1. Wear the red dress! Or any color you like! Traditionally, western brides have worn white wedding dresses but sometimes a bride feels called to wear something non-traditional for reasons like culture or personal preferences. I have seen bridal gowns in all different shapes and colors, but this beautiful strapless red dress worn by the bride pictured below made such an impression on everyone!
2. Vows don’t have to be read during the ceremony. That’s right! Maybe a couple feels like their vows are too personal, or that they would be too emotional to read them during the ceremony, or just don’t like public speaking! Whatever the reason, just know that you do not have to read your vows during the ceremony. Vows are not even required to be a part of a ceremony (see Difference Between I Do’s and Vows blog). If, however, a couple wants to write and read their own vows, just not during the ceremony, other ideas are to read them before the ceremony during the first look or at some other time - like after the ceremony in private, just the two of them.
3. Include a unity ritual! One of the most popular ways to customize a ceremony is to include a unity ritual. There are many options out there, including some that have cultural and religious meaning. I will often suggest a handful to my couples if they seem interested as well as invite them to jump on Pinterest and go down the rabbit hole of ideas. The couple in the picture below chose a sand ceremony. I loved that they found a shadow box frame that they customized with their names and the date of their marriage. They each had a different color sand, including their little boy, that they took turns adding. I loved this idea!
4. Run away and elope in the redwoods! Ashley and Devon began planning their wedding but as soon as members of their family began to try to dictate how their day should go, they immediately pivoted their entire plan and decided to escape across the country to elope in the Redwoods. They had both wanted to visit this majestic place and decided what better time! Your wedding should be about you and here is your sign to just do it your way!
5. Take a boat taxi across a lake! This couple were avid hikers and decided on an intimate ceremony that began with a boat taxi across a lake and ended with a 3 mile hike to the final destination where the ceremony would take place. A 3 mile hike is my longest one so far to perform a ceremony, but I am always on board for an adventure!
6. Involve your furry friends! Couples often ask if their pets can be a part of their wedding ceremony and if I’d be okay with that. Of course! Keep in mind that it is always helpful to have someone who is willing to take care of your pup during the ceremony just in case.
7. Include a meditation at the beginning of the ceremony. Your wedding day is going to be filled with so many emotions. I usually always begin my ceremonies by inviting the couple to take a deep breath to feel as though they’ve “arrived.” This couple wanted to include a longer meditation to start their ceremony and feel fully present for one another and in this most special moment.
8. Use rock climbing rope for your handfasting ceremony! There are many ideas for unity rituals during a ceremony, another one is a handfasting ceremony. Anything can be used as the material, so this couple decided to incorporate their love for rock climbing into the ritual by using rock climbing rope!
9. Include your children. There is no doubt that once you have married, your lives will be forever changed. But if you have children, their lives will also be forever changed. Including them in the ceremony will not only make them feel special, but validate their big feelings about the change that is happening in their lives.
10. Wear socks with you and your fiance’s face on them! Enough said!