One of our non-negotiables when Tim and I started planning our wedding was our ceremony. No matter what, we wanted to have complete control over the format, style, and voice of our ceremony. While we knew this would be a bone of contention with some of our family members, it was incomparably important to us, and we have both been fully committed to having it exactly the way we’ve envisioned.
The first step was deciding who would marry us. Ever since the epic Chandler and Monica wedding, I’ve had a vision of someone I know officiating my wedding. I love the idea of the officiant speaking first hand and honestly about the couple in a way that is personal and unique. We chose one of Tim’s best friends from college, Heidi, who has been a wonderful source of support for us throughout our relationship. As a bonus, she is in the theater business so we know we can count on a a great wedding and a show! We got Heidi ordained online (yes, that’s a real thing!) using the Universal Life Church, and it was actually a fairly easy process. The website is a little bizarre and slightly controversial I’m sure, but, heck, it’ll be legal and that’s enough for me.
My officiant better not show up in a costume from a WWII movie.
As I anticipated, Tim and I put off writing the ceremony for months. I had originally wanted to start this summer, but the sun was shining and patio beers sounded like more fun. Then I wanted to write it this fall, but it was Oktoberfest and I went to Vegas and I stayed in one night to wash my hair and okay fine, we were majorly procrastinating. With only six weeks left until the wedding, Tim and I blocked off a full Saturday to sit down and write. But again, we found ourselves checking e-mails and playing funny YouTube videos instead. We had a serious case of Wedding Writers Block.
Our kitchen looked like this if you replace half the paper with empty wine bottles. Kidding, sort of.
Why was this so hard? Both of us like to write and have had umpteenth number of ceremony ideas throughout the past year. But for some reason, this was a beast that neither of us knew how to tame. There just wasn’t any base knowledge for us to go off of. We are not utilizing any standard traditions or religious pieces in our ceremony. It’s funny how those seemed to be the only portions of a wedding that either of us knew anything about. We were clueless. Luckily my blog obsession came in handy (again! I win!) and we were able to find a couple example ceremonies that fit our vision. My biggest learning was that when you write your own ceremony, anything goes! It's a fantastic, and sometimes overwhelming, freedom. The hardest part was letting go of what I’ve been told is right and having the courage to do what is right for us. In the end, we decided to stick with a traditional-feeling outline but spruce up the content to better fit our personalities.
We decided to play a prominent role in the wedding and have a lot of speaking time. To accomplish this, we each picked out one reading that we would say to each other, instead of having family members read them for us. This idea is turning out to be one of my favorite parts of the ceremony, as it gives both Tim and I an opportunity to describe how we feel directly to each other and add a level of intimacy. I don’t want to spoil the surprise for anyone who is attending, but I will just say that they are not typical wedding readings! They are a little offbeat, but so perfectly emulate our relationship and feelings for one another. We are also writing our own vows and keeping them a secret from one another until the time comes. It’s a little scary not knowing what Tim will say, but regardless I’m sure I’ll bawl like a baby.
Hmm, she isn't holding any balled-up Kleenex. I may need a contingency plan.
As of this week, Tim and I will be getting married in one month. Finishing our ceremony felt like a little victory, like an insurance policy that now this can actually happen. It was difficult at first and more than a little intimidating, but I think that our ceremony will turn out to be my favorite part of the day—exactly how I always hoped it would be.
The journey's almost over! Follow me @MSPBrideElisa