Ceremony ideas linkfest

One of my wedding tasks this weekend is to finally fill out the questionnaire for our officiant to be able to start putting together the first draft for our ceremony. I've gone through the archives on stuff related to the ceremony, but here are some more links that I've been saving up.

  • Getting there: Angie and Josh planned to walk in together, hand-in-hand, just following their celebrant to the designated open area near the pavilion where their reception was hosted. Originally they weren't going to have an aisle, either, but then they decided to have an aisle and have their parents walk them down it instead.
  • Afterwards: 2000 Dollar Wedding had a post on post-ceremony transition instructions they had their officiants announce, to explain to people what would happen next. This makes so much sense to me, in order to set everyone's expectations, since I don't think we'll be having programs but I think people like to know what's next.
Guides to writing ceremonies
  • Meg of A Practical Wedding's post on how she and David wrote their modern Jewish ceremony, with always helpful self-reflection. She says, "I think that the fundamental question to ask yourselves when you tackle your ceremony (and to continually ask yourself at various points during the process) is, 'what is the relationship we want to have with tradition?' What push/pull do we want to create with what is traditional for us and/or our families?"
  • APW post on writing a secular ceremony
  • More resources at APW on writing a secular ceremony: "First, figure out what you believe about marriage fundamentally. This has to be your foundation, and then when you wade through the insane amount of books/suggestions/google results, you will at least know what to use when/if you see it."
  • I think I've seen recommendations for Judith Johnsons' The Wedding Ceremony Planner: The Essential Guide to the Most Important Part of Your Wedding Day in a few different places, but the first place was probably this wedding graduate post by Wendy and Darin

I need to talk to Dan about this because I think he's probably pretty skeptical on the general idea of rituals that involve audience participation, like a ring warming or a group declaration of support (officiant asks the audience to respond with "we do!" in response to a question about having the community support the marriage), but I think I would really like to have some of that. We'd have to hammer out what wouldn't feel too New Age-y or intrusive to him, but still give me the sense of community involvement that I'd like.
  • Wedding for Two posted about a friend of hers that had a moment in the ceremony where people were encouraged to introduce themselves to people around them. I've only been to a few church services, so I can't remember if this happens at every one, but I remember some where you shake hands with people around you that you don't know, which I always thought was a really nice thing to have especially for an introvert like me that doesn't generally go around introducing myself to people I don't know. However, she mentions it made the attendants feel awkward and they just did group hugs all around instead. Also, with ~100 at our wedding, with most people attending as part of a larger group of friends or family, people probably will mostly be sitting with people that they know and this would only happen at the fringes where different groups are touching.
  • I feel pretty strongly that I want to have an acknowledgement of our gratitude and respect for our parents in the ceremony itself, beyond the having them walk us down an aisle possibility. Sharon's inclusion of bowing to their parents in the ceremony feels to me like something we could do that wouldn't feel silly or too awkward like I think a flower ceremony might. Actually, just looking at the photos of this moment in their ceremonies makes me tear up a bit.
  • An Ask Team Practical post on having bilingual weddings. I think the Chinese contingent will be fine without bilingual signs, but I feel like it might be nice to have a Chinese poem or something read by...someone? Maybe my dad? 
People have asked me about what Chinese traditions I'd like to incorporate, but actually, somewhat like Chinese swear words, this was not a part of my Chinese cultural education at all. My parents don't have much to offer here either, as they got married in the U.S. It's a bit strange, as with the long history of Chinese culture, you'd think they would have developed a tradition or two related to marriage, but I've only really seen "traditional" Chinese weddings as portrayed on TV dramas set in the days of the emperors. Probably not too authentic. I'll ask our officiant to do some research here, I suppose.

From "Union" by Robert Fulghum, which is apparently out of his book, From Beginning to to End - The Rituals of Our Live. He's also the author of All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.
You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes, to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making commitments in an informal way. All of those conversations that were held in a car, or over a meal, or during long walks – all those conversations that began with, “When we’re married”, and continued with “I will” and “you will” and “we will” – all those late night talks that included “someday” and “somehow” and “maybe” – and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding. The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, “You know all those things that we’ve promised, and hoped, and dreamed – well, I meant it all, every word.”

Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another – acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, even teacher, for you have learned much from one another these past few years. Shortly you shall say a few words that will take you across a threshold of life, and things between you will never quite be the same.

For after today you shall say to the world –
This is my husband. This is my wife.
From The Irrational Season by Madeleine L’Engle [edit: I checked out a copy of this book from the library, as Dan wanted to learn the context, but then we found out that this isn't actually one straight passage in the book, so I'm correcting this to show the parts that were taken out. It's from pages 46-48]
But ultimately there comes a moment when a decision must be made. Ultimately two people who love each other must ask themselves how much they hope for as their love grows and deepens, and how much risk they are willing to take. . . . It is indeed a fearful gamble. . . . Because it is the nature of love to create, a marriage itself is something which has to be created, so that, together we become a new creature. . . . To marry is the biggest risk in human relations that a person can take. . . . If we commit ourselves to one person for life this is not, as many people think, a rejection of freedom; rather it demands the courage to move into all the risks of freedom, and the risk of love which is permanent; into that love which is not possession, but participation. . . . It takes a lifetime to learn another person. . . . When love is not possession, but participation, then it is part of that co-creation which is our human calling, and which implies such risk that it is often rejected.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this roundup! We need to hammer out our ceremony script soon so I will be returning to this post I am sure.

Sarah said...

I put together a roundup of online resources when I posted our ceremony, too. Some are different from yours, so it might be of use.


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