While everyone loves the reception, the ceremony is arguably the most important aspect of your wedding. After all, it’s when you and your partner will affirm your love and commitment to one another in front of your friends and families.
When designing your wedding ceremony, consider ways to personalize your decor, rituals, and ceremony messaging. These wedding ceremony ideas will help you craft an experience that feels unique to you.
Even if you are having a traditional ceremony or church service, you can still inject personality into your decor. Perhaps you will instruct your place of worship to share a bible passage you and your partner love. Keep reading for wedding ceremony ideas that will help express who you are as a couple.
Clever Touches to Create Personal Ceremony Decor
Creating beautiful ceremony decor is all about working with the venue you’ve chosen. If you’re having an outdoor wedding, choose a location under a large tree. Hang ribbons, lanterns, and flowers from the branches for a makeshift arch.
If you’re getting married under a gazebo, try hanging pom poms, lanterns, or ivy from the rafters. In the above photo, we love the paper pom poms hanging at varying heights and the brick pillars used to display lanterns. Using elements that are already present makes your environment feel purposeful, as if they were put there just for you.
Create a Simple DIY Altar
If you aren’t getting married under a pre-existing structure, make your own! We love this super simple arch, crafted from three 2-by-4 pieces of wood.
You can pick these up at your local home improvement store, and an associate will cut them to your desired length. Then all you need is a hammer and some long nails to attach them. If you aren’t handy, put the legs in two large buckets filled with sand instead of building a base.
Once that’s done, decorate the arch with your choice of embellishments. This photo displays a large swath of plain white fabric adorned with a large bouquet of flowers.
Other easy ideas include ivy, cafe lights, or simple greenery like eucalyptus. For a fall wedding, consider faux leaf garland, which can be purchased for a few dollars at the craft store.
Remember Lost Loved Ones
Reserving chairs for family members who have passed is a good way to keep them with you in spirit. Include framed photos and a flower on a chair in the front row. Even though it is a happy day, weddings can be difficult for those who have lost a loved one. This simple gesture is a beautiful reminder that they are there with you in memory.
Decorate Your Place of Worship
Having a church wedding doesn’t mean you can’t add your personality to the ceremony. Tie your favorite flowers onto the aisles or use hanging vases. You can also ask your place of worship if you can add your own runner or flowers on the altar as well.
Have a Seat
If you think your ceremony will be long, it’s a great idea to be seated at the altar or under your Chuppah. This also brings in more opportunity for decoration. Choose a chair that reflects your wedding style — antique, industrial, salvaged, modern, handmade. Then, decorate it with beautiful signs or floral elements.
Wedding Ceremony Ideas for Rituals
Many couples like to perform some sort of unity ritual to signify two individuals joining together as one. In your ceremony’s order of events, this will take place after the officiant’s remarks but before your vows.
For Jewish couples, this involves signing a Ketubah or marriage contract. (This takes place after the ring exchange in traditional Jewish ceremonies.)
In most Catholic ceremonies, couples will participate in the eucharist by drinking wine from the same cup. A more modern take on this wine ceremony is for the couple to each pour from a bottle of wine into one cup.
In traditional Indian weddings, the groom is welcomed to the ceremony site by the bride’s mother with tilak, or red powder.
One of the most well-known Judeo-Christian wedding traditions is the unity candle. The bride and groom each hold a lit candle and use it to light a third unlit candle, together as one.
Non-Traditional Unity Ceremony Ideas
There are many other rituals that can be performed by couples of any faith or by those who are not religious at all.
In a sand ceremony, each person pours a small container of sand into a bigger vase. Typically, the sands are two different colors — maybe even your wedding colors. If you’re having a beach wedding, you might use the sand under your feet.
Another idea is a paint ceremony. Instead of using sand, you and your partner will combine two colors of paint on a single canvas. You’ll also have a beautiful piece of artwork to hang in your home after your wedding.
You can also put a new spin on ancient wedding ideas like handfasting. In this Celtic practice, the bride and groom hold hands, and the officiant ties them together in a figure eight.
If you and your partner are nature lovers, why not get your hands dirty and perform a tree planting ceremony by planting a sapling together? Use soil from different containers and water with two watering cans.
Create a Heartfelt Ceremony Message
On your wedding day, there are many ways to personalize your ceremony script. One idea is to choose a friend or loved one to be the officiant. Ask them to write a personal sermon since they know you intimately as a couple.
Of course, you can always write your own vows. If the thought of writing makes you sweat, consider selecting a poem that speaks to you. You could also browse unique wedding vows and make personal tweaks. Another unconventional idea is to read a historic love letter.
For religious ceremonies, choose a bible passage that speaks to you. Perhaps you’ll select a friend who might not be in the wedding party to do a ceremony reading. This can be a great way to include more friends and family in your special day while still making it your own.
Consider an Unplugged Wedding Ceremony
While we all love the instant gratification of iPhone ceremony photos, you might consider having an unplugged ceremony. After all, you probably spent a small fortune hiring photographers to document the event. You don’t want a ton of clunky phone cases in the background of your intimate wedding photos.
But more importantly, you want guests to really listen to your ceremony message and be in the moment. It’s hard to do that from behind a camera. An unplugged ceremony will ensure a captive audience while you’re tying the knot. And after you say “I do,” there is plenty of time for picture taking at the wedding reception.
Create a Wedding Ceremony With Heart
Wedding planning can be overwhelming. Between calling caterers, scheduling dress fittings, and tasting cakes (our personal favorite), the ceremony can fall through the cracks.
Take the time to select personal touches that will make your ceremony a true representation of you as a couple. This can be through unique decor, a unity ceremony, a personalized message, or a little of each. Borrow traditions and put your own spin on them. After all, these wedding ceremony ideas are all about celebrating your new life together as a married couple.