Creating A Custom Wedding Ceremony

Education, Weddings

More and more couples are starting to creating their own custom wedding ceremony. Are you thinking of creating a wedding ceremony that’s perfectly you?

After all, you’re putting all your heart and soul into creating the perfect wedding day so it would make sense to put the same time into your custom-tailored ceremony. Most wedding ceremonies will follow a similar format and script, which you see often when the ceremony is religiously based, but there is usually an opportunity to customize the ceremony to reflect your relationship. If you decide to have a non-denominational wedding or choose to get married outside of a church, there is more room to create a ceremony completely from scratch.

But where do you begin?

This was the question I asked when I created my own wedding ceremony from scratch. I focused on wanting to weave the story of us throughout the ceremony, sharing it with our closest family and friends, while giving thanks to our past, celebrating our new beginning together, and honouring our future.

The wedding ceremony affirms who you are as a couple at this current moment in time, as well as who you want to become as a couple and as individuals.

If you choose to go your own way and craft your own custom wedding ceremony, there are so many options besides just a civil ceremony. When creating your ceremony, keep in mind that you want to show your life together as a couple and include pieces that are warm, personal and meaningful.

Ideal ceremony length

People have limited attention, so the ideal ceremony length is between 20-25 minutes—from when the Officiant takes his or her place to your first kiss. Anything shorter than 20 minutes may cause your guests to question why there was a ceremony at all (instead of just an elopement) and anything longer than 25 minutes—for a non-denominational ceremony or one that’s non-traditional—can be tough on guests’ attention spans. This is especially true if you have elders in attendance and if it’s located outside on either a hot or cold day. 

Refrain from having the officiant lecture on the definition of marriage

The wedding guests are there to celebrate your love for each other and the beginning of a new life adventure. They aren’t there to hear new insight into the meaning of marriage. The guests are going to remember how they feel during the ceremony and the tone that is set, so you want them to leave your ceremony feeling refreshed, happy, and ready to celebrate with you.

When I was creating my ceremony, I wanted to touch on our story, but I also wanted to make the guests who were there (especially those who had been married many years) take a moment to fall in love with their spouses all over again.

Start creating a ceremony that’s perfectly YOU!

First things first is to figure out what you want in your ceremony and what you don’t. Is there a tradition you love,? Were you at a wedding and saw or heard something during the ceremony that made you think, Never at mine!?Talk to your Fiancé about what you both want in your ceremony, about what’s at the heart of your celebration, or whether you just want to fly through it and pop the champagne!

Now grab a pen, a fun pad of paper, or a laptop because it’s time to start writing the ceremony! Remember to follow this formula of structure, content, presentation, and heart.


Keep the structure simple. The big part of the ceremony is the exchange of rings and everything before and after that adds rich texture to the day. Make sure to have a beginning, middle, and end that continuously flow throughout.


Throughout the ceremony there shouldn’t be any moments that interrupt the flow. Try to avoid any extremely long readings and keep songs to a minimum of one or two (or incorporate music into a ritual during the ceremony). An example of this is having a dear friend sing while a unity ritual is performed or while a moment is taken to honour family members who have passed.

Personalizing the ceremony will allow your guests to feel grounded and renewed and it gives people the opportunity to give you a bear hug, bless your marriage, and feel the joy of it all.


When creating your ceremony avoid just adding random pieces to it to fill time and space. Everything that’s included in your ceremony should highlight the two of you and your relationship. Add pieces that are deeply personal—maybe it’s a favorite saying you both have, a song that defines you two as a couple, or even a poem.

Here are a few more of my favorite ideas to personalize your ceremony:

  • Have the Mother of The Bride join the bride and her father at the end of the aisle, and have both parents response when asked, “Who presents this woman in marriage?”
  • I was just at a wedding where the grandmother’s were the flower girls and it was beautiful and fun.
  • Ask a few guests to participate in the ceremony by dividing the reading into bite-size pieces. They could be seated and scattered throughout the rows of guests which creates a community feeling.
  • Have a bridesmaid share a quote or memory that sums up your love and have a groomsmen do the same.
  • If you decide to do a wine box ritual, ask your parents, your wedding party or even all of your guests to write letters to the two of you to include in the box (along with your own personal letters). This will then remind you—when you reopen the box later—of the love and support of the people who mean the most to you. It will come tumbling out and ignite the emotions from your wedding day.


Remember to make your ceremony a reflection of the love between you two. Add little touches of your love throughout and throughout your whole wedding day. This will help your guests get to know who the two of you are, as a couple, even better and surround you with their love and blessings for a beautiful future together.

small pine tree in an orange and brown planting pot being used for a tree watering during a wedding ceremony two personalized bottles of water next to a baby pine tree in a planter for a unique wedding ceremony ritual many colored rocks on a beach with the waves of the ocean in the background taken by Comfort and Cashmere Photography groom in a blue suit at the beach gets a hug from his best man as the ceremony begins and his groomsmen all look on blonde smiling bride walks us an aisle lined with pumpkins with her father redheaded groom with a beard and his bespectacled best man walk the bride walk up the aisle and then hug her father ring bearer terrier cross dog wearing a collar of flowers walks up the aisle during this unique wedding ceremony happy bride bends down to get the rings and give the furry ring bearer a smooch during this custom-crafted ceremony redheaded groom in a blue suit and gorgeous blonde smiling bride look at their guests during their wedding ceremony close up and far away shot of redheaded groom and blonde bride holding hands during their custom-created wedding ceremony redheaded groom in a blue suit laughs uproariously at something the officiant says during the wedding ceremony on the beach bride and groom plan a ceremony perfect for them with a special pine tree-watering ceremony bride and groom happily embrace each other on the way in for their first kiss bride and groom share their first kiss as man and wife surrounded by their guests, pumpkins, and a gorgeous stormy ocean backdrop a redheaded groom in a blue suit and his happy blonde bride walk down the aisle lined with pumpkins as husband and wife

If you are looking for inspiring ideas for your own ceremony, click here!


  1. […] For more great wedding planning ideas, check out Creating A Custom Wedding Ceremony. […]

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Fueled by equal parts strong coffee and French 75’s, I spend my days capturing the kinds of images that convey distinctive emotion through intentional moments and create elevated images you’ll treasure for a lifetime. I showcase your story and your love in an exceptional, gracious way. I believe in real moments, heartfelt conversations, love stories that grow stronger through the storms and the kind of joy that can be found in the simplest of moments together. When I'm not tearing up during the vows, you'll find me whipping up a new recipe in the kitchen, listening to Sinatra, or snuggling with my mini me.

I’m Rohana Olson

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