Many of today’s To Be Wed Couples are gravitating toward smaller and much more personal gatherings when contemplating their wedding plans. Typically, both the bride and the groom are busy working professionals with hectic lifestyles to contend with. The last thing they want is more hectic demands placed on them with grandiose wedding plans. As a result, what couples are truly seeking, is a genuine, personal, intimate experience for their wedding event.
Today’s wedding couples want to celebrate this most important day surrounded by the people who know and love them well, their closest friends and family. They want to feel more at ease and relaxed with their guests, to feel free to fully enjoy the flow of everything to do with their wedding. They aim to create a cherished celebration with close-knit friends and family, rather than the typical wedding planning trappings of a big glitz and glamour production gone wild.
As I visit with today’s wedding couples, I have to say, I certainly see the wisdom in their choices. Many enjoy having the financial freedom to splurge on what’s truly important to them when they elect to have a smaller guests list.
Some couples choose a small guest list not necessarily because their budgets are small, but because they can pull out all the stops and have a truly lavish wedding geared for a more intimate gathering. With fewer guests you can focus on the things that really matter. Like that perfect honeymoon you have always dreamed of, or perhaps an elegant catered dinner; while others it might set their sights on dancing the night away to a live band.
Plus, they enjoy more options when choosing a venue. Since you won’t need a large space to accommodate your guests, many small wedding charming venues will be open to you. In South Central Kansas many couples are blessed to either have homes in the country, or know someone that does..
The freedom to customize your wedding to your own tastes gives you the opportunity to get your creative juices flowing and make your wedding a unique reflection of the two of you.
The possibilities are endless.
Today’s wedding couples want to be able to spend quality time with their guests, this being one of the big wedding essentials. How many weddings have you attended that left you feeling like another face in the crowd fulfilling a social obligation? Small weddings aren’t like that. When the guest list is small, the bride and groom can spend quality time with each of their guests, making them feel welcome and creating cherished life long memories that everyone will remember fondly.
Small weddings offer greater opportunity for real bonding, by way of getting your loved ones from both sides of the family involved in your special day. Which, I think you’ll find, that they will absolutely adore the opportunity of getting evolved with the planning and decorating. Also, it’s a whole lot easier and way more fun for the DIY wedding couple with a guest list of 75 or under.
At the end of the day, what you and your guests remember will be those special moments and loads of loving memories that will always be treasured. After all, isn’t that one of the true reasons for a creating a wedding celebration in the first place? I’m thinking so.
Wedding Ceremonies represent a profound life changing event. They declare and acknowledge the foundations and beliefs on which your love exists and grows from the very moment of your union as husband and wife, and forward into the many years of your life together. Your wedding vows represent the touch stone of your relationship to yourselves and as husband and wife. They are indeed, the words and promises the two of your will live by. Consider and tend to them well and often and your relationship will flourish and thrive. Here's one such beautiful, thoughtful and deeply inspired example.
See You at the Altar
Some Uncommon Wedding Vows by Neal Walsch
(These are the Marriage Statements read at the marriage of Nancy and Neale Walsch)
Some Uncommon Wedding Vows Minister:
Neale and Nancy have not come here tonight to make a solemn promise or to exchange a sacred vow.
Nancy and Neale have come here to make public their love for each other; to give noticement to their truth; to declare their choice to live and partner and grow together - out loud and in your presence, out of their desire that we will all come to feel a very real and intimate part of their decision, and thus make it even more powerful.
They've also come here tonight in the further hope that their ritual of bonding will help bring us all closer together. If you are here tonight with a spouse or partner, let this ceremony be a reminder - a rededication of your own loving bond.
We'll begin by asking the question: Why get married?
Neale and Nancy have answered this question for themselves, and they've told me the answer. Now I want to ask them one more time, so they can be sure of their answer, certain of their understanding, and firm in their commitment to the truth they share.
(Minister gets two red roses from table . . .)
This is the Ceremony of Roses, in which Nancy and Neale share their understandings, and commemorate that sharing.
Now Nancy and Neale, you have told me it is your firm understanding that you are not entering into this marriage for reasons of security . . .
. . . that the only real security is not in owning or possessing, nor in being owned or possessed . . .
. . .not in demanding or expecting, and not even in hoping, that what you think you need in life will be supplied by the other . . .
. . .but rather, in knowing that everything you need in life . . . all the love, all the wisdom, all the insight, all the power, all the knowledge, all the understanding, all the nurturing, all the compassion, and all the strength . . . resides within you . . .
. . . and that you are not marrying the other in hopes of getting these things, but in hopes of giving these gifts, that the other might have them in even greater abundance.
Is that your firm understanding tonight?
(They say, "It is.")
And Nancy and Neale, you have told me it is your firm understanding you are not entering into this marriage as a means of in any way limiting, controlling, hindering, or restricting each other from any true expression and honest celebration of that which is the highest and best within you - including your love of God, your love of life, your love of people, your love of creativity, your love of work, or any aspect of your being which genuinely represents you, and brings you joy. Is that still your firm understanding tonight?
(They say, "It is.")
Finally, Nancy and Neale, you have said to me that you do not see marriage as producing obligations but rather as providing opportunities . . .
. . . opportunities for growth, for full Self-expression, for lifting your lives to their highest potential, for healing every false thought or small idea you ever had about yourself, and for ultimate reunion with God through the communion of your two souls . . .
. . . that this is truly a Holy Communion . . . a journey through life with one you love as an equal partner, sharing equally both the authority and the responsibilities inherent in any partnership, bearing equally what burdens there be, basking equally in the glories.
Is that the vision you wish to enter into now?
(They say, "It is.")
I now give you these red roses, symbolizing your individual understandings of these Earthly things; that you both know and agree how life will be with you in bodily form, and within the physical structure called marriage. Give these roses now to each other as a symbol of your sharing of these agreements and understandings with love.
Now, please each of you take this white rose. It is a symbol of your larger understandings, of your spiritual nature and your spiritual truth. It stands for the purity of your Real and Highest Self, and of the purity of God's love, which shines upon you now, and always.
(Minister gives Nancy the rose with Neale's ring on the stem, and Neale the rose with Nancy's ring on it.)
What symbols do you bring as a reminder of the promises given and received today?
(They each remove the rings from the stems, giving them to the minister, who holds them in her hand as she says . . .)
A circle is the symbol of the Sun, and the Earth, and the universe. It is a symbol of holiness, and of perfection and peace. It is also the symbol of the eternality of spiritual truth, love, and life . . . that which has no beginning and no end. And in this moment, Nancy and Neale choose for it to also be a symbol of unity, but not of possession; of joining, but not of restricting; of encirclement, but not of entrapment. For love cannot be possessed, nor can it be restricted. And the soul can never be entrapped.
Now Neale and Nancy, please take these rings you wish to give, one to the other.
(They take each other's rings.)
Neale, please repeat after me.
I, Neale . . . ask you, Nancy . . . to be my partner, my lover, my friend, and my wife . . . I announce and declare my intention to give you my deepest friendship and love . . . not only when your moments are high . . . but when they are low . . . not only when you remember clearly Who You Are . . . but when you forget . . . not only when you are acting with love . . . but when you are not . . . I further announce . . . before God and those here present . . . that I will seek always to see the Light of Divinity within you . . . and seek always to share . . . the Light of Divinity within me . . . even, and especially . . . in whatever moments of darkness may come.
It is my intention to be with you forever . . . in a Holy Partnership of the Soul . . . that we may do together God's work . . . sharing all that is good within us . . . with all those whose lives we touch.
(The minister turns to Nancy.)
Nancy, do you choose to grant Neale's request that you be his wife?
(She answers, "I do.")
Now Nancy, please repeat after me.
I, Nancy . . . ask you, Neale . . . (She makes the same vow).
(Minister turns to Neale.)
Neale, do you choose to grant Nancy's request that you be her husband?
(He answers, "I do.")
Please then, both of you, take hold of the rings you would give each other, and repeat after me: With this ring . . . I thee wed . . . I take now the ring you give to me . . . (they exchange rings) . . . and place it upon my hand . . . (they place the rings on their hands) . . . that all may see and know . . . of my love for you.
(The minister closes . . .)
We recognize with full awareness that only a couple can administer the sacrament of marriage to each other, and only a couple can sanctify it. Neither my church, nor any power vested in me by the State, can grant me the authority to declare what only two hearts can declare, and what only two souls can make real.
And so now, inasmuch as you, Nancy, and you, Neale, have announced the truths that are already written in your hearts, and have witnessed the same in the presence of these, your friends, and the One Living Spirit - we observe joyfully that you have declared yourself to be . . . husband and wife.
Let us join now in prayer.
Spirit of Love and Life: out of this whole world, two souls have found each other. Their destinies shall now be woven into one design, and their perils and their joys shall not be known apart.
Neale and Nancy, may your home be a place of happiness for all who enter it; a place where the old and the young are renewed in each other's company, a place for growing and a place for sharing, a place for music and a place for laughter, a place for prayer and a place for love.
May those who are nearest to you be constantly enriched by the beauty and the bounty of your love for one another, may your work be a joy of your life that serves the world, and may your days be good and long upon the Earth.
Amen, and amen.
From "Conversations with God: An Uncommon Dialogue, Book 3" by Neale Donald Walsch
The author wishes that "people would cut these [Marriage Statements] out, or copy them, and use them for their wedding. I bet we'd see the divorce rate plummet."
As a Minister and Wedding Officiate, I get loads of questions about Encore Weddings "aka" second marriages. The most common question asked is, how to best include the children in the wedding ceremony in a meaningful way?
After all, when talking about second marriages, I take into careful account the creation and blending of a new family as well.
In the case of second marriages, it isn't only a about the uniting of the wedding couple, but also the uniting and forming of a new second family as well. This is a big and exciting step for everyone involved.
When couples consult me, I suggest our Blended Family Ceremony Options. There are several blended family ceremony options to choose from. Each can be uniquely made your own, depending on the couple's personal preferences, wedding style and of course the ages of the children.
It may be helpful to know that most couples remarrying do have children from a previous marriage, and most of our encore wedding couples are searching for ways to include their children in special ways within their wedding ceremony.
Well not to worry, there are a number of creative and heart warming ways to celebrate your new Blended Family within your wedding ceremony that I'm happy to share with you here.
The first consideration is, are there children that may feel a bit too shy to be included in the actual wedding ceremony? And if so, how do we handle that?
In this case, I offer a few alternative suggestions which still includes the children in a significant and meaningful way and may prove to be more comfortable for them. I often begin by taking into account the ages of the children and their personalities by the input I receive from the wedding couple. But for now here are a few basics on the How To Tips when planning your encore wedding ceremony.
I suggest children between the ages of 3 and 7 will likely be ideal for flower girls or ring bearers. In fact, most of the time, children in this age range very much look forward to this sort of participation with great anticipation.
For the ages ranging from 8 to 14, consider offering them the option of junior ushers or junior bridesmaids. This option involves a bit more responsibility and gives them a greater sense of playing a necessary and important role in your union.
For older teens and young adults, I suggest that they be a part of the wedding party. Many times, the older children will give the bride away, act the best man or the maid of honor.
If by chance your children are still not comfortable with any of the above levels of participation, they may be more receptive and comfortable in assisting with the guest book, handing out wedding programs or simply standing next to you in the receiving line.
Whatever method you choose, it's important to make sure the children feel comfortable with the role they play and that they also feel included in the wedding.
Most importantly, keep your children in the loop throughout the various wedding planning stages. When keeping them involved they come to learn and understand that this wedding is not only about the union of the Mom and a Dad, but also the new family as well, in which they are a very vital part.
In taking special care and consideration in planning your Encore Wedding, the tone and rewards of getting your New Blended Family off on the right foot will be many in the years to come
Ask any June Bride who's been there and done that, and she'll tell you.
"If you want a June Wedding, then you had better get started very early, or you'll find yourself frantically rummaging for whatever is left over and trying to piece things together from there". It's a wedding planning nightmare that doesn't have to be...if only you had known!
First time bride's that aren't up on their wedding research, often make this one major and critical mistake when making wedding plans.
This oversight will cause a continuations ripple down affect throughout all of her future planning efforts. Which by the way, makes for an unpleasant and prolonged wedding planning odyssey.
So how does this common wedding planning headache begin?
Bridal Shows, yes...that's what I said. Bridal Shows!
I'm not saying that there's any "wrong" with Bridal Shows.
Bridal Shows are great.
But, what I am saying is, the Bride's Perceptions and Exceptions may not be entirely realistic.
It's not her fault, I mean, it's not like you get married everyday, is it?
Here's what I mean...
It begins when a bride makes the mistaken assumption that if she waits until the Bridal Shows, which typically begin in January, a mere six months away from June, she'll be able to waltz right in and find what she's looking for at the time that she wants it.
Giggle, giggle! This is rarely the reality or the case.
She's much more likely to come to the sudden shocking realization that the June she wanted, was booked a year or two ahead of time by those bride's who did their homework well. So, now what?
Here's where the headache really kicks in.
Okay, so now you and everyone else who's helping you plan your wedding, i.e. Groom, Mom and friends and such, all start chiming in at once, in an effort to swoop in and save the day.
Now, take just a moment here to let those dynamics play out in your head and sink in. Feel the tension building?
Yes...it's a major OMG Moment!
Now...take a deep breath and continue reading.
Just follow me here a little while longer and I'll navigate you into calmer waters.
Sound good? Great! Let's get to it.
As pointed out earlier, reserving a June Wedding one to two years ahead is the best practice.
But what if you want a June Wedding before then?
Here's a secret tip, the little known June Wedding options.
But before we go there, first, let's do a little reset on our priorities.
The obvious question is, of course...how important is having a June Wedding to your overall wedding plans?
If it's not that big of an issue, then this is going to be pretty easy to resolve.
There are several other months in the year to consider. See my earlier article on
Choosing your wedding date. Peak Season, Sub Peak and Off Season months.
However, if June is a must, here are some tips that may prove helpful.
As I write this, it's November. I know all too well that there are scores of young brides out there just saving it all up for the January Bride Shows, and chomping at the bit, only to be stymied at the gate.
By now, you understand that waiting until January may not be your best utilization of time. The best thing to do at this point is to get a
Jump On June...in the moment of now!
Begin searching venues for a June opening anywhere.
The truth is, you don't have the time to be too stuck on anything if your heart is set on a June Wedding.
This is when you want to find your inner Wedding Zen Zone and learn to flow with it like a leaf on the river, Grasshopper Bride.
Right now, for instance, Wedding Barns are all the craze, so...you'll likely not find any that are available for this coming June, unless you are prepared to postpone your wedding for a year or two.
I'm guessing, this isn't going to fly well with your wedding plans if you are still reading this article. Let's continue...for best results step entirely out of the popular crowd wedding crazed matrix.
This is a good time for the two of you, as a couple, to have a sincere and honest one on one about what's most important to you concerning your wedding presentation and reception event.
By doing this, you'll both soon realize, it's really not about
"barn wedding", it's about something much more important and substantial than that. Once you both clear in this area, the rest starts falling into place and becomes much easier.
After all, it's really all about the love you share and the union you are entering into to...this is the only thing that truly matters...everything else is just stuff and trimmings, right?
Think of it in this way. Loving each other feels natural, easy and real.
So should your wedding.
The best practice is to reserve the Wedding Officiate at pretty much the same time you reserve your wedding venue. Taking this approach insures that you have your wedding foundations solidly in place and rest is about having fun with the add-ons and decorations.
By now you should both be feeling much more relaxed, self confident, in control and looking forward to your wedding plans than you did when you first started this article. Excellent and well done!
Then my work is done here...at least for the moment.
See You at the Altar,
Mini Weddings are becoming increasingly popular for a number of very good reasons.