Personalising The Wedding Ceremony

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.

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 Planting a tree instead of unity candles!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.

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)! “

Budget Table Decorations

For your wedding guests the table decorations are the ones they will have the most time to view so it is important to take time to think about how your table decorations will fit within your chosen theme and style AND within your BUDGET.

There are a lot of companies out there who sell or hire everything you can possibly need to decorate your reception tables. Buying or hiring the full table detailing may not be the best idea for the couple getting married on a budget. As a person I would not be described as crafty by others nor by myself; however DIY reception table decorations are easily do-able by even the most inept crafter.

Work With The Season
Autumn is my favourite month. The colours of the turning trees and plants, the falling of the leaves, the fresh crisp mornings and the bounty of free beauties.
Bring the autumn in to your autumnal wedding
Name cards just got fun..... spray leaves with gold paint. When dry use a soft tip black permanent marker to write names. Autumn wedding perfection!Leaves make perfect place names for your reception tables. I love the look of them sprayed gold with guests names hand written on to them in sharpie.

When choosing your leaves it is best to take them early in the season on a dry day. If need be you could take them while they are still on the trees and even before they start to turn.

You could forgo the spraying and write place names on them as is for a more natural and earthy look.

leaf shapes can even be attached to a natural favour such as an apple or pear for a spring wedding. Attach the leaf shape with the guests name written on it to the fruit of your choice with a pin or tooth pick.

15 Leaf Ideas for Fall Weddings | Bridal Musings Wedding Blog 4
Other autumnal items to bring in to your wedding are pine cones, acorns and conkers.

Fill the bottom of your jar with acorns, conkers or pinecones, stick in some small branches that still have leaves attached and then add your own touches. The examples here utilises gold bell strings and tiny battery operated fairy lights.
For a December wedding you could add fill the bottom on the jar with small tree decorations and stick in thin branches sprayed white or silver and hang Christmas decorations and fairy lights from the branches.
The battery pack of the fairy lights could be hidden in the base of the jar to keep everything tidy.

Rustic Natural Influence
For a Spring or Summer wedding bring the outdoors in with rustic influences.
Wedding centerpiece ideas Forget-me-nots!!
Team un-decorated glass jars and pots with wild flowers, short pillar candles and a narrow un-treated log circle.

Keeping the center of gravity of your table decorations low enables better communication between the guests at each table; which will create a better atmosphere – what more could a bride want than a buzzing conversational and relaxed atmosphere on her wedding day.
Baby's Breath and Mason jar. Simple and beautiful. Wedding decorations

Babys Breath is BIG at the moment and simply stunning when teamed with simple jars, and works well for any wedding theme!

Go simple and rustic with babys breath or glitz things up by putting clumps in jars that have been customised with glitter or spray painted in the your wedding colour/s.

Spray painted bottles

I’m going to end this post with the elegance of spray painted bottles. The bottles need cost you nothing, just save up some spray painted old glass bottles with gold metallic paint. Used shower curtain rings as bottle bottles or even nice olive oil bottles, glass coke bottles or even glass water bottles. You can even ask friends and family to save some interesting shapes bottles for you. The variety of bottle shapes and heights only adds to the effect.

Clean the bottles out thoroughly and  spray paint them your chosen colour. I think metallic colours look amazing!

Add glitz with bangles (the attached picture uses shower curtain rings!), or wrap strings of “pearls” about the thin part of the neck. Put a mix of bottle shapes and heights on each table and stick flowers or feather in the top of the bottles to create height and interest.

These bottles could be stood on mirror plates or complimented with table crystals.

So there you have it; some interesting ways you can create budget table decorations that look anything but cheap!

Shoes Shoes Shoes

Oh my, many girls favorite topic! It had to come at some point. I have never been a big shoe lover, mainly because my feet just don’t seem to fit in to most shoes and I am very anti painful shoes/shoes that hurt me.

Despite this I have begun to accumulate a list of shoes that I wish were mine. Any bride to be that has stepped foot in a bridal shop (read pretty much all of us) has looked at the uninspired and grossly overpriced collection lining the stairs or toward in the corner that make up the typical bridal shoes.

Therefore it will be no surprise to any that I recommend to buy your bridal shoes anywhere except a bridal shop. You may also be quite correctly guessing I am going to tell you to invest in a pair of shoes you will wear after your wedding day. Some of my favorite wedding pictures include beautiful, colored shoes being flashed with the lifting of the bridal gown.

Charcoal Grey (gray?) and bright yellow wedding colors ideas so neat!

You don’t even have to go for colorful shoes, how about be-jazzled/glitter shoes? What ever you do with your shoes, be that heeled, flat, colorful, glittery or nude, use your shoes as a statement about you. They don’t even have to go with the rest of the theme of the wedding. no metallic colors in your wedding? So what! Have those sparkly shoes anyway.

The good news about anything other than normal bridal shoes is you can get them from one of your favorite shops and in the SALE 😀

Where are you getting your bridal shoes from? Where did you get them from? I’d love to hear about your bargains.

Continuing the bunting theme

A friend of mine who is also a bride to be, getting married in November this year, and I went to a wedding fayre at a venue near us.

The wedding fayre was my first ever fayre, and to be honest it wasn’t great. I’ve heard people talk about a lot better wedding fares; however I did get a really good idea!

In the reception room at the evening they had tables laid out with flowers and stationary examples and the supplies of those flowers and stationary were also in the room.

One table really stood out for me!

The colour theme of the table was Orange, Yellow and Blue – not exactly to my liking – but I loved the paper pinwheels and the bunting idea for the menu’s.

Here is a close up of one of the bunting menu’s on the table. Although I loved the pinwheels, my budget wouldn’t really allow me to bring in yet another dimension to the wedding, but the bunting for the menu really inspired me!

So while making the bunting as discussed in my previous post we decided to make some bunting for the menu and the place names.
What you will need:

  • Card
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • fabric cut into bunting triangles (to see how to do this see my previous post.)
  • Bunting line
  • Sowing machine
  • Craft Glue

With your chosen card draw triangles onto the card to the designed size. We chose to make our triangles a good size but still smaller than the fabric triangles.

Then cut these out. We used A4 paper, folded the paper in half and drew the triangle going down from the folded side.

This meant that we could write the place-name on the top side, and open up the triangle of card to write the menu on the inside.

You will then want to sow the bunting triangles onto the bunting line. Which is quite easy especially if you have been sowing loads of bunting already.

Simply pin the bunting triangle onto the bunting line and sow.

Due to wedding guest list issues we haven’t got much further than this, and we do need to confirm the menu with the venue, however, once you’ve sown your bunting and written your menu and/or place settings onto your card attach your card to your bunting with craft glue.

Here is a mock-up of the card part.

The Ceremony and the Vows

For me this is the best part of a wedding. It is the part that makes me smile, and cry at the same time. The words that are spoken, and the promise that is being made between these two people who love each other so dearly truely overwhelms me. This part of the wedding ceremony is not just the legal part that makes the two people man and wife (wife and wife, or husband and husband), but it is the binding contract, the declaration of love, the marriage of two people in its simplist form.

I’ve always said that my favourite part of the heterosexual wedding is when the bride walks down the isle. Most people look at the bride as she walks down, but I can never help but glance at the groom waiting at the end of the isle. It always makes me melt when I see a man shed a tear of joy at the sight of his bride. I say in a heterosexual wedding, as at homosexual weddings the layout isn’t always the same. There isn’t always someone waiting at the end of the isle, as the couple may choose to walk with each other down the isle at the same time, or may both walk down the isle, one just before the other so there isn’t that time for the first one who walked down to look back at their partner as they walk down.

Therefore, I’ve always thought that a couple should take care in choosing their vows.

If you are having a civil ceremony your registra will send a pack with the different options for your vows. My registra sent my pack and there were five options of different vows that we could choose from. If you are having a religous ceremony you will still be able to have some say towards what vows you choose and your religour leader will be able to advise you on this.

Your vows are a way you can make your wedding personal to you for free. It costs nothing to choose your vows. You can choose the vows that you most agree with and like the wording of, or you can decide yo write your own vows for the big day. You can buy books from leading book shops that will help you on writing your own vows such as Five steps to writing memorable vows by Rev. Steve Durkac or A World of Ways to Say I Do by Noah and Jordan Benshea. If you don’t want to invest in a book, there are a host of websites on the net that offer advice on everything from the overal sentimate, to the words and phrases you may want to consider using when writing your vows. Some of these very helpful websites include Confetti and You and Your Wedding. For your H2B there is a fantastic site that can help him write his vows but also in other aspects of the wedding planning and the big day too;

Rose Ceremony

A way that you can add to your wedding ceremony is by incorporating a Rose Ceremony. There are a number of different ways you can do a Rose Ceremony. The best thing to do is to creatr your own ideas by researching the different ways you can do it so it is personal to you.

My favourite way to perform a Rose Ceremony is for there to be two roses, one given to the bride by the groom and one given to the groom by the bride. You could ask your registra/religous sermon to perform the Rose Ceremony or you could ask a relative/friend/member of the bridal party to perform it for you instead of doing a reading. During a wedding ceremony you can have up to three readings, the third reading can be substituted for a Rose Ceremony, as it is often nice to do before the pronoucing of man and wife.

(as read/said by your chosen person)
“Your gift to each other for your wedding today has been your wedding rings – which shall always be an outward demonstration of your vows of love and respect; and a public showing of your commitment to each other.

You now have what remains the most honourable title, which may exist between a man and a woman – the title of “husband” and “wife.” For your first gift as husband and wife, that gift will be a single rose.
In the past, the rose was considered a symbol of love and a single rose always meant only one thing – it meant the words “I love you.” So it is appropriate that for your first gift – as husband and wife – that gift would be a single rose.

Please exchange your first gift as husband and wife.

In some ways it seems like you have not done anything at all. Just a moment ago you were holding one small rose – and now you are holding one small rose. In some ways, a marriage ceremony is like this. In some ways, tomorrow is going to seem no different than yesterday. But in fact today, just now, you both have given and received one of the most valuable and precious gifts of life – one I hope you always remember – the gift of true and abiding love within the devotion of marriage.

Plus (optional)

_________ and _____________, where ever you make your home in the future – pick one very special location for roses; so that on each anniversary of this truly wonderful occasion you both may take a rose to that spot both as a recommitment to your marriage – and a recommitment that this will be a marriage based upon love.

In every marriage there are times where it is difficult to find the right words.
It is easiest to hurt who we most love. It is easiest to be most hurt by who we most love.

It might be difficult some time to words to say “I am sorry” or “I forgive you”; “I need you” or “I am hurting”. If this should happen, if you simply can not find these words, leave a rose at that spot which both of you have selected – for that rose than says what matters most of all and should overpower all other things and all other words.

That rose says the words: “I still love you.”

The other should accept this rose for the words which can not be found, and remember the love and hope that you both share today.

__________ and ________, if there is anything you remember of this marriage ceremony, it is that it was love that brought you here today, it is only love which can make it a glorious union, and it is by love which your marriage shall endure.”

Alternatives to the Rose Ceremony:

There are other ceremonies that you can have as opposed to the Rose Ceremony, some ideas include:

  • Warming of the rings
  • Sand Ceremony
  • Candle Lighting Ceremony

A website that will give you ideas for what can be said during these ceremonies is JULIA DENNY – The Hunter Valley Celebrant.

Alternatives to traditional bouquets

We all know the traditional bouquet, we dream of them when first planning our weddings, and are so familiar with them from other people’s weddings. Some may wonder what would a wedding be with flowers? whether you dream of something simply hand tied, or a lavish cascading bouquet, for the newly engaged it is often flowers that are dreamed of.

Hand tied wedding bouquet

Cascade bouquet

Until at least you discover all the other amazing alternatives to the traditional flowers bouquet that are available to buy, or if you wish, to make yourself.

Feather bouquet

Crystal bouquet

Button Bouquet

Button bouquet and button button-hole

Brooch Bouquet

Fabric Bouquet

Shell Bouquet

Paper Bouquet

Bead Bouquet

The options are endless and there are a great number of websites out there that will tell you how to make these yourself or will be able to point you in the direction of where to buy these bouquets from. The limits are only the same as the limits to your imagination. You don’t even have to have just one type on its own, shows how you can mix buttons or brooches with traditional flowers to make a really stunning and unique bouquet.

Felt Bouquet

I LOVE felt bouquets! I think that they are one of the best look alternative bouquets. Especially as you can easily bring buttons and jewels into the mix to make them look even more unique and special.

If you really have no money at all and are open to being an alternative bride, then the cheapest alternative bouquet that I have come across is a wool pom pom bouquet.

How to make a Wool Pom Pom Bouquet:

  • With your chosen wool in mind wrap the wool around your hand, or fingers

    Wool wrap around fingers/hand

  • Once you have wrapped sufficient wool around your fingers remove this and then start wrapping the wool around this the other way. Once you have wrapped the wool around both ways cut the wool around the edges.
  • using a cardboard circle wrap your wool around the cardboard circle until the whole circle is covered nicely, and then cut the wool around the circle and then remove the cardboard circle.

    Wool pom pom

    Nearly completed Pom Pom

    Make sure that either way you do it you tie the two ends of the string together to keep the pom pom together.

  • Make sure you fluff out your pom pom, and trim the pom pom in to a neat circle.
  • Glue the pom poms to sticks – you can keep it rustic with stick or canes you’ve collected or bought, or you can neaten it up by wrapping the sticks in ribbon or fabric.
Pom pom bouquet

Pom pom bouquet

unfortunately I didn’t make the pictures used above. The pictures used above belong to a couple of the sites listen below. The sites listed below give more instructions, ideas and examples of pom pom bouquets.

Offbeat Bride – for clear instructions with pictures and examples

moms and kids – NWR but the pictures used above have been taken from this site

Ruffled – for how to add fabric pom poms to your pom pom bouquet.

And how about a pom pom buttonhole?