"People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel."
You've bought the dress and shoes; printed invitations and other stationery; ordered the cake; organized flowers, music, and catering; and made travel arrangements. What about your ceremony?
It is too easy to be overwhelmed by wedding planning and lose sight of the true purpose of your special day. You are celebrating the commitment to love each other for the rest of your lives. What will make your ceremony meaningful, memorable and an occasion that will live on in the years ahead?
A few years ago, I created and conducted a wedding for a young Russian couple. They had met in their early 20s and knew then that they would be together for life. They saved up for nine years to create a wedding that would remain in their hearts, and in the hearts of their guests. Their wedding venue was the gorgeous Chateau St Martin Hotel & Spa in the South of France.
We had several meetings at which we discussed how to make their wedding celebration outstanding for them. As they had family and friends coming from Russia and other parts of the world, they wanted to make sure the journeys had been worthwhile. They had a clear intention.
During the ceremony, we chose three symbolic exchanges. They toasted each other with the common cup exchange, each drinking from a wine glass signifying that their joys would be doubled and sorrows halved because they are shared. For the sand ceremony, they chose sand colors that matched their personalities. The bride found an elegant antique cocktail shaker into which they poured their sands. To affirm prosperity and abundance in their marriage, the couple shared the bread and salt exchange, an Eastern European tradition. The bride's grandmother brought a special cloth, handed down from generations, on which to place bread and salt.
A wedding ceremony does not need to be elaborate to be memorable. It does need to be heartfelt, and represent the special love you have for each other.
So what is a clear intention, and how do you go about creating it?
Set aside wedding planning for a moment. Ask yourselves: what is it you most love in each other? Loyalty? Trust? The fact that your partner is your best friend? Do you make each other laugh? Answering this question will guide your choice of vows to be uniquely your own.
Think about how you want to be feeling through your ceremony. Relaxed? Happy? Calm? Confident?
As your guests leave the ceremony to go to the reception, how would you like them to be feeling? Moved? Blessed to be with you? Touched by your love? Grateful to have been invited? Enthusiastic for your future together? Understanding of the love you have for each other? Inspired? Lifted? Encouraged? Peaceful?
Having a vision in mind will guide you in areas such as choosing the music, readings and exchanges that will make your wedding meaningful for you. Think about what you will be seeing (a fine sunny day, for example) and what you will be hearing (music that evokes love for you) or what you will be smelling (the scent of flowers: roses, peonies, lavender, jasmine, stephanotis). Make your picture vivid, clear and evocative for the wedding of your dreams.
Writing down your intention in a few words will anchor it in your hearts. After the celebration, once you have time to just be together, review your written intention and notice how clearly it was fulfilled.
How did you make your wedding ceremony special? I would love to know. Please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment in the space below.
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