Few couples know there are many forms and styles of wedding ceremonies. Below you'll find a helpful guide to the various ceremony forms and styles available. Explore the options and discover what best fits your nuptial fancies.
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See You at the Altar,
Wedding Ceremonies, Forms and Styles.
Which ceremony form and style best fit’s your wedding desires and personalities?
Let’s begin to break it down by addressing the basics of each wedding form and style.
Traditional. These are typically faith-based and culled from the tradition the bride and groom were born into.
Non-denominational. A spiritual ceremony that includes reference to God, but does not adhere to any particular religious protocol.
Non-religious. Usually includes no reference to faith and typically does not mention God. (Some people call it a civil ceremony, but in fact a civil ceremony often mentions God).
Interfaith. This is a blending of two or more faiths, by including aspect of religion or religious rituals or readings that are symbolic of each faith.
Intercultural. This is a blending of cultures – such as a Filipino veil ceremony with a Chinese red string ritual and yet can certainly also blend religious aspects.
Any Ceremony Form, for the most part, may be applied to any Wedding Style.
What Are the Different Wedding Styles?
Black Tie, Formal, Informal, Casual and Elopement.
These are the terms used to dictate the level of formality, attire and ambiance of a wedding. Each style type plays an important part in the planning, direction and execution of your wedding as a whole.
Your preference will determine the ceremony style and direction, the reception, dining service, menu details and the capacity and ambiance of the wedding venue.
Of course, contingent on your personality styles, comfort zones and budget, each wedding style will have different levels of presentation, preparation and cost involved. When beginning to formulate your wedding plans it’s important to consider what you and your spouse-to-be will be most comfortable with.
The wedding style you select will also indicate what attire your wedding party and guests will wear. Everything about the wedding plans will hinge on your wedding’s overall level of style and level of formality, which should also be clearly indicated within your wedding invitations.
If you and your partner are usually on the casual side, then having a black tie wedding may not be comfortable fit for you. Then again, this is one time in your life when you may very well want to go all out, splurge and really crank up the formality and grandeur of your big day.
As you consider the elements of your wedding, strive to keep within the same level of formality and style throughout your wedding event so that entire day will flow with ease, grace and style.
Now, let’s take a look at what each wedding style typically entails.
Formal Black Tie
A Black Tie Style Wedding
Traditionally, black tie attire marks a very formal event — one that takes place in a grand hall, a house of worship or an upscale hotel, the reception provides an elaborate menu, beginning with cocktails and a full service dining staff. The reception is typically 200 Plus guests and a large wedding party. Black tie weddings don’t have to be in the evening. Your wedding can begin in the late afternoon and still be very formal. Brides and bridesmaids wear elegant, full-length gowns (with a full train and veil for the bride), and grooms and groomsmen wear traditional black tailcoats and pants, white stiff shirts with white ascot ties, black socks and shoes. The average wedding budget would be approximately $35,000.00 plus.
A Formal Style Wedding
A formal wedding is typically held in a house of worship or hotel, starts in the afternoon or evening, has a sit-down dinner or buffet at the reception and features at least 150 Plus guests. The budget would be around $25,000.00
The bride and groom each traditionally have between three and six attendants. The bride at a formal wedding wears a full-length gown with a sweep or chapel train, and a fingertip veil. Grooms and groomsmen wear tuxedos: black coats, black pants, white shirts, black vests and black ties. Bridesmaids match in full-length dresses.
A Semi-formal Style Wedding
A semi-formal wedding can be held in a house of worship, but you can also have one in a home, an outdoor location or another spot. It traditionally starts in the afternoon, has a simple meal or refreshments at the reception, with a guests list of 100 Plus. Most budgets would range between $15,000.00 to $8,000.00.
The bride wears a full- or cocktail-length gown with a short train or no train at all and a fingertip veil. The groom and groomsmen wear matching tuxedos or dark suits, and bridesmaids wear matching full- or cocktail-length gowns.
The Casual Style Wedding
A casual wedding is usually held during the day in a hotel, home, garden or another location that isn’t a house of worship. It has a simple meal or refreshments at the reception and the guest list of 100.
The bride and groom typically have two to three attendants each.
This style of ceremony offers a good deal of flexibility both in presentation and budget. Budgets can be a little as $2,500 to $5,500.00 plus.
Informal brides may wear a knee- or cocktail-length wedding dress with no veil or anything from a pantsuit to a linen sundress. The men might wear suits and ties or shorts and flip-flops, depending on the occasion.
The Simple Wedding
This Wedding Style generally consist of gatherings of 75 to 100 guests. Wedding Budgets would range from $1,000.00 to $2,500.00.
The ceremony style is very relaxed and casual. No rehearsal is necessary for this comfy cozy informal wedding style. This ceremony style is most popular for Second Marriages, Blended Family Weddings, Theme Weddings and Vow Renewal Celebrations. It's a lovely, heart warming, casual ceremony style that is very well suited for homes, gardens, parks, hotels.
This lovely little "Just Marry Us" style ceremony is perfect for small intimate gatherings of 35 guests or less.
A Simply Sweet Short Ceremony, no rehearsal necessary. Your budget would be about $250.00 to $500.00.
A romantic little ceremony with 2 to 20 guests.
A Simply Perfect Little Romantic Elopement.
Just right for B&B's, hotels, homes or parks.
There are several wonderful ceremony locations we can suggest to you.
Wedding Budgets would range from $295.00 to $595.00.
Copyright © 2013 My Life's Precious Vows and Celebrations
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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."
The Unity Ceremony Accessory Must Have!
I'm sure you'll enjoy this wonderful and informative article by Rev. Rinedollar from Colorado.
by Rev. Karen Rinedollar
The following is a top ten list of helpful suggestions of things to know when choosing an officiant (the person performing the wedding ceremony). If you are not getting married in a church, finding the right officiant will be the responsibility of you and your fiancee.
Does the price include travel fees? Couples planning a nice intimate wedding in the mountains may be shocked when they hear the quote. Unless the officiant lives in the location where you want to be married, a significant amount of travel time may be incurred. So the short and sweet mountain wedding you are planning may require an officiant to be in the car for an extended period of time not including time for consultation, preparation and the actual ceremony. An officiant may require lodging if the location is remote and ceremony in the early morning or later in the day.
What is their cancellation policy? Remember, once you have booked with an officiant, they will be turning down other offers for ceremonies for that date and time. It is normal practice to forfeit your down payment if you cancel the ceremony. Some officiants may exchange for a different time and date if they are available -- but not usually at the last minute.
You will be doing yourself, your wedding and the Officiant an injustice by focusing on price as a starting point. Waiting until the last minute is not a good plan to chose an officiant. Like a fine restaurant, the best ones often book up early. If a couple has gotten engaged, even if the date or site are still in the undecided mode, it is not too early to start looking for the right officiant for you!
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