremony, which can be a consideration as well.
3. Will we write our own vows or use traditional vows?
As marriage vows become more modernized, it’s possible that you’ll want to pledge different things to each other than you may have heard before at a wedding ceremony. Take a good look at some traditional wedding vows and talk through what, if anything, you’d say differently. Decide if the traditional ones are perfectly fine, or if you have some extra things you’d like to add.
4. How long of a wedding ceremony do we want?
Some wedding ceremonies can be an hour or more long, while others are short and sweet at 15 minutes. Make sure you know what length you expect for your ceremony, since the rest of the day will depend on that timeline. Your officiant, in particular, should know how long they have to make their remarks, since the rest of the ceremony can easily be determined based on how long your vows take, ceremony elements, music, etc.
5. Do we want readings at the ceremony?
For those who are fans of poetry or spiritual texts, ceremony readings can be a beautiful way to add to the depth and meaning of the day. If your ceremony won’t be especially spiritual, the addition of some readings that have sentimental value can be a great way to deepen the impact of your ceremony on those who gather to hear it.
6. Should we do any rituals at the ceremony to commemorate our love?
Three cord ceremonies, sand ceremonies, and foot washing are some ways couples choose to show their love for and commitment to each other. The physical gesture, rather than merely words, can have a deep impact.
7. What kind of music do we want at the ceremony?
Some couples choose to forgo music, while others want live musicians. This can be an important part of the ceremony for the music lovers out there. Once musicians are involved, there are more people who need to know their cues, so make sure you and your partner work out just how much music you want and when those musicians will begin and end their participation.
8. Do we want any non-traditional additions to the ceremony?
These days, it’s normal for everything about a wedding ceremony to be customized to the couple’s style. Think about what would make the ceremony your own and what would be meaningful to you, and focus on incorporating those aspects into the ceremony. If you’re a singer, perhaps you want to include a performance in the ceremony singing to your spouse. If you’re a fun-loving couple, maybe a coordinated dance down the aisle is more your style.
With these questions, you can feel ready to create a memorable ceremony that will hold your guests’ interest and commemorate a beautiful commitment to each other.