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with Relationship Speaker/Author/Coach...
Larry James


Ceremonies

Although there are only two essential parts to a wedding ceremony;

  • the vows or promises you make to one another (the most personal part and the cornerstone of the ceremony) and
  • the pronouncement of marriage by the person officiating that you are now married. . .

remember, this is your day and you get to choose how you want the wedding to progress. Each ceremony will be completely customized to fit your specific needs. You determine the level of formality.

You can write your own vows, delete whole sections of our popular "romantic" ceremony template (other than the two sections mentioned above), move certain parts around and decide to include music, readings (your favorite romantic song lyrics make a great reading) and whatever you feel is appropriate. There are absolutely no restrictions on what on what goes in your ceremony.

The words spoken will be what unite you and your intended. This wedding has never happened before. Choose your words wisely.

As an author of three relationship books, Larry James can help you fine-tune the words that will mean the most to you and your guests.

Whatever the chosen structure of the ceremony, it is important that both the bride and groom have some agreement and ownership of the words in the marriage rites. A wedding is a distinctly personal experience; a very personal occasion and should define the bride and groom not the families expectations. Your Mom had her wedding, this one is for you!

Do not be afraid to "step outside the box" and be unique. Don't let anyone convince you that a boring, stuffy, stale wedding ceremony is for you. This is your wedding day! Do what you like and have a blast! Your guests will love attending a wedding that makes them wonder what will happen next. Relax protocol, have fun and don't be afraid to ask Larry James or your wedding coordinators for additional advice or ideas.

Some of the most meaningful ceremonies are those with elements honoring cultural customs. Larry can include a glass-breaking segment for a couple who want to honor their Jewish roots; a Lasso rite involving the parents or grandparents, to pay homage to their Mexican-American heritage; Native American blessings and rituals; Celtic handfastings, the Serenity Prayer and more.

Have a surprise wedding! Invite guests to a luncheon or dinner, promise them a very special "surprise". When everyone arrives, announce that they've been gathered to witness your wedding vows! While unorthodox, it's very different and a whole lot of fun. It also takes the pre-wedding pressure off!

Click here for an example of a couple who invited their best friends to dinner and when they arrived they surprised them with them being the witnesses to their wedding vows.

Don't expect a "perfect" ceremony. Children may cry; your bridesmaid's hair may be dyed purple; your grandmother may flub the reading or the 3 year-old ring bearer may get cold feet and freeze. That's okay. Remember, the guests do not know what you are supposed to be doing so you can't get it wrong. If mistakes are made, it's important not to call attention to them.

Spoken promises of love will always be part of a good marriage, so finding the perfect wedding ceremony will reflect your love for one another.

The following ceremonies are meant to give you some ideas from which to work, etc., etc. Remember, ceremonies are a kind of poetry that you may adjust, add to, or modify as you wish. Anything goes!

Larry James honors and respects all beliefs and traditions - religious, spiritual, non-religious, or secular.

It's "your" day. . . you get to choose. Larry James will customize your ceremony to fit your needs. That's a promise he keeps!

Note: There is only two things that Larry James will not say in a wedding ceremony: "You may now kiss YOUR Bride." The word "your" is possessive. The Bride does not belong to the Husband. They are equal partners. Instead he recommends, "You may now seal your promises with a kiss!" which is a lot more romantic. The other is, "Honor and obey, till death do us part." Instead, he says, "Honor and respect. I say these words because I love you and choose to live the rest of my life with you."

•    •    •

A special "thank you" to Maureen Thomson of www.MemorableCeremonies.com for her contribution to this page. Some of the words were adapted from Maureen's article, "Eleven Commandments for a Memorable Ceremony." - Larry James

•    •    •

Wedding Ceremony  -  This ceremony has a touch of traditional with a few modern twists, a slight Spiritual tint (or not!) and an emphasis on lots of love and romance! It is our most popular ceremony. It is always customized to fit your specific needs. Anything goes! It's "your" day and you get to say what is in your ceremony! The "romance" is in the details!

LGBT Wedding Ceremony  -  This ceremony has a touch of traditional with a few modern twists, a slight Spiritual tint (or not!) and an emphasis on lots of love and romance! It is our most popular ceremony. It is always customized to fit your specific needs. Anything goes! It's "your" day and you get to say what is in your ceremony! The "romance" is in the details!

Commitment Ceremony  -  Sometimes there are legal reasons why a couple cannot be married. This Commitment Ceremony has been designed for couples who are committed to each other but cannot be legally married. This ceremony has a touch of traditional with a few modern twists, a slight Spiritual tint (or not!) and an emphasis on lots of love and romance! It is always customized to fit your specific needs. Anything goes! It's "your" day and you get to say what is in your commitment ceremony! The "romance" is in the details!

heart new Hot Air Balloon Weddings - What could be more romantic than flying among the clouds and Celebrating Love in a hot air balloon for your wedding? Come on... life should be an adventure! It is truly an exhilarating, fearless, safe, inspiring and "romantic" adventure!

NOTE:  Larry's "romantic" ceremony has gained in popularity and gets rave reviews! Word gets around fast when something is good. If you have the slightest interest in having Larry James perform your ceremony, you are encouraged to call to check availability. It is not unusual for the most popular officiants to fill their schedules 9 to 12 months & more in advance, with a few open dates in between. Weekday weddings are generally easier to schedule on shorter notice.

Larry does an average of more than one wedding every week, so to get the date of your choice, call now! Avoid disappointment, book early!

•    •    •

heart Ideas for Renewing Your Vows!  -  Ideas and suggestions for a renewal of your vows ceremony. Great for a 50th Anniversary!

heart Renewal/Reaffirm Vows  -  Time has gone by and you are now deciding to pause and reflect on your time together in the years that have passed since your wedding day. It is an opportunity to reaffirm the tremendous love that has deepened with the passing of years.

•    •    •

NOTE: All of the ceremonies below are what Larry James calls "add-on ceremonies" that can be added to the main wedding ceremony. There is no additional cost to add-on any of these ceremonies.

•    •    •

updated Unity Candle Ceremony  -  A symbolic ceremony that has the bride and groom light a single candle representing their willingness to walk life's pathways together as one.

Blending of the Sands Ceremony  -  This ceremony can be a beautiful and meaningful alternative to the "Unity Candle" ceremony. The pouring of two different colored sands together is used to symbolize the joining of the bride and groom or the "joining of their families."

Rose Ceremony  -  In this brief ceremony the bride and groom present each other with their first gift as wife and husband; a red rose bud (a symbol of Love). There are two versions of the Rose Ceremony, one short and a longer one. The longer version only adds about 3 minutes to the ceremony.

Honor Your Mother  -  Here is an honorable tribute that will fill your mother and mother-in-laws' hearts with joy and pride. Plus a very subtle way to honor close family members who have passed on and the colors of roses and their special meanings.

Blended Family Ceremony  -  When the bride and/or groom have children, it is appropriate for the children to be included into the wedding ceremony. Children will accept a parent's remarriage more readily when they feel included in the wedding ceremony. Pouring different colored sands together is another way to symbolize the joining of the bride and groom and their family together. The children love this version. See the Blending of the Sands Ceremony, specifically ceremony #2.

The Loving Cup Ceremony  -  The purpose of the Loving Cup ceremony is for the bride and groom to share their first drink together as wife and husband and to show the coming together of two families. Special words can be added to include the Bride and Groom's parents (and friends) as part of this ceremony.

The Lasso Ceremony  -  This tradition is usually associated with Hispanic and Filipino families. Lasso (sometimes called, "lazo") or rope is placed around the bride and groom's shoulders after they have exchanged their vows to symbolize their everlasting union.

The Handfasting Ceremony  -  This Celtic tradition of Handfasting is an ancient commitment ceremony. It is the predecessor to the modern wedding ceremony.

The Gold Coins Ceremony  -  The custom of the giving of wedding coins originated in Spain. Thirteen gold coins (arras) are given to the bride by the bridegroom, signifying his willingness to support her.

The 7 Steps (or Blessings) Ceremony  -  The Hindu ceremony, a rite known as "samskara," has several components and it is quite beautiful. It includes 7 Sanskrit blessings as the bride and groom walk 7 times around a table as the minister recites the 7 blessings.

The Breaking of the Glass Ceremony  -  The breaking of the glass serves as a separation between the awe of the ceremony and the reception celebration that will follow. Although this ceremony is traditionally of Jewish origin, many couples choose to incorporate it into traditional and non-traditional ceremonies.

new The Love Letter & Wine Box Ceremony  -  Here's an idea that will certainly grab the attention of the guests, add some pizzazz to your ceremony and incorporate a new twist into your celebration.

The Circling Ceremony  -  In the Jewish tradition, after the bride and groom first enter the huppah (a canopy traditionally used in Jewish weddings), or the bride walks to the alter escorted by her father, the bride circles the groom three or seven times.

The Butterfly Release Ceremony  -  The butterfly symbolizes new beginnings and rebirths. What better way to celebrate the beginning of a new life together than with the releasing of butterflies at your wedding.

updated White Doves Release Ceremony  -  As a true symbol of Love, the White Dove chooses its mate for life, therefore they are a very fitting and final addition to any wedding. They create a magical atmosphere as they circle the skies before leaving on their new journey together.

Jumping the Broom Ceremony  -  The Jumping the Broom Ceremony is an African American tradition. It signifies their entrance into a new life and their creation of a new family by symbolically "sweeping away" their former single lives, former problems and concerns, and jumping over the broom to enter upon a new adventure as wife and husband.

new The Last Kiss Before the First Kiss  -  Here's a clever idea to celebrate a special moment for the bride and groom and their mothers during the ceremony. In the wedding ceremony just before the "first kiss" as wife and husband, the minister calls the mothers of the bride and groom forward. Read more. . .

new The Oathing Stone Ceremony  -  Embrace the old European tradition to add a meaningful highlight to your wedding ceremony. The Oathing Stone is an old Scottish tradition where the Bride and Groom place their hands upon a stone while saying their wedding vows.

new The Cord of Three Strands Ceremony  -  The Cord of Three Strands ceremony (often called "God's Knot" or the Unity Braid Ceremony) symbolizes the joining of one man, one woman, and God into a marriage relationship. It adds a truly unique element to your ceremony that friends and family will remember. The cord of three strands ceremony is a great addition to any wedding ceremony.

Wedding Blessing  -  Larry James is available to offer a special "Wedding Blessing" at the rehearsal dinner or the reception as a part of his wedding services - when his schedule permits - at no additional fee.

Renewal/Reaffirm Vows  -  Time has gone by and you are now deciding to pause and reflect on your time together in the years that have passed since your wedding day. It is an opportunity to reaffirm the tremendous love that has deepened with the passing of years.

Godparents Celebration Ceremony with Sand  -  It is a great honor when friends ask you to be a Godparent (aka, mentor, supporting adult, guideparent or guardian) and is an awsome responsibility and signals that they really trust you to look out for their child if something should happen to them.

A Ceremony for Letting Go  -  This ceremony is specifically for couples who have decided to move on with their separate lives with grace and style. It is appropriate for relationship break-ups and divorces. It focuses on moving apart with clarity, good will for the other, and more.

If you are considering writing your own wedding vows, you will find a list of books that feature excellent suggestions by clicking here.

•    •    •

Larry James is available to offer a very special "Wedding Blessing" at the rehearsal dinner or the reception as a part of his wedding services - when his schedule permits - at no additional fee.

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