A Guide To: Personalising Your Ceremony

Most of your guests will have attended a fair few weddings in their time – so how do you set yours apart from the rest?

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Most of your guests will have attended a fair few weddings in their time – so how do you set yours apart from the rest? Celebrant Felicity Murray shares her best tips.

Choose your celebrant carefully

Lots of people think exclusively of the vows as the ceremony’s ‘personal’ component – but a good celebrant will go beyond this. For me, a good ceremony is personalised from the very start: I’ll always tell the couple’s story, using words and phrases that they have used when telling me their story. It always includes the funny parts, so the crowd is warmed up and the couple is at ease before their vows or ring exchange.

Make it a team effort

Involving family or close friends – by having them say a reading, light a candle or carry the rings – is a great way to give your ceremony a personal spin.

Put thought into your readings

With the diversity of resources available on the internet, there’s a whole new world of verses that can be read at weddings today – but similarly, pieces that were read at my wedding 27 years ago are still being widely used. What’s important is that the words have meaning that personally resonates with the couple – there’s no point in having a Shakespeare sonnet if neither of them understand Shakespeare! I ask couples to think about their interests, things they like doing together, places that may be special or things that they remember from their childhoods. From there, they’ll normally find a reading that works.

Don’t underestimate the power of music

We all know our moods are influenced by music, and the tune the bride arrives to sets the mood and switches everyone to ceremony mode. At one wedding I officiated, the bride chose the loud, rowdy classical Mendelssohn wedding march (traditionally used at the end of the ceremony) for her arrival music, and had it rearranged to be played much slower on acoustic guitar. It immediately set the mood, and live music always makes an impact. In other instances, I’ve heard songs as diverse as Ellie Goulding’s How Long Will I Love You to Going to the Chapel of Love from the 1960s.

Put yourselves first

For most couples, the biggest challenge they have is trying to keep as many people happy as possible, from family to your wedding party. Don’t pay outside demands too much heed: the day is about the two of you celebrating your shared love and future – and that’s what every decision should boil down to. 

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