Choosing a Wedding Minister
When a couple becomes engaged there are many decisions to be made:
wedding date, location, how many attendants, who to invite, what
type of flowers, what kind of food to serve, etc. But wait a
minute…. The most important detail is missing - the Wedding Minister.
First of all, this is one of the most important and romantic days of
your life. You want to choose someone who is experienced in all
aspects of the wedding ceremony, not someone who will just show up
in time for the service, say a few words and leave before the
pictures are taken.
An interfaith/non-denominational minister is someone who honors and
respects your personal beliefs and will work closely with you to
create a ceremony that best reflects your love and commitment. Your
wedding minister should be agreeable to do whatever you want in your
ceremony, unless it’s against church doctrine or her beliefs. Just
another reason to have a beautiful outdoor wedding!
You as a couple must decide whether or not you will have any type of
religious expression in your ceremony. Most couples consider
themselves spiritual rather than religious and at the very least
want to have some type of blessing or prayer during the ceremony.
However, it is not necessary and personal ceremonies can be prepared
that focus on love and commitment. If you meet with a minister who
insists on some type of religious ritual or condemns your lifestyle
(living together, being divorced or already having a child) this is
not the person to marry you. This is your wedding and should reflect
who you are and what you believe.
Typically couples forget to ask the minister’s view on photography
during the ceremony. You do not want to choose a minister who sets
rules, especially about photography. Some ministers will not allow
any type of photography during the ceremony. This is ridiculous. Of
course, you want the photographer to have the freedom to take
beautiful candid photographs during the ceremony. Your wedding day
is the day you have been waiting for, and your wedding photographs
will be a most treasured possession.
Because of e-mail and the telephone, it is often not necessary to
meet with your wedding minister before the ceremony. Even so, a
close relationship will develop and you will form a special bond
that will be evident during the ceremony.
Your wedding day is the day you have been dreaming of. Choose a
wedding minister who will always honor your wishes and desires.
Tips for Writing Your Wedding Ceremony
(It’s not as hard as you think!)
Your ceremony is the most important element of your wedding day.
Writing your own wedding vows allows you to speak directly from the
heart to the heart. Don’t let someone else make your promises.
Here are some things to consider when writing your wedding ceremony:
What type of ceremony you want: religious, spiritual, civil, or
Discuss your desire to personalize your ceremony with the
Don’t wait until the last minute. This will take days, even weeks to
You need to plan a time when the two of you will be together,
uninterrupted (cell phones turned off).
Decide if you’re going to write individual vows to each other or
will you say the same things?
To get you started, write down your answers to all the following
questions without any discussion, then share your answers:
- What scriptures, special readings, or poems would you like to include?
- Who will do the readings?
- What special music would you like?
- What do you love best about this person?
- When did you realize you were in love?
- What makes your love unique?
- What inspires you about the other person?
- List a favorite memory.
- What do you promise?
To make it easy start with traditional vows, then make changes that
reflect your thoughts and sentiments.
Don’t write your vows in one day. Ideas will come to you over time.
Have a thesaurus handy. (see word list below)
Keep your vows to each other short; anything over 1 minute is
probably too long.
Read your vows to a trusted friend.
It is not necessary to memorize your vows and it is less
nerve-wracking to read them.
It will be fine if you decide to read your vows to each other. It’s
nice to be able to hold hands and look each other in the eye when
making your vows. If you decide to read your vows the minister can
have them in her book printed upside down so they are facing you and
you can look at your partner and make eye contact by looking up from
time to time. The minister can follow along the words with her
finger as you read so you can look up at your partner then when you
look at the words again, you will know where you left off.
It will also be okay to stick with tradition and repeat your vows
after the minister but avoid long tedious vows and sentences that
are difficult to break into short phrases and still retain their
meaning. Remember your guests will hear the vows four times if you
are saying the same to each other!
The most important thing….. Don’t panic – whatever you write will
come from your heart and therefore will be perfect.
Here are some words, words, and more words to help you:
Accept Admire Amaze Bond Challenge Cherish Comfort Commit Connect
Declare Dedicate Defend Delight Desire Develop Embrace Encourage
Endeavor Endure Experience Give Hold Honor Inspire Join Laugh Learn
Love Marry Nurture Offer Pledge Promise Protect Provide Radiate
Rejoice Remind Renew Respect Share Stand Strive Support Swear
Treasure Unite Value Wonder
Accomplice Adversity Affection Ally Angel Attraction Beauty Beloved
Best friend Blessing Bliss Companion Compassion Darling Dearest
Dedication Desire Despair Destiny Devotion Dreams Embrace Eternity
Faith Faithfulness Family Fears Frailty Freedom Friend Friendship
Gifts Good fortune Growth Harmony Heart Heaven Hero Humor Joy
Laughter Lifetime Love Lover Loyalty Magic Neglect Partner Passion
Peace Permanent Plans Problems Promise Reverence Romance Sickness
Smile Sorrow Soul mate Spirit Sweetheart Symbol Teacher Treasure
True counterpart Trust Understanding Values Wisdom Wishes
Absolute Always Awesome Beauty Candor Charisma Charm Cheerfulness
Chivalry Constant Courage Dearest Dependability Determination
Elegance Endless Enduring Eternal Eternity Everlasting Fidelity
Forever Generosity Gentility Gentle Giving Grace Happy Heartfelt
Holy Honesty Hopeful Humility Humor Independence Innocence Inspiring
Integrity Joyful Limitless Long Loveliest Loyalty Never-ending New
Partnership Playfulness Priceless Pride Purity Rare Sacred
Simplicity Sincerity Strongest Sweetness Tenderness True Trust
Unknown Virtue Worth
Alive Ardent Attractive Beautiful Beholden Binding Caring Charming
Complete Considerate Constant Courageous Cozy Dauntless Deserving
Desirable Devoted Ecstatic Emotional Enduring Fair Faithful
Forgiving Genuine Glowing Glorious Growing Happy Hopeful Innocent
Jubilant Lasting Lovely Mutual Noble Precious Predestined Pure
Reliable Romantic Safe Significant Sincere Soft Solemn Staunch Sweet
Triumphant Unconditional Virtuous Wonderful Worthy
All outdoor weddings should have a Plan B in case of inclement
weather, usually the reception site, if indoors. The most efficient
way to notify guests is to put a phone number on your invitation (or
an insert) for the guests to call if it is raining on the wedding
day to listen to a recorded message instructing them where the
ceremony will be. Be sure to have the cell phone numbers of all in
your wedding party so you can communicate any changes at the last
minute and ask everyone to have their cell phones with them and
turned on and then turned off once the ceremony has begun.
Runners for the aisle can be treacherous unless you use a heavy
fabric such as canvas or carpet and tack it down. Any breath of
wind can wrinkle and twist the flimsy runners sold as wedding
runners and can cause the wedding party to trip—especially the bride
whose dress is usually too full for her to see her feet—she doesn’t
want to be looking at her feet anyway. Runners do not work on
concrete surfaces unless you are a genius and can figure out how to
fasten them to the concrete. Flowerpots can be used to hold them
down but that narrows the passageway for bride and her escort.
Runners do not stay flat on carpets either. If you use a runner on
grass, the grass should be mowed very short and white golf tees used
to pin the runner to the ground along the edges of the runner prior
to the ceremony. Otherwise it is like walking on pillows. Shoes with
sharp heels can also puncture and snag the runner and yank it out of
place. A better idea than a runner is to sprinkle flower petals
thickly in a row on each side of the aisle. Looks pretty in pictures
as well as being biodegradable.
If you have a DJ who will play music for your ceremony and you have
readers and/or vocalists as part of the ceremony, please ask the DJ
to provide microphones for these people so that your guests can hear
It is not a good idea to do a unity candle ceremony outside.
Invariably there is some air movement that blows out the candles and
symbolically it is not a good omen for your candles to blow out.
Plan to do a unity candle ceremony at your reception if it is
indoors or later in private. The sand ceremony is a good
alternative and the symbolism is much the same.
When checking out a location for your wedding or planning the
orientation of your ceremony site at your location, take into
account what the background of the ceremony will look like for all
your wedding photos. Better to have an uncluttered natural landscape
rather than a cluttered look with buildings, cars, telephone poles,
portraits of people you don’t know, exit signs, air conditioning
vents, etc. that you will see every time you look at your wedding
pictures in the years to come.
Bring your marriage license to the rehearsal and give it to the
minister; then you don’t have to keep up with it on your wedding
If you are not hiring a professional wedding director or
coordinator, ask a close friend or relative who is organized,
responsible and is not in your wedding party or immediate family
member to serve as your wedding director. He/she should come to the
rehearsal with pencil and paper to take notes (while the minister
directs) on the order of processional and recessional as well as who
will usher in and out the grandparents and parents of the couple so
he/she can gather them together and cue them in on the wedding day.
The minister is usually the first one to enter and cannot be there
to cue them on the wedding day. This person will also cue the
musicians as to when the ceremony will begin.
THE DAY OF THE WEDDING
It is a good idea to have your cell phone (or designate someone with
a cell phone) with you and turned on until everyone in your wedding
party has arrived on your wedding day so that you can be reached if
something delays someone. Be sure that everyone has that cell phone
number and you have theirs.
Brides—use the bathroom before you put on your dress!
Hang your veil with your dress so that it is not left at home on
your wedding day.
Bridesmaids, groomsmen, bride and groom should all remember to stand
with “soft” knees. Locked knees take a lot of energy and they will
be standing for about 20 minutes for the typical wedding ceremony.
It is a good idea for the wedding party to have something light to
snack on and non-alcoholic beverages to drink just prior to the
ceremony as hunger or dehydration along with nervousness and
standing can contribute to fainting. Hot weather and an outdoor
wedding make the chances of dehydration greater. A growling stomach
is quite distracting as well!
Contact Rev. Nancy as soon as
possible to see if she is available for your wedding date/time and
to set up a free consultation. Click here for
an easy contact form or call her at (508) 375-9136.