One of the sweetest parts of our wedding ceremony was having our parents say a few words after our vows. We asked them the night before so they had a little warning, but not enough time that they felt pressured to put together a formal speech. They shared words of wisdom, spoke about our relationship and shared their wishes for us as a couple. Their words were so meaningful to us, and is a part of our ceremony that we will always treasure. There wasn't a dry eye on the beach... especially mine.
If you're looking for traditions to incorporate into your wedding day ceremony, here are a few we considered:
Have your parents speak: Have your parents say a few words about your relationship. You can give them guidelines or specific topics, or let them come up with something all on their own. You could also ask a friend to speak, or incorporate this as a toast!
Select a reading: If you want a little more control, you can pre-select a reading for a family member or friend to share during the ceremony. Readings can be religious passages, poetry, meaningful excerpts from a book, or even a personalized message.
Include a symbol of unity: Over the years I've seen so many unique ways to honor the symbolism of unity. Typically these traditions involve the notion of combining into one; such as wine, water, candles, sand, or tying of a literal knot.
Incorporate your culture: Whether you're religious or not, you may have customs that are culturally significant to you and your family. You could choose to incorporate those customs exactly, or put your own unique spin on them and make them your own. Word of warning, if you're choosing to alter a meaningful custom, you may want to run that by your family first.
Write your own vows: The sharing of vows is a tradition that spans many cultures and generations. Make them personal by completely writing your own, or asking your officiant to word their repeat-after-me vows in a way that is unique to you as a couple.
Honor the marriage in a song: Much like a chosen reading, having a family member or close friend honor you with a meaningful song is a beautiful way to add a personal touch to your ceremony. You could incorporate this song as the bride walks down the aisle, during the actual ceremony, or even during the recessional.
Include your guests: Feel uncomfortable with having the spotlight all on you? Include your guests in your ceremony. A nice way to incorporate guests into your union is to provide a time for them to share out their well wishes or words of wisdom.
Make up your own: In 2020, there are no rules. Make up your own traditions and find something that's totally unique to you!
I didn't read a ton of books on wedding planning, but I did find one about wedding traditions, customs, and rituals that I loved! If you're looking for unique traditions to include in your wedding or want to read up on the history of different cultural customs, check out Lucky in Love by Eleni N. Gage.