Along with couple’s choosing to write their own vows, I see more and more couple’s choosing to forgo a traditional wedding ceremony as well. In Colorado, this is particularly prevalent because you don’t actually need someone to marry you.
Yep, you heard me! It’s called self-solemnization and doesn’t require an officiant, a judge, a minister or a priest. All it requires is the two of you signing the marriage license.
Which means, you can choose anyone that you want to preside over your ceremony. It could be a friend, a family member, or multiple people who mean something to you. They could choose to become ordained online, but in Colorado at least, they don’t have to.
Of course, just because you have the perfect person in mind to marry you, doesn’t mean that they will have any idea where to start. Feel free to include them in the ceremony planning, or tell them that you’ll write your own ceremony and they can read it.
7 Tips for Writing Your Own Wedding Ceremony
- Use Google to identify elements of a ceremony that are important to you. There are tons of ceremony ideas on the web, so don’t feel like you have to reinvent the wheel. Read tons of ceremonies of all styles. There are religious ceremonies, spiritual ceremonies, and cultural ceremonies. All of these come in a mixture of funny and solemn. Pick and choose what you like from each one and don’t be afraid to mix and match.
- Include a welcoming and unifying element to the start of the ceremony. I really like ceremonies where guests are invited to be present with the couple. I’ve seen various techniques for this portion of the ceremony from the ringing of a singing bowl, to a moment of silence, to a funny story that starts everyone off laughing. Whatever you choose to do, encourage your guests to be an active participant in the start of your marriage.
- Include music that means something to you. Choose to highlight musical friends who sing or play an instrument. You can use them as background music during the processional and recessional, or you can highlight them during the ceremony itself. Give them a platform to perform a favorite song or a song that really resonates with your relationship.
- Ask those closest to you to provide a reading or a blessing. There are no limits to the kind of material that these people can use for this portion of your ceremony. Let it be funny, let it be sentimental, let it be deeply personal. But find a way to have someone really close to you provide a meaningful addition to your ceremony.
- Decide if you want a unity element. Do you want to warm your rings? Light a unity candle? Do a handfasting ceremony? Think about whether there are any cultural traditions that symbolize unity and marriage that you would like to include.
- Allow funny anecdotes. Whether it’s a quote from your favorite movie, a mini roast of you as a couple by your MC, keep your guest laughing and crying throughout your ceremony.
- Decide how you want to be pronounced and announced at the end of your ceremony. You could use the more traditional “Mr. and Mrs. _______, or Mrs. and Mrs. ______. Or you could announce yourself by your last name “The Smiths’!” Or, skip traditional altogether and have your MC say “I’m excited to announce that Steve and Richard are married!”
And finally, I have one more tip for you, that doesn’t have anything to do with the words of the ceremony itself.
Stand close to each other during the ceremony.
Whether you choose to stand side by side or across from each other, stand close enough that you are comfortably able to touch. There is nothing more distracting than a couple who stands so far apart from each other at a ceremony that it doesn’t seem like they are connected or invested in the start of their marriage.
I hope these tips for writing your own wedding ceremony are helpful! Wedding ceremonies are such a meaningful part of the wedding day. I want to hear what you’re planning!