Creating a ceremony

Breaking from tradition is a bold move to make but definitely worth it. Ceremonies can be more beautiful, peaceful, connected and artful than tradition.

My role is to help people craft ceremonies that they are able to do mostly on their own and possibly with the participation of their guests. After being a wedding photographer for 10 years I've learned that ceremonies look and vibe best with just the couple and their loved ones. So, I help set up all the details for ceremonies to happen mostly without me in the most photogenic, surreal and mindful way possible. I live to make ceremonies look like art and feel like a dream.

A New Age wedding values spiritual connection, mindfulness, authenticity, equality, beauty, and all the things that make us feel wonder. There are infinite ways to add elements to a ceremony but at its core a New Age wedding values simplicity because simplicity gives us clarity of mind.

Let's take a look at the simple yet beautiful ways to create a ceremony of your own.

A wedding ceremony is simply the sequence of events of two people promising themselves to one another. There are a few main parts of a ceremony that are necessary and there are elements that can be added in that I'll talk about in a different post.

As your officiant I will help you craft a sequence that is true to your love and your values. I'll also incorporate my knowledge of photography, spirituality and design, as well as input from your vendors so that everything feels great and will look beautiful in the photos.

The main portions of a ceremony are:

  1. Seating the guests

  2. Arrival of the partners

  3. A statement of intention

  4. Exchanging of vows and rings

  5. Sealing the commitment (usually with a kiss!)

  6. Exiting and congratulations from friends and family.

Even with the most simple ceremonies it helps to be guided through the process. It helps to have either sound queues, a person to announce the sequence of events or good memorization.

  • Sound queues - These queues could perhaps be a gong, sound bowls, music, anything that could signal that the next event should occur.

  • A person - You can have an officiant (hopefully me) or a friend or family member announce which event will occur and give you instruction / a reminder of what needs to be done.

  • Memorization - This really helps no matter what kind of queues are planned. It's part of the reason that tradition has been so popular... the sequence of events is familiar and that familiarity makes people comfortable. So not only can you practice with your partner but I am available to help you practice the ceremony a few times in the location the day prior to your wedding date for rehearsal.

Next let's look at the details of the main portions of the ceremony.....

1. Seating the guests

This is obviously only if you are having guests and it's pretty much straightforward. It is necessary to have someone help herd the guests to the site. As your officiant this is part of my job as well to make sure that all the seats are filled and that certain people have the seats they should have.

Sometimes couples prefer to have certain guests like parents or grandparents escorted in to the ceremony to formalize their entrance. It is a good opportunity for an image of them within the ceremony images. I will also say that for the imagery it does help to have the guests wear similar colors without any bright colors.

You may want to start music while the guests arrive and then change it for the arrival of the couple or stop it and sound a light gong or other audial queue.

2.Arrival of the partners

There are two main options for the entrance of the partners. Either down an a central axis toward the ceremony site or from opposite sides of the ceremony site walking toward each other. Partners can either walk to the ceremony site at the same time or one partner can enter before the other.

In a traditional ceremony the masculine partner arrives to the ceremony first and a feminine partner is walked "down the aisle" by her father. This may be something you'd like to incorporate into your ceremony or you may choose to go with a more new age approach.

New Age beliefs often value the idea of equality and symmetry. To have a more equal ceremony consider possibly entering at the same time from opposite sides or down a central axis. If you wish to be escorted by a parent consider being escorted by both parents or incorporating both your feminine and masculine heritages.

3. A statement of intention

It's good to have a welcoming statement by either you and your parter, your officiant, a guest, a family member or any combination of the above. This is a good time to express to those present what your definition of love is and to help people understand how you feel about each other. Each love story is unique and this is the chance to tell your guests about yours.

This is a good place for quotes and readings as well as any other symbolic acts of commitment to take place. In a traditional ceremony this is normally where the officiant gives a speech about love and does things like sand ceremonies. However, by taking that role yourself or having people close to you take part you are creating a more meaningful moment. At this point it is best to have someone queue you to say your vows.

4. Exchanging of vows and rings

It's really important to be able to feel a deep sense of connection with your partner in this moment. This is when the most important commitment of your life will be made and it's important for your partner to hear you say it with all your heart.

Weddings are known for being "chaotic" but it doesn't have to be that way and it shouldn't be that way because of this very moment. If you are distracted by stress you won't be able to enjoy this moment which will hopefully be one of the sweetest in your life.

By scheduling a relaxed, casual timeline, being highly selective about your guest list and either taking it light on the details or hiring the right combination of vendors you will be able to savor this moment. It may seem silly to bring everything else into play but the truth is, this is the most important moment and everything and everyone that surrounds you on that day will affect your mindset and your mindset is the most important aspect of this moment.

For this reason I also recommend perhaps putting some distance between you and your guests especially if it is a large group. Your commitment to each other is not dependent on anyone else but you and it is a very personal thing. This is especially a good idea for larger guest counts and people that have anxiety or shyness.

For the vows themselves, some people choose to write their vows and some people decide to just say whatever is in their heart at that moment. After a partner says their vows they can place a ring on the others hand.

5. Sealing the commitment (usually with a kiss!)

The final step is probably the easiest one and that is the sealing of the vows. In my personal opinion it should be nice long sensual kiss but to each their own. A couple could potentially seal their vows with other actions as well like handfasting, signing a marriage certificate etc..

6. Exiting and congratulations.

The final final step is presenting yourselves as married partners to your guests. It's possible to formalize this as a part of your ceremony. In a traditional ceremony the couple proceeds down the aisle and then everyone follows them and the photographer tries to capture the chaos that ensues because no one really knows where they are going and why.

If tradition doesn't mean a lot to you, you could have people come up to you after the kiss to congratulate you and then the photographer can move directly into group photos.

The end goal is to show all your love to your partner and enjoy this one in a life time experience. let your hearts guide you on how to have your ceremony. If something makes you feel anxious then it's not for you and you should keep looking for other options.

It's so important to keep things simple and relaxed on every level. The most important thing is the promise you are making and everything else is just a cherry on top.

It would be an honor to help you figure out more about your wedding. I really love helping people in this process and consultation calls are not a business transaction to me. I genuinely love helping people figure out what's right for them. Please contact me and I'll give you a call ASAP. :)

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