Regardless of your religious affiliation there are numerous creative wedding touches to give your ceremony that special sparkle. Just make certain that if you are having a religious ceremony at a church, temple or mosque, that you discuss each concept with your officiant to make sure you aren't going against any rules.
A couple of places where you are often given free reign are in the wedding program and the processional/recessional. Here are a few ideas to get those creative juices flowing as to how to make your wedding ceremony extraordinary.
- The wedding program can list more than just the names of the participants. For instance, in a Greek Orthodox wedding there are a number of traditions and ceremonies within the wedding service itself that need explanation. (It takes 45 minutes and has multiple parts, so it's rather complex.) This is where you can explain what is going on to guests who are not part of the faith so that they can fully participate and understand the entire ceremony - even those parts not in English! Additionally the wedding program can indicate special memorials, readings, music and so on that will enhance your guests' participation in the wedding.
- Even if you are not having a Jewish wedding (where it's tradition), invite your mother to walk you down the aisle with your father. Having both parents (if you are lucky) escort you to your future is a warm and loving gesture. I always feel sorry that the mother of the bride has to sit all alone in the front pew and just witness her daughter's wedding instead of being an integral part of it. I attended a wedding this summer where the bride's parents and her oldest son walked her down the aisle. It was quite moving.
- Ask the groom's parents to be part of the processional as well. They can lead the procession with the bride's parents ending it.
- See if it is acceptable to the officiant for you to change places with him (or her) so that you face the guests during the ceremony instead of having your backs to them the entire time.
- Hand a rose to each of the mothers as you pass them during the recessional. Have them ready at the altar so that you can each pick one up and give it to each of your mothers-in law (your mothers) as you embrace them when you are newly husband and wife. Also publicly thank your parents as a gesture of love and respect.
- If you are holding your wedding outdoors, have a special wedding canopy set up to designate the "altar" area where the actual ceremony will take place. At the end of the ceremony, have the guests throw grass seed or flower seeds instead of rice. Still symbolizes fertility but it is better for the birds and the environment.
- Ask a friend or family member to perform a special wedding song during the ceremony. At my friend Cindy's wedding, my then-boyfriend played classical guitar as the guests were seated. It was an elegant touch.