Creating Sweet Pre-Wedding Rituals

Photo by LeaAnn Walker

One of the wedding regrets expressed by couples, over the ages, is how the celebration–and, especially the ceremony–simply flies by.  With so much planning, fussing over guests, and natural anxiety, many brides and grooms feel the ceremony rushes by before they’ve had the chance to experience fully the gravity associated with getting married.   Likewise, as so many couples schedule an extensive pre-wedding photography session, it may seem that there is little time to settle one’s heart and emotions before the “I Do’s.”  These two photos represent sweet, serene moments that I would invite couples to consider as they prepare the “run of show” for their Big Day.

From time-to-time, I still have couples who partake in the quaint tradition of exchanging letters with each other before the actual wedding. Sometimes the heartfelt letters are offered in private, but they may also be read together, as a couple, as shown in the photo above, shot prior to a wedding I officiated at the chic McCarren Hotel in Brooklyn.  In many cases, I believe, the brides and grooms share exquisitely personal thoughts—some that they may feel too self-revelatory, even for original personal vows.  Indeed, when I speak with folks who seem interested, but reluctant, to write their own vows for the ceremony, I suggest they might want to do a letter exchange in advance of the ceremony…a delicious shared secret.

The second picture is from a wedding that I didn’t attend, but I was captivated by it when it appeared on a friend’s social media feed.  The beautiful bride recently married the son of an old friend from my hometown in Oklahoma.  Surrounded by her bevy of bridesmaids (and the Mothers of the bride and groom) there was an intentional pause to lay hands on the bride and pray over her and her new marriage.  What a sign of love and solidarity, as well as a recognition of the Divine commitment that Amy and Grayson were making before their Heavenly Father.  It gives me goosebumps!

I always encourage couples to bring the promise-making the focal point of their attention, at least for the early parts of the celebration.  Carving out unique moments or rituals can make that possible.