August 2008


Val & Paul were married this past weekend, at Lana Lounge in Hoboken, NJ.

The ceremony was sweet and funny, just like the couple wanted. One of the sweetest moments was when Val walked in, to Etta James’ “At Last,” escorted by her son.

Val & Paul's Wedding

The couple decided to do a unity ceremony, a sand ceremony, and involved Val’s son in it as well. He was so excited about it, too! Each had chosen two colors to pour into the central vessel, and, as music played, each bottle of sand was poured into the central container. The result, a beautiful visual reminder of the new family that was being formed today, stood at the front of the room during the reception.

Val & Paul's Wedding
Before the Ceremony

Val & Paul's Wedding

During the reception, the maid of honor and her boyfriend performed a song from “Flight of the Conchords” – so much fun! Paul joined them to sing Barry Polisar’s “All I Want Is You” (the opening song from “Juno”) to Val.

Val & Paul's Wedding

I had so much fun with Val and Paul’s ceremony. You could really tell, simply from the way that they were looking at each other during the ceremony, how in love they are. Paul put it best when he told me that Val has this certain look that she gives him – and at that point, Paul says her soul is blown wide open, and he can see the true depth of her love. Both Paul and Val’s souls were wide open today, and everyone was so happy to witness their love and devotion to each other.

Val & Paul's Wedding

Val & Paul's Wedding

OK, I may be late to the game, but I finally saw the Sex and the City movie last night.

I am a huge fan of the series (the first DVD I ever bought was the first season of the show!), and always loved all of the different weddings that occured throughout the series.  The “perfect” weddings always reflected the relationships of those getting married so well – like Miranda and Steve’s sweet civil ceremony in a park (with no white in sight!), and Charlotte and Harry’s Jewish ceremony that just couldn’t go right (and Charlotte first wedding, the seemingly perfect wedding, which was just falling apart at the seams).

And the movie was not disappointing wedding wise at all.

[If you haven’t seen the movie, or don’t want to know more about the plot, please skip to the bottom!]

When Big and Carrie decide to get married, Carrie picks out a “no-label” vintage suit to wear to the small ceremony.  But soon, the wedding balloons out of control (as can be seen in the absolutely stunning and absolutely HUGE Viviene Westwood dress that Carrie is given), and soon the wedding doesn’t reflect who Carrie and Big are as a couple and as individuals – which is SO important in weddings.

Unfortunately, Big finds himself lost in the huge poof of a wedding Carrie has planned, and he ends up not being able to get out of his car on the day of.

In the end, Big and Carrie find their way back to each other (just like always).  Big, who isn’t a writer and seems to always have a problem expressing his feelings very well, sends Carrie a simple love letter: “I will love you forever.”  And the final scene of the movie has them being married in city hall, Carrie wearing her no-name simple suit, their ceremony simple and elegant.  With an “I do,” and a kiss, they’re officially husband and wife.

[OK, I guess if you’ve stuck around and are skimming towards the bottom, but trying to avoid the plot of the movie, you can start to read again.]

And Carrie, as the narrator, imparts this information on the audience at the end:  “Why is it we’re willing to write our own vows, but not our own rules?”

Create your own rules, especially when it comes to love.  When it comes to weddings, don’t be afraid to say “No,” or change what you don’t feel reflects who you are.  Don’t get lost in the poofy layers of the crinoline they talked you into getting when you bought your dress, and don’t be afraid to make your wedding say exactly who you are.

Unity ceremonies are really popular in wedding ceremonies – and rightfully so! Wedding ceremonies aren’t just about two people coming together, but about two lives coming together. Unity ceremonies showcase this, and the physical aspects surrounding them can really help “cement” that feeling of togetherness, as well as provide visuals and make you and your partner feel closer.

And there are so many! Here’s just a selection of the many unity ceremonies that are out there!

Unity Candle
: Perhaps the best well known is the unity candle. The couple lights tapers, and uses the tapers to light a central pillar candle. This is a sweet and well known example of a unity ritual, and is easy to incorporate family into as well (parents can light the taper, or children can help light the central candle, to symbolize a family coming together).

Sand Ceremonies: I love sand ceremonies, and they are ABSOLUTELY not just for beach weddings. In a sand ceremony, the couple each pours a small amount of colored sand into a central vase, creating a beautiful layered sculpture that they keep to remind themselves of their love and commitment to each other. It would take forever to separate the grains of sand once they are poured and joined together in the vase – just as your love will last forever! This is another great ceremony to include family with (they can combine the sand that you will pour into the vessel, or add their own layer in a separate color), and is especially fun if you have children! It is a great outdoor solution to a unity candle (no wind will blow it out), and is really family friendly (no potential burns).

A variation on the sand ceremony is to used colored water, which the couple combines into a central vessel. I’ve seen this done where some chemistry-savvy couples have found ways to pour two colored waters into the middle and have them combine as clear!

I think it’s important to mention when it comes to both Unity Candles and Sand Ceremonies that you don’t need to just purchase the kits for these (though you can find Unity Candle sets at most craft stores now!). Though the internet is full of places to purchase these kits, you can very easily make your own, saving yourself a little bit of money and being able to personalize it even more. A quick trip to the craft store can yield a beautiful center pillar candle (perhaps in a color appropriate for your wedding colors or bridesmaid dresses), and some tapers or tea lights. You can find clean craft sand in most craft stores as well, and a selection of vases and vessels are usually displayed with them. Check out discount stores (like Target or Marshalls) for beautiful vases for the sand ceremony, and don’t forget places like Pier 1 or other home decor stores for vases and candles!

Wine Ceremonies are a personal favorite of mine, and one that has a rich history in many backgrounds and cultures. For the religiously inclined, a blessing can be said over the wine before the couple shares a glass. This symbolizes that they will share everything from this point forward – and their sorrows will be halved and their joys doubled because of this. A variation on this ceremony is to use two glasses of wine – one bitter and one sweet, to actually represent the good and bad times that a couple will embark on together.

Rose Ceremonies
are very popular in weddings now as well. There are a few variations on this – the couple can present roses to each other, as their first gift as a married couple. The symbolism of the rose is explained, and the couple will have the rose to remember the commitment and vows they have taken. Another idea is to present a rose or flower to important women or mothers present at the wedding, as a special thank you for their love and support. This can be done with bouquets or other gifts, and is even appropriate if you have a very special person who cannot be at the wedding – simply present the flower to their partner, in their honor, or place it on a seat of honor for them at the front, during the ceremony.

Another sweet ceremony in the line of the rose ceremony is something from the Hindu tradition. The parents of the groom will present the bride with a garland, to welcome her into the family. A simple presentation of flowers, a small present, or a garland from the future parents in law is a beautiful gesture of acceptance and love that can truly show that the couple aren’t the only ones coming together – it’s about the joining of family as well!

These are just a few of the many suggestions and are, of course, just a jumping off point! Take inspiration from them, and run with it to make your ceremony your own!

Welcome, Off-Beat Bride readers!

Off Beat Bride is one of my favorite resources for wedding inspiration.  Part of the reason I got into this whole Celebrant thing is that I LOVE weddings.  I love talking about weddings, I love planning weddings, I love looking at pictures, discussing color schemes and floral arrangements and cake choices – everything.  But most of all, I love when weddings reflect the couple getting married in a really personal, really special way.

And that’s where the Celebrant can come in!  Using my ceremony expertise, and your ideas, we can work together to create the perfect ceremony for you.  I can include any rituals, traditions, elements, or wording that you like.  And make sure that we don’t include anything you don’t want to include.

When it comes down to it, a wedding is all about your relationship – who the bride and groom are as individuals, and how they complement each other as a couple, together, as they become a married couple.  A custom wedding ceremony can really highlight this.  It’s my passion – creating beautiful wedding ceremonies that are EXACTLY how you’ve always imagined them.  It’s what I love to do.

Please, feel free to take a look around my website, and, of course, contact me with any questions!