Wedding Ceremony: Gathering Words

This is part 3 in a series of posts about the Wedding Ceremony. Click to see part 1 and part 2.

After the processional comes the gathering words, or opening words. This means exactly what it says. In movies you’ll hear the Officiant say something to the tune of “dearly beloved we are gathered here today….” In less traditional ceremonies it is a time used to call everyone to attention to let them know the ceremony is beginning and to take their places or seats. Again that usually comes before the processional but many Officiants consider it parts of the gathering words. However, others differentiate the two by naming the next section as any orator would, opening words.

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So the gist of it is to start the official ceremony, acknowledge those gathered together to witness, introduce themselves and the couple they are about to marry and tell them what they are here to witness. That’s it. It can be as short and sweet or long and flowery or not as each couple wants it.

This is a great time to acknowledge and special family or friends such as those who have passed away or the parents of the bride and groom. This is also an optimal time for a reading if you plan to have more than one in your ceremony. Short ones like quotes would be great here. It is also the best time to explain any particular rituals that your guests may not be familiar with. Especially those where you would ask them to participate in such as ring warming.

And of course, many religious ceremonies use this time to acknowledge or invoke any higher powers that may be present or would like to be present. Creating sacred space or saying a prayer.

Tell me, how would you like to start your wedding ceremony? Who would you acknowledge? If anyone? What unique opening readings have peaked your interest? Let me know in the comments.

Wedding Ceremony: The Processional

This is part 2 in a series of posts about the Wedding Ceremony. To see part 1, click here.

When talking about a wedding ceremony the processional is the entrance. The beginning of it all. When we break it down its simply when the wedding party (everyone participating in the ceremony) walks in. That shouldn’t be complicated enough to need a plan but it can be. Mostly due to pressure from family and friends (and even business associates in some circles) on who will be included in the wedding party. Hopefully, you’ve picked out your wedding party and dealt with any fallout or hurt feelings early on.

Traditionally, the processional consists of the officiant, parents of the groom, groomsmen, groom, ring bearer, bridesmaids, flower girl, parents of the bride and the bride. *In that order.* But we’re living in 2016 with modern families. The processional is a great time and place to personalize your wedding with no extra cost.

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Begin as you mean to go on, I say. Only include those that are close to you in your wedding party. Those that won’t try to steal all the attention for themselves. This goes for family as well as friends. You do not need to have an equal amount of bridesmaids and groomsmen. Brides if your Groom can walk himself down the aisle then so can you if you choose to. No need to be given away if you don’t want to be. Kids not interested in participating? Or maybe you don’t have kids. No need to go pull cousin Alex’ daughter into things for traditions sake. The best man can carry the ring. And you can have your bridesmaids sprinkle flowers (or blow bubbles) as they walk down the aisle.

Go totally crazy and have your true baby, your dog, walk down the aisle. Just be prepared for things not to go as planned and make sure dogs are allowed. Ooh, remember this bride who famously pushed her newborn’s carriage in front of her? Or maybe try your ceremony without a processional at all. Mingle with your guests as they arrive for a more casual start to your ceremony. If a couple can get married at City Hall with only one witness as the minimum requirement by law then the possibilities in this area are limitless.

What do you think? How will you begin your wedding ceremony? Share your ideas below.

Wedding Ceremony

Happy New Year everyone!

Its a new year and there are lot of newly engaged couples out there. Most of whom will be getting married for the first time. Its very easy to get bogged down in the details of the pre- and post-wedding activities while the most important part, the ceremony gets overlooked.

This is understandable since the ceremony itself, unless it is an elaborately religious or mixing two cultures or religions, can be pretty simple. Beyond picking your wedding party and officiant the ceremony itself is pretty simple here in the U.S. However, because of this, many couples don’t know what can go into it. It doesn’t help that each state has slightly different requirements about what constitutes legally married. So, if you care about that, please do check with your state to see what the minimum requirements are for where you will marry and live. If not, that is one less worry on your mind.

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To help you relieve a few more worries I have created this basic guide to what can be included in your wedding ceremony. You are not obligated to include everything listed here. These are just some options to give the newly engaged ideas for when they speak with an officiant.

This is the first in a series of posts. First, I’ll go over what the different parts of a ceremony generally include. Followed by a list of the most common additions. In subsequent posts I’ll go into more detail about each and give some examples. You may have noticed that I am long-winded. This way you won’t be bombarded with a novel length blog post all at once because who wants to read that?

So a wedding ceremony generally consists of 7 basic parts:

  1. Processional
  2. Gathering Words
  3. Invocation/Marriage Address
  4. Declaration of Intent
  5. Exchange of Vows/Rings
  6. Pronouncement
  7. Recessional

Additional parts (in no particular order):

  • Blessing
  • Readings
  • Unity Ceremonies
  • Sermon/Homily
  • Prayer
  • Giving of the Bride
  • Post-pronouncement rituals
  • Remembrances
  • Family rituals
  • Ring Warming

There are many other religious and cultural practices which add different traditions to marriage ceremonies. For example, here are some parts included in a Pagan Handfasting.

  • Circle casting
  • Circle cleansing/consecrating
  • Calling of the elements/watchtowers/quarters/angels/etc
  • Evocation of the gods and goddesses
  • Handfasting
  • Dismissing the elements/watchtowers/quarters/angels/etc
  • Thanking the gods and goddesses
  • Closing the circle

So there you have it a basic breakdown of a wedding ceremony and just a tiny bit more. If you’ve ever been to a wedding or seen on on tv you will recognize many of these terms for what they are but in my next few posts, I plan to explain more about each part listed. So subscribe or follow me so that you get notified when the next posts come out.

Also, let me know if you have seen some other wedding ceremony traditions not listed here. I love to expand my knowledge and also answer any questions you may have.

Have a great weekend everyone,

~Lashette Williams, Efficiency and Happiness.

Etsy Weddings Showcase

 

Earlier this year I told myself to head out and find new vendors to work with for my business and one of my first attempts to network outside my comfort zone was Etsy Weddings. By now everyone knows that Etsy has a Weddings category where thousands of sellers that specialize in that special day promote their one of a kind (OOAK), handmade and vintage wares. Well, Etsy also has a yearly event where local vendors can showcase their products up close and personal to potential clients. This year I went to check it out. Once I got checked in with my little booklet I was on my way.

The first booth I came too was Hunter and Co. Designs and they make both custom and pre-made rubber stamps. Why would they be at a wedding event? Because they make custom stamps couples can get everything from a simple Thank You stamp to a full wedding invitation stamp with personalized names dates and locations.

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My personal Hunter & Co. Designs Thank you note

In my previous post I talked about how difficult it is for modern couples to find time to hand write invitations and thank you notes. This is a great alternative. What I also liked about my first stop was how they had it set up so couples could try things out right there and then with different stationary and stamps. I made my own thank you note to help remember them.

My next stop was at a vendor selling vintage wedding dresses and more. Salvato Collections has a beautifully curated vintage wedding day collection. From OOAK dresses to crowns and jewelry. All gorgeous and giving off a dreamy or fairy-like feel. Amanda, the owner and I had a great talk about how she picks her items looking for non-traditional and vintage looks. We got into a discussion about tea party bridal showers and picnic weddings; both of which we think should become trends.

Next came one of my fave vendors. Moontree Letterpress.

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Garden Style Wedding Invite by Moontree Letterpress

You guys will learn how much I love nature and the outdoors as this blog goes on. And Rebecca from Moontree makes gorgeous stationary with trees and flowers all over it. Letterpress is a type of printing where images and text are pressed into the paper resulting in a relief. This is an old-fashioned style of printing.  Just absolutely gorgeous stuff and she has been studying horticulture. She’s got all types of plant life that she uses as inspiration for her botanical art and printing.

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Daniela with  Monique Halter Cape Bridal Jumpsuit

The next unique vendor I got to see was a surprise. Daniela Tabois is another clothing vendor with an unassuming set up; just a small table, email sign up list and a rack of clothing. I was intrigued as she was the first person of color I had seen at the event so far. Turns out she is a new designer and her specialty is right up my alley. Daniela makes bridal jumpsuits instead of gowns. Now this was a unique and non-traditional idea. A fancy alternative for those women who didn’t want to deal with huge gowns or don’t want to wear a dress. These jumpsuits are just as glamorous and fitting for any bride. Daniela had so many options that looked amazing that I couldn’t choose so I told her to pick which was her favorite to take a picture with.

Turning around I almost bumped into the crowd around Olivia Ewing Jewelry‘s table. Delicate earrings, bracelets and, most importantly, rings designs inspired by nature. I instantly fell in love but didn’t get to talk to the creator since she was busy with prospective customers. I couldn’t even get good pictures so sad but definitely check out her website.

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Floral-escence cotton bouquet

Okay, continuing with my unique and nature themes is Floral-escence. They make preserved floral designs. Everyone knows that flowers are here today and gone tomorrow. Their shelf life is shortened dramatically once they are cut but they add so much atmosphere. This goes for greenery as well. Well Melody, the owner has found a solution by creating floral designs with preserved flowers. My fave that day was the cotton bouquet. These are great for winter or rustic weddings.

And now we must talk about food, in particular dessert. I have four words for you; Mini Brownie Wedding Shop. First these brownies taste amazing. Second, they can put edible pictures on the brownies. These would make perfect wedding guest favors. And Julie assured me that her husband can make vegan and gluten-free versions as well. How cool is that?

Next up was a vendor making great bridal party gifts. Sandra Smith was showcasing her handcrafted and monogrammed change/makeup purses but she enthusiastically told me that she can happily make them for other types of events. They can come in various colors and prints and of course monogrammed for each lucky maid. These are high quality bags and I cannot wait to work with Sandra more.

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    Flower Girl Feather Crown by Little Lady Accessories

I am not going to lie, I love headbands and crowns so much and there were so many vendors selling them, with and without veils, at this event. So many colors and materials. But my favorite had to be the beautiful bride-flower girl set made of feathers. The most unique and non-traditional of them all; made by Mandy of Little Lady Accessories. To be honest, my picture does not do it justice. I still cannot believe this was tucked up under the table. It must have been snapped up quickly because I could find it in the shop later on.

Last, but definitely not least, was the Samwell Leather Co. The only vendor showcasing items for the Groom directly. Guys need love too. But it was obvious with one glance that the owner Salvatore LiPuma knew what he was doing. His handcrafted leather items would be perfect gifts for any groom and his men. Absolutely gorgeous quality leather and who doesn’t love a leather merchant whose slogan is “respect the cow?”

Alright, that’s enough out of me. Before I go on to extol the good qualities of every merchant I encountered I’ll answer the question you’ve probably been wondering. Why am I sharing these great vendors only now? Because engagement season is coming up and for those couples getting married in Spring 2017 its time to start looking and buying many of those unique items you have not purchased yet for your big day.

Let me know what you think of my favorites or if you’ve worked with any of these sellers show them some love in the comments.

~Lashette, Excelsior Events