Where to Start When Planning Your Ceremony

So, you’ve just got engaged/had a baby/experienced an event in your life that made you realise just how much your other half means to you….and you want to have a ceremony to celebrate your relationship/your new child – now you get to start planning! The planning part of any ceremony can start to feel overwhelming if your mind starts to race with who, what, where, when and how all at the same time. And isn’t there a whole heap of stuff that you’re supposed to be considering, because the magazines/friends/family say that’s what you need to do? Whoa there! Take it easy – it doesn’t need to be that way.

My suggestion is start at the very beginning…always a guarantee of getting (and staying) on the right track. 

So, first things first – who would you like to conduct your ceremony? Are you religious? Do you have  strong faith that means you would ideally wish to have your ceremony in your local Church/Mosque/Synagogue (or other place of worship)? Would you like to have a Celebrant led ceremony? (full marks for guessing that I was going to say that!) Within Celebrancy there are Independent Celebrants (like me), with whom you can have a ceremony that is as traditional or non-traditional, as religious or non-religious as you like – I can accommodate any faith, or indeed no  faith at all, and: there are Celebrants that are affiliated with a particular group or belief system – such as Humanist Celebrants for example.

Next, have a think about where you would like to hold your ceremony. Obviously, if it’s a religious ceremony, you’re most likely going to have it in the place of worship for your particular faith. If you’re getting married, you may feel that an established venue with a marriage licence is the way to go. But, if you’re having a Celebrant to lead your ceremony, the world is your oyster – regardless of the type of ceremony you’re having. It could be that you’d like to have your ceremony in your back garden – maybe you’ve got a bit of room and it’s in a beautiful setting, perhaps the garden of your family home, where you grew up, holds a special place in your heart. Even if you  haven’t bags of space, a small, intimate ceremony in the garden could be just perfect. It might be that you absolutely love the beach – you can absolutely have your ceremony on the beach if you want to.

And finally, what are you going to include in your ceremony? There’s a few strands to this one – People, Actions, Music and Readings. 

People – are there any special people in your life that you would like to play a particular role in your ceremony? Even if you don’t know what the role is, who would you like to be involved? Whoever they are, we can find a way to involve them (you can even do things in your ceremony that involve ALL your guests, if you really want to!). 

Actions – are there any particular actions or symbolism that you’d like to include? A good celebrant will always be able to make suggestions about what type of actions you can incorporate – whether that’s ancient, traditional actions (like the exchange of wedding rings) or more modern ones, but you may have your own, original ideas too! If you do, lets have a chat about how we can make them work.

Music – is there any particular music that you’d like to be played? It could be as simple as having some background music whilst the ceremony is beginning and ending, or it could be incorporated into the ceremony itself.

Readings – a reading could be prose, poetry, or even spoken song lyrics. Again, anything that is significant to you –  include it.

Well, if all of that is sounding overwhelming and you’re still not sure where to start, have a chat with your partner, your significant other, or someone else that you trust, to mull it over. Of course, if you are using a Celebrant, absolutely have a chat with them – I know that I’m always happy to talk to you, from the beginning, about what you may or may not want to include and how you want to include it. 

A good ceremony is a joy to behold, a beautiful event and it should be perfect and authentic to you.

Helen, The Authentic Celebrant

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