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.


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.


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.

3 Thank You Note Alternatives

thank you note
Sample Thank You Card I created from Hunter & Co. Designs at the Etsy Wedding event earlier this year.

Are Thank You Notes a Thing of the Past?

Not that I don’t agree that sending thank you notes to people who sent you gifts for your wedding (or Baby Shower or House Warming) shouldn’t be done. Not everyone can attend and they have no other way of knowing if you got the gift on time and in one piece. Sending a Thank You note in reply covers all of that. Etiquette says if someone was kind enough to get you a gift you should remember them and take the time to send them a handwritten note in reply.


That would be nice but we ain’t got time for that. Many also don’t have the money. With many people paying for their own events while still being financially unstable and the prices of these events going up as you invite more people, people cut back wherever they can. Modern etiquette does not say its rude to just ask your friend, “Hey, did you get my gift. How did you like it?” Especially since today’s world moves quicker and events like weddings and baby showers still have so many moving parts. Also, with today’s technology its easy to keep in touch (or not).

So here are some modern alternatives to the thank you note:

1. Ecards. I think by now we’ve all heard of Evites. Its a no brainer why cutting back on paper invites and sending out beautiful Evites. You can still get them bundled with matching thank you Ecards. And even connect them so they automatically go out. Who doesn’t have an email account nowadays? If your guests can order your gift online, you can send them a thank you note via the internet. Here are some examples of companies that make great Ecards; Paperless Post is very well known and there is also Punchbowl as a cheaper alternative.


2. Video Messages. We have everything from video cameras to cell phones to Facebook Live so there are tons of ways to make a thank you video. It can be prerecorded or you can have a live video chat with your friends and family; particularly those who couldn’t make it. In many cases this is a free option, like via skype, but if you want to make things a bit fancier you can use paid apps or even fancy editing software.


3. Visits. I’m a fan of not inviting people you are not close with to your personal events. But even then it can get crowded and you don’t get to spend quality time with your guests. So as an alternative why not set up a date in the future with just the two of you so you can catch up and give your thanks in person. This is particularly for those far flung friends and family who just couldn’t make it. And it works great whether they send a gift or not!


I will caution people to keep in mind older or old-fashioned family and friends who might expect or like a hand-written thank you note. Having a few for those people will not break your budget. And also for those who expect everyone to send you thoughtful gifts for your life’s every milestone, you should at least tell each person thank you in some meaningful way in exchange.


Lastly, not everyone has to send a gift or expects to receive one. Many modern couples don’t. And they don’t invite everyone to their events. Particularly not people they don’t speak to on at least a semi-regular basis. So your congrats on their Facebook wall is enough for some. Just don’t expect more than a reply saying “Thanks.”

POP ART Wedding Inspiration

Pop art is fun. It brings to mind colors, comic books and the 196os. So I thought why not put together a fun pop art wedding look perfect for a spring or summer wedding. Check out my Pinterest board below.

Turns out I am not the first to come up with the idea. Kudos to those couples who created their own pop art weddings. They all looked like fun.