We have a guest post today from somebody very special!

From the moment I met the fabulous Natasha Johnson of Engaged & Ready (after a few rosé cocktails at the Cosmo Blog Awards FYI), I just knew I had to share both her, and her wisdom, with you guys.

Natasha not only blogs about all things weddings with a specialty in ceremonies, but she is also a Humanist Wedding Celebrant herself, who is dedicated to making her couples’ vows as meaningful, personal and memorable as possible.

She was sharing her expert insights with myself and Marko (we’re having a bit of a DIY ceremony), and I just knew I couldn’t keep her to myself and asked if she’d mind contributing to the blog.

(I’m so glad she said yes!)

So to help you plan a truly special ceremony (that your guests won’t nod off during), it’s over to you Natasha…

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Photo by Amy & Jordan Photography via Bridal Musings

We’ve all been there, haven’t we?

You know, a wedding ceremony of a friend or relative where we’ve done our best to take a quick glance at our watches without anyone noticing (but someone always does!).

Where during the ceremony your thoughts range from how much your shoes hurt your feet even though the day has only just begun, to the fab food that’s going to be served at the wedding reception.

Basically, our minds are zeroed in on anything and everything other than the actual ceremony happening in front of our eyes.

Yes, we’ve all been there.

But times are changing. Thank goodness.

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Photo by Phil Chester via Bridal Musings

Couples are getting much more clued up and savvier about their wedding ceremonies, and where they can, they are having much more of an input in them, too.

In recognising that their ceremony is a formal declaration of their commitment to each other, they now also recognise that their ceremony is their ceremony, to pour their hearts into and to be personalised, romanticised, individualised and, okay I’ve run out of –ised words, but you get my point, don’t you?

How To Make your Ceremony Special for You and Your Guests | Natasha Johnson | Bridal Musings Wedding Blog

Photo by Die Hochzeitsfotografen via Bridal Musings

Of course a wedding ceremony is not a form of wedding entertainment, but there is no reason why it shouldn’t be entertaining for you and your guests.

The more you and your guests are invested in your ceremony, the more they will feel a part of your commitment, especially as many of them will have already been witnesses to your love story and are some of the greatest supporters, champions, and cheerleaders in your life.

The more personal your ceremony is, the more uplifting, joyous and meaningful it will be.

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Photo by Maui Maka Photography via Bridal Musings

So let’s take a look at five ways that you can make your ceremony that little bit more special for you and your nearest and dearest. From simple, subtle personalisations to full-on guest participation there really is something for everyone’s tastes.

And the good news is that these suggestions are easy to implement, won’t add to your wedding planning (not too much, anyway) and what’s more, most don’t cost a thing or cost very little.

Now that’s always good to hear, isn’t it?

1. Change up the Seating

How To Make your Ceremony Special for You and Your Guests | Natasha Johnson | Bridal Musings Wedding Blog

Photo by Studio 1208 via Bridal Musings

Of all things that you can do to improve the ceremony experience for your friends and family, this has got to be one of the easiest to do.

With a little thought and a bit of re-jigging, changing the way your guests sit or stand can work wonders for your ceremony. As an example, circular and semi-circular seating is so much warmer and intimate than boxed rows and can create greater intimacy and proximity between you and your guests.

And even how you stand as well can really help the ceremony to have a warm and open vibe.

Try not to stand with your backs to any of your guests either and maybe even think about standing next to your husband or wife-to-be and facing your friends and family for the maximum intimate effect.

2. Include a Friends and Family Vow

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Photo by Agata Jensen via Engaged & Ready

Before you say your own vows, get your friends and family to respond to a communal vow to show their love and support of you.

It’s a wonderful way to take them from casual spectator to full-on participant mode.

Your guests will love the chance to vocalise their happiness and you will love hearing those special people in your lives give their blessing to you both, en masse.

3. Have a Group Song

How To Make your Ceremony Special for You and Your Guests | Natasha Johnson | Bridal Musings Wedding Blog 2

Photo by James & Lianne Photography via Bridal Musings

If like me, your inner Beyoncé doesn’t need much encouragement to show herself, then maybe a group song during your ceremony would be perfect for you.

Singing is such a fun, joyous, communal activity at any time, but during a wedding ceremony it can really bring even more sense of unity to the occasion.

And it really doesn’t matter that everyone may be a little flat or out-of-tune either, that adds to the fun!

And now, where possible, couples are choosing their favourite/most sentimental/most romantic pop songs as group songs, which is another fab way of bringing a personal touch to the ceremony, by using a song that actually means something to the two of you.

4. Have a Group Reading

How To Make your Ceremony Special for You and Your Guests | Natasha Johnson | Bridal Musings Wedding Blog 3

Photo by Eloy Muñoz Photography

As an alternative to singing, some couples love to have their guests take part in a group reading.

Why put one or two people under pressure to deliver a reading when you can have all your guests do it!

Usually the easiest way to do this is to have a reading which can be done in a ‘call and response,’ format.

This means one person, usually the person leading the ceremony, says a line or two, which is then followed by your guests continuing with the next few lines.

A really good reading that this works in this way is ‘The Apache Wedding Blessing.’ It’s a great reading anyway but done in a ‘call and response’ fashion with your friends and family at the helm, it certainly has the potential to make your ceremony even more special.

5. Have your Friends and Family Bless your Rings

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Photo by Agata Jensen via Engaged & Ready

Before you exchange your wedding rings, why not have them passed around among your guests so that they can offer their good vibes and blessings to you, before you put them on?

This is such an awesome way to include your ceremony guests and there is something really quite special in wearing your wedding rings knowing that every single person at your wedding has not only held on to them, but has also passed on their good wishes to you through your rings.

I cannot think of anything lovelier.

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Photo by Kasia Bacq via Bridal Musings

And there you have it, five fun and easy ways to bring a personal touch to your ceremony.

And if none of these quite tick the box for you, then hopefully, they’ll leave you inspired to think up some of your own ideas to make your ceremony just the way you’d like it to be.

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Photo by Craig Bruce, Brilliant Studios via Bridal Musings

Oh I just love every single one of those ideas – and we’re already planning on including a few of them in our own ceremony!

Having a meaningful ceremony, whether it’s religious, secular or something in between is so important, and it really sets the tone for a special day.

Thanks so much to Natasha for sharing her wisdom, and be sure to bookmark Engaged & Ready for all the inspiration and advice you could possibly need for your wedding ceremony.

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