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Posts Tagged ‘wedding unity ceremony’

I’ve lived in San Diego more than 30 years, and officiated all over the county for the last 9, and can’t believe I’ve never stepped foot inside this gem!

Thanks so much to event coordinator Heather Hayes for giving me the grand tour yesterday!

Junipero exteriorIf you have a love of the historical, the Junipero Serra museum might be perfect for your wedding.

Situated high on the hill above Old Town San Diego, the views are amazing. Inside the museum, beautiful artifacts line the space that is designed almost like a chapel, to reflect mission revival architecture.

Challenges:
~you need to bring in your own rental items, eg. chairs, etc.
~as a historical landmark, it is not ADA compliant, so not accessible for anyone in wheelchair
~no heating or air conditioning. Would be lovely in the summertime, but winter months you might suggest your female guests bring a wrap.

Good News:
~within the intimate indoor acoustics of thick adobe walls, oftentimes a microphone is not even needed
~unlike some small chapels, this venue can seat 140 guests
~they do allow unity candles during the ceremony (some sites do not allow open flame of any kind)
~two big getting-ready rooms!

Not to mention old-world charm and a unique venue that even some of your local guests might have not yet experienced.

junipero interior

Photo by True Photography

Check out the setup for a wedding ceremony

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A beautiful day for Ashlen & Thea; made all the more poignant as we celebrated their union the day after the Supreme Court decision on marriage equality.

Their joy, enthusiasm, and unique touches made for a very special wedding ceremony at a private home estate, canyon-side.

ceremony smilesMajestic views and even a huge hawk swooped low just before the ceremony to check out the celebration.

“Gayle, Thank you for everything! It was a very nice ceremony and we couldn’t have done it without you! So thank you so very much!” ~Ashlen and Thea

arch

A beautiful rustic arch bursts with color. Designed by Ranch Events. Photo by Chana and Don.

newlyweds

Congratulations to the newlyweds! Photo by Chana and Don.

Thea waiting

A sweet moment, waiting for her bride. Photo by Chana and Don.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

sand-cake

Their unity ceremony, the Blending of the Sands, celebrated their favorite colors and will be a beautiful keepsake in their home. Photo by Chana and Don.

vista

Incredible views at this private home set on the canyon. Photo by Chana and Don.

Thank you so much for the pics to Photo by Chana and Don: Such pros at catching sweet emotion!
www.photobychanaanddon.com

In addition to providing the catering, Ranch Events put on quite a display with gorgeous rentals, dynamic cake, and incredible floral displays
www.ranchevents.com

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Mr.& Mrs.! Photo by Mink Photography

Mr.& Mrs.! Photo by Mink Photography

A True Love story for Jess & Steven. They shared their vows at the historic El Cortez in downtown San Diego for an urban celebration.

Their wedding was so inspiring it has been featured on Brown Sparrow, The Knot, as well as Borrowed&Blue!

How did Jess & Steven make their ceremony unique and personal?
The handbinding ritual asks a series of promises and the couple responds, declaring their commitment to each other.

Expressing vows with the beautiful handbinding ritual. Photo by Mink Photography

Expressing vows with the beautiful handbinding ritual. Photo by Mink Photography

These two even crafted their own handbinding cord! Click Here for more information about the HandBinding Ceremony.

 

Jess & Steven wanted to include their family and friends with a Stone Blessing. During the ceremony, each guest holds a hand-picked stone and sends all of their good thoughts and well wishes into the stone, where they are all deposited into a keepsake for the couple to have at home!

Photo by Mink Photography

Photo by Mink Photography

Great to work with these wedding professionals!

Wedding Planner: Jessica with A LIfe of Dreams
DJ: DJ Daniel Peterson
Photographer: Mink Photography
Catering: Continental Catering
Florist: Heavenly Gift and Florist

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[Beautiful photos by Susan Bond Photography]

This is a clever and multi-use idea for a unity ceremony!

This destination couple wanted to include a unity ceremony in their wedding, but wanted to avoid having to pack any accoutrement for the trip home.

Two bouquets.  Photo by Susan Bond Photography

Two bouquets.
Photo by Susan Bond Photography

Their bouquets did double-duty for the unity! A beautiful, natural, and efficient option,
to incorporate their bouquets.

“You have each walked down the aisle with your own bouquet of flowers. Each representing your individual
lives to this point.”

Tying the bouquets. Photo by Susan Bond Photography

Tying the bouquets. Photo by Susan Bond Photography

 

 

 

“In tying your bouquets together, you symbolize undertaking to unite as a couple, and share all that the future may bring.” 

Unity bouquets. Photo by Susan Bond Photography

Unity bouquet.
Photo by Susan Bond Photography

 

 

 

 

 

Incredible ocean views, courtesy the Marine Room. Photo by Susan Bond Photography

Incredible ocean views, courtesy the Marine Room.
Photo by Susan Bond Photography

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Why You Want to Hold A Wedding Rehearsal

It seems like such a simple thing, the wedding ceremony.
Your wedding party lines up, you walk down the aisle, say your “I Dos” and then walk back up the aisle.

What’s to rehearse?

Amazingly – a lot. Even if your ceremony is quite simple, holding a rehearsal is actually a gift, to yourself and your wedding attendants.

It’s the gift called, “On wedding day, nobody has to think.”
All logistics and questions get sorted out, so when the big day arrives, the only order of business is to enjoy yourself.

And guess what!? It’s one more opportunity to hug your friends and family and celebrate at rehearsal dinner afterward.

Even if you have a small gathering and wedding party – for example only a Maid of Honor and Best Man – it’s a great idea to take a half-hour and walk through the order of things. Especially if your ceremony takes place at a unique setting or outdoors.

~Where will you start walking? Who stands where?
~Are the rings on a pillow? With the best man? One with Best Man and one with Maid of Honor?

It is important to practice the lineup so your attendants will feel comfortable with where and how they will stand. Photo by 8twenty8 Studios

It is important to practice the lineup so your attendants will feel comfortable with where and how they will stand. Photo by 8twenty8 Studios

~What about the timing of the music? If you can bring your ipod along or play the processional song on your phone, all the better to practice to make sure you are walking during your favorite part of the song.

~Where will you go once you walk back up the aisle?

You won’t believe how many questions start popping up once you are rehearsing.

Who Should Attend?
Anybody walking down the aisle.
~If some of your wedding party can’t attend due to travel plans, have someone else serve as their stand-in during rehearsal.

~If your grandparents will be included in the processional, it might be challenging for them to attend rehearsal, and that’s ok. It’s a simple thing to fill them in on wedding day of where to walk and sit, before the ceremony begins.

Conducting the Rehearsal
As the wedding officiant, I include conducting rehearsal in my services.
If you have hired a wedding planner (good choice!) they will conduct the rehearsal, and I still attend to review the flow of the ceremony itself.

Rehearsal is also a great time for me to reconnect with the couple in person, especially if I haven’t seen them in the many months or year since we first met.

Orchestrating the Processional
Wedding professionals like to start backward – to line the wedding party up where you will land after the processional. Then practice the recessional (after you have been pronounced married!) and then line up from the beginning to practice walking in.

There are so many fun and unique ways to craft the processional. Especially with more couples having co-ed attendants on each side, you can get really creative:
~Wedding attendants can walk down singly or in pairs or in specific groupings, and from different starting points.
~A groomsman might escort family members, then return to stand in processional line.
~You can create this any way you wish,

Reviewing the Ceremony
Again, how hard can it be? You just say “Yes” or “I Do” when asked a question, right?

Where will you stand during the Unity Ceremony? You can practice this too! Photo by Chelsea Anne Photography

Where will you stand during the Unity Ceremony? You can practice this too! Photo by Chelsea Anne Photography

 

 

If you are including a Unity Ceremony or other ritual, again, great idea to go through the motions.

~Where will the table be that holds the items?
~Will you have your backs to your guests, or facing them?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The "HandBinding" ritual includes six questions of vows and commitment. / Photo by Hung C. Tran Photography

The “HandBinding” ritual includes six questions of vows and commitment. / Photo by Hung C. Tran Photography

 

 

~If you are including a HandBinding ritual, is the ribbon you acquired long enough to wrap around your wrists 6 times without cutting off circulation?

 

 

 

 

Even practicing the simple act of the ring exchange is important. That way there is no bafflement or confusion during the actual ceremony:

With this ring . . . Photo by Katie Jackson

With this ring . . . Photo by Katie Jackson

~Which hand to I take?
~Which finger?
~Where does the engagement ring go?

Instead, you can slide that ring on their finger with grace, ease, and confidence.

 

 

 

Because, after all, this is a beautiful production. And, if on your wedding day, you can enter the sacred space of the ceremony with confidence that you and all your loved ones know their roles and tasks, you can focus all your attention and joy on that most important moment of “I DO.”

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Congratulations Laura & Laura! What a beautiful wedding celebration today at Rancho Buena Vista Adobe in Vista.

These two amazing women were such a treat, it was an honor to officiate their wedding ceremony.

They created a very unique Unity Ceremony, inspired by their love of chocolate. And during the ceremony, shared with their guests!

A delicious ceremony treat for wedding guests

A delicious ceremony treat for wedding guests

 

There will be times that are sweet,
filled with cream and honey,
and times that are dark and bittersweet.
And probably some times that are really nutty!
But every experience will nourish your body,
heart and soul.

 

It is a great reminder to get creative with your wedding ceremony! Think about what you love (like chocolate!) and incorporate that into your ceremony.

 

PS. Wedding planner extraordinaire Julie Scrivner pulled everything together with ease!

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In addition to favorite readings and poems, what else can you include in your wedding ceremony to give it substance and personality?

Wedding ceremonies based in traditional religions have rituals that weave the ceremony together and help the couple feel anchored in the message.

For example the smashing of the glass in the Jewish faith suggests, as a modern interpretation, the fragility of the relationship and importance of tending to it daily.
The Unity Candle in the Catholic faith represents two families and two individuals uniting as one.
In the Chinese heritage the tea ceremony performed on an auspicious date is an intimate ritual to honor family.

So, if you don’t practice a religion that provides these ‘anchors’ of timeless ritual, you can create your own! During the ceremony it’s a moment to do something together, to create together as a couple.

Questions to ask yourself when deciding what to include:

~What is important about including this?
~How can we make this ritual meaningful for our unique relationship?
~Is it timeless? Ten years from now will the meaning still hold true for us?

A few ideas:

Unity Ceremonies are designed for exactly that – uniting two together. Two individuals uniting into one couple. Two families joining as one extended family. One partner with children combining with another partner, to create their new family.

Jen and Jon loved sailing, so "tying the knot" as their unity ceremony made perfect sense. Photo by Philip DeFalco

Jen and Jon loved sailing, so “tying the knot” as their unity ceremony made perfect sense. Photo by Philip DeFalco

Anything that symbolizes this experience is a great ritual to include. Think of things that are important to you and your relationship, experiences you enjoy, and find a way to incorporate that as your unity ceremony.

Start Something New. Planting a tree is an elegant and organic ritual, and supports the environment as well! The roots can grow deep, symbolizing strength and stability. The branches will grow tall and wide, symbolizing your reach and growth. The leaves bud and blossom – potential for new beginnings within your relationship.

Just enough room for a bottle of wine, opener, two letters. And I love the well-used old hammer - what a great touch! Photo by Anika London.

A wedding time capsule can include whatever you want. This one has just enough room for a bottle of wine, opener, two love letters. And seal it up with a well-used old hammer – what a great touch! Photo by Anika London.

Design a Wedding Time Capsule. This can be a promise for the future, and an opportunity, when you open it, to look back on how far you’ve come. To bring that ceremony day along with you into the future. To let the ceremony itself be your anchor in your marriage.

Just as you might create new traditions in your new marriage and family, you can start with your wedding ceremony.

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