For me, my favourite part of any wedding is the ceremony. The ceremony IS the wedding to me, the rest of the modern wedding day is just “fluff”. If the worst came to worst it wouldn’t bother me if my wedding day consisted of the ceremony only. I’ve cried at every wedding, except for one, that I have been to and even watching people get married on TV has me welling up.
The H2B and I will most definitely be doing our own personal vows alongside the normal vows (when we get our pack from the registry office closer to the time we will choose which set of their vows we want to use), but I want to do something else as well to really make the ceremony special and unique.
I have previously looked at rose and sand ceremonies, but somehow neither of those feel “us”; so I’ve done some more research on how we can create a more memorable ceremony and one that truly reflects us as a couple. Maybe some of these ideas will help you too.
PLANT A TREE
Before the ceremony, a tree in a pot is placed off to the side of where the ceremony would be taking place. During the processional, both mothers walk in with a small vase full of water and add it to a watering can. During the ceremony, the officiant speaks about the symbolism of the tree and how it relates to a marriage- the stable trunk, the outstretched limbs that offer comfort etc. The water that the mother’s brought symbolizes the love and nurturing that each family provided to bride and groom as they were growing up. When the couple water the tree they are giving the tree love to grow just as their families love will continue to support them in their relationship.
An extra step that can be carried out if for the fathers to bring in a pot of soil from their home town which the Bride and Groom add to the tree pot before pouring the water.
Ideas for the wording of this ceremony
Celebrant: The Bride and Groom will now take part in a Tree Planting Ceremony, to symbolize the roots of their relationship, and the continued growth of their love, as they become each other’s family today. Love is the essence of human experience and emotion. It is the root of all and everything we, as humans, do. Love richens our experience, and fills our lives with meaning. It gives us a firm base from which to grow, to learn, and change. Let your relationship and your love for each other be like this tree you plant today. Let it grow tall and strong. Let it stand tall during the harsh winds and rains and storms, and come through unscathed. Like a tree, your marriage must be resilient. It must weather the challenges of daily life and the passage of time. And just like the tree you are planting, marriage requires constant nurturing and nourishment.
Bride and Groom, would you please water the sapling?
(Bride and Groom water the sapling.)
Celebrant: Remember to nourish each other, with words of encouragement, trust, and love. This is needed on a daily basis so you each can grow and reach your fullest potential – just like this tree. The Bride and Groom will plant this tree in their garden to always be a symbol of their love for each other.
CREATE A TIME CAPSULE
Invite any guest attending to write you a note that’ll be read when opening your time capsule at the agreed time, whether that be on your first, fifth or tenth wedding anniversary. The letters from your guests can include well wishes, advice for married life, predictions of what the next x amount of years will hold for you, favorite memories of you two together, or anything else they’d like to include (you can either include a card about this with your invitations, post about it on your wedding website, and/or have nice stationery and pens available at the venue). People could even put in a gift, or a memento they may have from your relationship together, such as ticket stubs, a photo or even a cracker from your first Christmas together.
You can nominate a member of the wedding party to pass around the time capsule box during the ceremony for your guests to drop in their notes, or have the celebrant/registrar mention the time capsule and then pass it to someone near the front. Once the time capsule has been passed around, (to ensure guests have been given enough time to fill it maybe wait until after you’ve signed the register) seal it up as a couple until your chosen anniversary! To help remind each other of your love for each other put something in the capsule yourselves without showing each other as a surprise for each other when you open it.
This idea really appeals to me, as something different to the usual unity ceremonies but involves all of your guests, and will help them to fill the moment when you are signing the register and posing for photos with your photographer.
Extract from Rev Fullers blog
“I officiated a wedding earlier this year where the bride’s father, an accomplished craftsman, gave them a gorgeous wooden box engraved with the couples names and wedding date he had made himself.
We arranged ahead of time for key individuals to bring something meaningful to place in the box. Each person wrapped their item so the bride and groom would not know what it was and included a letter to the future. We placed this ritual towards the end of the ceremony between a Declaration of Support and the Blessing of the Marriage.
Today, (Bride and Groom), who began on separate paths, have been joined as one. You, their family and friends are a community of support for (Bride and Groom). Each of you, by your presence here today, is being called upon to uphold them in loving each other. I ask that you always stand beside them, never between them. Offer them your love and your support and refrain from judgment. Encourage them when encouragement is needed and listen carefully when they seek your advice. In these ways, you can honor this marriage. Therefore I ask, now that you have heard (Bride and Groom) exchange their marriage vows, do you, their family and friends, promise from this day forward, to encourage them and love them, and to help guide and support them in being steadfast in the promises they have made?” If you agree, please say, “We do.” ~ We do.
Truly blessed is the couple who come to the marriage altar with the approval and blessings of their families and friends. At this time I would like to invite (Names) to come forward and place their tokens of support for (Bride and Groom) into this time capsule, lovingly prepared by (Bride’s) father.
A phenomenal tenor sang a beautiful song he had written for the occasion while their friends and family filled the time capsule. Once the last item was placed in the box, I continued…
(Bride and Groom), happiness is having something to do, someone to love and something to look forward to. May you be ever grateful for the presence of this precious person who has chosen to make a life with you, and look with anticipation on the day you will open this box together, your tenth wedding anniversary, (date)! “