Let’s start part two of Questions and Answers to Help The Officiate with a quick review of Part One.
So far we’ve given the officiate all your contact information, the location, day and time of the ceremony and if there is a rehearsal, it’s day, time and location.
We’ve let the officiate know the ages of the couple and whether it’s their first marriage or they have been married before. Why is this important? It is my philosophy (as I mentioned in part one) that weddings should not be “one size fits all.” So the message and tone of a wedding for a twenty something couple both getting married for the first time is a different message and ceremony than I would write for a couple in their 40’s who have been married before and have grown kids.
We have determined the style of the ceremony Traditional Religious, Non Denominational Religious, Spiritual (A non religious ceremony with quotes from poets, philosophers and great writers,) Civil (Secular,). Blended (a service that is a blend of two of the above. Other officiates may call them something else.
Last thing we covered in part one was the overall tone of the service. The feel of any of the styles listed above can be varied by tone selected.
There are exceptions but I recommend that ceremonies last about 25 minutes. Longer than this and people get fidgety. Much shorter than 25 minutes the ceremony doesn’t seem significant to the life event that is a marriage.
21. Is 25 minutes acceptable time for you? ____Yes ____ No ___________________________________________
22. Do either the bride or groom have children from a previous relationship? ______ If Yes, are they attending?
23. Do you want to include a “Blending of Families” ritual to include the children in the service? _______________
If so, what are the names of the children and who is the parent? ________________________________________________________________________________________
24. Are the children playing any other part in the ceremony? If so, what? ___________________________________
25. Do you wish to honor and acknowledge anyone in the text of service? People often honor their parents or grandparents or someone significant in your life, perhaps someone who introduced you? ________ If so ,
Name Relationship / Reason to Honor Alive/ Deceased
Example Name___________ _Introduced us__ ____Alive____________
26. Do you also want to honor the mothers (alive) with presentation of flower? ______________________________
27. Of those listed above for Honor and Acknowledgement who are deceased:
_____Mention only ______ Flower on empty chair ______flower on table/altar _____ photo on table/empty seat. ______ Candle on table/altar ______ Candle at reception /head table _______ Other
28. Will there be an exchange of rings? _______ 29.Will both of you be exchanging rings? _______
30 There are two different TYPES of vows. The traditional way is to have vows and then ring vows. Some people prefer to combine the vows and ring vows into one. Which do you prefer? ________________________
31. There are three different ways to do the vows.
The first way is to write your own vows to each other. This sounds great but is harder than you think. Over the years ahead media hundred couples tell me that they were going to write their own, only four have actually done it.
The second type is where I say everything and you guys just say I do. Some people like this because they are afraid they’ll mess up the vows it’s really nothing to fear but some people do
The third type of vows is where I say the vow is in small phrases and you repeat them. This is the prettiest type and there is nothing to fear as we are the only ones that know what you’re supposed to say.
Which type of the vows would you prefer? _____Write Own _______ “I do” only _____Repeat vows
What tone would you like the vows to have? _____Traditional and Serious
_____ Religious Vows _____ _____ Pretty and Meaningful
32. Special Touches. These rituals provide beauty, symbolism , your own personal style and/or tradition (ethic, religious, or family.) You can add as many as you want, but we recommend using no more than two, one before and one after the vows. There are many to choose from, only a portion are listed here.
These descriptions are basic. It is better to discuss these, but we will try to describe the ones listed as best we can. Feel free to contact us for more descriptions and discussion of these special additions.
____The Unity Candle. Bride and groom take two individual candles and light a center, larger candle symbolizing the joining of two individuals into one life. This can be done as a one step where bride and groom individually light the smaller taper candles then together light the bigger one, generally a pillar candle. As an alternative, the two step Unity candle ritual the mothers light the altar candles after they come down the aisle at the beginning of the service. The bride and groom light their individual tapers from those candles and light the large prior to the vows.
____Sand Ritual – Similar to Unity Candle. There are two smaller glass containers each with a different color sand that are poured into a larger container. This is very visual and if the large container can be capped it provides a keepsake of your wedding.
____Wine Ritual- (Can be done with grape juice for non drinkers) We have two bottles of wine, one red and one white. Bride pours for groom and groom pours for bride. They drink a toast to the person they met and fell in love with. Remainder of each glass is poured into a center chalice. The couple holds the chalice and they drink a toast to the coming life together in marriage. This is a very pretty ritual. The Ritual can end here or can be combined with the Time Capsule.
____Time Capsule. In advance a wooden box is prepared that will hold a bottle of blush wine and the two glasses used in the wine ritual. The couple writes letters to each other of what attracted them to each other, why they decided to marry and their hopes and dreams. They do not show the letters to each other but put them in envelopes. During the ceremony the box is closed with the letters, wine glasses and bottle of wine. On their ten year anniversary the couple opens the box, drinks the wine and read the letters to each other.
____ Ethnic Rituals. If you come from an ethnic group that has marriage rituals (e.g. Hispanic, Irish, Polish, African-American, Jewish ) include those here. __________________________________________________________________________
____Other Rituals. If there are other rituals that you know of that you would like to include please note them here ____
____Rose Ritual. This is a very pretty ritual. It is popular among couples that I marry because:
1. It is very pretty and romantic
2. If the guests have not been to a wedding I have officiated it will be new to them as I wrote most of this ritual myself.
3. It gives the couple something easy to do on their anniversary to say “I still love you.”
The ritual involves the groom giving the bride a single rose and the bride giving the groom a vase of water. I discuss the symbolism.
33. If you would like to include some text about how you met, personal details of your relationship to include. note it here_____________________________________
34. Any other information you would like to include in the text _______________________________________________
35. Will any guests , family members, or hired performers be playing music, singing, doing a reading or otherwise taking part in the ceremony? ________________________________________________________________________________
36. Are you interested in other services? Note: Most officiate services do not offer these.
Translator: Do you need someone to translate the service into another language during the ceremony? Do you want to provide an interpreter for the hearing impaired?
Streaming Video: Would you like the entire service to be seen in real time by those who can’t attend? This can be a wonderful addition to the service. As an example….perhaps a relative (in this case let’s say the Father of the Groom) who can’t attend because they are hospitalized who would otherwise be forced to miss the event, can watch it as it actually happens.
2 minister wedding: A beautiful touch is to have more than one minister perform the ceremony. Sometimes the combination of a male and female minister is just the right touch.
36. Counseling and Testing. Are you interested in testing and counseling to improve your chances for a successful marriage? We will talk about this service in the blog in the near future.
This is not a requirement for us to perform your wedding ceremony. But we recommend marital counseling to all our clients….even if you choose to get it elsewhere.
37. Do you have Need for a PA?
38. Music Do you want assistance in picking the music, musicians, play the music?
Every officiate puts together the information in a different way. If you follow the guidelines noted here you will be prepared to meet with the officiate, no matter how they put the information together for your ceremony.
Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have questions.