If experience has taught me anything, it’s that couples’ approach to their ceremony planning is very varied and in some cases totally random!
There are those who have a very clear idea of what they want to do for their ceremony from the outset and equally, those who don’t.
So no matter what stage you’re at with your wedding and ceremony planning, these questions can help you to think about your ceremony in more detail and to think about what direction it should be moving in (or not!), as well as iron out in your own mind what it is you want to do for your ceremony.
1. What does your ceremony mean to you?
I think it is really important to have it clear in your own mind, what your ceremony means to you. Try not to confuse yourself with what you think it should mean, but what you actually think it means. What are your initial thoughts and reactions? Has what you thought it meant changed over the course of your wedding planning? Are you someone who sees their ceremony as a means to a kick/ass end or do you see it as the heart of your whole day?
2. What do you want from your ceremony?
This may seem like a strange question, but if you can answer it, it will help you to have a clear understanding of your ceremony goals and what you should be aiming for with your ceremony? Do you want a ceremony that is reflective of you and your love bunny? Do you want a ceremony where you have little or lots of input? Do you want a ceremony that reflects your culture? Your religion? Do you want a short and sweet carefree ceremony? Or a ceremony that involves you and your guests? Maybe another way of looking at is, what do you want your ceremony to say about you as a couple? Have you been to any ceremonies that inspired you? What was it about them that you loved/admired?
3. Who is going to conduct your ceremony?
Depending on what type of ceremony you have will determine who will marry you, so this is why it’s really important to figure out what you want from your ceremony, in order to work out who is best to lead that ceremony for you. However, you may also have as your starting point, the person who you would like to marry you, so this may also determine what type of ceremony you have and whether you will have a friend or family member, a professional officiant or a layperson. If you’re interested in a friend or relative doing it for you, and they’re not a professional you should read this useful post on how to have a friend or relative conduct your ceremony. And if you’re looking for a professional, here’s some great advice on how to choose a celebrant.
4. Where is your ceremony going to take place?
The setting for a ceremony can for some people, be just as important as the actual ceremony itself. If there is an area or spot or place that means the world to you and you would love to say ‘I do,’ in that place, then you should do your best to find out how to make it possible. Don’t settle on a location because you think you have to and don’t be put off or convinced that you can’t have a ceremony in a place where you’d like to have a ceremony. Location, location, location, indeed.
5. What are your biggest concerns about your ceremony?
Hitting your ceremony worries head on, will help you to shape your ceremony to make sure that your concerns are well addressed and thought-out ahead of time before the ceremony itself. If public-speaking is a worry, make sure you admit this to yourself and to whoever is leading your ceremony, so that solutions can be found. This is actually a really good rule of thumb for any big concerns about your ceremony that you might have. Acknowledge the concerns and deal with them, don’t brush over them because they probably won’t go away!
6. What three things do you really want to happen during your ceremony?
Having a specific aim for your ceremony can once again help you with planning and organising your ceremony and help you to think about your ceremony direction. If I were asking myself this question, my three answers would be 1) lots of fun and laughter and family and friend involvement (okay so that’s almost like three-in-one! 2) Personal vows 3) Singing. Maybe if three isn’t enough, you should probably just make a list of ALL the things you would really like to happen during your ceremony and go from there!
7. What three things do you NOT want to happen at your ceremony?
So following on from above, my answers would be 1) no mobiles, phones and cameras apart from the professionals, 2) no wailing babies 3) no latecomers. Okay, so apart from number one, the other two are not as easy to control. But the point is to establish what will really be annoying for you and to work out how these things can be controlled/contained or curtailed! By the way, I love babies but I do think some parents forget that their little one’s crying is louder/more annoying than what they probably think it is!
8. How would you like your guests to feel about your ceremony?
What would you like your guests to take away from your ceremony? Would you like them to have learned something about you? Have a better understanding of who you are as a couple? To understand your faith or culture? To feel as though they are a big part of ceremony celebrations? To finally realise that you kids are crazy, ha ha? Whatever it is, it’s a good starting point to work backwards from and to make sure you develop a ceremony that reflects these goals.
9. How would you like to feel about your ceremony?
Again, it’s not an easy question to answer, but it’s one of those questions which can help to get you into the right frame of mind for your ceremony planning. Dig down deep and really search for some answers. Everyone wants to feel loved and happy and in general most people do, so maybe think beyond that! In asking myself this question, (because I’m actually really enjoying asking myself these questions!) I think I would like to feel all of the love from our loved ones during the ceremony and a really close connection with them, as well as with my love bunny too. And I would love to feel like myself, natural and relaxed, no guises, no stuffiness, just us and how we are, in an everyday-kind-of-way. That’s all!
10. And lastly, how do you want your ceremony area to look?
I have put this question last for a reason, because I think it is the thing you should be thinking about, once you have got all of the other stuff straightened out. It’s no good if you’ve Pinterested the hell out of your ceremony-theme board, only to find out that the field you’re getting married in won’t allow candles, or some such other dilemma! Heart candy first, eye candy later! But obviously, it is really a joy to be able to apply a theme to your ceremony area, as much as you will to the rest of your day. To get to think about how you’d love your peeps to be sitting and how and where you’d like to stand, to wedding signs and stationery. All of this is very important and so much fun to plan too. Check out some great ceremony styling posts here, for advice on order of service programmes and styling your ceremony area.
So that is it people, get asking yourself these important questions and get yourself in the right frame of mind for tackling and planning the ceremony that is ahead of you. After all, it’s only the most important part of your whole entire day. Just saying.
Photo by Agata Jensen Photography.