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  • Rochelle Fleming – NZ Wedding Celebrant

Family…the heart of your ceremony

There are many creative and thoughtful ways that your family can play a meaningful part in your ceremony. As a celebrant I have witnessed many variations on how couples choose to honour family within their ceremony and put a unique stamp on their day.

A Family Blessing of the marriage engages the collective and could take place early within the ceremony or after the couple have shared their vows.

The celebrant could ask the following question of the families: “Do you all give your blessing to this marriage?” to which they would respond with: “We do”. Ring blessings can take many forms, but generally involves the passing of the rings through the hands of the immediate family as they pause and offer a silent blessing to the marriage. The idea is that the rings are warmed by the loving energy and support of their family and friends and this love will be worn for a lifetime.

Having a parent, grandparent or other special family member sharing a few words of wisdom during the ceremony can be touching. These time honoured words could reflect on the highlights of their marriage, what is important within a marriage and their wishes and hopes for the happy couple in their life ahead.

A family time capsule is a lovely idea. Prior to the ceremony family members would be invited to write you a note that will be read on your first anniversary. The letters can include well wishes, advice for married life, and favourite memories of you two together. The time capsule/box will be passed around during the ceremony for the notes to be dropped in and during the ceremony the couple would seal the box up, could be with their favourite bottle of wine, to be opened on their one year anniversary and enjoyed whilst reading the words from the family.

A flower or gift presentation can take many forms. You might like to give both mums a rose, flower or small bouquet in honour of the love and support they have offered to you. It’s a sweet way to recognise mums, parents and family members in general who have supported you in your life.

Family remembrances are emotional and beautiful elements to the ceremony. The lighting of a candle of remembrance recognising those loved ones who could not be there is a special gesture – candles or flames are a universal symbol of love and the human spirit. Cherished items, precious symbols, meaningful passages or treasured poems that hold special meaning to the family member are ways to honour those who have passed. You could also acknowledge their presence by including a photo in the bride’s bouquet or by placing an honorary seat in a prominent position.

These are just a snapshot of a few ideas – how to involve your nearest and dearest ‘family set’ is entirely up to you. Have a good chat to your celebrant about those you’d like to involve or remember, and between you come up with something that is unique that will be heartfelt and memorable on your special day.

First published in the Autumn 2014 issue of my wedding mag.

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