In my experience as a professional wedding officiant, adding a unity ceremony into your wedding ceremony is a wonderful way to bring the ceremony to a close. It’s usually an element that symbolizes your union and commemorates your marriage. There are many different ways to do this and you’re only limited by your imagination! I encourage my couples who want to include an element like this in their wedding ceremony to find one or create one that is meaningful to them. This offers another opportunity to personalize their wedding.Read More
Have you heard of the ring warming ceremony? It’s absolutely one of my favorite traditions for your wedding! It’s very easy to do and works every time.Read More
Nights in Maine, even in the middle of summer, can be chilly. Evenings on the coast are especially cool. If you’re getting married in Maine, you could throw a sweater or light jacket over your wedding outfit, but I have a better, more fashionable option for you: a Swans Island Company wrap! You’ll stay warm while still looking fabulous, and your choice of covering will represent your Maine wedding experience.Read More
More and more, brides are choosing to wear a veil during their wedding. Many of them decide to have the veil already off their face for the ceremony, while a few brides are sticking with the tradition of having the wedding veil over their face until the kiss. If you're going with the veil over the face, here are a few things to think about.Read More
With the popularity of the 9 nontraditional wedding poems blog post, I figured you might like to see a few more! As a professional wedding officiant, it's my job to help you customize and personalize your wedding ceremony. One of the best ways to do this is to include a poem or two that speak to you as a couple. It's not always easy to find just the right poem, so I help by providing you with a Dropbox folder full of readings organized by type: humorous, literary, poetry, natural elements, buddhist, etc. This way you can find just the right wedding poem for your and your sweetie!
Here are seven more nontraditional wedding poems that you might like:
To Someone Beautiful Far Away
I crave a love so deep the ocean would be jealous
No mountain, nor sea, no thing of this world could keep us apart, because this is not my world...you are.
My love, I would like even more; to be the ocean if you are the wave; to be a wave if you are the ocean.
I dropped a tear in the ocean, and whenever they find it I'll stop loving you, only then.
The Invitation by Oriah
It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.
It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love for your dream for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon...I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain.
I want to know if you can sit with pain mine or your own without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy mine or your own if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful to be realistic to remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day. And if you can source your own life from its presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure yours and mine and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes.”
It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.
It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.
It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.
On Marriage by Kahlil Gibran
You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God [spirit].
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another, but make not a bond of love.
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together.
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.
From "Gift From The Sea" by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity - in freedom, in the sense that the dancers are free, barely touching as they pass, but partners in the same pattern.
The only real security is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping, even. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what was in nostalgia, nor forward to what it might be in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now. Relationships must be like islands, one must accept them for what they are here and now, within their limits - islands, surrounded and interrupted by the sea, and continually visited and abandoned by the tides.
I Take You My Heart by Unknown
I take you my heart
At the rising of the moon
And the setting of the stars.
To love and to honour
Through all that may come.
Through all our lives together
In all our lives,
May we be reborn
That we may meet and know
And love again,
You can give without loving By Victor Hugo, from Les Miserables
You can give without loving but you can never love without giving.
The great acts of love are done by those who are habitually performing small acts of kindness. We pardon to the extent that we love. Love is knowing that even when you are alone, you will never be truly alone again. And great happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved. Loved for ourselves. And even loved in spite of ourselves.
Notes to Myself by Hugh Prather
I must do these things in order to communicate: Become aware of you (discover you). Make you aware of me (uncover myself). Be ready to change during our conversation, and be willing to reveal my changes to you.
For communication to have meaning it must have a life. It must transcend ‘you and me’ and become 'us’. If I truly communicate, I see in you a life that is not me and partake of it. And you see and partake of me. In a small way we then grow out of our old selves and become something new. To have this kind of sharing I cannot enter a conversation clutching myself. I must enter it with loose boundaries. I must give myself to the relationship, and be willing to be what grows out of it.
I have only one regret about my wedding. No, it's not the man I married nor the vows I took. It's not the date we chose nor the location. It's not the timeline nor the food. My only regret about my wedding is that we didn't hire a videographer.
At the time, we felt like hiring someone to film the wedding would just be a wasted expense; a luxury. We hired a very talented professional wedding photographer and felt confident in that decision. We knew that the wedding photos would be the only thing that would really last after the wedding, and so we splurged on two photographers (which wasn't customary at the time) and the leather bound album.
While I'm so grateful we have photos from our wedding (and I do look at the album), what's really missing from my memory are all the wonderful things our guests said and all the other sounds of the day. I don't remember who stood up to toast us, let alone a word of what they said. I don't remember the music our friend wrote for our processional or what our officiant said during our ceremony. I would love to see how people enjoyed our wedding while we weren't with them. Did they have fun? What did they laugh about? Who did they meet? What did they feel and think about the day?
Please learn from my one regret and hire a wedding videographer to film your Maine wedding! And if you need a little push, here are my reasons why to hire a Maine wedding videographer.
7 Reasons to hire a filmmaker for your wedding
You think you'll never forget your wedding, but you will.
You'll get to hear your partner pledge eternal love and devotion.
You'll get to hear the sounds of the fun party you spent so long planning.
You know how hard you worked on your beautiful, meaningful ceremony? Don't you want to hear it again? And again? And again?
It all goes by in a blur, video can slow it all down so you can savor the feelings, emotions and memories.
You'll get to see what your guests were doing while you were busy.
A wedding film, along with a wedding album, will give you the full picture of your day.
To help you find the videographer that's right for you, I made a list of some of Maine's best wedding videographers. Find a way to prioritize your wedding budget to include a videographer, you will never regret it!
I'm totally biased
Oh boy, this is a big one! First of all, I'll say that I am totally biased about this. I'm not going to pretend to be all fair and balanced on this topic. Because I'm a professional wedding officiant, you can't blame me, right? I believe strongly that you should hire professional wedding vendors for every aspect of your wedding and especially for the ceremony. I understand why a couple would consider asking a friend to be their wedding officiant, but before doing that I want to give them my advice. This is based on being a professional wedding officiant with years of experience.
Let Your Friend be a Guest
As you can see, there are many, many pros to having a professional officiate your wedding. Another reason that didn't make the graphic is: it's nice to just let your friends be guests at your wedding. It's a lot of work and pressure to officiate a wedding ceremony, and it can also be very stressful, especially for someone who isn't experienced. Rather than putting your friend in this position, just hire an experienced professional. As a professional, I've perfected the process of collaborating with my couples to craft a custom wedding ceremony. I've organized and run many rehearsals and it's a stress-free and efficient process.
Relax, You're in Good Hands
I understand the importance of this significant moment and that's why I manage all of the details of the ceremony so you can just let go and be present with your beloved. With me or another experienced wedding officiant, you can relax, take a deep breath and focus on what's important rather than worrying about the speed of the processional, or whether or not the microphone will work, or if your friend remembered to make sure the best man has the rings, or if they'll say the correct words to make your marriage legal, or...you get the idea.
Hire a professional!
As you probably already know, Pantone comes out with a new color of the year every year. I never really got behind the whole "color of the year" thing until this year. For starters, these two colors remind me of the ombre sky at sunset which is so achingly beautiful I just want to sign Adele songs til the sun disappears. I want to live in these colors! Then, I watched this little video from Pantone, and I love the words that these colors represent: wellness, balance, tranquility, duality, compatibility, calm, peace.
I would never say, "Ok, it's 2016, you should include these colors in your wedding because they're the 'color of the year,'" but I might say, "If these colors speak to you, if they represent the mood you want to evoke at your wedding, if they would bring you joy and set the tone for your married life, then by all means use them in your wedding!"
I'd love to hear your thoughts about the Pantone color of the year. Yay? Or Nay? Would you use them in your wedding?
There's this trend in the business world to stop being so secretive about pricing and to boldly display prices on the company's website. I support this trend wholeheartedly! From day one of starting my business, I've always listed my prices. It's my goal to convey who I am through my social media and this blog, and to clearly state the services I offer and what makes me different from other officiants. With all of that clearly stated and with my prices listed, my hope is that potential clients will see the value in what I offer and that they'll want me to be their wedding officiant.
You've probably already noticed that many wedding vendors don't display their prices. It must be so frustrating to be shopping for your wedding vendors and to have no idea how much they cost. What must be even more annoying is when you've totally fallen in love with a vendor without knowing how much they cost and then finding out that they're waaaay out of your budget.
I recently hosted a networking workshop for wedding professionals where we talked about this problem: couples want to know their prices/they don't wan't to display their prices. Here are some of the thoughts that came up:
Thinking Behind Not Displaying Prices
Some vendors feel that if they can get a couple to meet them then the couple will be more likely to hire them. Sort of like, "Once you get to know me, you'll understand what I offer and why I'm special, you'll love me, and you'll pay my price."
Some vendors want the couple to make a small commitment of time with the initial contact (phone call/video chat) to show that they're a serious inquiry before the vendor shares their pricing.
Some vendors, like florists, caterers and planners (to name a few), customize their service so much depending on the client that they find it nearly impossible to list prices.
Some vendors are just worried that a couple will see their price and just never inquire because they think it's too expensive (without really understanding what the vendors offers and why the vendor charges what they do).
You have to admit, these are all pretty concrete reasons and not based on wanting to bait clients or trap them into inquiring. They're trying to do what they think is best, but I think it's time to let go of the fear of scaring away clients. I think it's time to be open and honest about what we cost and why we're awesome.
Thinking Behind Displaying Prices
No offense, but some vendors don't want to spend their time talking to potential clients only to find out the clients were never going to be able to afford them. By displaying prices, vendors find that clients self-select and only contact the vendors they know they can afford.
Because this trend hasn't totally caught on, some vendors realize that by displaying their prices they're setting themselves apart from their "competition." (I always put "competition" in quotes because I really don't believe in this concept. There may be other people out there doing the same type of work but everyone is so different and there's enough work for everyone).
The vendors who display their prices know that that's what their customer wants. These vendors want to help their potential clients, who they know are working off of a budget and need to make a financial decision, not just an emotional one.
So, you see, it's not that wedding vendors are trying to be sneaky or keep important information from you. You should still inquire with them about their pricing, even if they don't display it on their website. But it's also time for all of us to start encouraging wedding vendors to display their prices, or at least give a range or a "starting at" price. It's time for us wedding professionals to trust our clients and know that they understand why we cost what we do. You customers today do your research and understand the value of what we wedding professionals provide.
And it would be a heck of a lot easier for couples if all vendors displayed their prices! Amiright?!
The breaking of the glass at a wedding is one of my all-time favorite traditions. I just love the symbolism of this tradition. There are many interpretations of the meaning of this Jewish tradition, but the one I like this best, and the one I use in many of my ceremonies, is this:
The breaking of the glass at a wedding is a symbolic hope that you will spend as many years together in happiness as it would take to collect all the pieces of the glass and reassemble it.
It's simple, secular and so meaningful! You don't have to even be Jewish to use this and appreciate its intent.
Others may say that the glass represents the fragility of life, relationship and/or marriage or that the sound of the breaking glass frightens away unwanted spirits. The many tiny shards of glass can also represent the abundance of life that the couple will enjoy from this day forward. Or, as in many of the other Jewish traditions, the breaking of the glass can represent that you are acknowledging the bitterness or hardships inevitable in any life (you've already recognized the sweetness and happiness of life in the wedding ceremony itself). Either way you interpret it, it's a lovely element to add into your ceremony whether you're Jewish or not.
When to Break the glass
Traditionally the breaking of the glass happens at the end of the wedding ceremony and, if the couple getting married is opposite-sex, the groom does the breaking. But we can do whatever we want in weddings nowadays so you can both break a glass.
How to Break the Glass
I suggest using a incandescent lightbulb wrapped in a tea towel. Get a cheap towel from Home Goods or TJMaxx as it will be ruined and you'll throw it away afterwards. Do not use a compact fluorescent lightbulb since it contains mercury which is dangerous. Some people use a wine glass and even others buy special glass made to break easily (but that's totally not necessary since a light bulb does the trick and has a nice loud POP!).
Immediately upon the breaking of the glass the crowd shouts "Mazel tov!" which means “Good luck!” in Hebrew. If you're not Jewish and you don't want to use the Hebrew, just have your guests shout "Congratulations!" It's such a fun and festive way to end your ceremony and leaves everyone feeling happy and energized!
I've written a couple other posts about Jewish traditions to incorporate into you wedding ceremony.