Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wedding Wednesdays : The Ceremony

Since I recently got hitched, and have all the photos from the big day, I thought it would be fun to start a weekly series sharing my favorite images and memories, and maybe a few tips and resources along the way. This is the fourth installment. If you're planning a wedding, make sure to check out "The Credits" at the end. Enjoy!

My husband and I both agree: Our favorite part of our wedding day, hands down, was the ceremony.

The weeks, days and hours leading up to the wedding were full of anxiety and stress. And a couple things went awry during the reception. But I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, or a hint of exaggeration, that the ceremony was perfect.

Since the ceremony is where the marrying actually happens, it was important to me that it be more than a flash in the pan. More than 10 minutes. More than a quick “We will,” “I do” and kiss! Short and sweet works for some people, but not for me. We brides and grooms spend so much time and money on the party, but I believe just as much attention should be given to the part where two people pledge their love and commit their futures to each other. That’s what everyone is there to witness and celebrate, right?

And since I’m a writer, I insisted on crafting the ceremony myself. It was quite the undertaking, and took about a week of serious, nose-to-the-grindstone work, though I was thinking about it and researching ideas and readings for much longer. A Practical Wedding was very helpful in this regard (the blog offers great guides for writing your ceremony, as well as samples for traditional and non-traditional ceremonies), though I did do a bit of general poking around the internet, too.

I didn’t want a boilerplate ceremony, with names subbed into a standardized form. I wanted something unique, thoughtful, personal, romantic. Sweet is a given, but a little silly keeps people on their toes. Most importantly, I wanted it to be a reflection of GT and I, and our love.

We had our longtime friend, Ryan, serve as the officiant. GT has known Ryan since junior high, when they met at church youth group. I ended up meeting Ryan at church, too, but a few years later, in high school. Ryan was the perfect choice to lead our ceremony since he’d known us for more than a decade, separately and together. It was his first time officiating and he did an incredible job. Even though I had written most of the words he spoke, it still felt special. He brought the ceremony to life.

Other dear friends took part by giving readings: “Love” by Roy Croft and “How Falling in Love is like Owning a Dog” by Taylor Mali. We included a handfasting ceremony—which served as our “expression of intent”—and used Coast Guard line to, literally, tie the knot. Since we’re winos, we also performed a wine blending ceremony, using two of our favorite red and white varietals. We wrote our own vows, of course, but got our friends and family involved by including a community vow of support as well.

The whole ceremony felt surreal, like floating on a cloud. It also zipped by (as weddings do). But for those 30 minutes or so, I felt truly joyful and bursting with love. Just how you should on your wedding day.

Now, a few (or a lot) more photos, if you’d like to see…

Our family and the wedding party walked in to “93 Million Miles” by Jason Mraz and “Ho Hey” by The Lumineers, respectively.

I walked down the aisle to “Come to Me” by Goo Goo Dolls.

I love the symbolism and beautiful words of commitment in hand-binding rituals and it added a bit of formality to an otherwise untraditional ceremony. I pulled from a variety of sources (and cultures) to create the handfasting script but I couldn’t have planned this: While our officiant read the words, “These are the hands that will wipe away the tears from your eyes; tears of sorrow, and tears of joy” I was overcome with emotion and started to cry. On cue, GT pulled a tissue from his pocket and handed it to me! Everyone started to laugh and it created a wonderfully sweet memory, and a perfect picture of the man I was marrying.

During the wine blending ceremony, “The Way I Am” by Ingrid Michaelson played. 

We exited the ceremony to the song “Best Day of My Life” by American Authors.


BRIDE'S STYLE: Theia Wedding Dress and Untamed Petals Aimee Sash, both from Lovely Bride Los Angeles | Alfani Women's Kyrah Wedge Sandals in Dusty Rose (looks like they are no longer available) | Necklace and bracelets made by bride | Gemstone Dangle Earrings by Delezhen

'MAIDS' STYLE: Dresses from ModClothLuLu's and Express (all no longer available) | Necklaces and Earrings from Francesca's

GROOMSMENS' STYLE: Pink Check Dress Shirt and various purple ties from Men's Wearhouse | Perry Ellis Linen Pants in Natural Linen | "Honeymoon" Lavender Argyle Socks from Argoz | Shoes and belts their own

FLORALS: Modern Bouquet
ARCH: Built by Bride’s father (helpful DIY arch/chuppah tutorial here)
AISLE: Potted Lavender provided by Bride's mother
RUG: Magical Thinking Mirrored Medallion Handmade Rug from Urban Outfitters
MAKEUP (Cheriene) and HAIR (Nicolette): Beauti on the Go
PHOTOGRAPHY: heidi-o-photo


  1. I wrote our ceremony too, and looking back I'm really happy I took the time to do so. It was a more traditional Jewish ceremony, but not too traditional since the boy isn't Jewish. I actually have the whole thing written out in on recaps if you happen to be curious, but I would definitely agree with you that if possible it makes more sense to make the ceremony more personal to you.

    1. I would imagine writing a traditional Jewish ceremony would be difficult! Since our ceremony was less traditional, I had the freedom to do whatever I wanted in a sense. But it was still a lot of work because I wanted it to be PERFECT! Haha. It is definitely special though, when you can have the ceremony tailored to you and your partner... While not for everyone, writing it yourself is a great way to make sure it's exactly what you want.


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