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Eleven Commandments for a Memorable Ceremony

by Maureen Thompson

Yes, we know there are only supposed to be ten, but we're trying to encourage untraditional thinking!

1. Be Creative! Don't think you are creative? Think again! Let's face it, if you've sustained a healthy relationship with each other, you've already figured out a number of creative solutions to problems. Be still and think about it. The ideas will flow. If all fails, get a bunch of friends together and brainstorm.

2. Incorporate your joint interests into your ceremony. Are you both outdoor enthusiasts? Include a reading that speaks of the mountains. Share a passion for dancing? Tango up the aisle after you're "hitched". Share an ethnic background? Use a tradition reminiscent of your backgrounds.

3. Include your children. If this is not your first time down the aisle and you have kids who are old enough to participate, then by all means, make them part of the ceremony.

4. Choose a different location. Church weddings are not for everyone. Consider locations such as parks, museums, Bed & Breakfasts, even a private home. If size is a problem, keep your ceremony guest list small and invite the rest to the party afterward.

5. Feeling really brave? Throw a surprise wedding! Invite guests to a luncheon or dinner, promise them a "surprise". When everyone arrives, announce that they've been gathered to witness your wedding vows! (Make sure you arrange for the officiant beforehand.) While this is very unorthodox, it's a whole lot of fun and takes the pre-wedding pressure off!

6. Consider a winter wedding - even outdoors. You can keep it brief, and Colorado winters are breathtaking. This does not work well if you have older guests.

7. Pick a theme for your wedding. Go beyond simply choosing coordinated colors for your bridal party. Whether you love country western, have an affinity for butterflies or the work of William Shakespeare, revolve your ceremony around a single theme and people will talk about it for years!

8. Plan your ceremony around an untraditional holiday. Sure, Christmas weddings are beautiful, but how about a Halloween event where all the guests arrive in costume? St Paddy's Day, complete with pale green dresses and shamrocks at every table. Groundhog Day? Well, we haven't seen that one yet, but if you do wed on this day, please share your creative ideas with us. We'll pass them on!

9. Use your ceremony to honor special people in your life. Have your maid of honor do a reading; hand roses to your mom and new mother-in-law as you walk down the aisle; ask Uncle Fred to read your final blessing; include a prayer of thanks to your parents.

10. Do not expect a "perfect" ceremony. Children may cry; your bridesmaid's hair may be dyed blue; your grandmother may flub the reading. That's okay. Don't aim for perfection -- aim for memorable.

11. You are allowed to have fun. Do not, I repeat, do not let anyone convince you that a stodgy, stuffy, stale wedding ceremony is for you. This is your wedding day! Tradition, schmadition! Do what you like and have a blast!


- Maureen Schmidt is with Maureen Schmidt. Wedding Officiant in Denver, CO



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Last modified: 08/08/08

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