During the past year wedding ceremonies changed. It wasn’t a choice – COVID forced couples to reckon with what is most important. The answer is simple. Love. Hopefully you followed our advice to postpone the mega party and have two wedding celebrations: an intimate ceremony first, and then a larger affair later. Happily, later is almost here! As our communities receive vaccinations and it becomes safer to gather, celebrating with loved ones is becoming a reality.
Therefore, the next question is, How to handle the ceremony? There are many ways to think about this. Of course, one option is to skip the ceremony and just have a big party. But what fun is that? You originally wanted your friends and family to be there. Certainly, they also wanted to be a part of this memorable life event. Yes, even if you live-streamed the first time around. To put it differently, if you have a second ceremony you can capture the best of all worlds. There are many ways to make this happen!
Keep it simple. Use the same vows and replicate the ceremony as it was. You can be serious, or provide a little commentary to help convey what each of you was thinking about during this time. You can share how you incorporated loved ones who were absent. Or how you pulled off live streaming. For instance, you can even describe what you were wearing and what the weather was like. An outdoor winter wedding – and you were prepared with parkas and snow boots. Or not so much – the strapless gown might have looked stunning in the snow, but you were freezing! Let your guests feel the experience.
During your micro-wedding, was it all serious? Or did you have a down-and-dirty legal ceremony without any frills? Try something different this second time around. Craft vows that are fun and authentic. You’ve had some time as a married couple so tap into these experiences to poke fun at some of the challenges of living together. “I promise to love you and your dirty socks on the living room sofa.” This is an excellent opportunity to tap into your JP or notary for help. Especially if they were the one who married you the first time.
Another way to express your love is to have vow renewals. No need to pretend that this is the first go around. Embrace the time in between the first ceremony and the second. Reflect on the challenges of the previous year or two. What have you learned? How have you grown? Professional officiants are practiced in hearing stories and eliciting the key points. Their skills are priceless – and they are available to either write the vows or develop them with you, together.
As noted above, involving your wedding officiant in the process makes your life easier. They can help you decide the best way forward for your particular circumstances. If you don’t want to use the same person who officiated the first time, you can find your perfect JP or notary at findaJP.com. As restrictions begin to be lifted, make sure that you are staying safe. See our state-by-state group gathering guidelines.
★ Writing Your Own Vows: How-To Tips
★ Another article, Writing a Ceremony with Meaning
★ FindaJP’s Pinterest Board: Wedding Vows
★ Post-covid wedding ceremonies that unite and heal
★ COVID-19 Information for wedding couples
Loretta Jay is the Managing Member of the Justice of the Peace Association. This is the membership organization for professional marriage officiants. All officiants’ profiles are searchable at findaJP.com, the place where Couples who Click can find their perfect JP.