How short can our wedding ceremony be?
The answer is 121 words, ok 123 if you both have a middle name.
Seriously, this is the legal requirement for a wedding and this week l performed a wedding for Amy and Ken that didn’t go for much longer than that.
Together for a few years and looking for a small intimate ceremony to prelude a holiday; Amy and Ken got dressed up, hired a photographer and headed to a picturesque local spot to tie the knot. Despite the low key, relaxed attitude, l can guarantee it was equally as lovely as any other wedding l have officiated.
When they had first started talking weddings, everyone had shared their opinion of what Amy and Ken should do, where they should go and who they should invite.
It made sense to them to do it this way and it was their wedding – so why not! In fact, they chose to keep it a secret until they were at the airport ready to leave.
In Amy’s words “so everyone could have 9 days to get over not being invited”.
What did their family and friends miss and what must be included in a civil marriage ceremony?
That is it!
SO where are the ‘I do’s, rings, readings, songs, stories, candles and all the other things you see at a wedding?
Those bits are completely up to the couple to include if they choose.
Some people might say that 123 words is not enough to get all dressed up for, however given that they are the same 123 words that everyone getting married in a civil ceremony in Australia says, l think it is kind of cool that the rest is up to you.
How many words were in your ceremony?
How many words will you have?
I'd love to hear about it. Please comment below
Inspired by a recent question from a bride and a bizarre story l read yesterday; l am sharing 7 ways to include children in your ceremony, without wearing them.
I often perform weddings for people with offspring and l am always delighted by the joy shared when the whole family is involved. However, a woman in Tennessee chose to include her newborn in the ceremony by attaching the child to her wedding train and dragging her down the aisle.
Each to their own though l would argue, there are 7 other ways to involve the kids by giving them:
1. Their own job
Ring bearers, flower girls and ushers are all common roles for children. Walking nana or mum down the aisle is also special. If you are having an order of service make sure their name is there in black and white. My son was once given the job of ‘hat holder’ at his great uncles beach wedding and wore the title as a badge of honour all day.
2. Their own I dos
When blending families or welcoming a new ‘parent figure’ it is symbolic to make a public vow to the child and a response from the child. They can say ‘I do’ and agree to support the marriage.
3. Their own paperwork
A replica wedding certificate or similar document would be easy to create for the children to sign and keep as a reminder of their promises made.
4. Their own bling
It can be frustrating for kids to see mum and dad scoring all the gifts, attention and new bling. A necklace, watch or other special reminder of the day can be presented to the children during the ring exchange.
5. Their own mini-ceremony
Many weddings include a symbolic gesture of the union made such as pouring sand, lighting candles or planting trees. Children can be involved in these actions and it is a great way of keeping them interested in the day.
6. Their own stage
More confident and older children can read poems, sing songs, play an instrument or read a special letter. I have seen 16 year olds completely freak out and 7 year olds read perfectly so this would definitely be depended on the child in question and their confidence level. Remember, there are many traditional sayings in a wedding that don’t need to be said by the celebrant. I would love to see an offspring shout “You may now kiss my mum”
7. Their own decorating
Petals, balloons, rice and confetti; just some of the many things children can dole out or decorate with. My favourite is bubbles which not only seem to keep kids in a trance, but also make for fantastic wedding photos.
Finally, a couple of tips.
There is a reason ‘they’ say never work with kids or animals. It’s important that you don’t get disappointed or upset if the child refuses to go along with the plans on the day. Shyness, fear or control can cause the most confident rehearsed kid to freeze, cry or tantrum. The best way to avoid this is to not make their role pivotal to the whole ceremony and have someone else responsible to assist them on the day. The bride can’t run after an upset flowergirl.
My biggest advice is ask the child what they would like to do. Know the kid. If they are nervous or not interested don’t make them. Forcing a tomboy into a lace dress or making a shy child centre of attention is just asking for trouble... and often a guaranteed entry for “funniest home videos”.
Sewing them into the dress, now that will definitely get you on the news.
I'd love to hear any other ways you've seen children successfully included in a wedding ceremony. Comment below