Based on the hundreds of weddings we’ve officiated, here’s an oddball list of what seems to work, and what doesn’t work (in no particular order), at wedding ceremonies:
- Personal vows. ALWAYS a winner!
- A friend singing
- Throwing flower petals and/or blowing bubbles
- Giving flowers, a rose, a lei, to mothers / dads / grandparents during the ceremony
- Live music – a friend strumming guitar, strings, bongo drums
- Having someone who loves you contribute to your ceremony by reading a poem, saying a marriage blessing, or even telling a little story.
- Being surrounded by people who love you.
- Having both mom AND dad, or two dads, or just mom – walk the bride down the aisle.
- Having the parents walk in with the groom – in some cultures, that’s tradition.
- Bringing in any and all cultural traditions to your ceremony (stomping on a glass, jumping over the broom, tea ceremony, lasso, coin exchange, etc.).
- A sand ceremony – works great at beach weddings – and it’s really fun when the bride and groom have their kids participate
- Having a glass of champagne (or a shot of tequila) BEFORE the ceremony. It calms the nerves. However, having SEVERAL drinks goes on my second list.
- A bubble machine.
- Creating your own unique wedding traditions to hand down to your children.
- Serving a glass of champagne to your guests as they arrive. The celebration starts the moment they get there.
- Bare feet or flip flops at a beach wedding.
- Cramming everyone into a party bus or a limo to get to the wedding site, on to the restaurant, and back to the parking area (it’s fun!).
- Getting someone (your sister or your wedding coordinator) to call ALL YOUR VENDORS with a friendly reminder the day before your ceremony.
- WHAT WORKS: Anything that makes you happy and makes you smile.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK
- Fake rose petals at the beach or at a public venue. You have to pick them all up!
- Water soluble mascara. Ladies, buy waterproof mascara if you’re sentimental and likely to cry.
- Having shiny makeup. Your cheeks and nose will glow like a flashlight in pictures (have powder handy).
- Careful with the spray on tan! You may end up looking yellow in all your wedding pictures.
- Any downtown Laguna Beach location near downtown on a summer Saturday afternoon. Tourists are everywhere, traffic is awful, and there’s no parking. Corona del Mar, Huntington Beach, and Newport Beach have the same problem.
- Expectations will mess you up every time – instead, relax, go with the flow, and enjoy your day.
- Any busy park location where cars are driving by. Someone always yells, “Don’t do it!”, as they whiz by.
- Thinking your ceremony will start on time. They always seem to start 15-20 minutes late.
- Having a runner on the ground for the bride to walk down the aisle at a grassy park or beach wedding. The runner always gets messed up, stepped on, crumpled, or blows away (throw down rose petals instead).
- Being late for a sunset wedding. The sun won’t wait for you!
- A bridal gown that the bride can’t sit down in. The bride always seems miserable in those stiff uncomfortable dresses.
- Having a lot of decor items at a beach wedding. When you’re getting married on the sand, apply the KISS* principal!
- Too much verbiage in your ceremony. Your guests get seriously bored, and the ceremony becomes less meaningful to the bride and groom when the talking goes on and on and on and on.
- Planning your wedding ceremony to please others. This day is all about YOU.
- Having your guests sit in full sunshine on a hot summer day can be miserable. Solution: Provide cheap oriental umbrellas and have a bucket of cold water bottles available.
- If you’re getting married at the beach, check the tide calendar – then go to your beach when the tide is about the same as it will be on your wedding day.
*KISS : Keep It Simple Stupid