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Wedding Planning: How to make that special day even more special!
The Ceremony: Your Unique Vision
Every little girl dreams of her wedding day. Dressed as a princess and walking down the aisle to her prince, we all dream of our happily ever after. Now as an adult you want to make sure your special day is filled with magic and uniquely yours.
One way to make your ceremony uniquely your own is to write your own vows. However, it can be a little intimidating to write your own vows. Or perhaps you feel that wedding vows should follow tradition. Even if your desire is for a traditional wedding there are still a number of variations on the traditional vows for you to choose from. I, myself, picked and choose among the various wedding traditions to create a ceremony that my love for my husband-to-be. Here are some links to help you create the perfect vows for you:
The Knot has tips for writing your own vows as well as a copy of the traditional vows.
Elegant Vows has a collection of vows to look over. However, they are not all free.
Keep and Share has a collection of thirteen different vows.
My Wedding Vows has a large collection of vows arranged by topic. The site even includes a ring ceremony that I used during my own wedding ceremony.
With this Ring I thee wed, (here placing it upon her thumb) and with my body I thee honor, (here placing it upon her index finger) and with all my worldly goods I thee endow; (here placing it upon her ring finger) In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Which brings me to my next point: There are a number of different ring ceremonies. The site My Wedding Vows lists quite a few to choose from. Whatever ring exchange or vows you would like to use make sure you discuss it with your pastor as he may have stipulations about what is included in the ceremony.
Other items that can be included in the ceremony to make your wedding an event unique to you and your fiancé include poetry recitations, solos, candle lighting ceremonies and rose ceremonies. If you and your fiancé have some poems that are special to you and/or you would like to include someone in the ceremony without making them an attendant, consider having a poetry recitation during the ceremony. Or if you would prefer not to have your guests sit through a recitation than include the poem in your program. Another option is to have the poetry recitation during the reception. The same options are available for any special songs you might wish to include.
For as long as people have been getting married young women have been trying to create a wedding that is a unique reflection of their girlhood dream, which means there is an infinite variety of wedding traditions. One such tradition is the candle lighting ceremony. This can be as simple as having a young friend or two march down the aisle at the beginning of the wedding and light all the decorative candles. Or, for a symbolic lighting of the candles, you can have the mothers each light a candle representing either your lives or your families. Then at the appropriate time the bride and groom each use their candle to light a central candle. This can be seen as the joining of two lives to create one or the bringing together of two families. If you choose to have a symoblic lighting of the candles the pastor can narrate so that your guests will understand the symbolic meaning for you and your fiancé.
Another symbolic act you could include in your wedding is the Rose Ceremony. Again, there are a couple of varieties of Rose Ceremonies. One version is to use that moment in the ceremony as an opportunity to tell your mothers thank you by presenting them each with a single rose.
Another version of the Rose Ceremony is to present the roses to each other as a symbol of your unending love, an anniversary promise and a promise to always talk things out. For more information on this type of Rose Ceremony read the article "The Rose Ceremony".
The wedding ceremony should be a reflection of your girlhood dreams but it is also a promise of you and your fiancé's enduring love. For that reason I choose to say "I will" rather than "I do" at my wedding ceremony. Obviously you both love each other now or you would not be marrying. Saying "I will" implies a promise to continue loving each other in the future.
The Reception: Romance and Thank Yous
The reception, besides being the place were you thank all your friends and family for coming, is also the ideal place for indulging your romantic vision. This is the place were your first dance as husband and wife will take place and your last dance as daddy's little girl.
The reception is the perfect time to share stories and/or pictures of your romantic lives together. Consider asking a friend to narrate a slide show of your dating days. If your fiancé proposed in some uniquely romantic way, you could ask someone to share the tale at the reception. And while the toasts and speeches are being made, consider a "word of advice" speech from the oldest married couple. Find the couple at your reception who has been married the longest and ask them for some advice on marriage. (If you do ask the oldest married couple for advice, don't forget to present them with some small token of appreciation.)
Other romantic ideas include departing in a horse drawn carriage. I would not, however, recommend arriving in a horse drawn carriage. They are, obviously, much slower than cars. All your guests will arrive at reception before you, and, because you are they ones they've come to celebrate, they will have nothing to do until you arrive.
You could also choose to release birds or butterflies at the end of the reception. Your guest could send you off in a shower of rose petals. If your reception is at the pier you could even choose to sail away into the sunset with your fiancé.
However you choose to depart, don't go far. A wedding ceremony, while a very romantic and joyful occasion, is still very emotional and wearing. If you stay close by instead of trying to run off to catch a plane out of town, you will find your first night as man and wife much more enjoyable.
Whatever ideas you do decide to incorporate into your wedding ceremony just remember on your big day forget about everything else and just focus on your fiancé. You are expressing your love for each other and your promise to make that love last.