Do we have to……
Probably not, ceremony wise. If you have chosen to use a New Jersey wedding officiant (darnit, I’m smooth….), instead of having your ceremony in traditional religious setting, there is a very short list of the elements that actually HAVE to be included in your ceremony. Asking anyone if they object? Please now..if they are going to object, why are they invited? “Love, Honor and Obey”? Haven’t heard that “obey” part in QUITE some time, and the last bride who thought she wanted to include it, for tradition’s sake, hesitated just long enough before saying it that everyone in the crowd laughed.
All that you REALLY have to do is vow to do SOMETHING. My couples who have written their own vows have done all kinds of things, from sign language to “Dr. Seuss” style rhyming verses, to songs, to the most minimal, but all encompassing promises ever. One groom vowed to stop cheering for the Mets; one of my brides vowed to learn to cook a decent meal and stop hanging pantyhose on the shower rod.
And then your officiant has to pronounce you…..husband and wife, partners and family, soulmates, wife and wife, husband and husband. Or, like Dan and Gail, one of my recent couples, “Pinky and Brain”.
(And of course, you need a valid NJ wedding license, which can be used anywhere in the state. And you need two witnesses for the ceremony, who will then sign the license.)
Your ceremony should be a reflection of you and your personality, both as individuals and a couple. How do you describe yourselves? Are you funny? Traditional? Reserved? Maybe a little of all? All of those traits should be reflected in your ceremony and readings, and a really good officiant will help your ceremony really sound like you, not just another couple getting married on that Saturday.
Your ceremony is a gift to your guests, and it should be more than just a generic chunk of time that stands between them and their first glass of Pinot Grigio. It is an opportunity to delight and surprise them; to introduce them to music and poetry that you love; to give them a little window on what makes your relationship so special. It’s an opportunity that shouldn’t be squandered!