Celebrating a big event? A wedding, vow renewal or naming ceremony, perhaps? Did you realise that it doesn’t have to be conventional? Or even religious?
But can it be a quirky ceremony?
The answer to that last question is a resounding “yes”! If it’s your day (and surely it is), then you don’t have to be beholden to what other people think or expect.
That certainly doesn’t mean you should be tasteless or offensive – but you can be different. There is huge scope for creativity. It doesn’t take so much effort to come up with a memorable, meaningful and beautiful ceremony. And for all the help you will need, a civil celebrant can be there, with ideas and guidance. They are professionals and can really point you in the right direction.
So what do we mean by “quirky”?
The venue can be anywhere (subject to permission and possible payment!). Why not hold a ceremony at Stonehenge or some other ancient monument? What about the top of the Shard in London? Or perhaps a hot-air balloon fits the bill? A museum? Your back garden? Let your imagination soar!
Part of the ceremony can be something a little offbeat. You’ve probably read about handfastings in my blogs (eg https://vowsthatwow.co.uk/handfasting-whats-that/). That might appeal.
A ritual that brings a smile to a wedding is “Jumping the Broom”. The couple together jump over a besom (accompanied by appropriate words) to symbolise sweeping in the new.
The Unity Sand option is lovely. Both partners simultaneously pour sand in the colour of their individual choice into one larger bottle, so that the colours merge, just as their lives will.
Readings & Music
The content of the ceremony is ‘up for grabs’ too. The tone is up to you. There is no compulsion to include heavy, serious readings, if you don’t want them. Why not have a humorous poem or text, or even a few?
Choose your readers, if you want.
Similarly, while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a serious, classical piece played, your tastes may actually be rather different. So by all means let the music reflect these.
Your story, your vows
Personally, I welcome the opportunity to make ceremonies that I conduct as personal as possible. I believe the guests enjoy and appreciate this a lot too.
One feature I like to include, therefore, is what I call the couple’s “story”. In the case of a wedding, it might be how they met, adversity they had to overcome, and what attracted them to each other. The couple might write and declare their vows. For a Vow Renewal, maybe the couple would rewrite their vows, or prepare something about key moments in their relationship.
Although I’m always there to guide and advise, I think it’s best if the couple actually write this part themselves, if possible.
It may surprise some readers to know that a funeral can be a quirky ceremony too!
In the same way as for celebratory occasions, you can introduce personal elements (often these would be personal to the deceased). At the time of writing, my latest funeral ended with everybody smiling and swaying, as we played out with the deceased’s favourite trad jazz band tune!
There are many ways to individualise a funeral. It can be a simple thing like a particular memento of the deceased displayed by the coffin. Again, your funeral celebrant will be glad to advise.
So I hope you now see that there’s nothing wrong with individualising your ceremonies – indeed, this can often add a tremendous amount to the proceedings.