We’re eloping! Does the ceremony matter?

E Ceremony 103Sometimes I’m asked to officiate a wedding with no guests.  It’s just the happy couple & me–maybe a photographer.  There are many reasons a couple might not want to host a big wedding.  Maybe they want to avoid the expense–or their families live too far apart to accommodate everyone.  Sometimes there is a practical reason:  a quick legal ceremony to get on health insurance with a big celebration planned for later once they’ve saved up.  And apparently this “ditch the guests” trend is growing, according to this article in Today.com.

Whatever your reason, if you want a ceremony for just the two of you, does it really matter if your ceremony is personalized?  Often couples come to me saying something along the lines of “It’s just us, so we just want something short & sweet—it doesn’t really matter.”

But it does! It’s easy to forget that a wedding ceremony isn’t really about flowers & place settings & fancy dress because that’s the focus of most wedding magazines, but at it’s heart the only part of your wedding day that really matters is the promises you make to one another.  A ceremony is an opportunity to reflect on how you came to be as a couple & what you mean to each other.  It’s a chance to consider your values and realize fully the choice you are making.

And for that, you don’t need guests.  But you do need a personalized ceremony—a ceremony that will help you be in the moment, even when it’s just you two.

Here’s a piece from one of my elopement ceremonies designed with just that thought in mind:

Although you have chosen to exchange your vows in private, this does not make your commitment less binding. In some ways, it is even more powerful—for the ceremony today is not for the pleasure of your guests, but is only for you.

As the poet Rumi says,
“The most living moment comes when
those who love each other meet each
other’s eyes and in what flows
between them then.”

Today you come to meet one another’s eyes, to commit to your love, and to exchange vows that are both solemn & joyous.

After talking with the couple & asking a few key questions, I’m able to create a ceremony that fits them.  One bride contacted me for an elopement, writing, “We are just looking for a standard non-religious ceremony and nothing fancy.”   After she received her personalized wedding ceremony, she wrote back, “I read over the ceremony notes and it’s perfect! I teared up a bit reading it!”  On the actual day of the ceremony, at sunset in the picturesque Chapel Dulcinea, I performed the ceremony, quietly, just for two people so very in love.  They held hands and barely took their eyes off each other.  It was powerfully moving & I felt so honored to share this moment of great import.

So even if it’s just the two of you, don’t think you have to settled for a cookie-cutter experience.  In fact, if you are forgoing the guests & traditional trappings, you should consider the importance of making your ceremony the center-piece of your day.

No matter the size of your guest list, I’d love to help you write a personalized ceremony that allows you to reflect on your love & tell your story.