Over the course of the past nine months I've written about bouquets, and bridesmaids, and wedding themes, and nearly every other aspect of wedding planning. The experience has been amazing, and in that final week you get to see all of those things come together to create the vision you had in your mind, and that moment is priceless.
But in that final week you also realize all the things that really matter. If I lost the bouquets that I spent countless hours making, the girls would look just as pretty without them. And if we would have left home without all the favors and gifts, I think our guests would have known we appreciated their company regardless. As cliche as it may sound, the past few days have really shown me that it is the experience, the memories, and the people that truly make the wedding.
That being said, I've decided to share a bit of the experience with you through what was said at our ceremony. We struggled with the ceremony for a long time. Neither of us are particularly religious so we didn't know quite where to start. I think this is becoming a more common issue for our generation. A large percentage of us do not find ourselves following one specific religion, and some of us might consider traditional vows or ceremonies a bit archaic, stiff, and impersonal.
Well, personal was exactly what we wanted and since we didn't feel we were getting that out of any of the church standardized ceremonies, we decided to create our own. We had a close friend officiating, which made for a highly entertaining and personal sermon---exactly what we wanted. And since we wanted a simple and somewhat non-religious ceremony we selected the following rituals, passages, and vows.
First, we decided to do a hand blessing ceremony. I feel like this is a fabulous and modern approach to traditional vows. Typically the officiant has the couple face each other and hold hands while the following is read:
Next, we decided to do a reading. It didn't take us long to find this poem, "It's the Dream," by Norwegian Poet Olav Hauge. We both loved it and felt like it was written specifically for our lake-shore ceremony. We are having it read in English by my cousin Trent, and then in Norwegian by my friend Sigrid.
Last, but not least, are the actual vows and exchange of rings. We researched contemporary vows and found the following to be the best fit for us. I hope that sharing these with you gives you a sense of what our day was like, and if you're a bride- or groom-to-be that is struggling to customize your ceremony, I hope this offers you some inspiration. Our big day went off without a hitch and I cannot wait to share some photos with you in my next post and *final* post.