Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

“I’m Getting Married! What Are the Rules?”

Filed under: Non-Traditional Ideas,Wedding Rules,Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 7:00 am


There are rules?

Tradition and etiquette. . . you bet. The only reason there “is” tradition is because someone – a looooong time ago – decided that this or that should only be done a certain way. Most rules for etiquette demonstrate a common courtesy.

So what are the rules these days? Are there any?

gartertossLots of wedding traditions are losing popularity. Many modern, hip brides are choosing to create some of their own rules and stepping out of the box to discover new and exciting traditions of their own. These new ideas capture the attention of the guests and help to make their wedding a truly memorable experience. It is important for the happy couple to create some of their own “customs.” Many of the customs are no brainers.

I love it when a bride and groom choose to have their ceremony be different. Different is a good thing. Often they will add a small bit of tradition but for the most part they want a wedding that is fun, inspiring for the guests and “romantic” – something that expresses their love for each other. That’s right down my alley. 😉

Every wedding ceremony I perform is different because it always reflects the couple’s tastes. In my opinion there are not too many wedding rules when it comes to a theme, style or location.

Obviously setting a budget is one of the first things you should do. I suppose you could call that a rule. Writing personal thank-you notes, making table visits during the reception, and selecting the caterer, the cake baker and other wedding vendors are a given. Traditions like the bouquet/garter toss, “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue,” “honor and obey,” throwing rice and others are being cast aside.

BouquetTossThe important thing to remember is to not get too distracted by advice from the many people who will be eager to give it (especially the mothers), and especially when it’s unsolicited. Never feel pressured to comply with all of your families’ or wedding guests’ requests. It is never possible to please everyone. Always remember… this is YOUR wedding… only yours.

clockHere is one of Larry’s rules: “NEVER be late to your own wedding.” (Read: “PLEASE Be on Time! (for your own wedding!).” Plan ahead. Hire a wedding consultant to give you an accurate timeline for the day of the wedding. This is a great idea! It will help keep you on schedule. Ask your consultant to help you avoid being late. They are good at that. If you are typically running late, ask them to add a 15 minute window to the timeline to give yourself plenty of time just in case something goes wrong. If you need a referral to a wedding consultant, give me a call. I am a member of the Association of Bridal Consultants and hang out monthly with many of the top wedding consultants in the Greater Phoenix area.

As a wedding officiant my primary role is to be a committed listener when meeting with the bride and groom and to cover all the details of the rehearsal, the ceremony and anything else I can assist them with. The couple never have to worry that they will be asked uncomfortable questions or “preached” to. That is not my style. I want to know what they like, dislike and what they might consider inappropriate in the ceremony. A little humor often lightens things up a bit.

Their dream wedding ceremony is a wish their hearts make. I am there to make sure they get what they really want, customized to their complete satisfaction – not out of a book! They get to choose their favorite readings, scriptures (if any), music, other participants, of significant cultural traditions.

Clergymen have less options because often they must follow the rules of the church, temple or synagogue. My ceremony is always a one-of-a-kind for each couple. I allow them to design a wedding that is uniquely theirs, to express their likes and dislikes freely and to make the day about the only two people that matter – the bride and groom! I often have married couples of different religions and different cultures – two religions, one marriage – tailored to meet the expectation of both the bride and the groom.

If your minister or Wedding Officant will not allow changes, you should call someone who will.

firstdanceWhat are the rules for the ceremony of couples who practice two spiritual disciplines? If the pressure between two sets of parents is too great then you can have a more casual (modern) ceremony by a wedding officiant. Generally speaking Clergymen may not be able to perform the ceremony in their church, temple or synagogue unless one of the partners converts to that religion. The couple is required to fulfill all of the obligations imposed upon the wedding of two Catholics (e.g., Practicing Catholics). The couple must request a dispensation for mixed marriage and the Catholic Party must sign the document stating that all children of the union will be baptized and educated in the Roman Catholic Faith. Rabbis are not permitted to perform ceremonies outside of the temple or synagogue. All Protestant churches are different. Ask your minister for the rules of your church. Read: Vows, Parents & Religion: Conundrum!

What about second marriages? If you’ve been married before or have children it’s perfectly acceptable to wear white. If you’ve been married before or have children you’re not supposed to wear a veil or have a train attached to your dress or carry orange blossoms. (Must be a sign of purity or virginity thing). The second time around, your parents are not obligated to pay for anything. If you get along with your ex-husband and his family and it’s fine with your fiancé, then it’s acceptable to invite them to the wedding. Before you do, you may want to read: “Tell Your Exes to Stay in Texas!

Click here for several non-traditional ceremony and wedding ideas.

Guess that’s it. If I missed anything… make up some of your own rules.

BONUS Articles: Top 7 Wedding Don’ts
6 New Wedding Rules
The 10 Wedding Rules You Can Break
25 Extremely Strange Wedding Traditions – (Not required reading!) 😉

Copyright © 2012 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s “romantic” Wedding Website. Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or Cell: 480-205-3694. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 470 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact:, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. –

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips listed in this Wedding BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.


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1 Comment »

  1. […] – the bride and groom! I often have married couples of different … Go here to read the rest: “I'm Getting Married! What Are the Rules?” « Larry James … Wedding Ideas: Flo & Percy Tiaras and Hair Accessories Tags: bride, groom, likes, make-the-day, […]


    Pingback by It's The Bride In Me – “I'm Getting Married! What Are the Rules?” « Larry James … — Wednesday, August 15, 2012 @ 11:02 am | Reply

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