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Top 10 Tips for a Unity and Commitment Ceremony

  1. To have a ceremony that reflects you as a couple you must first be clear on what you both want.  Write down all your dreams, thoughts and ideas. What is important? What is the overall feeling of the day? What setting? How many guests? As you move into the planning stage you may not use all of your ideas, yet taking this step together will help you to discover and clarify what is important to each of you.
  2. Find a celebrant or priest who is interested in what you want and who also values and encourages your input into the ceremony –someone who takes the time to get to know you and is willing to make your ceremony very special… and lots of fun!
  3. Think carefully about the actual wording of the ceremony.  Whether you are choosing a more formal and traditionally styled ceremony or an original and personal one that is especially crafted for you - or a combination of these two styles, the words that are spoken at the ceremony are very important. They can be uplifting and inspiring or, at the very worst, embarrassing and not at all what you want.  A personalized ceremony that has meaning for you both will deeply touch you and all of your guests. Find out whether you can have your choice of ceremony, write your own vows or select the readings. The experience of your ceremony will stay with you for a very long time. This is your special day, have it your way!
  4. Choose or write your own vows that are meaningful and sincere. Visualise the moment when you are holding hands and looking into each other’s eyes as you exchange your vows. What do you want to say to each other? What do you love about each other? What do you look forward to?  Share your thoughts and ideas on these very important aspects of not only the vows but also the union itself.
  5. In the countries where same sex marriages are legal (Yay, it is now legal in Australia!), there will be certain legal requirements regarding the union that must be said by your celebrant or priest. Explore what the union means for you as a couple, and incorporate your values into the ceremony itself.  After the legal bit, the officiant can then say “For Simon and Alan this union means…”
  6. A ceremony is a wonderful time to acknowledge the love, friendship and support given to you by your parents, family and friends. Share with them your appreciation by writing something special…  ‘Sally’s parents, John and Anne; and Michelle’s mother, Julie; you have raised your families in a sphere of love and respect. This is a priceless legacy that has guided and supported Sally and Michelle in their relationship. For this, and the support and encouragement you have given them, and for always having an open door and being there for them, they are deeply grateful. Thank you.’
  7. Give yourself plenty of time to choose fabulous music for the ceremony. Music uplifts the spirit and a celebration is a great time to ‘get emotional’. Whether it is a quiet piece that stirs the heart strings or a dance beat that gets everyone’s feet tapping as you walk down the aisle, allow a few months to make your choices – usually you will need to choose a track of music for walking in, one for when you are signing the certificates and one for the close!
  8. You will be inundated with advice and expectations from well meaning family and friends. Listen to them, thank them, and then use what is valuable.  I know this is sometimes easier said than done. Just remember it is your ceremony.  When you and your partner are discussing the words for the ceremony, don’t agree to include words or features in the ceremony just to please your partner (or anyone else). If you really don’t want to include something, say so - there will always be a middle ground that you can both agree on and it is good practice for the union itself.
  9. Surround yourself with family and friends who support your dream and who are willing to help rather than hinder. Choose a team of recommended, reliable and helpful commitment service providers - celebrant, event coordinator, photographer, florist etc.  Meet with them and see if you get on with them and like what they offer. Will they give you what you want?
  10. As one of my clients said, ‘Look at all the websites, read all the books, write out lists – then look inside your heart, relax and do what your feelings say. It’s so personal, it all comes back to your individual wants – don’t worry, be happy!’

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Heidi, Cairns
Hi Wendy, I have been reading through your site and from feeling overwhelmed at the whole wedding planning now feel more relaxed!

Candy & Lincoln, Sydney, NSW
Your book gave us an insight as to what the important aspects of a perfect ceremony are. Had I not read your book I don’t know whether I would have put so much thought into the most memorable part of our wedding.
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