Hello, lovely friends! Today we’ll be chatting about a topic that hasn’t gotten much airtime yet in the Emily Plans a Wedding series, but that is very close to my heart: our wedding ceremony. Despite my radio silence on the subject, it’s the part of our wedding weekend that I’m most looking forward to, and perhaps the part I’m most anxious about. In fact, I’ve got so much to say about the ceremony that I’ll be discussing it in my next post, too!
But let’s start at the beginning! For those of you who weren’t with us back in September, John and I will be saying our vows at the United States Coast Guard Memorial Chapel, on the grounds of the Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT.
Fingers crossed we get a day just like this!! (Personal photo)
A few reasons why we love the CGA Chapel:
1. The Chapel welcomes visiting clergy, meaning there were very few obstacles to the pastor from our church in North Carolina performing the service.
2. It’s about 15 minutes away from our reception location.
3. My Dad is retired Coast Guard and taught at the Academy for 25+ years, so I have very happy memories associated with the base.
4. It is gorgeous! Love those blue walls and huge windows!
One downside: that tile aisle is treacherously slippery! I’ve been walking around the house wearing my wedding heels to scuff the soles in preparation :)
I’ve mentioned it a couple times, but one thing that was really important to us was that our pastor from our church in North Carolina could perform our ceremony. (Some churches are very strict about who they will allow to lead a service, which means we were even more grateful to have found the CGA!) We have a tremendous amount of respect for our pastor and know he will help strike the joyful, thoughtful, faith-filled tone we’re hoping our service will have. Plus, we can’t wait to hear his message, AND we can’t wait for our Northern friends and family to enjoy his thick Southern accent :) Asking Carl to officiate was one of the first to-dos we checked off our planning list, and one of the best.
We made another big decision when we decided to serve communion at our ceremony. We were a little hesitant about doing this, because we know not all of our guests share our faith, but happily the United Methodist Church offers communion freely to all those who “want Christ in their life,” regardless of religion or denomination, and doesn’t question those who choose not to partake, for whatever reason.
Photo on left by Kurt Boomer via 100 Layer Cake, photo on right by Lisa Lefkowitz via Style Me Pretty
John and I will be serving communion to our guests directly following our vows. We’ll use a silver cup from the church where my grandmother was baptized, and I’m hoping I’ll have a volunteer to bake us some bread! We find it very meaningful and appropriate that our first act as a married couple will be to serve others, and we’re also happy that communion will give us a chance to see each of our guests one by one, since we’re not doing a receiving line and won’t have a seated dinner at our reception.
A favorite classic program design… still trying to figure out what ours will look like! (Photo by J. Cogliandro)
Speaking of vows: We’ll be saying the traditional ones, though perhaps with a few small tweaks. We think making the same vow that our parents and grandparents and their parents did is powerful, especially because we are lucky to have such beautiful examples of marriage in our parents. We’re still discussing exactly what we’ll say, but this is the rough draft:
“I, Emily, take you, John, to be my husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, all the days of my life.”
So exciting to think about actually saying those words, no?? I can’t wait!
Another pretty set of programs, this one by Mr. Boddington’s Studio
We’re still discussing whether we’ll also exchange more personal vows at the ceremony in addition to the traditional ones. I’m all for it, while John is not totally on board (he’s a pretty traditional sort, plus he’s afraid he’s going to start bawling, which, I’ll admit, is a distinct possibility, but not really a problem, in my opinion!). Just in case we do go this route, I’ve been storing away ideas in a Google Doc for the past year – no last-minute vow writing for this girl!
I just keep thinking about my friend Katharine’s wedding – she and Kyle exchanged the most meaningful set of “promises” in addition to traditional vows, and it was definitely a highlight of their wedding. When I think about the other wedding ceremonies that have really stuck with me, it’s usually the ones that included some sort of personal words from the couple.
One thing that’s always confused me, though, is how, exactly, the personal vows are created. From my research, it seems like couples do it in a variety of ways. Some decide on a rough format (like Katharine and Kyle’s promises), word length, or length of time to ensure the vows somewhat resemble each other. Others write the personal vows together (like my sister and her husband), and exchange the same set. My thoughts, as of right now? There’s so much that I have painstakingly planned about this wedding, I think it would be a thrill to have at least one part of the day where I don’t know what’s going to happen – and hopefully, I’ll be delightfully surprised. (If not sobbing!)
I’ll be back soon to share more about our readings and music! In the meantime, tell me: What kind of vows did you recite, or what kind are you planning to recite? Traditional? Personal? Both? Please comment and let me know!
In case you missed a post…
The main characters | Where we’re getting married | I go dress shopping | We choose a photographer | I ponder bridesmaid style | Mini food! | The music | We’re renting a tent! | We discuss bouquets + boutonnieres | We send out our save the dates | I gather hair and makeup inspiration | We talk cake and sweets | I introduce you to our videographer | We create a registry | We buy a tuxedo | We style a reception | I choose accessories | We take engagement photos!