Top Ten Tips – Creating your Ceremony

When we chat to couples about their upcoming wedding, one of the first things they often say is “We don’t know where to start”.  That’s where wedding suppliers come in.  Everyone in the wedding industry is so knowledgeable and has so much experience so reach out to all of your prospective suppliers to ask them about their business, the way they work, their process on the day.

“When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody,

you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.” When Harry Met Sally

 

Mrs RedHead Photography

The ceremony is the most important part of the day. We find people often forget that while planning their wedding.  We tell couples how important it is to hit the right tone from the start.   To craft the perfect ceremony, the consultation with your celebrant is key.  This is where the celebrant asks a series of questions about your ideas, your thoughts, your music and reading choices, your bridal party, your processional and so on.  It’s a very detailed chat, ideally done in person or via video chat.  That’s when each couples ideas and wishes are put on the table and the celebrant then incorporates them in to the ceremony.  For us in Coastal Ceremonies, it’s the most important part of the process, and ensures the couple’s ceremony is personal, meaningful or memorable. Our “speciality” is all things ceremony related so we thought it might be useful to include our top ten tips when you are starting to think about your dream ceremony.

Ten Top Tips

Awake and Dreaming Photography

Choose the right celebrant for you. There are so many options out there and so many incredible celebrants.  When choosing a celebrant, you have to think about what reflects you both as a couple, your personalities and your belief system.  For some couples it’s important that they get married in their venue or location of choice, and therefore an independent celebrant, like Coastal Ceremonies might suit them best as they can officiate a wedding ceremony at most locations or venues seven days a week.  For others, they want to be able to incorporate the legal signing of their marriage certificate on the day.  Therefore, an Interfaith minister, a humanist, spiritualist or a registrar is most suitable.  When you are choosing a celebrant look on their website for testimonials from previous weddings, and images of weddings they have officiated at, and give them a call to see if they sound like the right fit for you. Remember it’s your special day, so choose the right celebrant for you both.   We wrote a blog on celebrant options here which may help you in your search.

Choose the right wedding suppliers for you. The Irish wedding industry has the best suppliers in the World (yes we are biased, but they are great).    We all have a lot of experience and have seen what works and what doesn’t so you can trust us to ensure your day is perfect.

Put your own stamp on your ceremony. This is so important. It is your ceremony and it is the most important part of the day, so whatever you want to include, we can as it will set the tone for the rest of the day. Make it all about you as a couple and don’t include something because it is “trendy”, or someone else said you should.  If it doesn’t resonate with you, forget about it.

 

Elaine Hogan

We love music and really believe the right pieces of music can enhance a ceremony. It’s so fun choosing the perfect musicians and the right pieces of music.  Maybe there is a song that reminds you of your first date, your first holiday, or your proposal.   You typically need 3 pieces of music; processional, middle and exit but sometimes it’s nice to accompany certain elements with music throughout the ceremony. We have officiated ceremonies where a harpist has played “For the love of a Princess”, from Braveheart, during the Handfasting.  It’s a perfect accompaniment.

 

Similar to music, the right readings can really tie the whole ceremony together. We particularly love Song lyrics and poems. For example, one of our favourite poems is from John O’Donohue, “For Marriage”.

As spring unfolds the dream of the earth,
May you bring each other’s hearts to birth.
As the ocean finds calm in view of land,
May you love the gaze of each other’s mind.
As the wind arises free and wild,
May nothing negative control your lives.
As kindly as moonlight might search the dark,
So gentle may you be when light grows scarce.
As surprised as the silence that music opens,
May your words for each other be touched with reverence.
As warmly as the air draws in the light,
May you welcome each other’s every gift.
As elegant as dream absorbing the night,
May sleep find you clear of anger and hurt.
As twilight harvests all the day’s color,
May love bring you home to each other.

We have so many ideas and resources to share. Also, don’t forget to pick someone to read who would enjoy doing it.  Don’t ruin someone’s day by asking them to do it if they will get too nervous.  Believe me we have seen people sick with nerves beforehand.

Celebrants in IrelandInclude your story to the ceremony. Telling each couples story is our favourite part of the ceremony. It’s where we tell everyone the story of how and when you first met, your first date and kiss, your first holiday, your engagement story and finally what marriage means to you both.   It never fails to raise some laughs and some tears.  We particularly love telling proposal stories, and we have heard some absolutely brilliant ones.  From really romantic stories where everyone is crying, to crazy ones where the dog runs off with the ring, or the groom to be gets stage fright and can do nothing only stare at his soon to be fiancé.

 

Write your own vows or personalise traditional ones.

Gavin Coughlan Photo

You will never regret writing your own vows and we can help you along the way. Some people say,” I could never do that, I can’t write”, and then they produce the most amazing words we have ever heard. We always encourage couples to send us their vows separately before their wedding day, so on the day they hear the vows for the first time.

If you are not comfortable writing your own, it’s lovely to personalise traditional ones.  Our favourite personalised one is “I vow to always have snacks in the car for when you get hangry”. What a keeper.

Writing your own vows can be harder than it seems so the following tips may be useful to you both as you craft your vows.

  • Make sure you both agree to write your own vows. One of you may not be comfortable writing your own vows so agreement upfront is important.
  • Write your vows in plenty of time. Vows written the night before in a rush will only add to any last minute stress you may have.
  • Reference your history together – places that mean something to you, shared love of music, travel etc.
  • Pick out that one special reason why you fell in love with your fiancé.
  • Have some fun if appropriate but don’t embarrass your fiancé.
  • Use lines from favoured songs or poems.

Remember, this is your special day, where you both will declare your feelings for each other in front of family and friends.  Do what feels right for you both as a couple and enjoy the process and whatever you decide to do, agree in plenty of time before your wedding day.

 

Awake and Dreaming Photographer

Add ceremony enhancements. We love including them but they have to be something you both want and resonate with. We include Handfastings, sand ceremonies, unity candles, love letters and wine box ceremonies, ring warming and many more. We love adding personal elements to them.   During outdoor ceremonies, we have encouraged couples to have a sip of whatever they have included in their “Love letter and wine box ceremony”.  We have had cups of tea, whiskey and wine. Perfect for cold, windy days on the Cliffs of Moher. We wrote a blog about our favourite ceremony enhancements here.

 

Don’t leave things to the last minute; you don’t need any extra stress leading up to the wedding. We aim to have the ceremony finalised two weeks before the ceremony but if we need to make last minute changes we can do.  And if you are writing your own vows, don’t leave it to the morning of the ceremony.

Most importantly, relax and enjoy your ceremony, your celebrant has it all in hand.

Philippe Photography

If you would like to discuss any aspects about your ceremony please get in touch with us on coastalceremonies@gmail.com or on +353 87 2452858.  We would love to chat.