Stemming from a love unbound and ardently declared, a wedding is a mélange of magical detail. Beneath the styling and the splendour, the family pressures and budgeted spreadsheets, there’s the ritual itself. The most imperative element. Here, vows are spoken and rings are exchanged, with two souls entwining in ceremonial significance.
While florals and fashion may ensnare your attention, stripping everything back and focusing on your ceremony plans early on is essential. Just as no two love stories are the same, neither should two ceremonies be. Creating a service that speaks to you authentically as a couple is paramount, and finding a celebrant that can bring this to life is key.
To delve further into the ways to customize a wedding ceremony, we sit down with one of our favourite celebrants, Chloe Jetson. Based in Victoria specialising in personalised weddings that emanate with joy and honesty, we ask Chloe for her advice on how to create an inimitable service that will be treasured both in the moment and for years to come…
(Above image: Deon & Reni)
Determine What Is Important
Determine what is most important to you as a couple. While it’s considerate to keep your friends and family in mind, at the end of the day, it’s your wedding and your decisions should reign supreme. To feel relaxed and fully present within the moment, outline the kind of atmosphere you’d like to create, what holds significance for you, and what you’d like to feel during the proceedings. “I encourage my couples to think about the different elements and traditions in a ceremony and include only those that have meaning to them,” says Chloe.
“It might be important to a couple that they enter together and make their way down the aisle hand in hand to begin their ceremony. Some couples love to sign their paperwork at the bar after the ceremony, rather than pausing during to do so. I like to tease out what is important to each couple then ensure the ceremony is created around this, so every moment is truly authentic to who they are and how their relationship feels. In my experience…this is when you see everyone relax, kick back, and really let the emotions flow.”
Work with Your Celebrant to Customize Your Ceremony
Find a celebrant who you feel comfortable with who is flexible, open to ideas, and excited about creating something entirely unique just for you. “I love the connection part of my job, so sitting with couples over a few drinks and getting to know them works so well for me. As we chat, I get a sense of what is important to them, which allows me to begin to present them with options for their ceremony; how we personalise it, who we may want to include, how do they want their guests to feel – these are all things I talk through in our conversations together,” Chloe explains.
With a professional’s personalised approach, it’s also much easier to navigate around the dull, redundant or the cliched, allowing for a fun, emotive and effortless experience that everyone will enjoy. “I write my ceremonies uniquely for each couple, so no template with a “your story here” paragraph. I craft each element, incorporating what I’ve learnt about my couples throughout so it feels really genuine, natural and comfortable for them, and their guests remain truly engaged and entertained.”
Embrace Tradition That Works for You
Think about what religious or cultural traditions ring true to both you and your partner, and work with your celebrant to integrate these into your service. “I think that it’s important to reflect on how these traditions can be incorporated respectfully but in a way that means the ceremony will still flow beautifully,” says Chloe.
Choose rituals with personal resonance. If you’re from different backgrounds, consider converging ideas, and don’t be discouraged to try something new or non-conformist. Likewise, if more conventional traditions speak to you, embrace them. It’s important to listen to your intuition and what you feel will be most profound and beautiful to you. “Simply by ensuring I introduce the tradition by explaining its significance to the couple makes all the difference to the guests – suddenly something that may have seemed disconnected fits perfectly with what is going on,” highlights Chloe.
“I write my ceremonies uniquely for each couple, so no template with a ‘your story here’ paragraph. I craft each element, incorporating what I’ve learnt about my couples throughout so it feels really genuine, natural and comfortable for them, and their guests remain truly engaged and entertained.”
Write Your Own Vows
One sure way to customize your ceremony is by writing your own vows, forgoing overused templates or stereotypical phrases. In Chloe’s experience, no one will critique you on how lyrical or poetic your words are. “People are moved by realness and authenticity. A heartfelt, genuine moment has so much more power than something that flows lyrically. For some couples, that may mean the vows are super quirky or interspersed with humour, for others they will be simple, meaningful promises that speak to the depth of their feeling and commitment to each other,” she says. “Either way, if they are honest, well thought out and heartfelt, they’ll be amazing.”
Chloe works closely with her couples to help brainstorm ideas and create vows spilling with originality and intention. She also advises couples to open a notes file on their phone as they begin wedding preparations and add to it whenever their partner does something they love or that is important to their relationship, “that way when you sit down to write your vows, the hard work is done!”
“People are moved by realness and authenticity. A heartfelt, genuine moment has so much more power than something that flows lyrically.”
Embrace Variety & the Unexpected
Invigorate your service by introducing variety, and don’t be afraid to bring something wholly unexpected to the table. Think of songs to interweave, or consider live music or entertainment. “I’ve had the groom and his groomsmen enter together wolf pack style to a cranking tune with the guests cheering them on, before settling in for the bride’s entrance. This creates such a party vibe and gives the groom an awesome moment in the spotlight too,” says Chloe.
Readings, poems or jokes can be an excellent way to enliven your ceremony, while also involving some of your loved ones. “I love it when couples include their community in their ceremony,” Chloe begins, “Whether it’s a quick, light-hearted roast of the groomsmen during the intro to the ceremony so everyone has a laugh straight away, or acknowledging the unique connections between the couple and their bridal party,” she says. “There are so many more interesting ways to add variety, to include special people or to tell a story that doesn’t involve a reading…I like to explore those options with my couples.”
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