Time for another round of (relatively) short answer questions. I bet you can guess which question I get asked all the time.
Q. I want to include both the unity candle and a bell of truce in my wedding. Is that possible or do I have to pick one or the other?
A. You can certainly include both! The unity candle is a ritual symbolizing the coming together of two individuals in a partnership. The bell of truce is a reconciliation ritual providing the couple with a repair attempt they can use later in their marriage when they experience conflict. These two rituals work quite well together within a wedding because they convey quite different meanings.
Q: What are some of the easiest ways to save money when planning a wedding?
A: I am not a wedding planner so this is not my area of expertise. Oddly enough, hiring a budget conscious wedding planner can actually help you save money. They can help you prioritize the must-have, want-to-have, and can-do-without. Here are a few tried and true cost-saving measures though.
1) Make a budget and record every dime you spend to make sure you don't blow it.
2) Schedule your wedding during an off peak season, day and time.
3) Cut your guest list.
Q: My fiance and I are not drinkers and would prefer a dry wedding. He's an EMT and has seen too many bad examples of what alcohol can do. We're getting a lot of pressure from friends and family. Are we obligated to serve alcohol at our wedding?
A: Absolutely not! The bride and groom should be able to choose the refreshments served at their own wedding.
Alcohol has come to be associated with celebrations, almost expected in many cases, but it is by no means a requirement. You are no less gracious as hosts for having a dry wedding. Your friends and family should care enough to celebrate with you on your special day and not worry about whether or not they are going to get to drink alcohol at the same time. They are wrong to pressure you into doing something that goes against your values and convictions.
Q. My dad wants to say a few words during the ceremony, but I think that would be more appropriate at the reception. What do you think?
A. Tricky one! I think it all depends upon what your father wishes to contribute to your wedding. If he would like to say a prayer, offer a blessing, read a poem or something he has prepared in writing, it can be a very lovely touch. I do try to steer people away from including extemporaneous speaking during a wedding for a few reasons.
1) Even the most accomplished speakers can ramble when overcome with emotion. I have seen it lead to awkward moments and disturb the rhythm of the wedding as a ritual.
2) If you and your officiant have created a thematic flow to your ceremony, an extemporaneous speaker can interrupt that by including concepts you may not wish to emphasize at that moment.
3) You hit on a very good point. I have seen many speakers during weddings express sentiments that seem more appropriate as a toast.
This is going to be a delicate negotiation because of the father daughter relationship. You don't want to hurt his feelings, but you also want him to understand what would make you the happiest on your wedding day. I would suggest you follow your instincts. Make sure he knows his contributions are truly welcome, but that you would prefer he take center stage at another moment during the festivities.
Photo Attribute: Shannon Perez of Florida Beachside Weddings
Rev. Ann Fuller
The commentary on this blog is my own opinion developed over years of officiating a wide range of wedding sizes and styles. I am always happy to answer any questions you may have.