Ten Steps to your Perfect Wedding Ceremony
Welcome back to another instalment of ‘Our Wedding’! I’m loving sharing with you the lessons I learnt and the processes we went through during the year we planned our big day. If you’re new to my blog, Welcome! Head over to Parts One, Two and Three of our wedding story to get a great overview of the whole shindig.
As I mentioned in Part Two, the structure of our ceremony was such an important part of our day, with a lot of work going into it, that I felt it deserved a post of it’s own. Plus whilst researching for ideas, I really struggled to find wording and lay outs that made sense to our relationship and that were anything but bog standard. So hopefully this helps someone!
Our wonderful Celebrant, Jen, sent over many options for our ceremony, however I felt that for something so meaningful it made far more sense to write the bulk of it ourselves, using Jen’s template as a guideline. Your celebrant should have a template for you to work from and tweak as you see fit.
BRIDAL PARTY ENTRANCE
Your groom and his boys will already be at the ceremony location, greeting your guests and slowly getting more and more nervous (as was in Mitch’s case)! A little tip – have an easy listening playlist prepared to be played during this time. There’s nothing worse for your guests than hanging around waiting with no atmosphere. My bridesmaids and I entered to ‘Space Oddity’ by David Bowie – unconventional I know but that’s Mitch and I, haha! My bridesmaids and I went up to the ceremony location the night before and timed when everyone set off so that I started down the aisle at the exact point in the music that I wanted – yes, very staged, but that’s what you get from a performer! I asked a wonderfully organised friend to take charge of playing the ceremony music for us, using my iPhone and fading it out as Jen began her welcome.
Please be seated. My name is Jennifer Etherington, and it is my great pleasure to welcome you here today, to witness the marriage of Mitchell and Katie.
We are gathered together on this day to witness and celebrate the marriage of Mitchell and Katie. We come together not to mark the start of a relationship, but to acknowledge and strengthen a significant bond that already exists. This ceremony is a public affirmation of that bond, and as their dearest family and friends, it is our honour and privilege to stand witness to this event. This day is made possible not only because of your incredible love for each other, but through the grace and support of your family and friends. It is our hope that your fulfilment and joy in each other will increase with each passing year.
Marriage is a commitment in life, where two people can find and bring out the very best in one another. It offers opportunities for sharing and growth that no other relationship can equal, a physical and emotional joining that has the promise of a lifetime.
Legal bit: As a Civil Marriage Celebrant, I am authorised by law to solemnize this marriage according to the laws of Australia. However, before you are joined in marriage, in my presence and in the presence of these witnesses, I am to remind you of the solemn, and permanent nature of the relationship in to which you are about to enter. Marriage, according to the law in Australia, is the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.
I’ve never met a father who was willing to give up his daughter, so instead I ask; Jonathan, do I have your blessing for this marriage?
Of course you don’t have to have a reading, but my love of literature knows no bounds. We kept our ceremony fairly short so there was plenty of time to mix things up a little with a short reading. I have fallen in and out of love with so many wonderfully written characters over the years, and one particular bridesmaid of mine is no different. I asked her to read this excerpt:
From Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathless, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. . . . That is just ‘being in love’ which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. May your roots grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms fall from your branches, you find out that you are one tree, and not two.
THE VOWS – introduction and legal
However you choose to go about your vows, your celebrant will have to include some specific wording as required by law. We chose to have a vow introduction, followed by the legal bit, ending with our personal vows to each other…
Introduction to Vows:
Mitchell, do you take Katie to be your partner in the adventure that lies ahead?
Do you promise to walk by her side to the ends of the earth?
To love, encourage, and support her in her every endeavour?
Do you commit to opening yourself up completely to her and share with her your entire being?
To share her laughter as well as tears?
Do you take her as your wife from now until the end of time?
Mitch: I do
And then repeat swapping names of course.
Mitch to repeat after Jen.
I ask everyone present here today To witness that I, Mitchell Craig Williams Take you Katie Elizabeth Shorrock To be my lawfully wedded wife
Katie to repeat after Jen.
I ask everyone present here today To witness that I, Katie Elizabeth Shorrock Take you Mitchell Craig Williams To be my lawfully wedded husband.
OUR PERSONAL VOWS
The super important bit! I was bowled over when, a few months before the wedding, Mitch announced he wanted us to write our own vows. I had always wanted to do this, but not being much of a writer I knew he would find it difficult so never broached the subject. He said, ‘How are we supposed to promise each other things that were written by someone else?’ And yes, I fell in love a little bit more. So we decided that the easiest way was to work from a template – one that gave us the same lead into each vow and promise, but also the ability to make them completely our own. For months and months I trawled the internet for a template that we liked, to no avail! So eventually, I wrote one. (yes there is a re-occurring theme here of Katie not finding what she wants and so just creating it)!
Since I spent many-a late night hour looking for this perfect template, I’ve decided to put it out there for all you busy brides to be. You can download it HERE!
Mitch to repeat after Jen as he slips the ring on Katie’s finger.
Katie, I give you this ring as a symbol of our love, as a reminder that I choose you to be my lover, my partner, and my best friend to the end of my days.
Katie to repeat after Jen as she slips the ring on Mitch’s finger.
Mitch, I give you this ring as a symbol of our love, as a reminder that I choose you to be my lover, my partner, and my best friend to the end of my days.
WINE BOX CEREMONY
This point in the ceremony is usually reserved for a second reading or a symbolic gesture of some kind. Totally not necessary if you’d rather not, but much like my love for literature made its way into our wedding, so did our love of wine. I loved the idea of this from the moment I discovered it – it made perfect sense for us. I had spent a few years working in the tourism industry in some of the best wine regions in the world, with our wedding being held in one (Margaret River) and well, Mitch just really enjoys a good red.
Celebrant: Like good wine, a great love will deepen and mature with age.
As a part of today’s ceremony, Mitch and Katie have captured their thoughts leading up to this day in personal letters to each other.
These letters will now be sealed in this box to be opened and shared together with a bottle of wine on a future anniversary celebration.
Mitch and Katie, should you ever find your marriage facing hardships, you are to open this box together, sit and drink the wine, then read the letters you wrote to one another when you were united as a couple in marriage. By reading these love letters you will reflect upon the reasons you fell in love and chose to marry each other here today.
The hope is, however, that you will never have a reason to open this box before your 10th wedding anniversary. On that joyous day on April 8th 2027, you will get to reflect on the events and emotions you shared today. You can also reminisce about all of the wonderful memories you will have made over the last ten years and dream of all of those yet to come.
You may now seal the box.
I purchased this wooden wine gift box from Dan Murphy’s and used a wood burner to draw in the design. The box was not sturdy enough to nail shut so we chose to padlock a chain around it instead which we picked up from Bunnings. The wine we chose was a bit extravagant, even for us. One of our favourite wineries, Vasse Felix, was celebrating it’s 50th anniversary that year. They commemorated the occasion by producing a limited edition red blend made using only grapes from the original vines planted 50 years earlier. It was called the Tom Cullity.
THE DECLARATION & THE KISS
Celebrant: Mitch & Katie, may you always be able to enjoy the life you have created together, surrounded by your beautiful friends and family. May Mitch always provide you with enough dad jokes to keep you laughing for years to come. May you forever agree to disagree about olives, pineapple on pizza, and reclining your seat on the plane. May you always confide in each other during the good times and the bad. May you have the strength to speak when words are needed, and to share the silence when they are not. May you fill your life with adventures, as you have always done. For what is life, but a grand adventure.
Family and friends, today we have been privileged to be present while Mitch and Katie have shared their vows to one another.
It now gives me great pleasure to pronounce you husband and wife!
Mitch, you may now kiss the bride!
I asked my designated music organiser to hit play on ‘From Now On’ by The Features as soon as ‘you may now kiss the bride’ was said. A bit of music at that point in the ceremony just elevates those warm and fuzzy feels for everyone, plus I remember driving around the first Summer we were dating and listening to this on repeat with a massive smile on my face.
Celebrant: I’m going to take Mitch and Katie away from you momentarily to sign the Marriage documents and ask Dee and Cheryl to join us. We won’t be long so please enjoy each other’s company, listen to the music, and take a moment to reflect on the joy we share today. This took about the duration of the song we started to play which was perfect!
Mitchell and Katie it gives me great pleasure to present you with your wedding certificate and to wish you a happy and successful life together.
You are most welcome now to congratulate the bride and groom. Following that Mitch and Katie will join their families for photographs down by the water, where everyone is encouraged to enjoy a few drinks and lawn games before being seated for the reception at 6:15pm.
It gives me great pleasure to present to you Mr & Mrs Williams!
At this point we played ‘Ours’ by the Bravery for everyone to cheer to as we walked back down the aisle as Mr and Mrs! Music Tip – For the end of your ceremony, consider steering clear of slow ballad type romantic songs. It’s an exciting day and everyone is now ready to party and celebrate with you… get that mood going with the right tunes!
Well I know it was a long one my loves but I really wanted you to have it all laid out for you so you don’t have to go pulling bits and pieces from 8 million websites like I did! I hope this helps, and happy wedding planning!
Much love guys,