Been to a wedding lately? Noticed anything different?
Wedding ceremonies have gone through a lot of changes over the past few years, even since my wedding in 2003. The sky’s the limit when it comes to creativity.
Some of these changes are fairly obvious – such as the switch from church/religious ceremonies to non-denominational ceremonies, small weddings and wedding parties, and unique vows.
The first ceremony I ever conducted was very, very small. About 8 guests, all immediate family, gathered in the couple’s backyard, drinks in hand. I had never been to such a small wedding myself and was very lucky that it was this type of wedding that got to be my first. I wasn’t nearly as nervous as I could have been. The couple and I wrote the ceremony together and they played with the wording and content until it was a true reflection of themselves. I guided them along the way with samples but ultimately it was their ceremony and their final say…as it should be!
I’ve performed countless ceremonies where there wasn’t even a bridal party. The couple simply invited two close family members or friends to come forward at the appropriate time to act as witnesses. And it works very well. No one has to buy a dress or rent a tux. People come to the wedding as they are, not a made up version of themselves. And for that I would like to apologize to my own bridesmaids for the dresses I made them buy and the money they had to spend. We had a great time so I think it was ok…but I certainly could have given you girls more choices. After all, it was my wedding and not yours.
Large weddings are still lots of fun to go to and officiate. I may meet someone I haven’t seen in years and didn’t know they were connected with the couple. Plus there is a party atmosphere like no other. But not many people can truly afford such large weddings anymore unless they are potluck. And I don’t see that trend coming back around just yet.
If I was asked to pick just one trend that I repeatedly see, it is a couple’s personalization of their ceremony. Everything from the content to location, each ceremony is becoming very unique and you are able to distinguish one couples’ ceremony from the next. When given choices, couples are becoming as excited about their ceremony as they are about the reception. It is no longer just a part of the day to get through to get to the party. Why can’t the party start with the ceremony?
My hope for each engaged couple is that they find ways to make their ceremony unique and memorable, for themselves and their guests. Look for ways to include people (such as passing the rings around so everyone can make a wish) and hold the ceremony in a meaningful location, such as the park where you had your first picnic together. If you can, invite your pet to walk down the aisle since they are an important family member. Try something new and it could become the latest trend.
Remember – ceremonies can be FUN!