The not religious ceremony requires a lot of preparation beforehand (it represents 30 to 40 hours of work) and a great involvement of the couple in its organization. The notion of commitment and sharing is very important.
You are wondering where to start to organize your not religious ceremony? Here you go!
This type of ceremony is chosen by non religious couples, future brides and grooms of different faiths, divorced people who cannot get married in a church, or those who want more than a simple visit to the town hall and who wish to personalize their ceremony. The lay ceremony tells a story, YOUR story, the story of your love. You don't have to fall into the clichés of a candy-pink love that is a little too silly for your taste, and that's what's so great about it! Because yes, the ceremony is what you want it to be, so it is perfectly in your image!
#01 | SET A BUDGET FOR YOUR WEDDING CEREMONY
As for all the expenses of your wedding, determine the budget that you can devote to your ceremony. On average, you should count from €2.500, depending on what is included or not in the officiant's service:
- the time spent for the preparation and the number of appointments,
- the level of personalization of the ceremony: is the text entirely written for you or is it identical for each wedding?
- does the officiant also organize the ceremony?
- is the equipment (sound system, microphones, lectern…) provided?
- is the decoration of the ceremony planned?
#02 | DETERMINE THE NUMBER OF GUESTS FOR YOUR WEDDING CEREMONY
The not religious ceremony is THE highlight of your wedding! You are going to live moments very rich in emotion, you share your intimacy and your history with your guests. It is also an opportunity to share small anecdotes and to have a good time.
Ask yourself who you would like to have by your side during your ceremony: all your guests? only the people who mean the most to you?
Once you've answered this question, you'll have an idea of how many people that is. This is important for the next step.
The more guests you have, the higher the cost. Because you will need more chairs, more ceremony booklets, more decorations…
#03 | CHOOSE A SUITABLE LOCATION FOR YOUR WEDDING CEREMONY
Think about the place where your ceremony will take place as soon as you are looking for a place to hold it. You must have enough space to accommodate all your guests (count 1 m²/seated person).
Indoor or outdoor ceremony?
You are dreaming of an outdoor ceremony and it's normal! The fresh air, the greenery, the light breeze in your hair, the little birds singing… Happiness! Except that, you may have taken the "sunshine option" when you booked the venue, but there is no guarantee that the weather will be nice and that there will be no rain on your big day! Unless the theme of the wedding is "Singing In The Rain", always have a plan B from the beginning just in case. Ideally, you should have a room to fall back on at the reception site, or a tent or tented area - preferably a nice one! - (make sure that the reception place allows such an installation and don't decide to put up your tent two hours before the ceremony!)
If you choose to organize your ceremony outside, think about the logistics: the transportation of the material (chairs, sound system, decoration…) to the place of the ceremony, the electrical connection… And yes, a wedding ceremony, it is prepared!
#04 | CHOOSE YOUR CEREMONY OFFICIANT
There is only one word to say about a not religious ceremony: FREEDOM! But freedom does not mean doing anything! The choice of the officiant is very important, do not do it lightly at the risk of regretting it. He or she must be able to give rhythm to your wedding ceremony and to make the link between the different interventions. It is intimidating and a strong pressure weighs on the shoulders of the officiant.
You can entrust this heavy (but wonderful!) task to one or more of your relatives or call upon a professional. The person(s) you choose must meet the following criteria: be perfectly comfortable speaking and knowing how to express themselves in public, have time to devote to the organization of the ceremony, have the same vision of things as you, be attentive to your wishes and meet your expectations. This is quite a mission, and not one that can be accomplished by just anyone! In any case, you must absolutely choose someone with whom you have a good feeling and with whom you feel perfectly comfortable.
The professional officiant is used to organizing this type of ceremony and will be able to guide you and advise you at every step.
When it is one of your relatives who officiates the ceremony, the emotional and sentimental dimension is inevitably different!
My advice: nothing prevents you from entrusting the organization of your ceremony to a professional officiant and to ask some of your relatives to intervene during the ceremony. The officiant will integrate these interventions harmoniously into the ceremony to avoid misunderstandings.
#05 | CHOOSE THE IDEAL MOMENT TO ORGANIZE YOUR WEDDING CEREMONY
The advantage of organizing a not religious ceremony is that nothing is imposed and that you can decide everything. Take advantage of this! Allow an average of 30-45 minutes for the ceremony (beyond that time your attention span decreases).
The time of the ceremony will depend on the place where it will take place - always keep in mind your planning for the day! - (at the place of the cocktail hour? of the dinner? elsewhere?) and of the guests invited to the ceremony (all or only some).
Also consider the light: where will it come from at the time of the ceremony? No one should have sun in their eyes and shadows on their faces should be avoided. This is important for the photos.
It is possible to organize the ceremony at the end of the day to take advantage of a beautiful natural light. Or even at night with lights and candles for a very romantic effect!
#06 | CREATE THE SCENOGRAPHY OF YOUR WEDDING CEREMONY
A successful ceremony is one where everyone can see each other: the bride and groom face their guests, no one has their back to them. Plan a sufficient number of chairs or banches for everyone to sit down. Place them so that no one is bothered by the sun (shaded area).
Also think about the photos: what will be seen behind the bride and groom? behind the officiant? Some places are naturally beautiful and don't need artifices. Use what is there (a tree, a water feature, a statue…). Highlight the place and play with symmetry. Emphasize the alley where you will enter and the place where you will stand afterwards (with flower petals for example).
For the speeches and the music, don't forget to provide a sound system and wireless microphones so that no one misses a moment of the ceremony. You can make arrangements with the DJ who may be able to provide you with his. Ask yourself where to install it so that it will be seen as little as possible and won't spoil your pictures…
Find our inspiration on Pinterest.
#07 | BUILD YOUR WEDDING CEREMONY
Vows, texts, music, rituals… You will tell each other what you feel for each other and tell your story. Ask yourself what you want for your wedding ceremony. It's a bespoke ceremony, build your ceremony in this spirit. Make it look like you so that you have no regrets.
Choose texts that speak to you and in which you find yourself. If you have religious convictions, you can choose religious texts or songs.
The music is used to underline the strong moments of the ceremony which often takes place as follows:
- the installation of the guests
- the arrival of the procession
- the introduction (by the bride and groom or the officiant)
- the interventions of the officiant/your relatives, the rituals, the music
- the bride and groom's vows
- the kiss
- the exit of the bride and groom
You can involve your loved ones by asking them to read a text or to contribute to the chosen ritual(s). The ritual validates the commitment by a physical element, allows to give rhythm to the ceremony and to give body to your commitment.
You will have understood, the whole ceremony is built around your couple, your love and your desires. It is a moment of your own, based on exchange and sharing, which must be unique and in your image!