Below are questions frequently asked of Frankee Love, Wedding Officiant with Blue Ridge Weddings.
Q - Are there any particular phrases that must be stated for the wedding ceremony to be legal?
A - Not really. You are free to write phrases, statements of commitment and pledges of faith that mean something to you. This is your commitment you are making. Although you have a great deal of freedom, there are generally five parts to the basic format. They are:
We send our client-couples samples of vows upon request.
Q - Can you help us write our vows?
Q - Would you perform a renewal of wedding vows?
Q - Do you perform commitment ceremonies?
Q - How long should a wedding ceremony be?
I've seen beautiful weddings that were more than 30 minutes long and some equally beautiful ones that were less than 15.
Q - May we have friends or family members read
or sing special selections that are particularly meaningful to us?
Q - How do we arrange for Blue Ridge Weddings to
perform our ceremony?
Many couples come to me and ask how they can have a wedding ceremony that is totally unique and one that truly reflects their feelings for each other. They want wording that is relevant to them as a young couple rather than an ordinary ceremony that is just like all the others. Usually, they also have an interest in satisfying the family members who have a more traditional view of what a wedding should be like. This is exactly the type of challenge I enjoy the most. However, writing an original, customized wedding ceremony is not included with basic pricing, so additional fees apply. Here are some examples:
The bride and groom had met each other while rock climbing and continued to enjoy the sport as did most of their friends who were going to attend the wedding. They wanted a wedding ceremony that reflected their interests and friendships. However, their parents, aunts and uncles had a different opinion of the ideal wedding ceremony. They envisioned scripture, romantic prose and some familiar “to have and to hold” language. The couple loves their relatives and wanted them to feel comfortable about the wedding. Therefore I was charged with the task of blending two wedding styles into one seamless harmony. I approached the task by learning a great deal about rock climbing - the terminology, philosophies, and required strengths. I began making analogies between those points and the requirements of a good marriage. There were many comparisons that could be made such as the trust that a rock climber must have in his or her partner. The ceremony flowed in and out of rock climber territory and contained enough familiar “from this day forward” language to satisfy all who attended. The wedding was beautiful. It took place on a mountain edge and in sight of the very mountain range where the couple had grown to love each other.
Another example is the bride and groom that were wildlife photographers and environmentalists. Again, they wanted a ceremony that celebrated their own uniqueness and yet had enough familiar language to satisfy the family. I created a ceremony that was similar to the Rose Ceremony that many have heard but we used wildflowers instead. There were many references to the natural beauty of the surroundings – including the rain because it was pouring at the time! Afterwards family members and contemporary friends both came up to me and remarked what an inspirational ceremony it was.
If I had to sum up some advice about personalizing wedding ceremonies, I would say that there are a few points that are essential:
Remember you are making a public pledge that you will love and trust each other for the rest of your lives. This is important and it should be treated like an important occasion.
When I was first appointed a marriage celebrant by a Circuit Court Judge, my intention was to specialize in “adventure weddings” I envisioned marrying couples in kayaks as the whole wedding party and I floated down the James River. In my mind, it was all worked out. The bride and groom would come from opposite river banks paddling solo and followed by their respective attendants. Once I pronounced them husband and wife, they would climb into a larger kayak and paddle in tandem. The photographer and non-paddling relatives would be on the bridge above the river. It was going to be so much fun. Then there was the horseback scenario, the bicycle scenario and the hot air balloon scenario.
I quickly learned however, that most couples may fantasize about getting
married in adventure settings, but few really want to do it. It may be
because of concern for non-adventure loving family members… or maybe
they just come to their senses and decide to maintain a sense of decorum
on this momentous occasion. I can understand that.
The wedding celebration started after sunset the night before the wedding,
where the couple wore their best dresses and jewelry. The bride was transported
to her new house on a horse or camel with a musical band and the attendants
sprayed the cortege with green wheat as a symbol of fertility. Several
kinds of cooked meats as well as vegetables and fruit were prepared for
the attendants, who danced and sang music all night. In the morning, the
wife’s mother and her sisters visited her and gave her some food.
In the past, the wedding reception was an affair that was managed more
by the bride’s family since the reception was conventionally held
at the bride’s residence. The wedding celebrations are joyous
with much toasting, live music and confetti being thrown at the bride
as they depart in their wedding car with cans and bottles tied to the
On the day of the wedding, the entire event starts off with musicians
playing. The bride is normally placed in a seat that is designed to
the Lotus formation, under a roof made of leaves and flowers. Relatives
and other guests will come together in prayer. Guests remove their shoes,
sprinkle red powder onto the couple’s forehead as an act of blessing,
followed by rice grains. Coins are rotated three times around their
before they are dropped into a bowl of water that is placed just beside
the bride. The main ceremony is held in the evening and the venue is
extensively with strings of scented flowers and petals.
Families and extended families of the bride and groom usually are attired
in traditional dress. Depending on the economic status of the couple,
the “grand entrance” into the reception can be quite elaborate,
sometimes preceded by dancers who give a traditional dance performance
before the wedding couple goes on stage to do their first dance. Speeches
are a huge part of the Indonesian wedding and occur regularly throughout
the wedding reception. Alcohol is very rarely served at an Indonesian
wedding and it is considered rude to come to an Indonesian wedding after
If you’re invited to a wedding in Japan, some of the traditions
include: not bringing a gift on the day of the wedding; instead of a gift,
one brings “Goshugi” (money); Goshugi does not replace gifts,
however, which should be sent either prior or after the ceremony itself;
one may not eat the main meal until the toast (“Kampai”);
after the couple has made a grand entrance, they will open a barrel of
sake that is served for toasting, thus marking the beginning of the feast.
In modern times, karaoke is particularly popular.
Today, cutting the cake over the bride’s head at the reception
has replaced this tradition. Among many other traditions, it is considered
bad luck for the bride and groom to meet on their wedding day before they
meet at the church and it is considered good luck to take a different
route leaving the church than arriving at the church. This signifies that
life is different now for the bride and groom.
Another tradition is at the reception, when the groom leaves the party for a short time and while he is away all the men go up and kiss her. The same thing happens for the bride. After dinner, when dancing, the groom’s family will circle around the groom and get closer and closer and when he is completely encircled, they will put out a pair of scissors and cut his tie and socks.
United Arab Emirates
The week before the wedding is filled with festivities with traditional music and singing, which continues - perhaps even more so - in today's weddings. For the wedding day, the bride's eyes are lined in a dramatic Arabian Kohl, her hair is perfumed, and hands and feet are decorated in henna. At the reception, there are back-to-back feasts and celebrations that involve both men and women who generally celebrate separately.
As a Virginia wedding officiant, similar to a Justice of the Peace, I offer wedding services for both large and small weddings - from the casual, intimate wedding to the large formal wedding.
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