How exciting, you have reached the part where everything begins to come real, writing the ceremony! Please take the information below as just a guide. It is your wedding and it has to reflect the two of you. Feel free to take as much or as little as you like, re-word and change it around. As long as we have the legal wording and the monitum, the rest is a complete blank canvas.
I am more than happy to chat and work with you both to ensure that the end product is just perfect. Many people haven’t done this before so please don’t hesitate to ask questions along the way. I really encourage your personal flair be reflected, so by filling out your Q&A’s, I can use your words to design your ceremony ‘your way’. If you are totally stuck on where to start, have a look at the details below. A great ceremony reflects the people that you are. It is just long enough to keep everyone on the edge of their seats, with a few tears and a bit of laughter. You want everyone going away saying ‘that was the best wedding they have ever been to!'
Entrance The way in which a bride | groom enters the ceremony is forever evolving. Many people still choose to keep in tradition however you can choose to do it anyway you like. I like to encourage the groom (or one of you in a same sex relationship) to make a little entrance, whether large or small it is nice for them to feel just as important and also not waiting unnecessarily at the end of the aisle whilst the girls (gents) take their time with photos and finishing touches when they arrive. You can both walk down the aisle together. You can choose to have you children accompany you or even your beloved pets. Your ceremony should reflect you. Choosing the right music to walk down the aisle is just as important. You may like to have a pre-recorded piece or a live rendition by a quartet, band or bag piper. Remember that you can choose anything to walk down the aisle to.
It doesn’t have to be the same piece that everyone walks to, it can be your favourite track from your CD or i-pod collection. AND If you get really stuck then please ask for some suggestions. When you decide on the perfect track ensure that it is long enough. I would encourage you to go and practice it with your bridesmaids to ensure there is enough time to get down the aisle at a reasonable pace. If you have more than 2 people walking down the aisle in the tribe then I also suggest that it is a good idea to send them to the instrumental version of the aisle song so they can walk as slow or as quick as they like without ruining YOUR moment when you want to enter!
MY INTRO I will welcome everyone for coming and discuss turning their phones onto silent. I can also discuss your views on ‘permission to post’, whether you would like your ceremony plastered all over social media before it has even begun or if you are having a ‘phone’s off’ policy. It is completely up to you and I can assist you with getting your wishes across to your guests. I will normally then go on to tell your story using the information you gave me in you Q&A’s. Finding the quirky bits and point of difference. Once I have constructed a draft I will email it to you for proofing to ensure that you are happy with the final result. You may like to add in a traditional ‘Welcome to Country’ to acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land.
THE INTERLUDE You may wish to include a reading or poem reflecting your love and commitment to one another. This is best done by a family member or close friend. It is great idea to ensure that the piece/s that you choose really resonates with you, you don’t want to have something just for the sake of having a poem, song or piece of writing.
HONOURING YOUR PARENTS Traditionally this is when I would ask the brides father “Who gives this woman to this man?” However we can acknowledge your parents in several different ways. I can mention parents, grandparents etc. and ask them to stand. I can refer to deceased loved ones in reference to how proud they would be and some couples have also expressed a wish to have all the guests promise to do all they can to make sure the couple in question remain happy. I can ask something like – ”Who brings this couple to be married here today”? and your parents all stand and say “We do”.
THE MONITUM FROM THE MARRIAGE ACT OF 1961 – I Kate Haley am duly authorized by law to solemnize marriages according to the law. Before you XXX and you XXX are joined in marriage in my presence and in the presence of these witnesses, I am to remind you of the solemn and binding nature of the relationship you are now about to enter. Marriage, according to the law in Australia, is the union of two people to the exclusion of all others and is voluntarily entered into for life.
The law says that I must recite this prescribed monitum verbatim.
THE ASKING The asking is not a legal requirement so feel free to change it as much as you like to reflect your individuality. You can completely go without it too if you wish. Below I have listed some fairly standard lines you may wish to use if you don’t want to write your own. I have only given the groom‘s examples here, needless to say the bride’s bits are the same just re-word gender specific words. (“I will” being the answer to all these questions, can be changed to “I do” by changing bits like “will you” to “do you promise to” and other bits as needed.) 1.XXXX, will you take XXXX to be your lawful* wife. Will you love her, comfort her, Honour and keep her, in sickness and in health, and, forsaking all others, keep only unto her, So long as you both shall live? (*Some couples choose to do away with the "lawful") 2.XXXX, will you take XXXX to be your wife, Will you love and cherish her, Stand by her whatever may come, Will you give your relationship all it requires and deserves, So that you can live the rest of your lives together in love and happiness? 3.XXXX, will you take XXXX to be your wife, Will you love & respect her, Be honest with her, and stand by her through whatever may come, So you can genuinely share your life together? 4.Will you XXXX take XXXX to be your lifelong partner? Will you make the daily effort to relate to her and listen to her? Will you be gracious and generous in your giving of yourself. Will you work for what is best for her for the rest of your life? 5.Will you XXXX promise to be a fabulous husband?
My favourite thing to do with this is make it a paragraph for the two of you to answer 'WE DO' and then it is a collective. If I were to say the same thing twice we start to loose people and we don't want that.
THE VOWS You will need to begin your vows by stating the legal wording – “I call upon the people here present, (amongst family and friends), to witness that I, XXX (FULL NAME) take you XXX (FULL NAME) to be my (lawful) wedded wife/husband/partner in marriage…
I will write this wording and your personal vows onto a piece of card so that you can read them aloud to each other without me being in the way. I would normally stand off to the side which creates a really intimate moment between the two of you. (However if you would like me to stand with you for encouragement, just ask). You certainly don’t have to write your own. You may wish to borrow from some of these examples.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. You can go on the ‘www’ to get many more examples. Also I have only given the groom to bride examples here where the vows are gender specific. Remember these examples all begin with – “I call upon the persons here present, (amongst family and friends), to witness that I, XXX take you XXX to be my (lawful) wedded wife/husband…
I want to be with you always. I choose you above all others to share my life with me in marriage. I love you as you are. I promise to honour this pledge, As long as I live
I love you because.... I promise .... I look forward to.....
I want to be with you always. Just as you are. I choose you above all others, to share my life with me in marriage. I love you for yourself, and want you to become all that you can be. I promise to honour and tenderly care for you. To cherish and encourage your own fulfilment as an individual, for the rest of my life.
RING CEREMONY Normally couples will exchange rings after their vows. This is when I will come forward and help prompt you with special wording if you choose to say something to each other whilst you are giving/receiving the rings. I will do this un-miked and stand in-line with you so not to be in every photo. You may like to choose the Best Man/Maid of Honour, to have the rings or if can be your parents, best friends family members etc. You may like to slip the rings on in silence or you can write your own little sentence to say to each other like the ones listed below. If you would like to include an introduction about what the symbol of a ring means eg: the roundness of the ring symbolising eternity, no beginning and no end and the preciousness of the metal reflecting the preciousness of your love, please let me know which suits you.
1.XXXX, please take this ring and wear it as a pledge of my love and as a symbol of all we share 2.XXXX, this ring I give to you, It is my personal gift, My personal promise of love and trust, And pride that you are my wife | husband. 3.XXXX, I thank you for this ring. I accept it as a symbol of our love. This ring will remind me of you and I will wear it with love, All my life. 4.XXXX, with this ring, I thee wed. Wear it as a pledge of my love, and as a symbol of all we share. 5.XXXX, please take this ring and try not to lose it.
THE DECLARATION This is the bit that everyone has been waiting for, the part where I conclude with – It is my very great pleasure to pronounce you Husband and Wife, Wife and Wife, or Husband and Husband, Newlyweds! You may kiss the Bride/Groom! I will then ask your guests to wait patiently as we sign the legal paperwork. Your parents may wish to congratulate you at this point (or wait until the paper work is signed). You will need a piece of music during this short break in the ceremony. Your photographer will want to use this opportunity to take some more pictures and then your guests will be invited to follow. Once we have filled out the paper work and the relevant people have witnessed the paperwork, I will ask your guests to draw their attention back to the two of you. I will take the opportunity to announce group photographs and pre-dinner drinks/canapés before announcing you as a married couple. If you have had flower girls and page boys I will present them with their very own special certificate to acknowledge the special job they have done today. My very final line will conclude with introducing you from the list below. Please choose from the following – 1.Mr + Mrs, Mr + Mr or Mrs + Mrs XXXXXX 2.The Happy couple XXX and XXX 3.The newlyweds XXX and XXX or something different
Processional You will then need a piece of music as family and friends congratulate you.