It’s the reason we’re doing all of this. The reason you bought the dress, got the rings, booked the venue…. Your marriage. Your wedding ceremony.
This is something I’ve felt passionate about for a while because we had a very, very, emotional wedding ceremony. And what’s more, I really feel like we got to enjoy our ceremony fully and completely. I remember it clearly, and it’s my favorite memory from our wedding day.
And every time we see a really emotional ceremony that the couple seems to really enjoy and remember, we take note of why that’s happening. What did the couple do to create an environment where they can have a ceremony that truly represents and celebrates them as a couple? What did they do to make their guests comfortable and engaged? How did they make their ceremony into a truly personal experience for everyone involved?
Let’s talk about those things!
I seriously cannot tell you what a difference it makes in the vibe of the ceremony when everyone is engaged and you’ve eliminated the little distraction that’s sitting in every guest’s pocket. We absolutely love when guests take lots of pictures at weddings – it’s important, and it’s a fun way for a lot of guests to participate in the wedding. But if you care about your guests truly engaging and taking a part in the beginning of your marriage, having an unplugged ceremony is the best way to do that. Encourage them to relax, pay attention, and truly be a part of what’s happening. (Plus, you won’t look back at your pictures 10 years from now and laugh at how old and outdated everyone’s cellphones look.)
Make sure your guests can hear you.
I know this feels like an easy way to trim down the budget. But if your guests can’t hear your vows, then what did they come for, really? Again, this is one of those things that makes such a difference in the vibe of the wedding – not just during the ceremony, but for the rest of the night. Make sure you hire someone who can reliably amplify your voice – especially if you’re having an outdoor wedding.
Don’t skip the rehearsal.
More than anything, because it will calm your nerves! Whatever you can do to minimize distractions, nerves, and worries, do so. The ceremony is what this whole day is about, so do whatever you need to do to enjoy it!
Thank your guests.
Have your officiant say a few words on your behalf, write a thank you note on the program, or even write personalized thank you notes and leave them on the seats of your family members/loved ones. Again, it totally changes the vibe of the wedding and your guests will appreciate this more than you know.
Stop during the ceremony and look around at your guests.
You’re bound to feel a little overwhelmed (in a good way) during your ceremony. But the moment that it really “hits” so many brides + grooms that it’s finally their wedding day is when then see all of their guests lined up and realize they’re all there for them. That is an amazing feeling. So when all of your guests are sitting there, looking at you, supporting you, take a second to look out at them and really take in the view.
Take a moment to collect yourself.
And plan for this. If you’re arriving in a car and walking straight into the church, really think about what you want that car ride to feel like. If you’re hanging out in a bridal suite right before the ceremony, take a moment to just be quiet with yourself – don’t think about your hair, your makeup, your dress… just take it all in.
Don’t follow the rules.
Pick a non-traditional reading. Choose music that is meaningful to you both. Don’t feel like you have to follow any rules.
When we got married, we started planning our ceremony by just logically thinking through what was important to us, what we wanted to be surrounded by, and what we wanted to be said and shared with our guests at our marriage ceremony. It ended up including readings by friends, having some of the ceremony performed by Tyler’s brother (the other performed by our college pastor, who knew us well), and we even had all of our guests come up and lay hands on us in prayer. And in the end, that made us feel like it was our day. Our ceremony. Just for us. Like no one was telling us what to do. And it was absolutely perfect.
Plan for a few minutes to celebrate right after the ceremony.
You’ve just become husband and wife, recessed down the aisle, your best friends are following behind you…. Now what?
Have a plan to stop somewhere or enter into a space at your venue where you can just hug and kiss and cry and be with the ones you love. Again, this was one of my favorite moments from our wedding day, and it just kind of happened organically – we were lucky, because we didn’t plan it. But when couples plan for that and take a second to take it all in together, it’s a pretty beautiful thing. Enjoy that.
This is your wedding day. This is a moment you’ve waited for your whole life, and it’s one of the only times all of your favorite people will be in the same place together. This is a really, really great opportunity to tell each of your friends and family how much they mean to you. Write them notes, give them gifts, tell them in person. Hug them. Tell them how much you love them. I promise you will not regret it.
Lindsay Campbell is a wedding photographer specializing in natural, romantic wedding photography with a bright and airy film look. She photographs weddings in Chattanooga, Franklin, Nashville, Sewanee, and the surrounding areas, and travels across the country to photograph weddings! If you’re looking for a Chattanooga wedding photographer, Sewanee wedding photographer, Nashville wedding photographer, or Franklin wedding photographer, get in touch!