Wedding Unity Candle Ceremony

The Unity Candle

unity candle ceremony bride and groom

One question I often get asked by people planning their marriage ceremony, is how can they “make their wedding ceremony special”?

One way to do that is by having a unity candle ceremony as part of your wedding. The unity candle ceremony is a very simple way to reinforce the meanings of your vows. It can also be  away to involve your family members, by having a different family member each light their own small candle and contribute to the group lighting of the larger unity candle. I have seen where its just the groom and bride light the candle, the mothers of the groom and bride light the unity candle, or the parents of the bride and groom light the candle.

If there are children from a previous marriage in by either of both of the bride and groom, then having the children join with the bride and groom in the lighting of the candle is a great way to enhance family unity and show everyone’s love.

unity candle ceremony family

The only drawback to the unity candle ceremony is that it can be difficult to perform in an out of doors setting. Often the wind does not cooperate and the candles get blown out.

Here is a sample Unity Candle Ceremony. If it is a secular wedding then the religious references can be removed.

Unity Candle Ceremony

Now we shall celebrate this union as it is symbolized through the lighting of the unity candle.

______and ________ please light the two taper candles. These candles represent your individual spirits, your individual connections with God, all that you are and, all that you have been, and all that you will become. ​

The center candle represents your relationship. It is the symbol of your marriage, the symbol of the joining of 2 spirits, 2 lives, 2 souls. Now you will take the tapers and light the center candle. As you do so, keep in mind the pledge you made to each other today. It is the pledge of the truth and purity of your every breath. The constant friendship of your hearts. The passion and fire of your spirits and the deepest love your souls have to give. It is the pledge of all that is within you. The only true pledge that one heart can offer to another.

You are now as husband/wife/spouse and husband/wife/spouse offering yourselves, and all that has come to pass unto each other, towards the creation of your future, and to all that is yet to come. The candle of your marriage shall burn brightly, but the 2 tapers of yourselves are not diminished. You do not disappear in marriage. You remain you. But in joining, both lights are brighter, each supports the other and miracles can happen. True Love shines brightly and today is but a beautiful beginning of the miracles to come.

What to do before you agree to participate in a wedding

So, you have been asked to be in a wedding?

Being asked to participate in a friends or relatives wedding can be a great honor. It can be fun. But it can also be very expensive. Here are some questions to ask BEFORE you agree to participate…

  • Do not say yes about the tux or dress until you talk costs
  • Do NOT go into debt
  • If the costs are getting out of hand, SPEAK UP!
  • Don’t agree to be in the wedding if it will be too much for you. Remember, it is also an honor to just be a guest.

The Washington Post has a recent article on this very subject. Go here to check it out.

Christmas is the Season to: Get Engaged

So you are going to get married

Christmas Day is usually the number one day of the year for couples to get engaged (followed by Valentine’s Day and Christmas Eve) according to Wedding Wire. The next big step after getting engaged is planning the wedding and the first step in that regard is when and how much?

marriage engagement

The Knot does an annual wedding-cost survey and  last year, the average cost of a wedding was $33,391. And that does NOT include the honeymoon.

How much should YOU spend on your wedding? The Washington Post just today published a great article on just this subject. Their advice? Do what you can afford.

Check out the article at the Washington Post for some great advice on how much to spend on your wedding.

My advice? Do not spend more than $5000. You can have a memorable wedding on that budget and I have officiated many wonderful weddings that cost even less than that.

Tips on Writing Your Own Marriage Vows

Should you write your own wedding vows?

wedding vows

Your wedding is coming up. You have to decide on your vows. Should you write your own vows? Or let your wedding officiant use traditional ones? It’s sometimes not an easy question to answer.

Traditional Vows?

While there are a number of variations, the most commonly known traditional vow is: “I, ______, take thee, ______, to be my wedded husband/wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.” The officiant reads one line at a time, and the soon-to-be-weds repeat said line in order to affirm their commitment to one another. If you choose to recite traditional vows, your officiant can help you select the set that is most appropriate and meaningful to both you and your partner.Some couples opt to write their own vows in order to personalize their ceremony further. Writing personalized vows is a way to proclaim your love for one another in your own words.

Writing Your Own Vows

Thinking of adding your own personal touch? Here are some quick and easy tips:
1. Let your officiant help you
Some religions still require both parties to recite a portion of traditional vows. Speak with your officiant to work out any necessary details so the ceremony goes seamlessly.
2. Research online and see what others have used
Think back to wedding you’ve been to and listen closely at the ones you’re attending this season. And if you haven’t been to many weddings, search online for videos and transcripts. A little inspiration can go a long way!
3. Talk with each other about your relationship
Write down bullet points about your fiancé, the first time you met, when you knew you were in love, and exactly why you are getting married. These notes will help you form complete thoughts as well as large points you want to highlight in your vows.
4. Decide on some promises.
You can combine broad promises along with more specific ones. Mix it up but ensure all your promises are true to you and your partner’s relationship.
5. Be sure to write it out
Writing a rough draft that you edit numerous times will usually produce the best results. Some couples wait until the day of and scrawl their vows out while they are getting ready. Writing beforehand can ensure cohesive thoughts, allow you to edit the areas that are not perfect and to practice.
One aspect couples often overlook is the presentation of their vows. You should write your final copy on a neat piece of paper or some type of stationary that matches your wedding theme. In photos of the vow exchange you will see whatever the vows are written on so having a crumpled piece of paper will appear disheveled.
DO NOT use your phone. Besides all of the mishaps that occur using your cellphone (screen going dark, having to thumb down the page, phone vibrating) it’s just plain tacky and shows a lack of preparation.
6. Keep your vows to one or two minutes at most
If your vows are longer than two minutes, consider editing them down. Focus on the major promises you want to make in front of your nearest and dearest. You can also write your partner a sweet note to read the morning of the wedding, or give a toast during the reception.
7. Practice, Practice, Practice!!!
Practicing your vows out loud will allow you to catch run on sentences and tongue twisters. If you hear any, rewrite them. The tone you speak with should be heartfelt but conversational. It should not sound as if you are giving a speech. And you’ll be more comfortable speaking towards your significant other and all your guests the day of if you practiced beforehand.
Choosing to write your own vows is part of the day you will remember forever. It is a significant task to write your vows and recite them with family and friends intently watching. Some people become overwhelmed with emotion and are unable to share their vows. Have a back up plan in case this happens. Perhaps, the officiant can even read the vows for you if you can’t. Be calm and remember that everyone in attendance is there to support you and your new beginning!

Wedding Unity Sand Ceremony

Unity Sand Ceremony

Traditionally, weddings in the past have been a pretty standardized affair. Because of movies and television most people could summarize the ceremony from memory. In recent times however, weddings have become more personalized, with couples adding or subtracting components to the ceremony to suit their personal preferences.

unity sand ceremony
Photo courtesy of Eileen Rivaud

One example of a modern wedding innovation is the Unity Sand Ceremony. Like the unity candle which many people are familiar with, the sand ceremony ads a personal, non-traditional touch to a wedding ceremony. It is a symbolic, poignant moment during the ceremony where a couple visually demonstrate their joining as a couple.

The sand ceremony has quickly gained in popularity for several good reasons. It’s rather simple. It is visually appealing. And it is an easily modified ritual that contributes a bit of worldliness and also leaves the newlyweds with a meaningful souvenir of their big day.

One big added benefit is that, unlike the unity candle, this wedding ceremony isn’t complicated by a light breeze. I can’t tell you how many times I have had unity candles blown out by the wind during outside wedding ceremonies. Unity sand ceremonies can be used outdoors with no problem at all.

Following below is one example of a sand ceremony.

Example Sand Ceremony

GROOM and BRIDE you have just sealed your relationship by the giving and receiving of rings and this is a pledge between two people who agree that they will commit themselves to one another throughout their lives.

Today, this relationship is also symbolized through the pouring of these two individual containers of sand. One, representing you, GROOM and One Representing you BRIDE and all that you were, all that you are, and all that you will ever be.

As these two containers of sand are poured into the third container, the individual containers of sand will no longer exist, but will be joined together as one.

Just as these grains of sand can never be separated, our prayer for you today is that your lives together would be blended like the seven seas and may your love swirl around each other like the changing tides.

Changing Your Name in SC After Getting Married

Steps to Change Your Name in SC After Marriage

Many people ask me about how to go abut changing their name after they are married. It is actually a simple process in theory, but can be complicated if one is unprepared.

After your marriage ceremony you will receive an original of your license that is in fact your new Certificate of Marriage. If you wish to change your name to that of your new spouse or partner, the first step is to change your name with the Social Security administration.

social security name change

 

You can apply for a name change at the SS office in person or via mail.

For more information on a SS name change go here.

Note: I strongly suggest you do not mail in your original certificate of marriage if applying by mail for a new SS card. Get a certified copy from the court where you obtained your marriage license. It is only $5.00.

In SC you must do this at least 48 hours before going to the DMV to get your license or ID card with your new name.

Afterwards changing your name with SS and waiting 48 hours (wait until you get your new card if you applied by mail) you can then apply at the DMV. Bring your original marriage certificate or a certified copy with you. For more information visit the SCDMV site here.

Having a Big Wedding? 6 Wedding Bills You When Should Always Use a Credit Card to Pay

6 Wedding Bills You Should Always Charge on a Credit Card

paying for your wedding

If you are having a large wedding you are certainly going to incur some big charges. A good way to pay those bills is by using a credit card. Not su much to defer the costs, but to protect yourself if the items are defective or deficient in any way. A good article concerning what wedding costs you should charge can be found here.

The article discusses 6 items you should always charge. They are;

  1. Deposits
  2. Wedding Planner Fees
  3. Day of services
  4. Wedding Dress
  5. Anything bought online
  6. Travel Expenses

For a more in depth discussion take a look at the article.

What is a Certified Copy of a Marriage License

What is a certified copy of your marriage license and do you need one?

certified copy of your marriage license

A certified copy of your marriage license is a copy of the Court’s license on record. It may be necessary to show a certified copy to the appropriate entities for a legal name change, for other legitimate purposes, or for genealogical research. A certified copy does not expire. Certified copies of your marriage license cannot be obtained until your license has been filed and accepted by the County Probate Court where you obtained your license. If you would like to request a certified copy of your marriage license from the County Probate Court, you have to complete a form and pay a fee, usually $5.

In South Carolina, when you get married you are given 3 originals of your marriage license. All have the court seal imprinted on them so they are originals. You are given one copy to keep and this original is usually sufficient for all your needs. However, if you have to send your marriage license off somewhere out of your possession, you should get a certified copy. You do not want your original to get lost.

You will usually need to wait one to two weeks to get a certified copy after your wedding, but it might take longer. Your wedding officiant has 15 days to send the other two completed copies of your marriage license back to the court for filing. It then takes the court a few days to actually file the license.

Remember, you are not married until you exchange vows (oaths) and the marriage licensed is signed by all parties and returned to the court.

Here is how to obtain a copy of your marriage license from Richland County, SC.

Here is how to obtain a copy of your marriage license from Lexington County, SC.

Simple and Inexpensive Honeymoons

If you’re looking for some affordable honeymoon trips to begin your marriage on the right financial foot, check out the amazing destinations below. Each is romantic in its own way and, best of all, you can enjoy most of them while spending only half as much as the average American newlyweds, depending on where you live and how far you have to travel.

Here are some tips from the Simple Dollar to help you get started with planning your honeymoon from a financial perspective:

Set a budget: This is the most important step when planning your honeymoon. It’s amazing to dream about an amazing Mediterranean cruise through Italy and Greece, but if you want to keep your spending under $2,500, that type of honeymoon would definitely break your budget.

Itemize your budget: A budget shouldn’t just be a number. You should really sit down and itemize it. For example, calculate how much you want to spend on flights, the hotel, food, activities and excursions, and even souvenirs. All of this will give you a clearer idea of what kind of destination you can afford.

Even better, choose a place that is all-inclusive. That’s what I did for my honeymoon: Since I write about budgeting for a living, I didn’t want to be stressed with small purchasing decisions — like if I wanted an extra glass of wine at dinner. (Spoiler alert: I always got the extra glass!)

Go non-traditional: It sounds great to lay on a Caribbean beach with a little umbrella drink in your hand, but there are many places to see right here in the U.S. that might offer more adventure, culture, or sightseeing that’s off the beaten path. You can go hiking, camping, see the national parks, or couch-surf your way across the country. I know that doesn’t sound romantic — but for the right couple, it would be downright memorable and fun. This is your time as a newly married couple, and no one else’s — so don’t be afraid to spend it the way you want to.

It’s for relaxing: One thing to remember about honeymoons is that they are for relaxing! I find that many people try to cram as much as possible into their honeymoons, setting up tours and wine tastings and excursions all day long. This type of trip is absolutely awesome when you’re a couple or a family and you want to see the world — but trust me, after months of planning a wedding, it really is best to relax. Find a place where you and your new spouse can sleep in without feeling guilty that you’re missing out. You can always go on another vacation in the future, so use this one as a chance to enjoy the quiet after the wedding.

Read along further in the article and you will find that the number one destination they recommend is Charleston, SC! More on Charleston as a honeymoon destination in a later article. If you need a wedding officiant, we are happy to meet you in Charleston and perform the ceremony as well!