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Crafting your ceremony ~ Key things your officiant will need to know

So, you’ve had your consultation calls with a number of officiants and have chosen the person who is a great fit for you and for your ceremony. So now, the planning can start! Your first meeting with your officiant is a pivotal moment where the magic of a personalized ceremony begins to take shape. Understanding what to expect can make this process smoother and more enjoyable. In this blog post, I’ll talk you through some of the key questions your officiant is likely to ask during that initial meeting. From personalizing vows to choosing meaningful rituals and discussing cultural traditions, these conversations will help tailor your ceremony to reflect your unique love story. Whether you envision a traditional affair or a modern celebration, preparing for these questions ensures that every detail of your ceremony honors your relationship and sets the stage for a memorable day.

Consider whether you'd like to include a poem or reading in your ceremony.

They really can help to add a personal and meaningful touch and will help to celebrate your unique relationship and shared values. Also think about who will deliver this reading. Your officiant can read on your behalf, of course, but readings can be a nice way to include others - a close friend, a family member, or perhaps one of you. Even a confident child could be asked to read something! Consider using your favorite music, films or literature as a source of inspiration. If you’d like to include something, but you’re not sure what, then ask your officiant to send you some examples. I have an entire readings booklet that I pass to my couples to help them choose.


Honoring loved ones.

Your officiant will likely ask you whether you’d like to, during your ceremony, honor loved ones who have passed away. There are so many meaningful and gentle ways that this can be done, from including a moment of silence, lighting a candle in their memory, or displaying a photo of them. Discuss these options with your officiant, who can help integrate these moments seamlessly into the ceremony, ensuring that the memory of your loved ones is cherished, and their presence felt.


To plug or unplug!

Consider having an unplugged ceremony to ensure that your wedding remains a personal and intimate experience. By asking guests to refrain from using phones, cameras, and other electronic devices during the ceremony, you create an environment where everyone can be fully present and engaged in the moment. This allows your guests to truly connect with the emotions of the day and prevents distractions that could detract from the significance of your ceremony. An unplugged ceremony also ensures that your professional photographer captures the best possible shots without interference! So, decide whether you would like an unplugged ceremony and then talk with your officiant who will offer suggestions as to how to communicate your wishes to your guests.

A moment for dad?

If it is your dad who will be walking you down the 'aisle' then think about whether you'd like to include the traditional "giving away" part of the ceremony. This moment can be a meaningful nod to tradition, and I find it’s something that most dads expect to have happen! But, if this is something you want to include, your officiant will likely suggest using wording that better reflects our modern age! For example, instead of asking, "Who gives this woman to be married?" I suggest to my couples phrasing such as, "Who supports this couple in their marriage?" or "Who presents this bride in love and support?" This allows for a more inclusive and contemporary approach, whilst still acknowledging the importance of tradition.

Are religious elements important to you?

It's likely that you’ll have already decided on a religious or non-religious ceremony as part of the process for choosing your officiant. But, if you have thoughts about this that develop afterwards, then make sure you think about whether you’d like to incorporate any religious elements, such as prayers or readings. Including these can add a layer of spiritual significance and honor your faith and traditions. Whether you want a full religious ceremony or just a few meaningful touches, think about what resonates most with you as a couple. Discuss your preferences with your officiant, who can help you choose appropriate prayers, blessings, or scriptures that align with your beliefs and values.


What about your vows?

Your officiant will need to know quite early on in the planning process whether you’ll be including personal vows as part of your ceremony. Remember, though, that vows are not legal requirements so don’t have to be included! But if you do want to include them, then consider whether you’ll write and read your own vows to one another and whether you’ll read them as part of a ‘first look’ or as part of the ceremony. If you’d prefer to include personal vows, then talk through with your officiant the options for including standard vows that you repeat, a line at a time, at the appropriate point in the ceremony. As a professional officiant, I specialize in helping couples to write their vows so also ask whether this is something your officiant can do for you too.


Would you like to include symbolic elements?

Unity rituals such as hand fasting’s, sand ceremonies, wine blending and tree planting offer the opportunity to really personalize your ceremony. If you have one in mind, then make sure you let your officiant know which ritual you’d like to include, whether you’re sourcing the materials or whether you need them to and who will be involved in the ritual. If you like the idea of incorporating a unity ritual but don’t know very much about them or which one would best suit your ceremony, then let your officiant know so that they can make suggestions for you.

A smooth transition

It is increasingly common for officiants to make post ceremony announcements to help your guests understand where they need to move to after the ceremony either for cocktail hour or photographs. So, so let your officiant have the necessary details so that they can help achieve a smooth transition from the ceremony to the reception and photos.

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