In the past few weeks, I wrote a piece about finding a way to make a traditional wedding service personal, and Rachel (DDay, in the comments) wrote a piece about crafting a non-traditional service. After that post, we asked you to contribute your best tips and tricks on secular and/or non-traditional services. Today Rachel is back, summing at all up, and trying to create a Secular Wedding Resource for all of us.
After those posts, Kristina of Lovely Morning and 100 Layer Cake wrote me a really lovely and spontaneous email about their secular wedding service. She called it, “one of my very favorite parts of the entire day, complete with hummingbirds chasing each other in the flowers as the sun was going down,” and expressed her wish that everyone get to have that experience. So today we take a shot at that. Because when we collectively pull up our chairs around you before you say your vows, we’re there for you. We want the purest expression of who you are: religious, non-religious, traditional, non-traditional. We want to “one of the lucky ones who stood in the middle of nowhere, right next to neverland, and witnessed the declaration of real love.” So let us join you there. And with that, I bring you Rachel (with some notes from me):
A little while back, Meg wrote about “traditional” ceremonies, and then I wrote about “non-traditional” ceremonies. I think we could just call them religious and secular, because traditional doesn’t really cover it, since we all may define the term differently. My wedding was secular, but was not without tradition. But I think if we can get away from semantics, we can get down to what’s important – creating meaningful wedding ceremonies, no matter what your background is. With that, the following is my attempt to sum up all the great advice offered in the comments, for a proper Secular Wedding Resource.
THE best piece of advice I saw in the comments was from Caitlin, who said, among other smart things, “Before you write a ceremony from scratch, I think you need to figure out what you believe about marriage fundamentally. That has to be your foundation…” And that really resonated with me because honestly, I think we sort of figured that out as we went along, and some of our struggle with finding the right pieces to put together might have been avoided if we had sat down first and really thought about how we define marriage and what it means to us. We did that, sort of, but maybe not with exactly that sense of purpose.
Once you have that foundation, I think we can all agree that the main thing is to find a great officiant. And “great officiant” can mean many things – if you’re a great writer, you don’t need an officiant to be a great writer, you need an officiant who is a good public speaker and will let you write the ceremony yourself. If writing is not your bag and you have no clue what to do, that’s when you need an experienced officiant to guide you. Something I think is universally applicable: the person who performs your ceremony should be a person you trust to do what you’ve asked them to do (whether they are a hired officiant or a friend/family member); someone who is fully on board with the type of ceremony you want, who will guide you and help you stay present through the service; and someone who will not take this opportunity to promote their own agenda to your captive audience.
And in that spirit, here is my list of the very best tips and tricks given in the comments: Continue reading Secular Ceremony Round-Up