Friday, May 27, 2011

Should You Write Your Own Wedding Vows? Some Things To Consider


The most important part of your wedding ceremony is your exchange of vows with your beloved.  But in deciding whether to write your own vows there are several things to consider.  

Will saying your vows, any vows out loud to each other make you so nervous that you won’t be present at this most important moment of sharing your love?  For nervous couples that feel pressured by being in front of lots of people, I suggest that you repeat your vows after the minister.  You can write your vows so they express what you want to express, but if you repeat after the minister, one short phrase of 4 or 5 words at a time, then you don’t have the pressure of remembering your words, and you don't have the complication of trying to read from a piece of paper and feel all your complex and wonderful emotions at the same time.

Will writing your own marriage vows put so much pressure on you to make them perfect that it won’t be fun anymore?  You will never be able to say all that you want to say about your love for each other in these short moments.  Take the pressure off.  You and your partner decide together generally how long your vows will be, if they can contain humor or personal information, and a basic structure that you want to follow.  That guidance will help you negotiate what works for both of you so that you can trust your thinking is in harmony and that you're not going to screw up and embarrass yourself. 

Do you want everyone to hear your vows?  Most couples assume that writing their own vows means that they will speak them unprompted to each other.  Will you have a microphone?  If not, then most likely your back row of guests won’t hear them.  But if you’re holding a microphone and a paper with your wedding vows on it, how will you still hold hands?  Thinking of logistics like these will help you decide what you want your moment to feel like and how best to create it.

The most important part of this moment of declaring your marriage vows is being able to feel and express the love you have for your beloved, and is being fully present to the moment.  Practice saying your vows out loud.  Listen to yourself.  Do the words flow?  Can you say them without crying?  Take your time.  Pause after each phrase.  Do whatever will help you capture this moment and make it powerful, meaningful, and joyful for both of you.  While this is the public declaration of your love, the most important declaration is to each other.  

If you decide that writing your own vows is just too much pressure, take a few moments alone right after the ceremony to say more of your words of promise and commitment to each other.  And then keep saying more words of love, all the years of your marriage.

For my complete ‘Guide to Writing Your Wedding Vows,’ and for lots of ideas about all the aspects of planning your wedding ceremony see my complete wedding ceremony planning resource book at

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Matt and Megan's Cake Story and More


 Over my almost 17 years of officiating wedding ceremonies I’ve been part of a surprisingly small number of wedding day problems.  Even the worst disasters have been ones that we could remedy ourselves with a little ingenuity and on site help, or just laugh about.  I've helped create two bouquets from one when one was missing, done weddings barefoot in ankle deep water, worked around a fainting best man, and officiated a wedding where the wrong flowers had been delivered.  We just used the ones we had.  But the problem I describe below required expert assistance and fast.

Above you see the picture of the wedding cake delivered to Megan and Matt on their wedding day at Chateau Belle Vie just two weeks ago.  Their wedding colors were chocolate brown and apple green.  Megan and Matt had offered their wedding invitation as an indication of the style they wanted to copy for the design on their cake.  Their very prominent local baker told them when she delivered the cake below that she had ‘designed’ their cake to match their invitations.  Hmmmmm.  Here's the invitation.

This is Megan in amazement.  Do you see a design here? 

First let me say that Chateau Belle Vie had no role at all in this cake near disaster.  They went well out of their way to save the day.  I love working with them.  Their staff is fabulous and they care so much for each couple they marry, and it shows.

It was the baker who somehow lost their vision of what makes a wedding cake special and lovely. Just in case you can't believe it either, here's a closer view.


 Seeing this sturdy, upright, but slightly leaning mountain of brown, Megan, Matt, and Roxana, the staff member at Chateau Belle Vie, had the wise sense to call in the cavalry in the person of Jennifer Stevens of Ambrosia Cake Creations who had masterfully done Roxana’s cake for Roxana's wedding in October 2010.

Now, this is all beginning to unfold at 3PM on Matt and Megan's wedding day with their wedding taking place at 6:30 that evening!

When I arrived at 5:30 in preparation of officiating their ceremony, Megan and Matt had found some humor in the situation and were trusting in Jennifer's good hands to manage it somehow.  They knew it would be better than what they had.  The original 'prominent local' baker had accepted no responsibility for this creative disaster and had simply left right after she delivered the cake you see above.

Jennifer had delivered a 'faux cake' to have in place if needed - not edible but pretty.  The faux cake would at least represent a cake if anything worse happened.

Jennifer, who just happened to have had the day off, and who luckily lived in Fuquay Varina, had rushed to Chateau Belle Vie after she was called late that afternoon.  She picked up the tipping tower of taupe, and did magic on it for the next 3 hours, chilling it so that it could be straightened (it's hard to tell its 'Pisa tendency' from the picture you see), hand decorating it with scroll work and changing the muddy brown slurry to a swirling chocolate brown dusted with gold glitter.  And voila!

Jennifer quietly delivered the redone wonder at 7 pm, during the cocktail hour after the ceremony.  Guests were out on the patio so not one guest saw the disaster unfold.  They were none the wiser about  the whole situation.  But I bet it made a good story.

In defense of baker one, who shall remain nameless, I understand that the cake was very tasty.

I bring you this blog to highlight that miracles can and do happen all the time, and that for every wedding professional who falls short there is another who will go way out of their way to make sure your day lives up to your needs and your dreams. 

I’ll always remember Matt and Megan for their humor and good grace while wondering what they would feed their guests, and Jennifer Stevens, of Ambrosia Cake Creations, who I will recommend to all my couples as someone who has professional heart to go along with her excellent skills.  By the way, I saw on her web site that she provides, gratis, an anniversary cake to couples whose wedding cake she makes.  What a thoughtful gesture.

Thanks to Mike Phongas of MP Photography for the 'before' shot.  I took the after with my Droid.  I'll have more pictures of Megan and Matt's wedding soon.  It was really wonderful.  They didn't let any sugar blues dampen their day at all.  Kudos to them.  They were a joy to marry!

So let me tell you more about that!
The back patio of the chateau is a perfect place for a small ceremony.
To show off Megan's playful side, she had lime green shoes that matched my stole exactly.

For those of you who have never seen the chateau, it was built and designed with just this purpose in mind.  It's European decorations are gracious and lovely from every aspect.

Matt and Megan did not know their cake would be so beautifully redeemed at this moment.  Yet it was.

And they went on to have a very joyful reception.
I hope our paths cross in future.  They're a couple who are grounded in the important ways that life moves: in love, in family and in friendship.  And they also got to eat cake.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The 4 Most Critical Questions to Ask Your Potential Wedding Officiant

Every bit of communication you have with a wedding officiant will tell you about them.  Every bit!  In this most important time of your life you want someone you can trust, someone who knows how to create a joyful and sacred atmosphere for the celebration of your love, who is professional, and who pays attention to all of the details.

As a wedding minister for 17 years I’ve heard lots of horror stories from couples who have attended disastrous weddings: of officiants who didn’t return phone calls or emails until the last minute, wedding officiants who mispronounced or forgot the couple’s names so that Jason and Kirsten are mumbled out as Joshua and Kimberly, wedding ministers who interjected inappropriate prayers in a couple’s ceremony, wedding officiants who rambled aimlessly on topics having nothing to do with the couple, and well meaning friends who promised to serve as minister who canceled at the last minute.  At my wedding in 1974 the minister, wearing jeans and sandals under his short cassock, brought his 4 children in summer beach wear and sat them in the front row next to my parents.  They were all going straight to the beach after the ceremony.  We all laughed about it later but at the time we were not amused.

A good wedding minister will prioritize your needs, be consistent, prompt and professional in all communication with you, and will charge you a reasonable fee for their services.  One wedding minister in my area is known for double booking weddings and then dropping the less lucrative contract.  Hopefully wedding ministers this crass are rare, and a good interview with a wedding minister you’re considering will help you spot potential problem areas.

Here are the four most critical questions to ask every wedding minister you interview.  I have 19 questions that cover all the bases in my book, ‘The Ultimate Wedding Resource Book’ found at But by asking the four questions below you’ll avoid the most disastrous problems with your wedding officiant.

1.    What experience, training, and background do you have in officiating weddings? In this age of convenience anyone can pay five dollars on the internet and call themselves a wedding minister.  But often they don’t have the skills, commitment, or ethics of those who have earned the title.  First and foremost, find out the legal requirements for officiating weddings in your state and make sure this wedding officiant has fulfilled the requirements.  A wedding minister authorized to perform ceremonies in North Carolina may not be able to officiate weddings in Virginia, which has more stringent requirements.  Also, seminary trained ministers and those who are affiliated with a religious institution most often have a code of professional conduct to which they are bound.  This is good.  Look for wedding ministers who have experience and affiliations that you trust, and that you can verify through reviews of their services, knowledge of their ordaining organizations, or the opinions of friends and especially reputable wedding vendors.

2.    Do you have theological restrictions to the type of ceremony you officiate or the wording you will allow?  Some wedding officiants have strict guidelines about the type of ceremony they will officiate.  You want a wedding ceremony that is true to your beliefs, otherwise it ceases to be yours, you tune it out, and you can be left feeling resentful at this most special moment in your lives.  And, worst of all, your wedding ceremony won’t provide the joyful foundation for and celebration of your love.  One rabbi with whom I co-officiated told me the only couple he refused had not wanted the word God in their ceremony.  A good wedding officiant knows that the ceremony is not about them, that it is about YOU and your beliefs.  They will be honest in sharing their guidelines but may only think to do so if you ask.  And it is best to ask up front, before misunderstandings arise. 

3.    Can we see a script of the ceremony beforehand?  I always create a script with you, one that you can change as desired, and even then I seek active approve from you.  I would be wary of any wedding officiant who didn’t allow this.  You don’t want surprises at your wedding.  Knowing what will be said doesn’t diminish the power of the moment but enhances it.  When you can trust that your wedding ceremony is true to your love, you can relax, drink in, and savor each word. As a wedding minister who wants your vision for your ceremony to come alive, I put all the details of the ceremony formalities into the wedding ceremony script in addition to the text. This includes small but important details such as the name of your witnesses (in NC, VA requires no witnesses), a ‘day of’ contact cell phone number, the processional order with music cues, names that I need help pronouncing, any objects such as unity or memorial candles or wine that need to be brought to the ceremony, and any special instructions you might have (is a grandparent hard of hearing? Are divorced parents uncomfortable with each other?).  A script with all the necessary, and helpful, details can be shared with other wedding vendors so that everyone is ‘on the same page.’  With a complete script you and everyone else can relax.

4.    Do you require a contract?  A legal contract provides reassurance for both you and your wedding officiant.  It outlines the expectations of your arrangement and the consequences if either partner doesn’t fulfill the agreement.  It answers the questions:  What time will the wedding minister be there for my ceremony?  How long will the wedding minister set aside for my ceremony?  What happens if our wedding time or location changes or our wedding doesn’t start on time?  What are the consequences if either party cancels?  What fees are we bound by and when are they due?    The biggest problem I have found for couples who choose a friend or relative to officiate their ceremony is that this person is doing you a favor. They don’t take their commitment as seriously as the wedding professional does and often don’t know what they need to do beyond showing up.  And they cancel more readily.  This leaves you high and dry.  A professional wedding minister will have contingency plans that protect you in case of an emergency.  My emergency backup, which I've only needed once (Thank Heavens!), consists of a list of other wedding ministers that I trust that I can call upon. I would give them the script that you and I created, and I would pay them from  what you paid me.   My goal is that your wedding plans are impacted in the least possible way by my emergency!

A good wedding officiant will have clear, reasoned, prompt answers to these questions as well as to all of your questions.  They will have dealt with unexpected situations and from your interview you should be able to trust that you are in good hands.  If you don’t feel this assurance, then find another wedding officiant who does inspire confidence.

Your wedding minister sets the tone for your wedding ceremony.  The right wedding minister or wedding officiant will help you celebrate your love.  Throughout your planning she or he will listen to your ideas and concerns, advocate for your needs and desires, and calm crises that arise.   At your ceremony he or she will help everyone become present to the power and beauty of your love for each other, and create a clear, joyful, safe space in which you can express your marriage vows.  If the wedding minister you’re interviewing honors and celebrates your vision for your ceremony with ideas, interest, skill, and genuine enjoyment from the first moment you meet, you’ve found your wedding officiant.

For more great tips and ideas for all aspects of your wedding ceremony, see my wedding ceremony resource book at,

6 Tips for Making the Most of Your Wedding Vows

Your wedding ceremony will go faster than you ever thought possible.  After all the months of planning, speaking your wedding vows to each other will take scant minutes, if that.   Yet this is the highlight of your whole wedding, the primary reason for your celebration.  How do you create wedding vows that are just what you want, that speak your love for each other?  What wedding vows are right for you?

As a wedding minister who has officiated at over 1,000 weddings, I have some tips that will help you make the most of this important moment.

1.     If your religious wedding ceremony has a specific text that can’t be changed and you want to say something other than what is allowed by your tradition, take a few minutes alone right after your ceremony to speak your personal wedding vows to each other. Your guests and wedding party will support you in taking these few minutes for yourselves.

2.    If your religious traditions has wedding vows where you each answer ‘I do’ to a question posed by the minister and you want to speak to each other, ask your minister or officiant if you can say your wedding vows as a statement to your beloved instead of the question that the minister poses.  In this way, “Do you, John, take Mary, to be your lawful wedded wife,” becomes “I, John, take you, Mary, to be my lawfully wedded wife.’   If not, there is sometimes more latitude in a religious ceremony in the exchange of rings section to speak your words of love to your partner.  This is also a time of promise and commitment.

3.   If at all possible speak your words of love to each other in your wedding vows and in your exchange of rings.  These are the only times in a typical wedding ceremony that you speak to each other.  I only use ‘I do’ wedding vows when couples tell me that they’re absolutely too shy to speak more than that in a public ceremony.  Your marriage vows are so much more powerful when you speak them as you face each other and hold hands.  The Declaration of Intentions, earlier in the ceremony, is usually where you answer the ‘I do’ question posed by the minister. At that time you are affirming to the minister your conscious intention, in body, mind and spirit, to go forward into marriage.  You can have both the ‘I do’ moment in that section of the ceremony and your spoken wedding vows a little later in the ceremony!

4.    Consider how you want to say your wedding vows.  Couples typically tell me they want either ‘repeat after me wedding vows’ or to ‘write their own wedding vows.’  These aren’t mutually exclusive.  You can write your own wedding vows that the minster prompts, or have more traditional wedding vows that you read/speak to each other.  You can even speak personal ‘write your own wedding vows’ followed by traditional wedding vows that you repeat after the minister. In most wedding ceremonies, the words of your marriage vows are of your choosing whether you write them from scratch or adapt existing marriage vows to fit your love.  I have lots of wonderful and varied examples of all types of wedding vows in my book, ‘The Ultimate Wedding Ceremony Workbook.’  

Create vows that you’ll be comfortable speaking.  Practice your wedding vows out loud before your big day to make sure they’re in your mind and heart and roll easily off your tongue.  Don’t use long or complex sentences.

Don’t try to memorize your wedding vows or speak your wedding vows extemporaneously to each other.   It simply puts too much pressure on you.  Don’t take the chance that this might be the one moment when all words escape you.  If you’re worried about remembering your wedding vows, you won’t be in the moment. 

With ‘repeat after me’ wedding vows, tell the minister you only want to repeat 4 or 5 words, or at most one thought, at a time.   You might think it will sound choppy but it doesn’t.  The words have a momentum of their own.  And each phrase can be savored by itself.  The minister will say the wedding vows loudly enough for everyone to hear. You need only concentrate on your beloved taking all the time you want in speaking your wedding vows.  Some couples ad lib a little and that’s fine.  It’s your moment.

With wedding vows you don’t want prompted by the minister, additional questions arise.  Do you care if all your guests hear you say your marriage vows to each other?  Do you want to be miked?  Do you want the microphone to pic up everything you say to each other throughout the whole ceremony, even asides?  Do you want only your wedding vows miked?  Will you have to hold a microphone in addition to holding hands and the piece of paper?  Work out these logistics beforehand.  The officiant can help you.  She or he can carry your wedding vows into the ceremony and hand them to you at the appropriate moment or even hold the piece of paper for you so that you can still easily hold hands with your beloved.  Don’t read your wedding vows.  Look down, grab a phrase in your mind, look back at your beloved, and speak your wedding vow to him or her.  

5.    Choose your words with joy.  Don’t let creating your wedding vows become a task to be completed.  Your wedding vows represent your promises to each other to share your lives, not by sacrificing yourself to the other, but through creating from your love a whole that is larger and richer than either of you could have achieved alone.  Your wedding vows spoken at your wedding ceremony are but one step in your adventure of loving.  Your wedding vows will never encapsulate all the words of love you feel.  But they create a foundation for your marriage.  Words are powerful creators.  Choose words that honor the love you share.  Speak slowly. Let there be pauses to let the words and the emotions of the moment sink in.  Claim the power of your vows, of the moment, and of your love.
6.    After your wedding day, print the words of your wedding vows, then frame them and hang them in your home.  They will remind you each day of the breathing, growing, changing love you share.  The words of the ancient ritual of marriage touch all of us who hear them calling us back to the possibilities that love itself creates.  When the stresses of your partnership feel daunting the words of your marriage vows, right there to inspire you, will help you find your way back to your togetherness.  

For my complete ‘Guide to Writing Your Wedding Vows,’ and for lots of ideas about all the aspects of planning your wedding ceremony see my complete wedding ceremony planning resource book at

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Chad and Jennifer Wed Between Rain Drops on May 7th at Duke Gardens

On May 6th it was my delight to marry Chad and Jennifer.  They're such a fun loving couple who had been together 10 and 1/2 years, both with a large group of close friends and both very close to their families, and each others' family.  It was a celebration that everyone took joy in.  They also are close to their 2 dogs and 2 cats, but they had to stay home.

Thank you to Jeffrey Minnish of Jeffrey Minnish Photography for the good shots.  The bad shots are from my DROID.  I really admire how Jeffrey found all the beautiful backdrops at the Sarah P Duke Center to use for the photos after the ceremony when it was pouring down.  Here's a photo of the rain after the ceremony.  NC has such amazing rain storms.  No dainty showers here.  The skies open and it pours.

The photo above is from my DROID.  In Jeffrey Mannish's photo below you can see how we were trying to keep Jennifer's veil from blowing into her bride's maids.  It was a windy day!

 More wind evidence in the processional.  But we were all soooo glad that we got to have the wedding outside at all.  It was touch and go.  And it worked!  Here Jennifer is processing with her father.  His grin is almost as big as hers.


Here I am trying to get out of the way when they kissed.  I like to keep from being the floating head behind the shot that the photographer has to try to photo shop.

This is a lovely shot that Jeffrey took from the back of the gardens during the ceremony.  I hope it can be enlarged because it's such a unique angle and the reflections in the pool are so lovely.

It's so easy to rely on nature, but photographer Jeffrey Minnish's eye for architectural beauty to border his pictures was really lovely. 


We were VERY lucky that Friday evening to JUST have enough time to have the wedding outside before the skies opened and the rains poured for the whole rest of the evening.  But it didn't dampen their spirits at all.  I loved the sunshine that they brought into the ceremony with their wonderful colors of coral and mint.  In an outdoor setting you need colors that will show up against all the greens and browns and these did, with all the exuberance of their joy and playfulness.

A special treat for me at Jennifer and Chad's wedding was their Maid of Honor, Hayden.  She handled all the planning details with aplomb and it was a huge gift to Jennifer.  I loved seeing that friendship and Hayden's clear way of handling all the details with such grace.

The above picture is from my DROID. You can sure tell can't you.  (I'm shopping right now for a little good camera that I can keep in my pocket.)  I just had to capture their colorfulness.  It was so lovely and livened up the room tremendously.  It just looked so celebratory I bet it overcame any rainy day doldrums that might have tried to sneak in. 

Randy Bennett of Joe Bunn DJ Company was, as always, impeccable.  Some of his equipment got soaked in the rain during the reception.  I sure hope it wasn't ruined.

So many professionals help to make the event seamless.  The staff at The Sarah P Duke Center were great.  Jennifer and Chad's cake was by Savory Fare Catering in Durham as was their food.  Classic Party Rentals provided their linens, and Deb at Watered Garden was their florist.

They brighten up my day just by looking at these pictures.  I wish them every happiness and feel sure they'll have it.

6 Key Tips on How to Keep Rain from Spoiling Your Outdoor Wedding

As a wedding minister who’s officiated over 1000 weddings in North Carolina over the last 17 years I’ve gotten rained on at lots of weddings.  There are only a few key differences between rainy weddings where the couple had a great time and those where the couple’s joy was significantly dampened. 

1.    Let your guests know your plans.  Couples tell me all the time that they’ll just tough it out if it rains.  That’s fine with me.  I come prepared with an umbrella.   But your guests might not.  At the first drops of unexpected rain, they’ll seek shelter.  In their finery they’re not equipped to tough it out.  And if your guests leave, what will you do?

If you want your guests to stay, tell them of your intentions and to come prepared. While it might not look elegant on a wedding invitation, the line ‘In case of light rain, the wedding will continue outdoors’ can save headaches later.  If not on the wedding invitation, put it on your website, on the directions, or on the reception card.  Then buy some inexpensive umbrellas to make sure there will be enough.   

2.    Don’t assume that overhead cover will keep you dry.  Are you imagining that the roof on your deck will do the job?   In renting a tent consider what you need.  I’ve officiated weddings where hard slanting rain drenched those under tents with no sides, and others where ankle deep rain pooled despite the tent sides.    It’s also easy to forget just how wet you can get in your walk to the tent.  Wedding stress can be eased by having flip flops to wear just in case, rain coats handy and, once again, informing guests of rain risks and the preventative measures you have in place.  A bride I married recently at a rainy wedding laughingly wore a rain poncho to the tent and cowboy boots under her long white gown.

3.    Take time before the wedding to ensure guests will be as comfortable as possible.  As the minister I’m often the one who instructs guests on Plan B when the skies look iffy.  Whether by taking the chairs from around the edges of the tent to removing the chairs altogether, or assigning people to hold umbrellas at key positions, it’s easier to adjust quickly and easily before the ceremony.  Share your rain strategy with your wedding minister so they can represent your desires to your guests at the critical moment.

4.    Think of the impacts and create a rain backup kit. 

Will your musicians stick around if it rains?  String quartets and music requiring electricity are out.  Too risky.  A CD player or an I POD with a battery operated amplifier work well.  At one wedding I officiated everyone was issued a kazoo to play the couple into the ceremony.   They even played the Wedding March!   Unique, fun, inexpensive, and rain proof.

How else might nature intervene?  Summer rain brings out mosquito, flies and gnats.  So do verdant golf courses and lush lawns, even on pretty days.   I’ve officiated weddings where the women in the wedding were covered with red welts that showed up all too well in the pictures and where guests, the wedding party, and I, were surreptitiously scratching our ankles throughout the ceremony.   Invest in bug spray.  Have it available if your wedding will be in a warm moist location.  Invest in paper fans, cold bottled water, or wetwipes to handle other weather needs.  Storms darken the skies, too.  At one rainy evening wedding I officiated the skies got so dark that a groomsman had to stand behind me with a flashlight so that I could read the ceremony.   We were lucky he had one in his car.

Will decorations be compromised by the wind or rain?  Unity Candles should be under hurricane glass (any clear glass taller than the candle will do).   And have a lighter nearby.  These simple preventions will keep the ritual meaningful.   I’ve seen vases blow over and break because no one thought to put marbles in their base to make them heavy enough to withstand even a breeze.  Beautiful vases of flowers have gone unused because they couldn’t fit in the rain location. Paper wedding runners blow away and become a tripping hazard.  At one windy wedding I officiated, a hotel staff member stood behind the trifold screen holding it up during the entire wedding ceremony to keep it from blowing over.   

What about the cake and the food?  The guest book?  The photographs?  When the wedding ceremony begins these can be forgotten and may get drenched in the few minutes you’re distracted.   In addition to umbrellas, your kit bag might include foil and tarps for covering food and photos, wire for attaching decorations to trees or trellises to walls, sand to put in the bottom of luminarias, rocks to weigh down wedding aisle runners, and a flashlight. Check out your wedding site with possible rain or wind emergencies in mind.  Here an ounce of prevention will serve you well.

5.    Have a team of people who know they’ll be called upon if needed.  Once I officiated a wedding where the bus bringing guests from the hotel to the outdoor location got stuck in a muddy rut.  Luckily we were at the house where the groom’s men had changed into their formal wear, so they changed back into jeans and T-shirts and got the bus moving.  I also officiated a wedding where male guests moved 150 chairs in the rain from location A to location B, only to have the rain move again, driving us all to Location C under the porch without chairs.  These guests had no change of clothes.  In both cases their labor was a gift of friendship.   Designating a back up crew will keep responses to emergencies fast, organized and with minimal impact.  Choose these friends well and make this gift of friendship their gift to your wedding.   You’ll be more relaxed as your wedding day approaches and your friends will know they’re giving a really wonderful gift.

6.    Remember what’s important about your wedding day.  You can create a work of art out of a soggy day by your joy in your love for each other.  Couples who are flexible and considerate of their guests and of each other create an atmosphere where people want to help out and their love outshines the rain.  In these times we laugh and know that whatever happens will make a good story later.  One time a sudden rain drove all of us to the shelter of a gazebo only to find that its roof was only loosely woven vines.  With rain streaming down our faces we decided to finish the ceremony.  When I spoke the sentence, “May your marriage stand victorious against the storms of circumstance that beat impartially at every person’s door,” we all broke up laughing and I knew that this couple would be fine.   A wedding ceremony is a ritual.  It’s not a performance.  Choosing a beautiful outdoor setting for your wedding means choosing the unknown.  Flowing with what happens is an important part of wedding.

An old folk saying is ‘A wet knot is harder to untie.’  Perhaps that’s because if the couple doesn’t let rain spoil their wedding day, then little else will.

For more great tips and ideas for all aspects of your wedding ceremony, see my wedding ceremony resource book at,