Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG

Friday, September 26, 2014

What Kind of Wedding Ceremony Will You Choose?

Here is a list of the many different wedding ceremonies that are available for your wedding. You can choose one or mix several of them together to make it exactly what you want. Make sure that you choose a minister or wedding officiant who is willing to make changes, cut out parts you do not like and add things you would like to have in your ceremony. In other words, someone who will customize the ceremony to your complete satisfaction.

Religious Wedding Ceremony ~ Many religious ceremonies are performed in a church, temple, synagogue, etc., where the bride and/or groom is a member of the congregation, but these are not the only places. A religious wedding ceremony is typically faith-based and can also be performed anywhere. A religious ceremony performed by someone other that the official from the church, etc., can be anything the bride and groom chooses. A minister, priest or rabbi are often restricted from changing the ceremony. Scripture is usually a part of this ceremony and is often more like a sermon than a ceremony.

KindOfCeremoniesSpiritual Wedding Ceremony ~ This ceremony may or may not have scripture. This ceremony can be used in instances where the couple feels they would like a spiritual ceremony without it necessarily being religious. It is generally based upon what the couple have chosen to believe – not necessarily what a particular denomination teaches. The wedding officiant is usually willing to allow the bride and group to express their own spirituality in the words of the ceremony. There may be brief mentions of God (or more – your choice), possibly a prayer and whatever the bride and groom choose, but does not adhere to any particular religious protocol. It may incorporate Native American or New Age elements into it to reflect their spirituality. In my view, this ceremony is often referred to as a non-denominational wedding ceremony.

Non-Religious Ceremony ~ Kind of a cross between a Spiritual and Civil ceremony.

Interfaith Wedding Ceremony ~ This is for the blending of two or more faiths, by including aspects of religion or religious rituals or readings that are symbolic of each faith.

Civil Wedding Ceremony ~ This ceremony is typically held in a courthouse, city hall or judges’ chambers and is officiated by a Justice of the Peace, a judge or a mayor PLUS you have to go through the metal detector to get to them. ūüėČ It’s short and in my opinion boring and never very romantic. It has simple vows and usually just a handful of close friends as guests and in most cases just two witnesses to sign the marriage license. A wedding officiant can also perform a civil ceremony anywhere you choose. Some officiants will add things link the sand ceremony, the rose ceremony to spice it up a bit. Here is my solution to a Justice of the Peace wedding. Click here!

Non-traditional Wedding Ceremony ~ This ceremony is similar to a civil one, but may have religious overtones as a couple, or one of you, is a member of a “non-traditional” religion. This ceremony gives you the most leeway to “have it your way.” It does not follow the more formal structure and does not include elements of the Christian religion such as prayers, scripture readings and blessings. It can be a blending of cultures (to honor your heritage) or religious faiths.

Theme Wedding Ceremony ~ This ceremony can be anything you want. It may have parts of the other ceremonies described here. I’ve had pirate themed weddings, weddings on Halloween, at the Zoo, in Hot Air Balloons, Celtic, Western Style weddings, Medieval/Renaissance themed weddings and more. These are fun weddings often with costumes to match the theme.

Military Wedding Ceremony ~ This ceremony is usually formal and steeped in military tradition. It requires full dress uniform for enlisted personnel. Rituals vary between the U.S. Armed Forces branches but most incorporate the stunning salute of the Saber Arch that the newlyweds pass under. Often a honor guard is present.

Commitment Ceremony ~ No marriage license is required. The intent is to demonstrate the commitment a couple is making to one another.

Same Sex Wedding Ceremony ~ The term same-sex wedding specifically refers to ceremonies for gay or lesbian couples. As of September 26, 2014, same sex ceremonies are not legal in the state of Arizona. Some same sex couples prefer to have a Commitment Ceremony, not a legal ceremony, but a ceremony with friends and relatives that demonstrate their commitment to each other.

Renewal of Vows Ceremony ~ This ceremony is used to celebrate a special anniversary, mark the couples transition through a difficult time, or just to acknowledge their love. They are often more intimate with only close family and friends or a gathering of many of your friends (It’s party time!). You can watch a video of the “Love in the Hills” event that celebrated the love of more than 650 couples who renewed their wedding vows at the same time on Valentine’s Day in 2014. Go to the home page on my Wedding Website and click on the video in the middle of the page.

There are many “add on” ceremonies that may be added to any of the ceremonies above. See the list by clicking here. They can make your wedding ceremony very special for you and your guests. Light humor is another aspect that some couples may choose.

There are so many ways to perform a wedding ceremony. Many brides and grooms are getting away from the old-fashion, traditional wedding ceremonies. Be sure your minister or wedding officiant is willing to make changes, cut out parts you do not like and add things you would like to have in your ceremony. My belief is that it’s “your” wedding, not the wedding officiant’s wedding. I say… “Have it your way!”

In order to have a legal marriage, couples must purchase a marriage license from the Country Clerk at the Court House. I have performed some of the ceremonies above without the bride and groom purchasing a marriage license. Often there are various reasons the couple may choose to have a ceremony but not be legally married.

You can sneak a peek at my wedding ceremony template that brides and grooms can change, edit and have it however they choose. I guarantee that your ceremony will represent your values and beliefs because you always have the last word on what is said in your wedding ceremony. I promise! I also encourage couples to write some of their own vows. Click here!

BONUS Articles: Interviewing a Wedding Officiant? ‚Äď Bring Lots of Questions!
No Thanks! A Family Friend Will Perform Our Wedding Ceremony
Religion vs. Spirituality


Click logo to go to Wedding Website!

Copyright ¬© 2014 – Larry James. This information is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website and Wedding Blog. Larry James is a non-denominational minister 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 800-725-9223. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: Check Larry’s availability.

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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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