Some sweet things that are not cake!

Some of the sweetest moments in weddings I’ve officiated did not come from the mind of me – but from the couples’ themselves. That is the beauty of celebrant work – it’s about listening to those we represent and making sure they are heard. At each ceremony, I consider myself their voice. I create a script based on that idea, but some stories are especially memorable, and I’d like to share a few of those very touching moments.

Recently I got to read from read a letter written by the groom’s mother. Knowing she would not make it to the wedding before she died, she wrote them a wonderful, heartfelt and savvy letter. I was honored to read excerpts from it. But wanting to be sure to have the balance I always seek, I asked for some advice from the bride’s side of the family to include as well. This was appreciated. Now, I did facilitate that part, but those meaningful moments in the ceremony came directly from the family, and you can be sure it was very moving.


People will differ on ways to honor those who have passed, some people find it too sad or feel it inappropriate for a wedding. There’s no right or wrong answer to this, but I think it’s important, so I always suggest a few ideas on how to do this. I want them to at least think about it and have the choice. The most inspiring part of a remembrance in the ceremony are the anecdotes. A great example is the story of the deceased grandfather who gave up his corporate job to become an artist – the family loved hearing about this.

On the lighter side, another special ceremony completely inspired by the couple was what I’d call a Disney wedding (not the location – but Disney inspired). The challenge is always figuring out just how far to go with something like this. I created a special final blessing for them, and I think I managed to hit all the right notes with quotes from their favorite Disney characters.

A couple who had a wine box ceremony added their own sweet touch. This is the ritual where the couple puts a bottle of wine and sometimes letters to one another into a box for the future. This couple asked if their parents could also write letters to add to the box.  I thought it was a wonderful idea. The box should be opened, wine drunk and letters read, on an anniversary or if the couple hits a rough patch. It’s meant to remind them of the love that brought them together.

Another couple had all of their guests create little versions of their sand ceremony as a keepsake. They were a same-sex couple and rather than just the usual two colors for each of them, they used all the colors of the rainbow for the sand. I still have mine!

Sometimes the couple comes up with their own interesting or unusual selections for readings, and that is always very welcome. I recently included an excerpt from the opera Einstein on the Beach – the one entitled Lovers on a Park Bench. This was previously unknown to me, but they were fans. The words are tender and touching.

Samuel M. Johnson: Lovers on a Park Bench

Two lovers sat on a park bench, with their bodies touching each other, holding hands in the moonlight.

There was silence between them. So profound was their love for each other, they needed no words to expres

s it. And so they sat in silence, on a park bench, with their bodies touching, holding hands in the moonlight.

Finally, she spoke. “Do you love me?” she asked. “You know I love you, darling,” he replied. “I love you more than tongue can tell. You are the light of my life, my sun, moon and stars. You are my everything. Without you, I have no reason for being.”

Again there was silence as the two lovers sat on a park bench, their bodies touching, holding hands in the moonlight. Once more she spoke. “How much do you love me?” she asked. He answered: “How much do I love you? Count the stars in the sky. Measure the waters of the oceans with a teaspoon. Number the grains of sand on the sea shore. Impossible, you say?”

A reading like this takes a special reader, and it was beautiful to see it done right.  Remember that you can inspire any ceremony you are lucky enough to be a part of – all it takes is some thoughtful honesty. Dig deep.




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    Lois Heckman

    Lois Heckman is a certified Life-Cycle Celebrant who officiates at weddings, funerals, and other ceremonies in the Poconos and beyond. She has performed hundreds of ceremonies and brings a wealth of knowledge to her work. Visit her website: ... Read Full
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