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Your Wedding Ceremony, as published in the Ask the Expert column in It's Love Magazine

Posted by anonymous on July 21, 2014 at 1:40 PM

I was pleased to be asked to lead off the new "Ask the Expert" column for It's Love Magazine by being their choice for "Expert" Marriage Commissioner!  Here is the text of the article I wrote.

Your Wedding Ceremony

You’ve shopped for the perfect dress, found a florist whose designs you love, and searched Pinterest for favours and décor that will help you to create the wedding of your dreams. The look of your wedding will be preserved in wedding photos, but the “feel” of your wedding will live on in the hearts of those celebrate with you. Your wedding officiant may be bound to a particular script (especially if you are being married in a church), but many Marriage Commissioners will work with you to offer a more personalized expression of your love.

Legal Obligations

There are some elements that have to be included according to the Marriage Act of Manitoba. Ensure that your Marriage Commissioner includes the Declaration of Intent and the statement of vows as outlined in the Act; your civil ceremony is a legal exercise and the letter of the law must be followed. Once the legal requirements have been met, there is plenty of room for creativity.

Well- Chosen Readings Create a Context

In order to ensure that your ceremony reflects who you are, you may want to consider the readings that are offered throughout the service. Countless words have been written on love and marriage and you can draw from a myriad of sources. Poets, prophets, and philosophers have waxed eloquent on love and having friends or family share readings during the ceremony helps to create a context of community. Your readings may invoke a sense of spirituality or simply confirm your feelings and beliefs about what marriage means to you.

Promises, Promises

The public declaration of what is, essentially an intimate act, is most evident in the promises you make to one another. While some couples choose to write their own vows, others are more comfortable choosing vows from a selection or finding the elements they like in a number of texts and editing these to create their own. What is most important is that the words you choose reflect the feelings of your heart. It is not necessary for you each to say the same vows; in fact, often the most heartfelt ceremonies are those where each of you can express your feelings in the way the best suits your personality.

Unity Symbols

Many couples also choose to incorporate elements from their cultures into their ceremonies. These symbolic rituals can add depth of meaning for families as traditional elements combined with modern sensibilities work together to create a fresh beginning for the newlyweds. The plethora of wedding shows on television has brought a number these elements to a new audience. Whereas in recent years unity candles were status quo, hand fastings, ring warmings, and sand ceremonies are becoming increasingly popular.


Music Sets the Tone

Finally, do not underestimate music as an essential element in your wedding ceremony. Traditional selections such as Pachelbel’s Canon in D are lovely, but feel free to consider other music as well. However beautiful the tune of your favourite song, be sure the lyrics are in keeping with the spirit of the day, even if you are using an instrumental version. Processional music tends to be more formal in nature, with the recessional music often being a little more whimsical.

Your Unique Ceremony

If all of this seems a little daunting, remember that some Marriage Commissioners are happy to help you create the perfect ceremony for your special day. For example, I have a wide range of readings and vows that I have compiled from a variety of sources and can facilitate the selection of these so that your wedding ceremony is a unique reflection of the love you share.


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