You have decided to bravely throw aside the shackles of a traditional wedding day to get married in a way that is all your own. But now you may be asking yourself, “What exactly should we be doing during our elopement ceremony, anyway?”
It’s a legitimate question. Traditional weddings have a pretty prescribed set of events. From the procession and opening remarks, to the exchange of vows and rings, and finally wrapping up with the declaration of marriage and the kiss. How is an elopement supposed to go down? The answer is absolutely whatever way you want. A huge benefit of elopements and intimate weddings is that you have the freedom to do everything your own way. Everything. And a big part of that everything is your ceremony.
So throw all those preconceived notions about what your wedding day should look like out the window and dream up a day this is so completely true to you, so comfy, so meaningful, and oh so intentional.
Here are some things to think about as you brainstorm and your ceremony plans begin to take shape.
DESIGNING YOUR OWN UNIQUE TRUE-TO-YOU WEDDING CEREMONY
Questions to ask yourself that might influence how your day takes shape:
Will we be self-solemnizing (some states allow this) or will an officiant be marrying us? – An officiant or celebrant can be a minister, a best friend, a close relative, someone who officiates marriages for a living, or even your photographer (I’m actually a licensed officiant and can do this for you!). Note that if your ceremony destination is remote and requires some work to get to, you may have to find an officiant who is as adventurous as you are.
Will others be attending the ceremony and will they simply be witnesses or also actively participating? – Guests may do readings, tell anecdotes, or participate in other meaningful rituals (for instance, tying the knot during a handfasting ceremony).
Will the ceremony be legal or symbolic? If symbolic, you truly have the freedom to do whatever you want almost anywhere you want. In this case, you can take care of the legal niceties either before or after a symbolic ceremony.
Will there be a religious component? – Some religious ceremonies necessitate the inclusion of specific passages and readings.
IDEAS FOR ITEMS TO INCLUDE IN YOUR CEREMONY
Things you’ll probably want to include (but it’s totally up to you!!!):
Vows – These are often quite personal, may be handwritten, and are both filled with and elicit a lot of emotion. You can write these together or compose vows separately and have it all be a surprise, steeping your day in that much more emotion. There’s absolutely no need to memorize your vows. Your wedding day will be filled with so much emotion; take some pressure off and handwrite them in a special book designed for vows. Or, as a memorable sentimental surprise, handwrite them in a favorite book and gift it to your partner at the end of the ceremony.
If you’re writing your own vows, here are a few questions you could ask yourself to kick-start the writing process:
What is one of your very favorite things about your partner?
Describe one of the times you were proud of your partner.
What’s one of the craziest, most adventurous things you have done with your partner?
Why did you fall in love with your partner and, importantly, why are you still in love with them?
And finally, What are you promising your partner?
Vows can be tough to write! There’s something about the very personal and emotional nature of wedding vows that can tongue-tie even a self-proclaimed Cicero. But fear not! This post has loads of advice and inspiration to help you along in the writing process.
Rings – These are such a lovely symbol indicating no beginning or end and, therefore, the infinite. The exchange of rings can be even more meaningful when tailoring them to fit with the design of you elopement day. For instance, a mountaintop wedding may include rings with an etching of the particular mountain range on which you’re marrying. The less traditional route of having your rings tattooed like the ones here is also an option. Some couples surprise each other with the ring itself, having it personally designed to reflect the relationship.
The Declaration of Marriage & The Kiss – This is exactly what it sounds like. You declare that you are now a married couple and lock lips. You can shout it from the mountaintop or pop open a bottle of bubbly and have celebratory drinks. Whatever feels most like you.
There you have it! Some ceremony ideas to get the gears turning. There are seriously so.many.things. you can incorporate into your elopement day. The above are just a framework. Stay tuned for a follow-up post with a slew of ideas to add your own special sauce and to truly make your elopement or intimate wedding day a true-to-you experience.
And if you need help in the planning process, schedule a call (it’s absolutely free!). I would love to help you dream up a ceremony that is uniquely your own.