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What is an Un-Wedding Ceremony?

An un-wedding is a non-traditional, alternative wedding for modern couples who want to make new traditions, and this one started with a boy on a uni-cycle for the processional.

But, let’s start with the planning. Alastair and Heather had witnessed me perform an un-wedding Jewish Ceremony for their friends four years ago. They knew that I was open to creating truly personalized and highly involved ceremony performances.

Their friends, Amy and Matt, had taken the Seven Jewish Principles and offered the key messages to seven friends to interpret and offer their blessings to the couple during the ceremony instead of a reading.

Listen deeply to one another. Always be humble and modest by striving to understand the point of view with which you disagree. Never seek victory. If you show contempt for others, they will show contempt for you. Be responsible for one another. And, we are all united.

So, as writers and performers, Heather and Alastair invited their friends to give their reflections on the different stages of love through the five-act story structure which includes: Introduction, Rising Movement, Climax/Raising the Stakes, Falling Action, and Resolution.

Yet, it didn’t start or end there!

When the grand processional began (to a Star Wars Theme, complete with children with light sabers), it continued as the wedding party approached the front, and then circled back around to the end of the chairs where the guests were asked to stand and encouraged to also go down the aisle as part of the processional. When guests finally circled back to take their seats, I informed them that they were ALL special guests at the wedding and part of the ceremony.

At this point they knew it this was not going to be an ordinary wedding.

Valkyrie, the couple’s dog and ring bearer, informed me that she didn’t have the rings, but had left them in envelopes taped under two of the guest chairs. Each guest searched and found an envelope with a special note inside, but two unsuspecting and random guests also found a ring inside of theirs. They were invited up to present the rings, but also to give a few words on love.

During the planning process, I asked Heather and Alastair how much they trusted their guests. And, with a thumbs up, I suggested that they put a basket in the entrance for guests to write in their names and suggestions for what the couple ‘should’ vow to one another during the wedding. In the middle of the ceremony, the basket was presented and Alastair and Heather drew their guests’ suggestions as part of their personal vows. Given the guests had no idea that their sage words of advice were going to be announced, there were plenty of wildly hysterical suggestions, especially from the children.

Of course, Alastair and Heather still presented their own heartfelt vows, and we included all of the legal parts of the ceremony with the I Do’s and signing. But these are just a few of many examples of how to make your wedding interactive, non-traditional, and forever in the memories of your nearest and dearest.

Un-wedding ceremonies don’t have to be as dynamic as this one, but they do encourage you to think beyond regular traditions and incorporate your own style.

This approach has been especially useful for me when I am creating multi-faith/cultural ceremonies that take the elements of tradition that mean the most to the couple and their families, and apply them in a fresh and exciting new way for future generations to come!

Do you want to explore how to un-wedding your ceremony? I would love to help!

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