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Holiday Engagement? Getting married in the New Year?

My heartfelt congratulations goes out to you both. Let the planning adventures begin!

Planning for a wedding is exciting and a little daunting all at once, right? Whether you are keeping it simple by holding your celebration in your backyard or going full out with a big guest list at a special venue, the ceremony is an important piece of the planning puzzle.

Sure. I might be biased! Because at Sweetgrass Ceremonies, I devote  my energy to co-creating and leading completely custom ceremonies for couples and families. I work with my clients to reflect their stories, beliefs and values during a wedding ceremony that uplifts and connects everyone present.

As I look back on 2013, I am grateful to have co-created and led 47 custom wedding ceremonies. Since each couple and their respective ceremony is so unique, my work is a complete joy. Of course, there are some similar elements threaded throughout. Essential elements like declaring intent, pledging vows and exchanging rings are expressed in authentic and relevant ways by my clients, in their own words. So it is new. And real . . . every time I am in ceremony.

As I look ahead to 2014, I am curious what the year will hold and excited I already have weddings booked with super interesting couples throughout the winter and spring. Based on my past experiences and knowing who I hope to serve in the future, I offer these tips for you as you begin envisioning your ceremony:

1) Brainstorm phrases to describe how you want your ceremony to look and feel – for you and your guests. A wedding ceremony is a shared experience for you and the people you hold dear. Before I meet with prospective clients I like to ask: “What four words or phrases describe how you want to feel during your ceremony?” We discuss these when we meet. The phrases become like compass points for us as we co-create the full text, choreography and therefore EXPERIENCE. A recent example from last week: warm, funny, loving and romantic.

Jake and Sarah's words were "fun, lighthearted, family important, true to our values" (photo by Neal Krueser)

Jake and Sarah’s words were “fun, lighthearted, family important, true to our values” (courtesy Neal Kreuser)

2) Create the setting that fits your vision. Even if you’ve already chosen your location or venue . . . you can fine tune the setting based on what you hope to experience. Seating arrangement is a big one here. Have you considered setting chairs in a clam shell, circular or labyrinth pattern? If you only have a handful of guests, what if they stood in a circle or semi-circle around you? Most of the time my clients are holding ceremonies outdoors with an array of possibilities for the setting. Maybe a central oak tree becomes the ‘altar’ or the view of a pond or waterfall is an important backdrop. If you choose a setting outside of a church, there is no need to set the chairs in straight rows like pews. Go ahead, BE CREATIVE!

Lauren & Dave chose to marry under the wing of a plane last spring!

Lauren & Dave chose to marry under the wing of a plane last spring!

3) Determine who is your best guide for leading this experience. When you do the exploration of items one and two above . . .who do you see standing beside you to lead the ceremony? Is it a friend or relative you’ve known for decades? Might be.

Me at a fall wedding at Tubac Golf Resort (courtesy Steven Palm Photography)

Me at a fall wedding at Tubac Golf Resort (courtesy Steven Palm Photography)

Or is it someone who is trained in the art of composing and leading ceremonies – a Life-Cycle Celebrant® like me? Chances are if you are not affiliated with a church and want a meaningful ceremony, neither a minister nor a judge will fit the bill. That’s where I can come in, or someone with similar training. I help you find the ‘middle way’ into a truly custom experience on your wedding day that reflects your values and what you hope to experience.

I hope this has been helpful.Something I truly enjoy is meeting with couples during a no-obligation chat to see if we would be a good fit. As I listen and hear what they wish their ceremony to be like, I learn if my services would help them achieve and exceed their hopes. As we talk about how we work together, relief washes over their faces and a happy ease sets in. Could this be you? I’d love to connect and find out! Feel free to contact me via the contact form on my blog, email or call. You can also read more here about my services and see testimonials.

HAPPY NEW YEAR and HAPPY ENGAGEMENT to you!

Kristine

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