I had an opportunity this week to sit in on a meeting with an amazing couple I am working with and their officiant to discuss their ceremony. Normally I don’t attend officiant meetings, as it can often be a personal process, but in this case I did, and I was so happy I had the experience. The officiant was so thorough, so interested in the couple, asked so many questions, and from this interaction will customize the entire ceremony for them. She was incredible and I found her approach very moving and effective. As much as I love a beautiful wedding and think the design of a celebration is important, I also feel that as much energy and personalization should go into tailoring a ceremony. Spending time creating a ceremony that is true to you, in my opinion, is as essential as selecting the flowers, menu, and other details for your wedding.

So where do you start? What are the steps to making your wedding ceremony personal? Here are 5 tips to get your started.

1. Select the right officiant

Selecting the right officiant is the first step to planning your ceremony. I suggest to always meet with the person who will perform your ceremony before booking them to make sure you click. Be aware of their diamonore and if they are genuinely interested in you and your story. In my humble opinion, a good officiant will ask you lots of questions about your relationship and story so the ceremony can be true to you and well informed.

offiiant image via Caroline Hete Photography

2. Tailor the Wording

When you meet with your potential officiant, make sure to ask them for a sample of the service. Ask them if this can be tailored and amended to you and your partner’s liking. If it’s a traditional religious ceremony, there may be restrictions on how much say you have on the wording, but it never hurts to ask. Be sure to have a discussion on how much of you and your partner will be brought into the wording. Do they ad lib or stick to a specific script? Will there be religious elements? Will they talk about you and your partner’s relationship in any capacity? Get involved in the process and the result will be a meaningful ceremony reflective of you both.

3. Include the Right Reading

Now, including a reading isn’t for everybody. If you can’t find a piece a poetry or reading that feels right, don’t include one just because. But if you do find the right piece that resonates with you, it is a great way to personalize the ceremony. There is a ton of amazing poetry written on love, essays on marriage and relationships, and romantic excerpts from books. Don’t forget to consider the more unconventional options out there!

vows image via Brides

4. Write your own vows

Writing your own vows can be a really lovely addition to a ceremony and a way to infuse the service with you personalities. You can write your vows together or choose to do it separately. The key is to be genuine and honest. Check out my video for more tips on how to write your own vows.

5. Incorporate music

I can’t tell you how much fun my husband and I had when selecting the music for our ceremony. We spent a lot of time listening to tunes and choosing songs that we felt were us. We aren’t your typical pachelbel's canon type of couple and wanted to have music that was a little quirky, joyous, and fun. My husband Adam came out to a string version of "Forever Young" and I walked down the aisle to "Wonderful Tonight". We has two friends sing during the ceremony, one sang a totally cool and jazzy version of "I’m Yours" and our other pal say Rick Astley’s "Never Gonna Give You Up" . . . that is right folks . . . we Rickolled our guests and it was epic. Now you may not be as nerdy as my husband and I are, but this is just an example of how to utilize music in your ceremony to make it reflective of who you are as a couple.

ceremony image by Julian Beattie Photography

By Certified Wedding Planner Alexandra McNamara

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