Beyond the Words of the Ceremony

The wedding ceremony is the most sacred part of your big day, so where do you begin in creating a custom ceremony script that is as romantic as it is personal? We had the privilege of sitting down with Bradley Schnell, a local wedding officiant in the Greater Milwaukee area that was recently awarded WeddingWire’s Couple’s Choice Award for 2017, and gained an entirely new perspective on how to take couples like you beyond the words of the ceremony. What are some of the steps Brad takes in getting down deep with couples to create ceremonies that are more than another procedural part of the day? Use the inspiration we gathered from our session below to create your own personalized ceremony, or contact Brad directly for a consultation on his services to travel with you to your destination wedding!

Ask the right questions.

When planning for a wedding, it’s easy to get caught up in the stress of all the tedious details and lose focus on what actually matters. As an experienced officiant, Brad has been helping couples since 2012 find ways to express the uniqueness of their love story throughout the ceremony, and to shed light on the most important aspects of why they are choosing to marry each other. One question Brad asks all couples when meeting with them for the first time is, “Why is it important for you to be a married couple?” By setting the tone with this question in mind, couples are able to focus on the what has bound them together, and what makes the other person the one that they want to spend the rest of their lives with and provides a deep insight into the reasons why commitment to one another is so important.

{ Photo captured by Tim Neubauer Photography }

{ Photo captured by Uttke Photography and Design }

Celebrate individuality and what you each will bring to the marriage.

With the recent decline in couples preferring a traditional, religious ceremony, there has been an upswing in non-traditional ceremonies that accentuate the power of equal contribution in making a marriage work. Brad states, “Typically what is missing in ceremonies I’ve witnessed is celebrating each individual coming together in marriage rather than what they solely represent as a couple.” It’s important to not lose individuality while embracing the new and powerful single bond that is formed by marriage.

Be aware of the different types of wedding officials.

When considering your options of who can perform your ceremony it’s important to keep in mind the abilities and limitations of each type. Being able to differentiate the different kinds of wedding officials will help you determine what will best fit your wedding ceremony needs. Wedding officiants are typically limited in their religious affiliation or may not have any affiliation at all, this provides a lot of flexibility and choice in scripting, however for those looking for a more traditional religious ceremony, it may not be the best fit. Ordained Ministers may have some of the same trappings as wedding officiants, but can incorporate deeper religious ritual in their ceremonies, depending on the organization of which they have been ordained. Ordained Ministers can provide the perfect balance between some of the traditional wedding religious rituals and non-traditional ceremony offerings. Justices of the peace or court officers can provide wedding ceremonies as well, yet they provide very little customization and have very little religious or personal feel but are perfect for couples looking for a quick easy way to move through their nuptials!

Make sure to check with local and state laws regarding who has the ability to marry prior to selecting the best option for you. This will ensure that your marriage has full legal standing. Most of these rules, regulations and laws can be found through your counties Registrar of Deeds office or Office of Vital Documents.  Also make sure if you’re getting married outside of your home state that you research laws around who can marry in the state or destination you’ll be visiting for your wedding because they may be different than your home state.

{ Photo captured by Uttke Photography and Design }

Take note of trending ceremonies.

Take it from Brad and incorporate fun traditions into the ceremony that have a deeper meaning and give you yet another opportunity to get creative with your love story! The fisherman’s knot is a popular choice that symbolizes the beauty of marriage that strengthens and supports the bride and groom through life and, like the knot, their marriage will grow stronger under pressure. Still looking for something that speaks to you to celebrate your union? Consider Black and Tan, a trending option for couples that want a fun unity ceremony idea that blends two beers, a dark beer for the groom, and a lighter beer for the bride. During the ceremony, the properties of each brew are described by how they correspond to the bride’s and groom’s personalities, they each take the beers and blend them together to create their own blend of black and tan and share the glass!

{ Photo captured by Gadon Good Photography }

{ Photo captured by Holen Photography }

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Thank you to Brad Schnell for sharing his expertise and story with us.

Check out his promotional video below to learn more!

This post was written by Weddings by Funjet

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