The Stenning Wedding Ceremony | A reflection of our intimate backyard wedding

As mentioned in my latest recap, part of the reason I took a couple of months off the blog this summer was so that I could focus on getting married. That’s right – after five-and-a-half years of navigating a long-distance relationship and questioning if we could ever make this relationship work, Dave and I finally took the plunge and tied the knot. Yay!

Since I put so much time and effort into the planning of this wedding and it is undoubtedly one of the best days of my life, I thought it would be nice to highlight some of my favorite details and memorable moments.

Starting with the ceremony, here is a reflection of Dave and I’s intimate backyard wedding:

Being the control freak I am, I wrote plaigarised the entire ceremony. 

One of the best things about the officiant we hired was that he was pretty much open to anything and everything. He provided us with an outline of how ceremonies tend to go along with sample wordings we could pull from, but ultimately it was up to us to decide what was said and what order things happened in.

Now, I don’t know if most people realize this prior to planning their weddings, but ceremonies can be complicated things. I didn’t want to just use the generic samples provided for us but also didn’t want to create it from scratch so ended up spending hours googling and stealing all the things I liked from others. (I would’ve failed so bad if this were a paper for university.)

But hey, I did tailor everything to our specific relationship! I added elements here and there that made me smile (such as continuing to go on adventures together – both real and virtual) and created a theme that I feel is important to the future success of our marriage (not getting complacent just because we’re finally together).

We got married in my parent’s backyard under their beautiful giant tree.

Originally I wanted Dave and I to run off somewhere by ourselves to get married, but financially we decided it’d be better to have it at home so that’s what we did (which is a bit funny because I still managed to spend a lot of money on our wedding, I’m not sure it was that much cheaper).

We had the entire wedding in my parent’s backyard and it was actually pretty perfect. Their backyard is huge so we had plenty of space for everything we needed and the sole tree in the backyard ended up being a beautiful backdrop for our ceremony. All I did was add some ribbon streamers and an aisle runner and it was pretty much good to go. (Well, I did add like eight hundred other things too, but really, the streamers were my favorite. So colorful and fun!)

Our dads played “Concerning Hobbits” on acoustic guitars as I walked down the aisle.

Okay, I’m not going to lie, this was one of the things I was most excited for during our wedding ceremony (after marrying Dave, of course). As we were having an intimate wedding, there was no need for a huge wedding party; we decided it’d just be me walking down the aisle. And while I could’ve played some sweet song on my iPhone and had my dad accompany me like most brides do, I decided to go with something a bit different.

I had my dad and Dave’s dad learn “Concerning Hobbits” on their acoustic guitars and play it as a duet while I walked down the aisle. (And “Concerning Hobbits”, for those who might not know, is a song from Lord of the Rings which is a series that Dave and I both love, being the nerds we are.) For only being able to practice it once together before the big day (since, you know, they live in different countries), they played it beautifully on the big day and I absolutely loved it.

(Seriously, if you’re ever planning your wedding, don’t be afraid to make changes to reflect your relationship or what makes you happy. It’s so worth it.)

Dave was nervous about messing up the ceremony, but it was everyone else who failed.

One of the funniest things to me was the amount of pre-wedding stress Dave put upon himself out of fear that he’d mess everything up when he was the only one who did everything right!

The officiant made the biggest mistake and it’s one that anyone who knows me would facepalm at – he said my name wrong. That’s right. I always make a big deal about the proper way to pronounce my name, our officiant was no different, and yet our wedding started with him calling me “Ass-tea.” Of course I was quick to correct him. I didn’t care if everyone else knew the right way to say my name or if it created an awkward moment in the ceremony, there was no way I was going to continue letting him say my name wrong on my special day. So yeah, that was fun!

And yes, I made a slight fumble as well. Even though I put together the script and read it 800 times over before the big day, when it came to the “repeat after me” bit I ended up mixing up some words. But unlike Dave, I wasn’t bothered by the mistake. I’m not perfect and that’s okay.

Our moms acted as ring bearers and handed us the rings during the ceremony.

Since I involved our dads in the wedding ceremony by having them play their acoustic guitars, I wanted to find a way to incorporate our mothers as well. Since we didn’t have a wedding party, I decided to have the mothers responsible for the rings and to pass them off to us during the ceremony. It was slightly nerve-wracking as if there was anyone who would be likely to drop our rings in the rocks and lose them, it’d be one of our moms, but they passed them off with no worries. (I also had them sign our wedding license as our witnesses.)

For our unity ceremony, we decided to burn our ships.

Prior to meeting our wedding officiant, I had no idea what a “burning our ships” unity ceremony was. And, according to Google, it looks like barely anyone else knows of it either. But after hearing our officiant describe it and noticing the connections to our relationship, we decided it was the perfect unity ceremony for us.

According to our wedding officiant, the burning of the ships relates to Cortes. In 1519, he and his men arrived in Veracruz and he ordered them to burn their ships so they would continue their quest without any means of retreat. In the sense of our relationship then, the burning of our boats symbolized the everlasting commitment we were making to each other. We were, in a sense, burning any opportunities for leaving each other and assuring one another that we would fight together past whatever obstacles our relationship faced until the every end.

We also liked this unity ceremony because we felt it reflected our relationship in a couple of other ways. For one, Dave and I met on an online game where our characters were pirates. Burning our boats felt like a perfect tribute to our virtual beginnings (and yes, I even printed pictures of our pirates from the game and placed in them in boats to burn). Being able to set fire to our ships also helped symbolize the end of our long-distance journey. Though we never traveled by boats to visit one another as planes are much more convenient, the necessity of travel as played a huge part in our relationship up until now and with this wedding we are finally moving into a place where we will no longer need to rely on it.

 

Of course, burning our ships was a lot easier said than done.

Dave and I actually practiced lighting our ships the day before and had no problem, but of course things don’t always work out on the big day. The first big issue with burning our boats during the ceremony was that we forgot our lighters.

Now, don’t get me wrong, we had like six lighters purchased solely for that reason – we just forgot to set them up for the ceremony. So while our pastor was sharing the significance of our unity ceremony, I had to signal for my mom to run inside and grab the lighters. (Sorry for making you miss part of the ceremony, mom.)

Then, once we got the lighters and started attempting to light our boats, they would not catch on fire! The wind was a bit stronger the day of our ceremony and Dave and I probably spent five minutes awkwardly trying to light our fire while everyone watched. I mean, really, what does it mean when you create a unity ceremony which such significance and then your boats don’t burn? Haha.

But don’t worry, we got it mostly going before we continued on with our vows and by the end of the ceremony our boats were mostly burnt away.

And for some reason I decided to wave like royalty while exiting down the aisle.

One of the last things I want to mention, which is also one of the things I didn’t notice until we received our pictures back from our photographer, was that I decided to do some sort of princess wave while walking back down the aisle with Dave at the end of our ceremony. Seriously, if you had any doubt that I’m an awkward fool…

I think that’s it! Those are my favorite details and most memorable moments from the ceremony. What do you think? Are there any parts of our ceremony that took you by surprise or made you laugh? Please share in the comments below! And if you want to see some photographs from our wedding instead of my little illustrations, follow me on Twitter. I’ll share some from our photographer throughout the week. 🙂

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3 thoughts on “The Stenning Wedding Ceremony | A reflection of our intimate backyard wedding

  1. Ha ha, I love that you waved while walking down the aisle! Something I didn’t realize until after I got photos back was that Garrett and I hugged after our kiss. I think it was just a natural reaction.

    I’ve never heard of the burning ships unity ceremony either but that’s really interesting! I’m sure there are some pyro grooms out there who would be all about it!

    Speaking of grooms, the worst wedding blunder I’ve seen was similar to yours… the officiant called the groom “Jeremy” several times, but the problem was his name was Jaime. He was eventually corrected.

    And it seems like no matter how hard you try, it’s almost impossible to not spend a lot of money on a wedding. There’s a lot of details and it all adds up, especially when you want something that’s nice, even if it’s not the most high-end thing out there.

    1. Aw, I think hugging after the kiss is definitely a natural reaction. I actually even hugged and kissed Dave once I arrived to his spot after I walked down the aisle just because I was so excited. It sort of felt like jumping the gun since the whole thing is getting pronounced husband and wife and THEN kissing, but I make my own rules 😉

      Wow, at least my officiant had an idea of what my name was, even if he mispronounced it. I’m not sure if I would’ve felt better or worse if he called me by a different name like the Jaime/Jeremy situation. (Well, tbh, in my case I probably would’ve been more annoyed. Hearing it mispronounced is a common occurence so I can easily laugh it off these days.) Hopefully the bride/groom didn’t let it affect their big day!

      Yes, I agree. I pretty much bought everything at the dollar store or Walmart and yet still spent way more than I wanted. (Though really, the rentals were the biggest expense.) But hey, I loved the photos and it was nice seeing it all come together. Hopefully you felt the same way about your wedding expenses!

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