How to Give Your Wedding Ceremony that Special Sauce

      April 9, 2019 , PLANNING RESOURCES

      In a previous post, I talked about some basic components that many couples choose to incorporate into their adventurous elopement or intimate wedding day.  Vows, rings, and a big kiss are usually ingredients in the ceremony stew. Of course, creating a true-to-you wedding day experience may have just one or two of these ingredients, or none at all.  It’s your day, and there are absolutely no rules!  

      Here are some additional ideas to map out a wedding day ceremony that is uniquely your own.



      In a unity ceremony, you take pieces of something and combine it, turning it into a third singular piece.  Unity ceremonies can take on many different forms, so there are literally options for anyone wishing to add this symbolism to their wedding day.  The following are some unity ceremony ideas that may appeal to all kinds of couples.  There’s something for everyone, from the outdoorsy, eco-conscious couple, to the artsy pair, and even to couples that enjoy a great microbrew.

      Unity candle ceremony – This is what we oftentimes think of when we think of a unity ceremony.  It involves lighting one large candle from two smaller candles and signifies the union of the two families.

      Tree planting ceremony – In this ceremony, you gather soil from each of your own hometowns, as well as where you are planning to build a future together, and combine it in a pot to plant a tree.  This symbolizes not only union, but also that relationships take tending and nurturing to grow strong.


      Sand ceremony – You both pour different colored sand from separate vessels into a single vase, creating a lovely display and signifying a union that is impossible to separate.  This is a good alternative to the unity candle ceremony for outdoor weddings that take place in windy locations.  It’s also a great ceremony for weddings involving blended families or that follow children, as the children can participate by adding sand of their own.

      Wine or Beer (and maybe Whiskey, too!) – You choose two different (but compatible!) wines or beer (like this couple did!) and pour them into a glass to create a third perfect blend that you then drink together.


      Blending paint – Each of you choose a different color paint and then pour it onto a single canvas, symbolizing your union and creating a piece of art representative of your relationship.  Bonus!  You end up with a great and sentimental piece of art to hang in your home.


      Handfasting ceremony – This is a Celtic marriage tradition and very possibly where we get the phrase, “tie the knot.”  The couple joins right hand to right hand and left hand to left hand, making a figure eight, and representing eternity.  Then a strip of cloth, ribbon, or piece of fabric is used to tie their crossed wrists together symbolizing union.

      Sage smudging ceremony – Smudging can be used in a secular or religious ceremony, regardless of your faith.  You only need three things, a bundle of sage, something to light it, and a bowl to hold it while it burns.  After the bundle of sage is lit, an intention, affirmation, or prayer is said by either you or your officiant.  Sage is an herb thought to have cleansing properties and, when used on one’s wedding day, is believed to cleanse away the negative energy, allowing the couple to commence marriage on the right foot.

      Lasso or El Lazo ceremony – This ceremony, traditional in Mexican, Filipino, and Spanish cultures, involves draping a floral garland or rosary around the couple (twisted in the infinity symbol, of course).  It is then saved as a symbol of love and unity.

      The exchange of leis – This can be done between the couple, or if parents are involved, they can bestow the leis on the couple.  Maile leaf is a popular choice for guys, whereas women wear more fragrant flowers, such as tuberose.


      Ceremonies involving the sharing of some sort of cup – Drinking from a cup isn’t only used for Communion.  It is also present during wedding ceremonies in multiple cultures.  For instance, a Scottish quaich or a Native American wedding vase.


      Have other skills? – If you’re musically inclined, perhaps you will want to play a song together or to one another, either one you have written for the occasion or one that is somehow meaningful to your relationship.

      Throwing confetti or flower petals – If you want to celebrate with confetti or flower petals, by all means, do it.  But make sure you abide by LNT policies.  A biodegradable confetti is a better choice than your “run of the mill, I can’t possibly get up every single damn piece” variety.  If using flower petals or seeds, make sure you choose those native to the area so you don’t do damage to the ecosystem (this is important when choosing a bridal bouquet as well!).


      This list is by no means comprehensive.  There are so many rituals, ceremonies, and little moments that you can incorporate into your day to make it that much more meaningful.

      Some other things worth considering are your own family traditions, local traditions (maybe you’re having a destination wedding and want to incorporate a wedding tradition from that area), and cultural traditions that give a nod to your roots and imbue your day with even more purpose and intention.  You can involve family and friends who couldn’t be there with you by collecting notes that they wrote and then reading them to each other at some point during the ceremony.  You’ll undoubtedly feel their love and support from a distance, no matter how far it spans.  And let’s not forget the food and the wedding cake (is cake anyone else’s favorite food group?)!  You can do anything from pack a picnic, to hiring a chef to prepare an elaborate and romantic meal.



      And if you think the choices are endless (because, who are we kidding, they are), here are some old wedding traditions that you may have never heard of.

      If you need some help planning your ceremony, get in touch.  I would be happy to bounce ideas around.  Helping you create a true-to-you wedding experience is so incredibly important to me.  It’s why I became an intimate wedding photographer in the first place.


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      I had no idea that there are so many rituals that you can incorporate into your day to make it that much more unique and special, great post!

      I’ve seen some advice on unique ceremonies but this is definitely some of the best! Thank you for sharing!!

      Yes there are so many ways to make an elopement ceremony unique to the couple! Great tips for future brides and grooms!

      These are such great ideas to include in a wedding ceremony and gorgeous imagery to accompany it!

      ” It’s your day, and there are absolutely no rules! ” heck yes! That’s something I love to make sure everyone knows, too. This post is FULL of awesome information — I especially love all of the ceremony inspo you put in here (such unique thoughts!) Love this post.

      I love this. My fiancè and I love to create our own traditions and these are some great ideas for our wedding day in the Caribbean next year!

      I am always a sucker for making your wedding completely yours, great ideas!

      love these tips! Also, I’m glad you highlighting LNT concerns around confetti and how to do it well!

      wow! such great tips on how to make a wedding ceremony special! such good info!

      Aww I love the ideas of the lei exchange and the whiskey ceremony!

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