It’s not every day that you plan a wedding ceremony in our beautiful city of Seattle and/or Puget Sound!

If you are being married outside of an established religious or spiritual tradition, you will have even more flexibility on the “how, what and where” of your ceremony.

A wedding day is perfect in it’s imperfections. And a ceremony is often a beautiful and imperfect part of a wedding day.

A wedding ceremony is a “one time shot” to get it right. When you start figuring in the Officiant/Minister, a nervous bride/groom, a wedding party of different personality types and family and friends with pounding hearts, a wedding ceremony can often teeter on the brink of imperfection.

And truth? Imperfection is beautiful. Little or tiny imperfections within a ritual become a part of your wedding day story and become sweet memories that will make you smile, laugh or talk happily about for years.

What you want to do is navigate around disasters that could be avoided with a few extra steps or additional planning.

As you begin the process of creating your wedding ceremony – within an religious or spiritual tradition or one that is non-denominational or secular in nature – here are four big tips to avoid crazy:

1) Tiny Aisles and “Runners” Made For Falling ~ Here is your first wedding time bomb: a set-up for disaster is a wedding aisle that isn’t wide enough and runners that aren’t properly taped or are set up on grass. Make sure that your wedding coordinator or family family friend eyeballs the ceremony aisle to insure it is wide enough for people to comfortably walk. Also, have this person do a last minute check to insure the runner is properly taped down so someone doesn’t go flying. Runners on grass are a disaster in the making because high heels get caught in the runner and grass and people slip and fall. If you are thinking about this supposedly elegant idea, nix it now.

2) No Back-Up Microphone ~ For a ceremony for 40-50+ people and depending on the location, you will want to have a reliable and professional microphone and/or amplification system. People want to hear what is going on and not being able to hear at a wedding is a huge frustration for guests. Insure that you have not one but two microphones. Oftentimes, one microphone doesn’t work and having a back-up is a built-in breeze. Also, lapel microphones are much more elegant for an Officiant/Minister to use than a hand-held mic.

3) No One to Grab The Little People ~ If you have a flower girl or ring bearer (or parade of children) walking down the aisle, you need an adult or several adults to “catch the children” as they reach the front. Not having adults in place to gather the children creates chaos as the children wander at the front as they try to figure out where to do. Take the extra steps with your Officiant/Minister to insure the children are properly welcomed and seated.

4) An Officiant Or Minister Who Just Doesn’t Get it ~ Do you want a Minister or Officiant who operates at the perfume level or the toilet water level? As you select the person to create and deliver ritual, make sure you take the time to ask your hard questions. Your options are somewhat more limited within a religious institution or church and you can still work to find the best possible fit for your and your Sweetheart.

If you are being married outside of a religious tradition, you have much more flexibility in selecting the person who will lead the heart and soul of your wedding day. Find a passionate, vibrant and committed professional who loves “all things ceremony” and who will work to create a ritual that is personalized, contemporary and at the same time, reverent. You also want to insure that your Officiant/Minister will orchestrate all pre-ceremony details for an elegant start. This is especially important if you don’t have a wedding planner or day-of planner.

Annemarie Juhlian is a Wedding Officiant, Minister & Celebrant in Seattle, Washington. She creates personalized wedding ceremonies for couples of all faiths and traditions. Take a peak at Annemarie: https://www.marriedbyannemarie.com or call 425. 922.1325