Category Archives: Wedding Ceremony

A new look for a wedding tradition!

Love the idea of following the wedding traditions…but making them your own at the same time? You just need to do a little creative thinking!

For example, think about those wedding must-haves: wedding programs. Of course you’ll want to provide each guest with a program that lists the order of service, bridal party members and other important information.

Keep guests cool at your outdoor wedding with Jean M's program fans.Then take the wedding program one step further — and make it into a fan! My program fans share all the important info about your ceremony in a unique, fashionable way. Program fans are perfect for summer weddings or outdoor weddings to help keep guests informed AND cool.

You can even choose a style that showcases fun photos of you, like my Custom Accents Photo Program Fan. Add ribbon to the handle and you’ve got a unique wedding program and a keepsake guests will love!

Enjoy the new wedding program idea!

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Unity candle alternatives

The unity candle is a time-honored tradition. I love the symbolism of lives joining by uniting two flames into one during the ceremony!

But, as we all know, candles don’t work in every environment — especially outdoors. So if you’re planning an outdoor wedding, you’ll want to consider a unity candle alternative that represents your commitment AND work outdoors.

Use unity sand during your outdoor wedding to symbolize your love.One of my favorite unity candle alternatives is Unity Sand. All you need are three colors of sand (one for the bride, one for the groom and one for the officiant), three small cylinders for the individual sand colors and one large cylinder for mixing the sand.

You can add more cylinders and sand colors to involve your family, too – groom’s parents, bride’s parents, children, etc. Take turns pouring the sand into the large cylinder and you’ll have a meaningful, artistic result!

Enjoy the unity candle alternative!

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Walk down the aisle in personal style!

Want to make your walk down the aisle at your wedding ceremony even more special and more personal?

Unique personalized aisle runners from Jean MMake that walk on one of my NEW Personalized Aisle Runners! Choose a monogram aisle runner or a heart design aisle runner — each printed in your choice of color to make it match your wedding colors.

Enjoy walking down that aisle in style!

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Down the aisle in style – Part II

Welcome back for more ideas for making your walk down the ceremony aisle unforgettable!

When your wedding is outdoors, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a beautiful aisle leading up to the place you say “I do” – simply arranging the chairs in a unique way and paying attention to the overall look of the setup will help you create a stunning space for you to make your grand entrance.

Beautiful ideas for wedding ceremony decorations from Jean M.Bring the indoors out with elegant draping and crystal chandeliers hanging over your outdoor wedding space. The effect will be ultra romantic and so unique!

Accent the aisle you create outdoors with natural elements available in your ceremony locale. For instance, tall vases filled with sand, shells and local tropical blossoms will make your wedding aisle both fit in and stand out from the natural surroundings.

When you’re getting married in a sea of tropical green at your destination wedding, make the ceremony spot distinct and romantic by dressing the chairs, the ceremony canopy and the aisle in wedding white. The look will be fresh and elegant!

Small pops of color go a long way to making your walk down the aisle one filled with style. Kissing balls of brightly colored flowers hanging from the chairs along the ceremony aisle look gorgeous during the wedding and can also double as reception decorations.

Enjoy walking down the aisle in style!

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Down the aisle in style – Part I

You’ve put so much care into how YOU will look when you walk down the aisle at your wedding ceremony – your dress, your jewelry, your hair, your bouquet. And you’re sure to be gorgeous when you do!

But what about how the aisle itself will look as you walk down it? It deserves attention, too! And remember, not just you will make your way down that romantic path – your guests will walk there before you on the way to their seats for the ceremony.

So, how do you make the aisle set the stage for a beautiful wedding ceremony? Read on for some great ideas!

Make your wedding ceremony aisle beautiful with unique decorations.  The traditional white aisle runner will never, ever go out of style! But that doesn’t mean you should just unroll it and leave it at that. Make your ceremony aisle stand out by lining your aisle runner with low floral arrangements that lead up to the ceremony area. Make sure the arrangements are positioned so they don’t interfere with your or your guests’ feet.

Jewish weddings are traditionally held under a chuppah, or decorated canopy. Even if you’re not having a Jewish wedding, you can still create a beautiful arbor, canopy or small tent under which to say your vows. Decorate with a carpet of rose petals and long, elegant ribbon streamers to make the space you say “I do” romantic.

When your wedding is outdoors, use what nature provides to create a beautiful wedding aisle! Light overhanging branches to create a romantic canopy and line the path to the altar with petals.

If you’re planning on processing down the aisle on a carpet of rose petals, make sure your guests are seated from the side aisles so that carpet stays fresh and beautiful for your entrance. A pretty accent? Matching rose bouquets tied to each chair!

Come back tomorrow for even more ideas on making your walk down the wedding aisle filled with romance and style!

Enjoy the inspiration!

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Wedding Ceremony Customs Part II

There are so many ways to incorporate traditional customs and cultural touches into your unique wedding ceremony. Read on for ideas! There are more ideas in yesterday’s post, too!

Religious freedom

If you are having a ceremony outside of the church, you can incorporate elements from a variety of religions that may be represented in your or your fiancé’s heritage, or that are otherwise meaningful to the two of you. Consider including a reading from religious texts of two or three different religions. If you aren’t sure where to begin, a nondenominational or interfaith minister can usually make great suggestions. You might also consider incorporating a ritual from a tradition not directly represented by your heritage but that is symbolic to the two of you in some way — perhaps lighting a candle in memory of loved ones, as is often done in European cathedrals, or calling in the four directions in the Native American tradition.

Carry Japanese umbrellas at your wedding for an international look.Think globally, act locally

Take inspiration from weddings around the world, even if you’re not a member of that culture. Consider incorporating red accessories and decorations — the Chinese consider red the most auspicious color and it is believed to represent love, happiness and prosperity. Carry traditional Japanese umbrellas during your outdoor ceremony. Or awe your guests with a traditional French croquembouche — not actually a cake, but an impressive tower of vanilla cream-filled puffs bound with ribbons of caramel and decorated with sugared almonds.

Create your own tradition

Why not make your wedding day the start of an on-going tradition exclusive to you and your sweetie? Maybe you slip a love note to each other just before the ceremony starts — and do so again on each anniversary. Maybe, just before your first dance, you sneak off to share in a minute of silence together, to recite your favorite poem or quote to each other, or just to remind each other again of how much you love each other—a small but meaningful ritual you’ll remember always.

Enjoy the wedding custom inspiration!

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Wedding Ceremony Customs Part I

Want your wedding to be unique, personal and meaningful? Bring in wedding customs! Do some research on your heritage, your family and your background, and you’re sure to find some customs that will give you ideas for a unique wedding ceremony. Here are my ideas for incorporating wedding customs, from food to attire to colors!

Honor your ancestors

Find out what your parents, grandparents and great-grandparents did at their weddings. Choose one element from each of their weddings to replicate in your own. Maybe your band can play the song to which your grandparents danced their first dance. Maybe your centerpieces resemble those that graced each table at your mother’s wedding. Maybe you choose a dress in the same shade your grandmother wore. This can be a great opportunity to learn more about your fiancé’s family and to involve relatives on both sides in the planning process.

Eclectic treats

Set up a goody station with sweets from each country reflected in your heritage. Include little flags or description cards, so guests know the country of origin of the treats. Invite each guest to fill a bag to take home whatever global mix suits their fancy.

Decorating the hands with henna is an Indian wedding tradition.Follow your heritage

Incorporate the wedding traditions of your heritage — jumping the broom (African American), a henna party (Indian), the groom giving the bride 13 gold arras coins (Mexican), wearing a red wedding dress (Chinese) or being crowned during the ceremony (Greek). Be sure to include an explanation of the customs you include in your wedding program so guests unfamiliar with the tradition feel welcomed in your celebration.

Come back tomorrow for more wedding custom ideas!

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Get with the Wedding Program!

Want a great way to make guests feel welcome at your wedding? To help them feel included in the ceremony and introduce them to your wedding party?

Wedding programs from Jean M, like this unique wedding program fan, will help guests feel included in your ceremony.A personalized wedding program is your answer! The wedding program is a great opportunity to make your ceremony more meaningful in every way for your guests, and it’s a lovely keepsake. Here are some ideas for what to include in your wedding program.

1. A list of the elements of the ceremony

Include what comes first, second, third, etc. There’s no need to state times, just a brief explanation of what happens and who is involved. For instance, you might start with:



“Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” by Bach

Opening Prayer

Father Joseph Brown

First Reading…etc.

2. A page introducing your wedding party members

This makes your program even more useful to guests, as they’ll feel like they know your wedding party the minute they walk down the aisle! List your attendants’ names in the order that they appear in the processional and the role they are playing (Maid of Honor…Julie Adams.) If you have large wedding programs and extra space to do so, include a short note about how each bridal party member is connected to you (Maid of Honor…Julie Adams. Julie and the bride have been best friends since Kindergarten).

3. Extra notes and thoughts

The wedding program is also a great place to add any notes that you think will help guests feel more included in your wedding ceremony. For instance, if you’re having a Greek Orthodox ceremony and know that many of your guests have never been to a ceremony of this kind, you might want to include a note about the four candles and the wedding crowns. If there are any prayers or poems read aloud in another language, you could add a translation in the program, too. And if you have a memorial candle or memorial vase of flowers displayed at your ceremony in honor of a loved one, it’s lovely to note this in your wedding program, too.

The style of your wedding program will help you bring in your wedding theme. Choose a traditional folded wedding program in a classic paper for an elegant wedding, a colorful wedding program with a fun design that coordinates with your wedding theme and wedding invitation design, or even a program fan that will help guests stay cool during your outdoor ceremony!

Think of the wedding program as a guide to helping your guests get the most out of your ceremony and feel more involved in the celebration!

Enjoy getting with the wedding program!

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Wedding Celebration for the Senses – Part 2

Yesterday we covered three of the five senses and how to create a sensory experience for your wedding reception guests. Your wedding reception should incorporate elements of sight, sound, touch, taste and smell. Here’s some additional ideas on how to use your flowers, decor, food, drink and more, to create a wedding celebration for the senses.


What your guests hear will leave a big impression on how they remember the evening; no matter how elegant and sophisticated a wedding you’ve planned. If Metallica is blasting out the speakers all night, that ambiance will be ruined. So, choose carefully.

“Music is another opportunity for the bride and groom to show their individuality with what they choose to play,” Janice Blackman of Watermark Weddings said. “During the dinner portion of the evening, you keep your music a little softer with the jazz standards. But as the evening progresses, that’s when your music should kind of kick up in intensity and volume.”

Reception MusicDepending on personal taste, find some music that will appeal to all generations in attendance. Also, don’t make it so loud that guests can’t hear the people at their table conversing.


It is no surprise that people like to touch soft, velvety and plush things. So, make sure you take that into consideration when you are choosing the linens for your reception tables. You want everything to look beautiful and not be scratchy on guests’ legs when they are eating!

Reception Linens“There are so many different linen options that give texture on your table. Not only do they look beautiful, but guests like to touch and feel things so it gives them something to experience,” Blackman said. “To have your guests be able to touch, feel and see if the textiles are soft or beaded is very important.”


Although usually not considered one of the five senses, your wedding guests have a sense of time from the moment they arrive at your reception site to the end of the night. Be sure to keep the flow of your reception moving along so guests won’t feel bored or disengage from the event.

Reception TimePlan ahead to have an emcee to take charge of the goings-on after the meal. He or she can announce the toasts, perhaps politely cut-off someone who rambles on during this time, and also act as a guide for the evening’s events. This will immensely help the flow of your reception.

So, no matter what your vision is of a perfect wedding, as long as you take into account all five (or six!) senses, your guests will be transported into your vision and experience exactly what you were imagining for your wedding day!

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Wedding Celebration for the Senses – Part 1

Sight, sound, touch, taste and smell – how you interact with and experience the world around you. It is also how your guests will experience your wedding, so it is important to remember all five senses when you plan an amazing wedding experience. You wouldn’t want to forget smell only to find that, even though the candles you found were the perfect color, the smell is so overpowering that people can’t eat their food. You must think of everything; not only to avoid problems when the senses interact, but to also make sure you take advantage of every sensory opportunity for your guests’ experiences.


This is probably the first of the five senses every bride considers once the ring is on her finger. She may ask herself, “What do I want my wedding to look like? What do I want people to see, or not to see?”

Reception Lighting“You don’t have to spend all your money and put something everywhere, because guests are not going to look everywhere unless you make them,” lighting designer Bentley Meeker explained. “The human eye focuses on what it needs to see or what you want it to see. Most people see things in kind of that pyramid shape and focus on one thing and then their eye spans down.”

Reception SpotlightingThe perfect way to draw your guests’ eyes to the beautiful accents you spent a lot of time planning is through the use of a spotlight. People will look at things that are lit and tend to ignore those that are in the dark.

“If you want to light an arrangement but you’re not crazy about the linens, you can spot the floral arrangement and you wont see the linens,” Bryan Rafanelli of Rafanelli Events suggested. “You can really hand craft environments by using light sparingly.”


The sense of smell is clearly intertwined with how a person experiences an event. It can make food taste differently, make guests be instantly reminded of a certain situation, and different people will respond individually to certain smells. Smell is a sense that is sometimes ignored when planning weddings or left entirely up to the food being served; but it can be so much more.

Floral Fragrance“I love to bring in scented candles and not completely rely on the fact that the flowers are actually going to have a scent. The moment you walk into a ballroom and get the first whiff of that smell, it’s fantastic,” Robert Bolton of R.H. Bolton said.

Warm Cookie Fragrance

“Another thing I love to do is home baked cookies at the end of the evening because you get that warm, comforting smell and it makes everyone feel like family.”


The type of food you choose to serve can give your guests a genuine taste of your background as a couple, your individual family heritage and just the type of person you are in general. Are you spicy and exciting? Laid-back like comfort food? Or, all-American with hot dogs and hamburgers? Your reception menu says a lot about your character, so use it to your advantage to create a unique meal.

Reception Dinner“I think selecting food is an opportunity for a bride and groom to share their personal taste and ethnic foods that relate to their upbringing. So there’s an opportunity to have a taste of the world,” Bolton explained. “Food is a way you can create the whole ambiance – décor, music, family, fellowship, and great food.”

Come back tomorrow for the rest of our five senses advice to create a wedding reception that guests will remember!

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