Lisa Barner, founder of soulspeak life, is an ordained minister with the First Nation Church. She also has an M.S. in counseling and is trained in trauma therapy. She offers clients healing sessions, but she also helps couples create mindful and meaningful wedding ceremonies.
Here, she offers up the do’s and don’ts for newly engaged couples who are embarking on creating their own ceremony.
Do Interview and Be Selective About Who’s Marrying You.
“Choose someone who wants to get to know you as a couple, who will lovingly and meaningfully tell your story,” says Barner. “Just like you have food tastings, visit venues, hire a wedding planner, choose your wedding party, the right person running the show will be so important to your day.”
Don’t Go the Traditional Route if it Doesn’t “Fit.”
“I can’t tell you how many times I hear people say ‘We definitely don’t want the reading love is patient, love is kind,’” says Barner. “So many people are dying to create something out of the box, unique, and telling of who they are as a couple.”
Don’t Try to Please Everyone.
“This isn’t your parent’s, sister’s, best friend’s wedding, it is yours,” says Barner. “It is up to you two what songs are played, what passages are read, how your love story is told. Make sure this time, standing in front of your partner, feels, sounds, and represents what you want it to.”
Do Decide on the Length of the Ceremony You Want.
“They can be made as short and sweet as possible or as lengthy and intricate as desired,” says Barner. “Most couples that aren’t marrying in a church or synagogue are looking for an abbreviated format that gets them right to the point, for some that’s the party,” says Barner. “For others, being able to truly customize each element of the ceremony to showcase their individuality as a couple if why they chose against a traditional mass.”
“This is always sensitive, but a beautiful tribute to those who are watching over that day,” says Barner. “I tend toward a simple line that acknowledges them without going overboard. I don’t want to trigger too much emotion or take away from the joy of the ceremony.”
How to Avoid Drama
If you have divorced parents or family members that don’t see eye-to-eye, Barner suggests two things. “Be conscious of seating arrangements, giving everyone their space, and assigning roles, if at all,” says Barner. “If deciding feels too difficult, couples may decide to let the officiant run the entire show.
Before the big day, Barner says to be honest about your concerns. “Appoint another trusted family member, friend, even your wedding planner to be your support, to help keep the peace,” says Barner. “They can lovingly check in with the others, show someone around, etc.”
“Have fun with the themes, if there is a particular genre of music or artist you love as a couple, play those songs,” says Barner. “Choose what feels right and representative of you.”
“My first ever couple copied the ‘Ellen Oscar selfie’ of 2014 by asking all their guests to crowd behind them for a photo when the ceremony was over,” remembers Barner. “Another couple of mine distributed candles to each guest for their dusk ceremony, which gave a gorgeous background, giving each person a role. Be sure that the ceremony is meaningful to the two of you.”