Significant and emotional, saying I do is the most important part of your wedding day. So shouldn’t your ceremony be just as unique as the party? We went right to the experts for the most inspiring ceremonial touches around: that’s right, real couples like you! These brides and grooms turn the standard ceremony into something spectacular.
1. Lemonade Stand
Paige and Marc, who wed on a ranch, chose a lemon theme to ensure a cheery celebration. Just before the ceremony, the couple served lemonade in big glass jars to quench guests’ thirst under the hot summer sun.
2. Unity Sand
At their destination beach wedding(buy flora gown), Lisa and Mike, who both spent many summers under the boardwalk, extinguished the unity candle idea and instead chose to combine symbolic cups of sand from their respective hometowns.
3. Breezy Read
Summer brides, take note: Jennifer and David’s fan-shaped wedding programs did double duty listing the wedding party and ceremony details-and cooling off guests.
4. Hung out to Dry
Guests crossing a bridge to Becky and Aaron’s ceremony had a good chuckle at the couple’s childhood photos strung along a clothesline.
5. Shoeless Suitor
When Suzanne and Tripp’s Jewish ceremony concluded, the “boot boy” presented a barefoot Tripp with yes, a boot, so the groom could smash the glass at their ceremony. Mazel tov!
6. Irish Blessing
Pamela and Tom’s ceremony ended with the blessing of a Celtic cross, brought back from a family trip, which now hangs in their home.
7. Lucky Lady
When it was time for Elisa and David to exchange their self-written vows, the best man flipped a coin to see who would go first (it was the groom!).
8. Bribing the Bearer
Cristina and Mike’s two-year-old ring bearer was a little aisle shy. So the groom did what anyone would-bribed him with candy. From the altar, Mike flashed a bag of jellybeans to coax the young boy down the aisle. Naturally, it worked.
9. Send & Deliver
Blakely and Chris’ gorgeous hand-sewn programs not only included details about the wedding party (including a lengthy children’s procession) and Greek Orthodox traditions, it listed their new contact information for guests to keep in touch!
10. Ceremony Cheers
Take the toast up a notch with a champagne cocktail. At Elaine and Kevin’s wedding(buy flora gown), guests were given glasses of bubbly garnished with strawberries as they entered the ceremony space.
11. Exceptional Pets
Who says weddings aren’t for the dogs? Animal lovers Clayton and Andrew asked the bride’s mom to escort two four-legged friends, outfitted with flowers, down the aisle.
12. Homemade Huppah
From the handcrafted woodworking of Meet the Parents fame to treasured heirloom quilts, our brides get pretty crafty with the traditional Jewish huppah. Our favorite sentimental touch? Joanna and Scott sewed together old handkerchiefs from all eight of their grandparents to create their wedding canopy.
13. Baker’s Duo
Andrea and John gave rise to a new tradition: Several days before their Catholic ceremony, the couple got busy in the kitchen and baked the communion bread themselves.
14. Welcome Committee
In lieu of a receiving line, Maribeth and Erik threw tradition out the door and greeted guests arriving at the church. Even though many were surprised to see the bride before the ceremony, it helped calm Maribeth’s down-the-aisle stage fright.
15. Personal Petals
Elizabeth honored her deceased father, a huge University of Tennessee fan, with a bouquet of bright orange roses-the school’s signature color.
16. Holiday Spirit
Ebenezer Scrooge definitely didn’t make the cut on this guest list. Before the start to Amy and Shawn’s Christmas celebration, guests were welcomed into the barn where the ceremony was held with hot cocoa, holiday cookies, and Christmas carols.
17. Fountain of Youth
Emily and Sean stocked a child’s red wagon with monogrammed water bottles and tied a glass to every seat at their outdoor ceremony.
18. Not-So Empty Nest
For their intimate garden-theme wedding(flora gown), Joiye and Gino’s rings were nestled in a delicate bird’s nest woven with pale peach roses and green ribbons.
19. Bug Off
Rachel and Chris made sure guests were well equipped for the outdoor ceremony with a welcome basket filled with bug spray.
20. Exit with a Pop
Following a performance by a quartet of professional singers, actors Kendra and Eric exited the church in a shower of rather fitting theater popcorn. At Lauren and Scott’s ceremony, guests were handed personalized kazoos and party horns to blow on the steps of the church.
21. Floating Flowers
Gerbera daisies given to guests at Julie and James’ ceremony were later released into the nearby river. Throughout the outdoor celebration, the bobbing blooms meandered down the lazy river.
22. Paper Magic
To adorn the ceremony space, Ko’s mother (despite arthritis problems) folded 1,001 white paper cranes-a traditional Japanese gift symbolizing her special wishes for the couple-over the course of his and Pamela’s two-year engagement.
23. Heirloom Detail
Elizabeth asked her mother, a renowned florist, to delicately weave the bride’s deceased grandmother’s handkerchief into the wrap around the stems of her bouquet.
24. Seasonal Sprinkle
Be sure to greet the season. Perfect for Lourie and Carlos’ October wedding, the flower girl scattered dried oak leaves to pave the way for the bridal party.
25. Streaky Cheeks
Kristine and Andrew prepared for emotional wedding tears and provided guests with tissue packages wrapped in vellum that was printed with inspirational quotations.
26. Tandem Takeoff
After exchanging vows, creative couple Erin and Peter circled loved ones on an old red Schwinn tandem bike decorated with roses-before riding off to the reception two miles away!
27. Signature Sounds
Who says you have to stick with classical ceremony music? Kristyn and Joshua walked down the aisle to the opening song from Edward Scissorhands. At Irene and Matthew’s wedding, the bride’s grandmother played “Amazing Grace” on the saw.
28. Recycle the Aisle
Savvy budgeters Ava and Sean reused their ceremony aisle markers-bright bouquets of peonies, blue hydrangeas, and Anna roses in moss cones-for reception centerpieces.
29. Crowd Pleaser
After their ceremony, Lee and Jeff asked all the guests to linger for a group photo that was later used as the cover for the couple’s thank-you cards.
30. Wise Words
Mandy and Chris borrowed something pretty big for their wedding-they recited the same personalized vows that her parents had exchanged 40 years before.
31. Relay Race
And here’s the handoff…along the winding ceremony path, Shyra’s three brothers and her father stood at various intervals, waiting to escort her to the gazebo altar one by one.
32. Shady Ending
At the end of Sandra and Kevin’s seaside service, all the women were given ivory Japanese parasols to shade them from the sun. Sandra carried a square-shape version, hand-painted with cherry blossoms.
33. All Aboard!
Suzanne and her bridal party set sail for the lakeside ceremony with the groom’s mother at the helm. Once they docked, the women rang a cowbell to signal their arrival and waited for the groomsmen to ring back that they were ready for the procession to begin.
34. Artsy Aisle
Alyson knew she was at the right church as she walked down the aisle on a runner, beautifully hand-painted with flower vines-as well as her and Michael’s names.
35. Sentimental Stones
Each guest picked up a small stone before the ceremony that Piper and JJ hand-selected from meaningful places-where they met, where they live now, and where they married-and held it during the service to make a special wish. The couple later collected the stones in a large glass vase to display in their home.
36. Home Grown
Megan and Lance, who exchanged vows under a big maple tree at her childhood home, lined the grassy aisle with flowers collected from her grandparents’ garden.
37. Cool Cultures
In a nod to Sarah and Mark’s diverse backgrounds, the groom carried a grain of wheat in his pocket (representing good luck and wealth in Germany) and wore a traditional lei in honor of their Hawaiian heritage.
38. Blazing Saddles
Forget the white limo! Emily’s father and friends arrived at the ceremony grove on horseback, followed by the bride and her mother in a more gown-friendly horse and carriage.
39. Refrigerator Art
Jenny and Scott’s ceremony programs honored a treasured attic find-they featured a picture that Scott had drawn when he was five of the mountains that coincidentally overlooked their outdoor wedding site.
40. Up In Arms
With only one parent (the bride’s mother) between them still living, Michelle and Leland thought it would be great to start and end the ceremony arm-in-arm-the couple walked together over the vast lawns of the ceremony site and down the aisle of the tiny chapel.
41. Surprise Kiss
When it was time for James to kiss his bride Zoe, her sister pulled a popgun out of her knee-high stockings and shot a burst of confetti at the newlyweds just before a release of butterflies marked the end of the ceremony.