Human beings use rituals all the time to mark important passages in their lives. It seems that we always have. Birthdays, graduations, funerals, baby blessings and weddings. I have a friend who wrote a book about simple everyday rituals that mark other important moments in life, like getting your first driver's license. Rituals are powerful ways for us to prepare for big changes, and we feel a little let down without them.
How many wedding ceremonies have you been to that you remember? Not many, I'm guessing. Disasters, yes. Really beautiful, lavish or meaningful ceremonies, yes. And these you can usually count on one hand. But you and your beloved will remember your wedding day forever. Shouldn't it be a memory that makes you feel great every time you think about it?
At a wedding I just performed, a guest told me that she and her husband hadn't had a ceremony, but had gone to the Courthouse. She wistfully told me that he'd promised her to do a ceremony on their 10th anniversary, but now didn't want all the fuss. She had missed out on an irreplaceable ritual and memory, and it still hurt.
A really meaningful wedding ceremony will match you, so that your guests feel it was perfect for the two of you. An amazing ceremony will inspire and delight everyone who attends and they'll be talking about it and reminiscing with you about how wonderful it was 20 years from now.
How do I know this? Because it happens to couples whose ceremonies I've done all the time.
This doesn't mean your wedding should be solemn and formal, unless that's exactly what you want. I've done weddings in parks and back yards in casual clothing, and in a huge Los Angeles cathedral for a television star wearing my ministerial black robe. It all works.
Some couples want a string quartet feeling, others play "Whole Lotta Love" by Led Zeppelin. It all works if it matches you. Your guests will feel right at ease when they discover that your wedding is going to be different. Not a cookie-cutter version, but crafted for you. No two weddings are exactly alike.
So take the plunge. Don't skip it; plan your wedding ceremony. Be sure to choose an officiant who listens to you and "gets" you, so that your day doesn't become opportunity to try and convert people to a different faith, or scold them about sin. (Most officiants are more sensitive these days, but not all of them are.)
This day is all about you. Celebrate it in the way that best fits the two of you, and it will create a deeper connection between you as you begin your married life, with the added bonus that your friends and family will remember it with you joyfully on every anniversary.