Whether planning to wed on land or sea, today, brides and grooms are taking their nuptials to new heights when it comes to creating the perfect wedding ceremony. As long as your priest or Justice of the Peace is up for the trip, we’ve seen it all, from couples marrying barefoot on the beach to riding bareback in the brush.
While the church, synagogue, or mosque setting still has its traditional appeal, fiancés are vying for spiritual wedding ceremonies that marry conventional culture with individual expression. Although not carved in stone, protocol dictates that bridal party sizes follow a ratio of one attendant to every 50 guests. Nowadays, many couples are disregarding this rule and selecting as many or as few attendants as they wish.
The look and feel of your ceremony will greatly depend upon how the bridal party presents itself. Before selecting outfits and fitting your attendants one by one, try to see the big picture. Wedding ceremonies often have certain ‘themes’, ‘periods’, or ‘styles’, and the attire can be influenced by the bride and groom’s history of previous marriages, if any. Identifying and establishing in advance what your wedding image will be can save you time and money down the road.
Regardless of where and when you celebrate your wedding, be considerate when choosing your location. It is not uncommon for brides and grooms to wed 500 miles away from the majority of the guests and expect all attending to spring for travel expenses and overnight accommodations. One couple asked that all fly from New York City to Israel to attend the wedding. To their surprise, very few actually made the trip.
• If your wedding ceremony will be celebrated in a traditional house of worship, introducing extreme concepts or straying too far from the norm may be offensive to the clergy, as well as the guests. Select colors and a dress code that’s appropriate for the environment and you can’t go wrong!
• In a non-traditional indoor setting, you have the choice of honoring the traditional wedding attire or selecting a bolder style. For example, if you wanted your ceremony to have a Hawaiian influence, make sure you are consistent with flowers, decorations, and other visual and audio means.
• Beware: Guests will be much more amenable to your bolder theme if it is celebrated outside of their traditional house of worship.
• Traditional wedding ceremonies are usually accompanied by traditional music. However, many houses of worship are allowing current and/or upbeat music, as long as it isn’t offensive or adheres to a prescribed set of guidelines. Check well in advance so you are not surprised at the rehearsal.
• For non-traditional wedding ceremonies, try to be consistent with your theme, music choices should be appropriate and not offensive.
• Outdoor wedding ceremonies can be very romantic, but if not properly planned, can be disastrous.
• Consider the ages of your guests and honor attendants. Make appropriate choices accordingly.
• Don’t dress your bridal party in inappropriate clothing, then request that they climb a mountain to witness your vow exchanges.
• Incorporate tastefully-designed layers and accessories into your outfit choices, for fast removal or addition when the weather makes an unexpected turn or your needs call for bridal party relocation.
• Don’t be disappointed if Mother Nature completely ruins your ceremony. A nearby, indoor backup plan could save your day.
• Besides choosing music that’s appropriate for both the occasion and the setting, the best advice for outdoor wedding ceremonies is the investment in an audio system that can be heard but does not deafen!
• Testing the audio system prior to your big day is crucial. Play it safe and try to test it well in advance, with a group of people as a mock audience. You’d be surprised at how many kinks will be discovered during your "early dress rehearsal".
• Hiring a sound person just for this purpose is a wise investment.