Today’s brides and grooms have the freedom to choose the kind of wedding they want. One type of wedding that is becoming more and more popular for the past few years is the non-religious wedding.
The good news is that there are many ways to plan a non-religious wedding without losing the essence and beauty of the occasion. Even though you won’t be relying on the structure that religion has to offer, it is still very much possible to come up with an outline for the ceremony, a list of activities, and special vows that you and your partner will both love and treasure.
This short guide will give you a few tips you can use to pull off a memorable non-religious wedding that everyone is going to remember for a long time.
What is a Non-Religious Wedding?
As its name suggests, it basically refers to wedding ceremonies that don’t include religious traditions or practices. If religion is not a top priority for the bride and groom, this kind of ceremony allows them to fill the occasion with lovely and special activities that aren’t tied to religion.
What Makes Up a Non-Religious Wedding?
A non-religious wedding must include the formal entrance of the wedding party, wedding vows, exchange of rings, official first kiss of the couple, and formal exit of the wedding party.
How Long Do Non-Religious Weddings Take?
One of the best things about non-religious weddings is that you can make them into anything you like. This means that it can take for as long as you want or you can just keep it short and sweet if you won’t follow the rest of the conventional wedding traditions. In general, both non-religious and religious weddings often last for about 30 minutes or so and it can serve as your basis once you start planning your own.
Simple Steps for Planning a Non-Religious Wedding
Before anything else, you and your partner should both consider what you envision for your wedding. How would you like to express the love you have for each other with all your family and friends right there to witness it? What kind of traditions or rituals would you like to include not considering their religious connotations? How is your relationship unique and different from the rest and how do you include these distinct things to the ceremony?
Once you have answered these questions, it is now time for you to think of your guests. After all, these are the very people who will watch everything as it unfolds before their eyes. It means that it might be a good idea that you be considerate of their needs as well after your shared vision has been put in place. You must acknowledge and think of things such as ceremony activities that will be fun for them or even something as simple but essential as bathroom breaks.
When you are done laying out all these elements, you can now proceed to putting them all in their proper order. Take a look at this suggested outline for a non-religious wedding ceremony based on the common traditions many couples love and are familiar with.
Think of the kind of experience that you want your wedding guests to have while greeting each other and finding their seats. It is always nice to place to recorded or live music as this can help set the ambience and tone of the occasion.
Entrance of The Wedding Party
The wedding processional order has a general pattern although it can vary based on the religious traditions. As for a non-religious wedding ceremony, it is possible to borrow any of these traditions or better yet, you can set your own rules if you like. Anything goes in this day and age, anyway.
Welcoming of Guests
The officiant will address the guests, invite them to take their seats, and make the opening statements.
Speech, Song, or Readings of The Officiant
You can invite the wedding officiant to perform the chosen piece or you can also ask them to say something about you if you are close with each other.
Wedding vows must always be spoken from the heart and should only be 2 to 4 paragraphs each for the bride and groom.
Exchange of Wedding Rings
Let the officiant invite you to exchange wedding rings as well as narrate it for the guests who might not have a good view of the moment.
Optional Activities for The Non-Religious Wedding
You can incorporate a symbolic ritual or two to your non-religious wedding to add a more personal touch to it.
Closing the Ceremony
The officiant will deliver the final remarks and officially announce you as a couple. The officiant will also invite you to share a kiss.
Exit of The Wedding Party
You and your now spouse must be the one to lead the exit for the ceremony, with the wedding party leaving after you following the same order that they came in. If you want the ceremony to last for only 30 minutes or less, you might want to allot more time for the vows, readings, exchange of rings, and other activities than what is allotted for the exits and entrances.
Other Tips for a Memorable Non-Religious Wedding
Here are some of the things you can do to make your non-religious wedding a moment to treasure for you, your loved one, and all your guests.
Play Live Music
You can use include a musical prelude for the processional, for during and after the ceremony, and for guest entertainment. This can make everything feel more tangible and real that will remain imprinted in the hearts and minds of everyone present at the event.
Add a Special Reading
Readings don’t need to be limited to Bible verses. Think of romantic things you have read or heard. It can be the lyrics to a song, a quote from a movie, a poem, or even a line from an old love letter.
Include a Unity Ceremony
Do anything that will symbolize that two have now become one. It can be rope braiding, planting trees, lighting candles, passing out roses to family members in the front row, or anything else that represents the union.
Bask in The Moment
The last but not the least, bask in the moment and look at all your guests who have gathered together to witness your love and support your marriage.