As civil ceremonies continue to grow in popularity (as apposed to their denominational counterpart), wedding couples everywhere are beginning to take control of their big day, in an attempt to break away from age-old tradition.
The Pressure of Tradition
Part of this ideological breakaway, is the notion of ‘owning a ceremony’ (in it’s entirety), however this concept is not for the conservative or faint-hearted couple. As a community and society, we often feel bound (and pressured) to do ‘what is expected of us’; nothing could be truer than when it comes to wedding ceremonies.
As a civil celebrant, I am often confronted by traditionalists after a ceremony, questioning and analysing varying aspects of my presentation style, and why I occasionally veer from the ‘expected’ or ‘traditional’. The expectation of producing the same traditional ceremony ‘time after time’ is still very real, and has inevitably crept into the belief system of a contingent of ‘Gen Y’ers’.
Changing it Up
However for some couples, the message of keeping to tradition has either not sunk-in, or they are just too creative to continue the traditional narrative. Some couples see a breakaway from wedding tradition, not as heretical, but as an opportunity to express their characters during the most important commitment of their life.
So how do you know if you are a traditional couple or not?
It seems to me that if you share a great passion (as a couple), then you could be potential candidates for a non-traditional or (dare I say), a themed ceremony. For example if you love Disney Movies (as a couple), you may decide to exchange the white wedding dress for a Mickey Mouse costume, with a similarly attired bridal party (and guests, if you want to go the whole nine yards).
Perhaps you share a love of travel, food, the arts, popular culture, or sport; it really doesn’t matter what your passion is, the key is to act on it and become liberated (and motivated) whilst creating your wedding ceremony. Look at your ceremony as a creative opportunity, considering every aspect with a view to adding your own personal touches.
Full Theme Ahead
Once you have decided on a theme; Star Wars, Super Heroes, Fairytale, Mediaeval etc, then get very creative. Don’t look back, and (whatever you do) avoid tradition for maximum impact. Your ceremony is a statement, a reflection of your views, ideologies, characters and creativity, it provides the stage on which you will begin your exciting journey as a unified team.
If you decide to pursue a themed-style wedding ceremony, you will naturally encounter the traditionalists, who may question your alternative ideas and motives. However, wedding ceremonies are deeply personal, and tradition is exactly that…’tradition’, diametrically opposed to the creative couple in pursuit of a themed ceremony.
Working with the Right Suppliers
As you progress along your selected wedding-theme path, you will need the right suppliers by your side. Finding the right supplier for a themed wedding is surprisingly simpler than sourcing a supplier for a traditional wedding. The reason being, that the wedding industry has grown-up on tradition, which is unsurprisingly still the main stream (not to mention socially more acceptable).
When sourcing your photographer, videographer, venue, florist, and celebrant etc, simply tell them your idea (or plan), then wait for their response. If you encounter a supplier that feels awkward with your idea, move on immediately, remembering that many of your ideas will be fuelled by equally-creative and liberated suppliers.
If you have done your homework well, been true to your characters and beliefs, and hired the right suppliers, you (and your guests) will be handsomely rewarded with an amazing and unforgettable day. Themed weddings are always fascinating (if done well), delivering maximum impact, whilst inevitably baulking common ceremonial traditions (which by it’s petulant nature, creates a natural air of interest and curiosity).
As a liberated civil celebrant, I implore you to consider your ceremony as a themed event, an extension of ‘you’ as a couple. Find common interests between you and your partner, and bring them to life on your wedding day.