Yesterday I laid out some of what we did to plan for our wedding in the months (weeks, days) beforehand. Today I want to get into the topic that made the day really special: Personalizing Your Ceremony. Again I'll be linking to a vendor we used, but our experience can help guide you with whomever you're working.
A Special Day Needs to be Personal
This is a very special day, and so it should be personal and unique. Our general strategy was to lay out the ceremony we wanted to have, without concern for what other people wanted or expected. Then we revised that in order to incorporate important traditions for everyone's sake (remember: "the wedding isn't for you, it's for us" <tongue-in-cheek />). I'd say we made our day special in (at least) four different ways:
- We had our rings custom made by Fareed Abdulky. Fareed was really great to work with. It's clear that he cares about his customers. He's Ithaca based, which is where I grew up and both Susan and I went to school. And he did the engagement ring too. So these rings are really special and personal. We'd actually been to the other major custom jeweler in Ithaca and were pretty disappointed. But Fareed met with us personally from the very beginning and made exactly what we wanted: simple elegance (read: simple, but well crafted and special for us).
- We had family perform live music. Susan's mom (Kathy), aunt (Jann), de-facto aunt (Mary Kay), and father (John) all performed for us, together, for the first time in a long time. And, of course, we played a recording of "More" recorded by Susan's late great-grandfather. It was a really touching set of performances in a lot of ways, and for a lot of the guests. I'm still getting emotion-filled calls about it! So this made us really happy.
- We wrote our own vows. Everyone hears, "Do you, Nick, take Susan, to love and cherish [...] till death do you part". We didn't want to have everyone else's wedding! So we sat down and brainstormed some of what we thought will be the toughest challenges our marriage will face in the next umpteen years. Having done that, we came up with really good promises each of us must make and keep to one another. And we came up with a nice set of interlocking vows expressing as much. I'm actually pretty proud of what we've got, and we've got echoes of those vows engraved on our rings. So these really are our vows.
- We had a good friend, and excellent public speaker, officiate the ceremony. We took care of the civil paper-work ahead of time so that everyone attending the ceremony would be close to each of us. And our friend Zac was really amazing at the altar. I didn't realize how much work would have to go into this, and Zac really did a great job of it. He kept everything running smoothly and the comments he wrote were very beautiful. I had several people asking me who wrote them. I really owe Zac a big thank you (thank you!).
In all the ceremony turned out great. It was full of emotion and tears of joy. I thought my whole body was just going to collapse at a couple of moments. My heart still explodes just thinking about my bride walking up to the altar.