When I tell couples to think of their wedding as a bit of theater, I brace for pushback. (“What?! It’s my WEDDING—it’s sacred! This isn’t a performance!!”)
But nobody’s reacted like that. It seems to make sense:
· Costumes: check!
· High drama: check!
· Eager audience: check!
· Props (unity candle, sand, rings): check!
· Supporting cast (maid of honor, best man, flower girl): check!
Your wedding IS a theatrical production, and it’s always opening night. Whether your ceremony is an informal, five-minute short or an epic production with live music and special effects, you’re creating an experience for your guests and you want it to have impact and meaning for them (as it certainly does for you).
Theatre—and, for that matter, religion—has its origins in early humans’ attempt to make sense of the confusing world they faced. Rituals around hunting, tribal rivalries and the seasons helped ease their concerns and mark important events. (“We’d better make sure the warm season comes back again…” “Show them how you brought down that beast…”)
How can you make your ceremony a winning performance?
Own your category: Your guests should come away saying “That was wonderful—and it was so them!” Your ceremony should reflect who you are as a couple. You can’t fake authenticity.
Rewrite and rehearse: Work the bugs out before opening night. Plan and re-think everything. Read your ceremony and vows out loud. Make sure everyone knows their roles and where to stand. (Hands out of your pockets, guys…)
Cast it carefully: Are your supporting players ready for prime time? Your four-year-old niece will be a darling flower girl, but should someone help her keep on task? Can Cousin Louie read without mumbling?
See to the stagecraft: You’ve got a lovely set with the flowers and all. But will your props work? Have a backup lighter for the unity candle. Check microphone height and speaker placement. Can everyone see and hear what’s going on?
Who’s directing? Every production needs somebody with a clipboard and a watchful eye. Consider a professional wedding planner, or at least a day-of coordinator. Most venues will provide one, or you can recruit a detail-oriented friend to keep everything on the rails. If your officiant doesn’t have deep experience, take extra care with the flow of the ceremony and all the details.
Here’s a brief guide with more tips for planning a personalized ceremony.
You’re doing all that planning for one very special performance, but here’s hoping your marriage has a very long, successful run.
Let me know if I can help with ideas for your ceremony.