Hi again! So you’ve planned your guest list, sent out the invitations and now have your final numbers. In the end the people that you’ve invited are generally those who are a special part of your life, so why leave them as a spectator in your big day? Include them!

Answering one of the first questions I am asked about this…Why? Well, apart from it extending a courtesy to those who have come along, it also keeps your guests engaged and involved. Your guests are more invested if they are included.

Now for the big question… How? There are many ways of including your guests, whether it’s in a small or large way, and your celebrant should be able to guide you on different things that can be done. My ceremonies usually include a moment where all of your guests have a “We Do” moment, that is… “do you all support this marriage, will you celebrate with our couple etc” to which they all answer with a hearty “We Do” – much better than the “Speak now or forever hold your peace” moment.

If you have particular friends or family members who you would like to be involved, then perhaps a reading, or the ring blessing, or involve them in a hand-fasting or other ritual – I’ve got a few up my sleeve. To have more guests included – consider a ring warming ceremony, or a group reading, or even a “flash-mob” style of surprise for the rest of your guests.

Involving immediate family members may be important to you – the easy thing to do for two people is to have them be your witnesses. Your witnesses can be anyone – commonly, couples will have their Best-Man and Maid-Of-Honour as their witnesses, but maybe consider Mum’s, Grandparents, children (if they are over 18) or someone else of significance. It’s a huge honour to be asked.

Including children (even babies, or fur-babies) adds significance, memorability and that “aww” moment to a ceremony. Look at love-locks, sand ceremonies, having them in your bridal party, vows to children, butterflies, balloons or doves. One of the nicest ceremonies I have had with the kids involved was a love lock ceremony… they each had a padlock which they connected to a personalised “family tree”, once they had closed their locks, the keys were thrown into the water (yes, we were on a boat, in a favourite holiday spot). When the next baby was born, we went back to the same place, added his padlock to the tree and threw his key in with the others… the family symbolically forever locked together.

I always say that your wedding day is Your Day, and absolutely it is, but remember that those that are there, are there to support you and give you their love, so maybe include them… it’ll make them feel a bit special on your big day too, and importantly, they will remember your day.

Toni Elsley – Breathe Easy Weddings

CLICK HERE to find out more about Toni.

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