My Wedding - - PLANNING - By Rochelle Flem­ing www.nzwed­dingcel­e­brant.co.nz

There are many cre­ative and thought­ful ways that your fam­ily can play a mean­ing­ful part in your cer­e­mony. As a cel­e­brant I have wit­nessed many vari­a­tions on how cou­ples choose to hon­our fam­ily within their cer­e­mony and put a unique stamp on their day.

A Fam­ily Bless­ing of the mar­riage en­gages the col­lec­tive and could take place early within the cer­e­mony or af­ter the cou­ple have shared their vows. The cel­e­brant could ask the fol­low­ing ques­tion of the fam­i­lies: “Do you all give your bless­ing to this mar­riage?” to which they would re­spond with: “We do”. Ring bless­ings can take many forms, but gen­er­ally in­volves the pass­ing of the rings through the hands of the im­me­di­ate fam­ily as they pause and of­fer a silent bless­ing to the mar­riage. The idea is that the rings are warmed by the lov­ing en­ergy and sup­port of their fam­ily and friends and this love will be worn for a life­time.

Hav­ing a par­ent, grand­par­ent or other spe­cial fam­ily mem­ber shar­ing a few words of wis­dom dur­ing the cer­e­mony can be touch­ing. These time hon­oured words could re­flect on the high­lights of their mar­riage, what is im­por­tant within a mar­riage and their wishes and hopes for the happy cou­ple in their life ahead.

A fam­ily time cap­sule is a lovely idea. Prior to the cer­e­mony fam­ily mem­bers would be in­vited to write you a note that will be read on your first an­niver­sary. The letters can in­clude well wishes, ad­vice for mar­ried life, and favourite mem­o­ries of you two to­gether. The time cap­sule/box will be passed around dur­ing the cer­e­mony for the notes to be dropped in and dur­ing the cer­e­mony the cou­ple would seal the box up, could be with their favourite bot­tle of wine, to be opened on their one year an­niver­sary and en­joyed whilst read­ing the words from the fam­ily .

A flower or gift pre­sen­ta­tion can take many forms. You might like to give both mums a rose, flower or small bou­quet in hon­our of the love and sup­port they have of­fered to you. It’s a sweet way to recog­nise mums, par­ents and fam­ily mem­bers in gen­eral who have sup­ported you in your life.

Fam­ily re­mem­brances are emo­tional and beau­ti­ful el­e­ments to the cer­e­mony. The light­ing of a can­dle of re­mem­brance recog­nis­ing those loved ones who could not be there is a spe­cial ges­ture – can­dles or flames are a uni­ver­sal sym­bol of love and the hu­man spirit. Cher­ished items, pre­cious sym­bols, mean­ing­ful pas­sages or trea­sured po­ems that hold spe­cial mean­ing to the fam­ily mem­ber are ways to hon­our those who have passed. You could also ac­knowl­edge their pres­ence by in­clud­ing a photo in the bride’s bou­quet or by plac­ing an hon­orary seat in a prom­i­nent po­si­tion.

These are just a snapshot of a few ideas – how to in­volve your near­est and dear­est ‘fam­ily set’ is en­tirely up to you. Have a good chat to your cel­e­brant about those you’d like to in­volve or re­mem­ber, and be­tween you come up with some­thing that is unique that will be heart­felt and mem­o­rable on your spe­cial day.

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