Wednesday, 22 June 2016


The chosen one
I’m increasingly being asked for ideas to involve guests more during wedding, vow renewal and baby naming ceremonies. Couples and parents are no longer happy to just ask a family member or special friend to do a reading. They want everyone present to participate. This can also ease the tricky situation of choosing someone to, say, read a poem at the risk of leaving others feeling rejected.

Here are some ideas that have worked well at ceremonies I’ve performed.

At a recent garden wedding, after the bride and groom had said their vows, I asked all their guests to repeat after me:

We promise to encourage / nurture and support / Peter and Lisa / in all that they do / as individuals / and as a couple.

We promise to tidy up / after the wedding celebrations / so that Peter and Lisa / can have snuggly time together.

Everyone loved joining in and the surprise “tidy up” promises raised a laugh.

All together now
At the same wedding, everyone was invited to sing Bruno Mars’ Just The Way You Are. The words to the upbeat song were on the back of the Order of Ceremony for guests who didn’t know the words.
Fingerprint seeds

Fingerprint trees or dandelion seeds are popular at both wedding and naming ceremonies. Guests create leaves on the tree branches, or dandelion seeds, with their fingerprints. Many craft shops sell coloured ink and all you need are some wet wipes to clean your fingers afterwards.

The finished picture is a lovely and very personal keepsake that you can frame and hang on the wall. It’s a reminder of all the people who celebrated yours or your child’s special day with you.

Time capsules are brilliant for baby namings. Ask everyone to bring something small to place in a box or container, to be opened on a special birthday. It could include photos, a pressed flower from your garden, postage stamp, newspaper clipping, receipt that shows the value of goods purchased at the time - anything at all. It’s fun to see all the creative things that people bring.
A matter of time

Similarly, when guests are invited to a baby naming they could be asked to bring a small card with their one word wish for the little one. They write their names on the card as well and these are collected in a special box at the ceremony. It will be opened in the future and the whole family can read the cards together. If it's a small gathering, guests can bring their favourite children's story book and say why they love it, thereby starting a library for the baby.

Dreams are made of sand
For babies born near the sea, or couples having their wedding on the coast, a sand ceremony is perfect. I gather the sand from local beaches, dry it in the oven and add coloured powder. The guests pour whichever colour sand they like into a glass bottle or jar. It makes a lovely ornament which is a constant reminder of the happy day.

Involve your guests as much as possible and be as creative as you like. They’ll appreciate the gesture and you’ll love the end result.