Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tying the knot

In preparation for our phone meeting with the officiant this Thursday, Mr. P and I are gathering ideas for our ceremony. We approach tasks very differently. Whereas I like to start with the maximum number of possibilities and narrow down from there (lest I miss something awesome), he begins with a much narrower focus and expands outward as necessary...

This explains why I currently have 7 tabs of ceremony inspiration blog posts open in my Safari browser, a wedding workbook (from just-marrieds K&M), and a desktop folder simply titled "ceremony." I'm fully capable of driving myself nuts.

Here's summary of things we'd like to incorporate into our ceremony:

1. Write our own vows.

(Laughing hysterically, still...)

After reading about Mrs. Seahorse vow writing stress, I knew this seemingly innocuous task would need to be done far in advance and given its own month. As it's February (and the unofficial month of lurve), I can think of no better time to get started.

2. Keep it (relatively) short.
It won't be Vegas-fast or Catholic church-long. Neither of us is game for an hour of standing (fainting?) in the June heat. The ceremony ought to be long enough for it to feel serious and official, but no need to drag it out unnecessarily. Twenty minutes feels right.

3. Keep religion out of it.
By choice, we're not getting married in a church. Thinking of uttering vows with mention of God, baby Jesus, scripture and such makes me squirm. Also no prayer, please. It's a quirk or personality flaw, depending on your perspective. Mr. P is less anti-religion but recognizes the need for both of us to feel comfortable about what's being said. Neither of us consider ourselves religious so we chose a secular officiant service. Ironically, our officiant is a pastor of a small church. (This lends some legitimacy and calms my Type A fears.)

4. Audience participation
Readings of the secular variety. Possibly a call-and-answer "we will/do" sprinkled here and there. Maybe ring-warming if we're feeling crazy!

Paloma's Nest on etsy

5. Cultural mash-up
Celtic hand-fasting is a favorite. When I first suggested this, Mr. P looked at me like I had two heads. In discussing the ceremony with him, he asked for a further explanation of hand-fasting. I selected Mrs. Cherry Pie's words to read as an example and found myself choking up several times. Oh boy. (As an upgrade to this idea, I thought we might use a line [rope] from the sailboat on which we spend our summers.)

Cannot locate the image source - help?
(even struck out with TinEye)

Ever since reading about the Jewish yichud, I've thought it was a spectacular idea that we should implement. Pausing post-ceremony in a secluded space to reflect upon what has just transpired (OMG, what have we done?!) will allow us some calm perspective before the chaos.

Our goal is to create a warm and sweet secular ceremony full of meaning for us interspersed with personal touches and light-hearted moments. Moving forward with this intent, I'm leaning heavily on these posts gleaned from WeddingBee and the always inspiring A Practical Wedding:

- Secular ceremony round-up
- Writing a non-traditional ceremony (both classic APW posts!)
- Mrs. Cherry Pie's very comprehensive ceremony post
- Mrs. Pin Cushion's "Words to Wed By" post (which is assisting another bride, just as intended)
- A lovely ceremony, line by line
- Inspiration for readings: "Words to Read When You Wed"

How did you go about crafting your ceremony? Did you write your own vows (and subsequently bawl your eyes out)??


  1. Oh dear at some point we will have to start thinking about this. At such time I will be back here reviewing every word and link in this post. Thanks in advance!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. We're writing our own ceremony, but using traditional vows. We relied a lot on "The Wedding Ceremony Planner" by Judith Johnson. Lots of great examples of secular wording. I can't recommend it highly enough.

  4. Oh gosh--finding an officiant was a pain in the ass for us. We aren't religious and I asked a secular pastor if he could do our ceremony but not say "God" or a prayer and he acted like I just asked him if he could marry us on the moon.