With all the stress and planning surrounding your wedding day–the reception, the photos, the honeymoon and so on–you may forget to recognize just how important the ceremony is.
Your wedding ceremony, if you chose to have one, is essentially the very first moments of your marriage. Not to mention, it’s all the moments that your closest family and friends will remember for years to come: watching you vow to love and cherish your partner forever.
Here, New Jersey’s very own Reverend Jack Cuffari offers a few helpful tips to consider before your wedding ceremony.
1. Your guests want to know why they’re there. You may think that your guests have simply resigned themselves to sitting through a ceremony so they can hit the open bar and dance the evening away. But the truth is that we all hunger for the meaning behind important milestones. Weddings deeply symbolize hope, the future and love. Is there anyone who doesn’t need to hear that?
2. It’s your wedding day–not your mom’s or your dad’s or anyone else’s. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to convince younger couples (and sometimes even remind more mature ones) that this is their day to celebrate their bond, their relationship, and that it can be exactly what they want it to be–and doesn’t have to be anything that they don’t want it to be.
3. Think 20 years beyond your wedding day. What do you think will be remembered and talked about? The sundae buffet or the photobooth? Doubtful. People will remember your love story, and what was expressed in words, symbols and rituals–all the elements that reflect the authenticity of who you are as unique individuals and as a unique couple. These are the things that resonate with people.
4. Even if you’re not religious, your wedding can and should be profound and moving. Love is transcendent. It is a spiritual condition, and set apart from other human experiences. Your wedding is an opportunity to honor it as such, and to remind everyone present that love is a force of nature–a force to be reckoned with. Love matters…and we all need to hear that.
5. Size doesn’t matter: Whether you have 200 guests at a huge banquet hall or 20 guests in your backyard, your wedding is still a deeply meaningful milestone event for you and your community. It isn’t a competition.
6. Reflect on and be clear about your values and beliefs. This is an extension of tip #2. The things that you consider important in life as individuals and as a couple–your core values and beliefs–should be woven throughout the ceremony. You are completely unique and have deeply held convictions. Express them.
Reverend Jack Cuffari is an Interfaith/Interspiritual Minister, ordained by the One Spirit Interfaith Seminary, and a Life-Cycle Celebrant, trained and certified through the Celebrant Foundation & Institute. Since 2005, he has married dozens of couples of all beliefs and combinations thereof. He is a recipient of the Wedding Wire’s 2014 Couples’ Choice Award.
Jack is active in ministry at the First Congregational Church of Montclair, NJ, and serves as President of the Montclair, NJ Clergy Association. As a member of the clergy he was a Marriage Equality activist, fighting for the rights of all couples in New Jersey who wish to enter into the state of matrimony, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identification.
For more information on Reverand Jack Cuffari click here.