When planning a wedding ceremony, most brides get caught up in the flowers and the decorations. The truth is that the beauty of the wedding ceremony has little to do with words, music or what the bride’s wearing. Some weddings are magical simply because it’s obvious the bride and groom are so in love. Others aren’t as moving because the couple looks more like a cake topper than lovers for life.
The Wedding Ceremony
A beautiful wedding ceremony is one where the bride and groom are able to demonstrate their love and commitment to each other. Nothing is more beautiful or hopeful, especially in a cynical world with a high divorce rate! The communication between the bride and groom, whether smiling, touching and otherwise being tender with one another, is what makes a wedding lovely.
Achieving this beauty requires the bride and groom be as anxiety-free as possible. It also requires couple input concerning the ceremony, meaning it’s personal and reflects their relationship. Other factors that create a more relaxed wedding include wearing less formal clothing, using a more informal setting such as a home (or beach), having fewer wedding attendants or no wedding party at all, and keeping the guest list at immediate family and friends. Perhaps the most beautiful wedding option is one where the couple marries in a home or chapel with fewer than 35 guests and throw a dinner-based reception.
Family and Friends
When planning a wedding ceremony, then second ingredient for success is ensuring each guest can feel very special and important. The bride and groom’s relationship is already established (clearly!), meaning the ceremony is the celebration of a commitment now formalized in front of family and friends. The key term is “family and friends.”
Two possibilities easily make a ceremony impersonal. One is to have a wedding so enormous you’ll spend time with maybe half of them. The other is a wedding with only the couple involved. Both express the same idea– the couple’s commitment is limited to one another. This “isolationist” view of “two people against the world” is romantic, but totally unrealistic. Seeking to live in a vacuum, which is basically impossible these days, generally dooms a relationship to a dismal failure. Family and friends are usually the only support systems we have, and a wedding ceremony is a time to thank everyone who’s been there for you. Plan to spend at least one minute with every person who attends. After all, if you can’t talk to them, why invite them?
Check out a few ideas on how to plan a wedding ceremony and make it about relationships, not funds:
Flowers: Use a vase of cut flowers for the wedding altar or mantel from a local grocery store or florist. Large floral arrangements are for funerals, so skip them.
Photographs: Contact a photo-journalist to take “action shots” and a small number of posed family photographs. Ask for the film and get them developed yourself.
Location: Find a small chapel or have the wedding at a home, or a friend’s home.
Dress: Wear something that can be worn again but still allows your photographs to remain timeless.
Cake and Decorations: Order a small cake, or skip the cake entirely. Only 50% of your guests will eat it, anyway! And don’t bother with a groom’s cake, matches and matching napkins, mints and that ice cream punch. Don’t forget about non-alcoholic options for friends and family who don’t drink alcohol.
Music: Make your own wedding playlist, or consider a harpist or violinist if going the live music route. Such sounds carry well, and guests will love them. Involve talented friends and family, if applicable.
Invitations: Write out the invites if inviting only a few. If you have a color printer, this also allows for great creativity.
Attendants: You don’t need attendants, however if you have others standing up there with you, try to keep it to one each. This prevents the need for a rehearsal and allows guests to focus on you rather than a large wedding party. Include your children if possible.
Reception: A sit-down dinner at a favorite restaurant or hotel is a fantastic inexpensive option.
Ceremony: Make it personal. Talk about your children or allow family or friends to participate with special readings or other special tasks.