A Wedding Goes Faster Than You Might Think

Your wedding can be whatever you make it. Just remember that the ceremony itself will go by quickly, so it's important to think about timing.

A couple approached me to officiate for them a number of years ago, and I reviewed various options with them. There was a traditional wedding with the old, familiar language, another one that was more contemporary, and one that really was more of an elopement. I explained that we could mix-and-match parts from each, write a whole new ceremony from scratch, or follow some other script that they preferred. To my complete surprise, they opted for the simple ceremony. I explained that it was very fast, and they insisted that's what they wanted. And so, that's what they did. They rented a church for the occasion and the bride was lovely in her gown. In less than 10 minutes they were married and off to the reception. 

I guess that's what they wanted. 

When you sit down to discuss options with your officiant, make certain that you bear in mind the length of the ceremony. In my experience people tend to err on the side of brevity, which for most everything else in life seems not to be the case. Presumably you will have spent a great deal of time and money on your special day, even if you were trying to 'keep it simple,' and it could be something of a letdown if it goes too fast.

In practical terms, I suggest avoiding the temptation to remove elements of the ceremony without replacing them with something else. You might wonder why there is a separation between vows and the exchange of rings. Maybe you want to merge them or trim some words. Be careful with that! In fact, you might want to take a full, standard ceremony and add some elements.

A unity candle is a nice option. With one couple, in order to involve the mothers, we had them light the unity candle at the beginning of the ceremony. In other weddings it's the couple themselves, of course. Another element could be the pouring of different colored sands by the bride and groom into a single jar. If there are children involved, they could also take part. While I don't recommend stacking these or other extras into a service, you can look for what works best for you and keeps with the flow of the event. Above all, your officiant should be able to assist you with thinking these things through.

However long or short the ceremony, you're going to be making memories that will last a lifetime. This is a very special occasion celebrating love and commitment between two people. Be thoughtful about time. Take the time to thing it through, and allow for time to enjoy the moment.