Vancouver Officiant Blog


9 Places to Look for the Perfect Ceremony Passages

Your Own Story

Before delving into the wide world of possible readings, look to your own backgrounds and relationship first. Remember the time your fiance gave you a Pablo Neruda book for your birthday? Or did you meet in English class and read Pride and Prejudice together? Or maybe a Stevie Wonder song was playing in the restaurant when he proposed? Do some reminiscing -- the perfect passage might be right in front of you.


Scripture and Cultural Texts

Feel free to use ethnic or cultural readings that don't necessarily reflect your backgrounds -- what's important is that the words resonate with you. Some places to start: theDhammapada (Buddhist), the Song of Songs (Jewish), the Bible (Christian) and the I Ching(Chinese). Just make sure to explain the reading's source in the introduction or in your ceremony programs. And keep in mind that if you're having a religious ceremony, there may be certain requirements about or restrictions on what can be read.


Classic Poetry

Poems were practically made for wedding ceremonies, from Shakespeare's love sonnets and Elizabeth Barrett Browning's romantic verses to the works of more modern scribes like E.E. CummingsMaya AngelouWalt WhitmanNikki Giovanni and William Butler Yeats. If you can't decide between several short poems, consider having multiple readers recite them one after the other. Each person can introduce the next.


Literature

Browse books and short stories to find passages that remind you of love and your marriage. Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet is popular for weddings, as are classics by Jane Austen and Charlotte and Emily Bronte. But think beyond the obvious and consider modern authors you love. Maybe one of Jonathan Safran Foer's novels spoke to you, a passage written by Nicole Krauss really stuck with you, or you loved one of David Sedaris's funny yet touching essays.


Children's Books

Your favorite storybooks from childhood can actually be quite profound, given their audience. Excerpts from books by Dr. Seuss, Shel Silverstein, Maurice Sendak, Roald Dahl and other classic authors might surprise you with how romantic they can be. One idea we love: Have your seven-year-old cousin read the passage and there won't be a dry eye in the room.


Love Letters

Love letters penned by historical figures (like James Joyce's to his wife, Nora, or Simone de Beauvoir's to Jean-Paul Sartre, for example) can be especially moving. If you'll have two or more readings, ask one person to read from a love letter, and another reader to handle the response letter. And don't forget about your own ”love letters.” Search your email inbox for messages from when you first met or were falling in love. You may find sweet tidbits of old correspondence that chronicle your falling in love from a totally personal and unique angle.


Your Favorite Movies

If historical literature or old-world poetry just isn't your style, try drawing from romantic movie quotes: Billy Crystal's speech at the end of When Harry Met Sally, Tom Hanks's radio call from Sleepless in Seattle, Leonardo DiCaprio's conversations with Kate Winslet in Titanicand the first-person narration from The Notebook come to mind. Think beyond your typical romantic movies too. If you have a special, nontraditional film you both love -- maybe you always watch it together when one of you is sick -- check it for quotes too.


Song Lyrics

If you're more likely to have a list of favorite tunes than favorite sonnets, check your iPod for songs with romantic, readable lyrics. Some of our favorites? The Beatles' "In My Life," The Beach Boys' "God Only Knows," Van Morrison's "Someone Like You" and Bob Dylan's "Make You Feel My Love."


Your Family

If you're looking for a way to honor a deceased or absent relative, reading from that person's favorite poems, books or passage of scripture is appropriate. Another touching option? Choosing excerpts from a meaningful book or letter written during their life. Maybe your grandmother kept a diary about her marriage and family life, or your favorite aunt read The Steadfast Tin Soldier to you when you were a kid.

Source: The Knot. com
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6 Ways to Personalize Your Ceremony


Your ceremony is the most meaningful part of your wedding day. Depending on how traditional your ceremony will be, there are ways to personalize your nuptials to ensure that the experience feels true to you and your future spouse. Check out some of our favorite ways to personalize your wedding ceremony.
Music
Check with your ceremony venue to see if you can incorporate non-classical music into your ceremony playlist. Whether it’s an instrumental version of your favorite pop ballad during the prelude or a cheeky pop tune as a recessional, selecting music that you love will give your ceremony a personal touch.
Readings
Depending on your ceremony traditions, you may be able to include a few readings into your ceremony. From Shakespeare to religious texts to more modern-day literature, pick a few passages that speak to you. You can ask close friends or family members who would feel comfortable speaking in front of a crowd to perform the readings.
Vows
Many couples prefer to write their own vows. Work with your officiant to come up with a general template to help you get started.
Programs
Include personal touches to your ceremony program. Design the program using colors and fonts that you like, and write a note thanking your guests for attending. 
Officiant
Be sure to meet with your officiant several times before your ceremony. It’s important that your officiant gets to know you as a couple, so that he or she can create a ceremony that includes anecdotes and details about your relationship.
Decor
Incorporate flowers and other decor items that are meaningful to you - whether it's including your grandmother's favorite flower in your altar arrangements or including a family quilt in your chutzpah or ceremony canopy.

Source: The Knot. com
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Marriage Isn’t For You

Having been married only a year and a half, I’ve recently come to the conclusion that marriage isn’t for me.


Now before you start making assumptions, keep reading.

I met my wife in high school when we were 15 years old. We were friends for ten years until…until we decided no longer wanted to be just friends. :) I strongly recommend that best friends fall in love. Good times will be had by all.

Nevertheless, falling in love with my best friend did not prevent me from having certain fears and anxieties about getting married. The nearer Kim and I approached the decision to marry, the more I was filled with a paralyzing fear. Was I ready? Was I making the right choice? Was Kim the right person to marry? Would she make me happy?

Then, one fateful night, I shared these thoughts and concerns with my dad.

Perhaps each of us have moments in our lives when it feels like time slows down or the air becomes still and everything around us seems to draw in, marking that moment as one we will never forget.

My dad giving his response to my concerns was such a moment for me. With a knowing smile he said, “Seth, you’re being totally selfish. So I’m going to make this really simple: marriage isn’t for you. You don’t marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy. More than that, your marriage isn’t for yourself, you’re marrying for a family. Not just for the in-laws and all of that nonsense, but for your future children. Who do you want to help you raise them? Who do you want to influence them? Marriage isn’t for you. It’s not about you. Marriage is about the person you married.”

It was in that very moment that I knew that Kim was the right person to marry. I realized that I wanted to make her happy; to see her smile every day, to make her laugh every day. I wanted to be a part of her family, and my family wanted her to be a part of ours. And thinking back on all the times I had seen her play with my nieces, I knew that she was the one with whom I wanted to build our own family.

My father’s advice was both shocking and revelatory. It went against the grain of today’s “Walmart philosophy”, which is if it doesn’t make you happy, you can take it back and get a new one.

No, a true marriage (and true love) is never about you. It’s about the person you love—their wants, their needs, their hopes, and their dreams. Selfishness demands, “What’s in it for me?”, while Love asks, “What can I give?”

Some time ago, my wife showed me what it means to love selflessly. For many months, my heart had been hardening with a mixture of fear and resentment. Then, after the pressure had built up to where neither of us could stand it, emotions erupted. I was callous. I was selfish.

But instead of matching my selfishness, Kim did something beyond wonderful—she showed an outpouring of love. Laying aside all of the pain and aguish I had caused her, she lovingly took me in her arms and soothed my soul.

Marriage is about family. 

I realized that I had forgotten my dad’s advice. While Kim’s side of the marriage had been to love me, my side of the marriage had become all about me. This awful realization brought me to tears, and I promised my wife that I would try to be better.

To all who are reading this article—married, almost married, single, or even the sworn bachelor or bachelorette—I want you to know that marriage isn’t for you. No true relationship of love is for you. Love is about the person you love.

And, paradoxically, the more you truly love that person, the more love you receive. And not just from your significant other, but from their friends and their family and thousands of others you never would have met had your love remained self-centered.

Truly, love and marriage isn’t for you. It’s for others.

This post originally appeared on ForwardWalking.com, a website dedicated to helping people move forward in life.
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Awkward Wedding Moment


Getting caught with a beautiful bride in the bushes makes for an awkward wedding moment for these unsuspecting men who are trying to help the bride out. Being men they immediately realize how bad this situation appears when they are confronted by the bride’s groom and wedding party. A funny wedding skit from the folks at Just For Laugh Gags.
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How Do I Write My Own Vows?



Penning your own wedding vows is no easy task -- it’s like writing poetry, public speaking and having the deepest conversation of your life all at once. Putting your promises on paper is an emotional, eye-opening and often extremely memorable experience. Up for the challenge? Here's the homework you need to do (and the questions you should ask) to make your vows perfect.


Get Clearance

Make sure your ceremony officiant will actually allow personalized vows. Certain celebrants and houses of worship may require you to recite a specific set of traditional vows. And remember: Even some of the most accommodating officiants will want to review your words in advance.






Start Early

We can't say this enough: Don't leave writing your vows until the day before the wedding! You'll be too nervous, excited and rattled to give them the time and thought they deserve. Give yourselves at least a month, or work on your vows in that pocket of time after you've set up all your major vendors and before you have to start thinking about the details. Vow writing should be done in a relaxed, not rushed, frame of mind. Some loose deadlines to aim for: Try to get a first draft together about three weeks before the wedding and have your final version completed at least two days out.




Look to Tradition

To get inspired, start by reading traditional, by-the-book vows -- from your own religion, if you practice a certain faith, but others, as well -- to see what strikes a chord with you. You can incorporate these into the original words you write, or simply use them as a jumping-off point to base your personalized vows on.




Set the Tone

Before putting pen to paper, decide what overall tone you want to achieve. Humorous but touching? Poetic and romantic? It's your call -- the most important thing is that your vows ring true and sound like they're from your heart. One word of advice: While your vows can be lighthearted (or even hilarious), they should, in some way, acknowledge the seriousness of the commitment you're about to make. One way to do that is to weave little jokes into traditional vows (for example: "I promise to love you, cherish you and always watch Monday Night Football with you").




Figure Out the Logistics

Make sure you and your fiance are both on the same page. Are you each going to write your own vows, or will you write them together? If you're writing them separately, will you want to run them by each other before the wedding? If you're writing them together, will they be completely different for each of you, or will you recite some of the same words and make the same promises to each other, as you would with traditional vows? If you want them to be a surprise on your wedding day, make sure you both send a copy of what you've written to your officiant or to one friend or family member so they can check that your vows are about the same length and similar in tone.




Make a Vow Date

When it's time to come up with the actual content of your vows, go out to dinner or set aside an evening at home to brainstorm. Talk about your relationship and what marriage means to each of you. Discuss what you expect from each other and the relationship. What are you most looking forward to about married life? Why did you decide to get married? What hard times have you gone through together? What have you supported each other through? What challenges do you envision in your future? What do you want to accomplish together? What makes your relationship tick? Answering these questions will help you make and keep your promises, and talking about your bond may expose your inner Wordsworth and help you come up with phrases and stories you can incorporate into your vows.




Schedule Some Alone Time

After chatting with your future spouse, take some self-reflection time to think about how you feel about your partner. What did you think when you first saw them? When did you realize you were in love? What do you most respect about your partner? How has your life gotten better since meeting your mate? What about them inspires you? What do you miss most about them when you're apart? What qualities do you most admire in each other? What do you have now that you didn't have before you met? You may be surprised how these answers may lead you to the perfect words.




Steal Ideas

Borrow freely from poetry, books, religious and spiritual texts -- even from romantic movies. Jot down words and phrases that capture your feelings. Widely recognized works ring true for a reason.




Create an Outline

An outline can get you started by helping to establish a structure. For example, plan to first talk about how great your fiance is and then about how you work together as a couple; pause to quote your favorite writer and then go into your promises to each other.




Remember Your Audience

Don't make your vows so personal that they're cryptic -- or embarrassing! You've invited your family and friends to witness your vows in order to make your bond public, so be sure everyone feels included in the moment. That means putting a limit on inside jokes, deeply personal anecdotes and obscure nicknames or code words.




Time It Right

Don't make them too long -- aim for about one minute or so (it's longer than it sounds!). Your vows are the most important element of your ceremony, but that doesn't mean they should go on for hours. Get at the heart of what marrying this person means to you with your vows; pick the most important points and make them well. Save some thoughts for the reception toasts -- and for the wedding night.




Practice Out Loud (Seriously!)

These are words meant to be heard by a live audience, so check that they sound good when spoken. Read your vows out loud to make sure they flow easily. Watch out for tongue twisters and super-long sentences -- you don't want to get out of breath or stumble.



-- Special thanks to Alisa Tongg, a wedding celebrant



Read more: Wedding Vows & Readings: 20 Tips for Writing Your Own Wedding Vows – Wedding Planning – Wedding Ceremony http://wedding.theknot.com/wedding-planning/wedding-ceremony/articles/20-tips-for-writing-your-own-wedding-vows.aspx#ixzz2XGngEmLF
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Wedding Ceremony Sample (With Translator)



Check out the amazing video made by Jason Leung from Infinitum here 
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15 Romantic Wedding Readings from Children’s Books

15 Romantic Wedding Readings from Children’s Books
Choosing a romantic reading for a wedding is one of the most exciting parts to planning your special day. It’s also one of the more memorable moments at any wedding ceremony for both yourselves, as the bridal couple – as well as for all your wedding guests.
Check out these amazing readings from children’s books. 
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Wedding on a Boat

I’m on a boat 

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Your Officiant Saying Hi



This is a very short introduction of me saying hi. 
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Vows Post Wedding?

A great idea of what to do with your vows post wedding. 

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Wedding Ceremony Ideas

Content Ideas for Your Wedding Ceremony
Many couples today are choosing to have a non-religious wedding ceremony, or be married by a friend or family member. Yet an important role of the officiant is to give you guidance in crafting your wedding ceremony, often following a predetermined format. If you are going the DIY route, I want to give you advice on creating a memorable and personal wedding ceremony. 

There is no standard wedding ceremony order, but they generally contain most of these elements: 
  1. Wedding processional or entrance of the bride and groom, and wedding party if applicable.Definition of a Processional 
  2. Literature, love poetry, or religious wedding readings
  3. Romantic ceremony music 
  4. Attendants or witnesses to sign the wedding certificate,ketubah, or marriage license 
  5. Wedding Vows 
  6. Exchange of wedding rings or gifts 
  7. A blessing, benediction, community commitment to support the marriage, and/or officiant’s sanction of the marriage 
  8. A first kiss as a married couple 
  9. recessional
Some weddings also include a unity candle ceremony or other unity ceremony.

You may choose to give an outline of your ceremony in your wedding program, or order of service.
Here is a sample of a non-denominational wedding ceremony:
PROCESSIONAL 
Click here to read about correct order for the processional

OPENING WORDS OF THE OFFICIANT 
The wedding should begin by welcoming your guests. In movies, one often sees 

Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here today in the presence of these witnesses, to join ___________ and ___________ in matrimony, which is commended to be honorable among all men; and therefore is not by any to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, discreetly, advisedly and solemnly. Into this holy estate these two persons present now come to be joined. If any person can show just cause why they may not be joined together, let them speak now or forever hold their peace. 

Another variation is: 
Friends, we have been invited here today to share with ______ and ______ a very important moment in their lives. In the years they have been together, their love and understanding of each other has grown and matured, and now they have decided to live their lives together as husband and wife. 

THE GIVING IN MARRIAGE (optional) 
The traditional wording is “Who gives this woman to be wedded to this man” but in modern weddings many couples opt for something such as “Who supports this couple in their marriage?” or “Who supports this woman in her marriage to this man?” or choose to leave it out altogether. Giving Away the Bride: Traditional and Modern Alternative Wordings 

AN OPENING PRAYER OR READING 
This will generally set the tone of your wedding. It could be serious, humorous, sentimental, or elegant. Typically, it says something about love, relationships, or marriages. Here are some examples of wedding readings. 

DEFINITION OF MARRIAGE 
Here the officiant says some words about marriage in general. He or she will most likely talk about the seriousness of the solemn vow you are about to make, and the new life together you are creating. 

WEDDING VOWS 
click here for some sample wedding vow wording 

SECOND READING OR SONG Ceremony music 

EXCHANGE OF RINGS OR GIFTS 
The bride and groom say something like “I (name) give you (name) this ring as an eternal symbol of my love and commitment to you.” Sample ring ceremony vow wording 

LIGHTING OF UNITY CANDLE OR OTHER UNITY CEREMONY (optional) 
Many couples are choosing to add a unity ceremony. They may choose to do this in silence, with music playing or they may create vows to say about the joining of their families. Unity candle wording, and alternative unity ceremonies 

CLOSING 
This could be a poem, a prayer, or a sanctioning of the marriage. It is generally the “final thoughts” of the officiant. 

DECLARATION OF MARRIAGE 
The officiant typically says something akin to “By the power vested in me by the State of _______, I now pronounce you husband and wife” or for same-sex couples, “I now pronounce you married.” This is followed by the first kiss of the newly married couple. The officiant traditionally says, “You may now kiss the bride”. Modern couples often find it strange for someone else to be giving permission to kiss a grown woman. So now, either the couple kiss immediately after the declaration of marriage or the officiant says something like “you may now kiss each other.” 

INTRODUCTION OF NEWLYWEDS 
The officiant says “I present to you Mr. and Mrs. ________” if they are changing their names, or “I present to you the newly married couple, Jane and John” if they are not. The guests stand and applaud, as the couple then lead the recessional out. 
Written by Nina Callaway
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