The many ways to make your ceremony unique

As a Celebrant I was taught to be open, creative and inclusive when it comes to creating the right ceremony. That comes in handy when I meet interesting couples that want unique ceremonies. The telling of the couples’ personal story is a hallmark of any celebrant wedding, and this storytelling helps bond the couple and their guests to their journey. But there can be even more, and that is where ritual comes into play.


Breaking the Glass! (Melissa Kelly Photography)

One of the beautiful things about America is our diversity. We borrow freely from the many traditions, customs and cultures that make up our society. We share foods, and in all the arts, a healthy cultural exchange has produced the greatest results. So feel free to borrow from what inspires you, but with respect, making sure you understand the culture, history and background. Very few of us are native to this soil. Only Native Americans can claim that.

Sometimes ideas evolve from the inter-faith or inter-cultural backgrounds of the couple. I have officiated for a Hindu/Jewish couple, a Moroccan Muslim/American Christian, an Argentinean/Pennsylvanian, Buddhist/Catholic….you get the idea. Expressing aspects of one’s ethnicity, heritage or faith tradition is terrific. All those ceremonies were quite different, combining important aspects of their respective backgrounds.

Remember that religion and culture can often being closely connected. Many couples I work with have Irish and Italian backgrounds, and there are many ways to represent and honor these traditions, too! Irish or Celtic culture is bursting with literature and ritual.

Then there are those couples who just have their own ‘take’ on life – their particular interests and passions, and sometimes I can draw from that find or create rituals, or incorporate quotes and readings to express that vision. It can be done in subtle or not so subtle ways. I’m thinking of a reading about zombies I included once that was fantastic.

Imagine arriving to the ceremony on horseback, in a horse-drawn carriage, or even on bicycles. Having your pets involved is an increasingly popular trend that absolutely makes a statement about you!

Arriving by carriage (photo credit: me)

Involving your bridal party or guests can add a unique and very personal touch. And the ritualistic sharing of foods or beverages is found in many cultures. Wine or water, bread, salt, milk, honey and dates – are all meaningful symbols that can be incorporated. But you can choose anything unique to share, if it has meaning for you. I encourage chocolate!

Location can also be a source of inspiration and personalization. I once officiated at the very top of a mountain. It was absolutely stunning. And I have officiated by rivers, lakes, streams and oceans.

A wedding by the waterfalls (photo by unknown guest)

There are endless ways to make a ceremony unique and memorable, as unique and memorable as you! You are limited only by your imagination. If you are seeking something truly personal and unique, don’t be afraid to explore new ideas. I think you will find it meaningful and memorable to create a wedding that is special and specific to you.


Photo Credit for Breaking the Glass: Melissa Kelly Photography


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