Every love story is unique, and so should be your wedding ceremony. Whether you prefer a Humanist, Secular or Non-denominational service, the aim is to fully meet your expectations and reflect your personalities and beliefs.

symbolic ceremonies web
Ph: Sebastian David Bonacchi

Tell me your story and I’ll guide you to the type of ceremony that best suits you!

Chosing the type of ceremony that trully represents you as individuals and as a couple, is not always an easy job. Some may get lost in the multitude of appellations and rituals found while roaming the internet for inspiration. Others may end up cobbling together a bunch of senseless phrases that won’t really represent their story.

Whether you’re searching for an off-the-books Secular Ceremony, a Non denominational one or a simple Blessing with an alternative Unity Ritual, or a multicultural/interfaith touch to it, here’s some things you need to know, that will give you a clearer insight on all this, helping you choose the one that best suits you!

The Symbolic Ceremony

So we’ve been mentioning the symbolic ceremony all the way through this website, but what does it really mean? Well, just because it’s called ‘symbolic’ doesn’t mean it’s not real, or that it has to be staged or soemhow faked. Actually it’s the exact same service as a classical wedding ceremony, with the processional, the recessional, readings, vows, declaration of intent and rings exchanged; and it is led by a professionally trained Celebrant, but with no legally binding value.

Having a destination wedding anywhere in the world, means you’ll have to eventually get married abroad, but that’s not always possible, or easy… or maybe, in the budget! And that’s where a symbolic ceremony (or Celebrant-led ceremony) comes in. You can take care of all the legal paperwork formalities at home and opt for a heartfelt, romantic celebration of your union elsewhere; or, you can get legally married here in Italy by signing the papers at a local City Hall (one or two days previous to your wedding date) and celebrate your special day with a meaningful personalized service. What really matters is how you feel in that very moment, when you hold hands with your partner and pledge your love to each other – and believe me, it can’t get more real than that.

So a symbolic wedding ceremony can be tailored to your own preferences, according to your personal beliefs, to your cultural background or to whatever is most important to you. Here below are some of the most common types of ceremonies explained. But as I always say, you don’t always have to follow the standards. And the best part of having a Celebrant-led ceremony, is precisely this: you can have it your way!

  • A Humanist Ceremony – is a celebration of life, representing people who do not belong to any religion, but believe in taking responsability for their actions and base their ethics on the goals of human welfare, happiness and fulfillment; find out more about Humanism -> here!
  • A Secular vs Non-denominational Ceremony – a secular wedding ceremony includes nonreligious wording, rituals, vows and readings, while a non-denominational wedding ceremony might include spiritual references. However, non-denominational ceremonies are not restricted to any particular religious denomination and therefore can be tailored to meet your own spitirual beliefs, with no actual religious involvement or enforcement. This aspect is entirely optional and based on each couple’s requests and beliefs and doesn’t come as pro or contrary to any religious tradition.
  • Interfaith and Multicultural Ceremonies – many couples often come form different cultural or religious backgrounds, and it may not seem like a big deal at first, but managing to combine and honor both cultures or faiths in one Ceremony is not such a foregone conclusion. For an interfaith or multicultural ceremony it is important that you choose your wedding Celebrant carefully, by taking into consideration their professional training and how informed and understanding they are of the different requirements of your cultural or religious background. Before booking their services, you have to be sure that your wedding Celebrant will be able to create a perfectly balanced ceremony, custom-designed to honour both families’ heritage and traditions without offending or excluding anyone present.
  • Unity rituals – are a great way of having unique and creative rituals, as an alternative or along with the traditional wedding rituals. Unity rituals are a part of the symbolic ceremonies and usually come right before the exchange of the wedding rings, representing a deeper meaning of two becoming one. However, unity rituals may sometimes replace the exchange of classical wedding rings, to something that has more value or is more meaningful to the couple. Every ritual has its own meaning and history, so it’s very important that you choose yours carefully. It has to be something that truly relates to your story, your wedding theme or your personal beliefs, otherwise it will just look like a clumsy misguided attempt to be original by all means. If you’re thinking of including a unity ritual in your ceremony, talk it over with your Celebrant – but don’t let them convince you into having one by all means! Your wedding Officiant / Celebrant should help you choose the kind of ritual that’s most significant and in line with your cultural background, love story or wedding theme. Or even custom-design one that is appropriate for your, if needed be: and believe me, there’s no limit to creativity when it comes to unity rituals!

So now that you know what type of ceremony you’re going for, all you need is someone able to reorder your thoughts, incorporate all the elements, think about what’s missing and schedule everything with the musicians, photographers (and eventually your wedding planners), giving you advice when needed and being ready to cope with the unexpected. And – what’s most important – perform your ceremony professionally, with enthusiasm and excitement.

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