While many wedding ceremonies tend to stick to the same or a similar agenda – and with good reason as they are always so moving and romantic – we can’t help but fall in love with the ones where the couple has added a little something to make it unique to them, their family or just for a bit of fun! With the help of some fabulous celebrants (we’re looking at you Jaya Bargwanna & Celebrant Clair) and archived Polka Dot Wedding features, we’ve put together some Unique & Lovely Ideas For Your Ceremony as part of our Ceremony Issue!

The Gin Thing Ceremony

An idea born in the kitchen of Newcastle celebrant Jaya Bargwanna’s house; the ‘Gin Thing’ is the lovechild of a gin devotee and cocktail enthusiast. Prior to the ceremony (or back in the HQ) a bottle of gin is prepared with sugar; a base to create a personalised liqueur. Then, mid-ceremony; while a carefully selected guest holds the bottle; the two lovers each add their own ingredient creating a tasty mix! The wording of the ceremony is upbeat – fun, cheeky; – the concoction is tasty – and the sentiment is magic.

Leave it twelve months and the flavors infuse through the gin, creating something unique, beautiful and inextricably entwined. And here lies the metaphor for marriage. Boxed up with a copy of the wedding vows; both are opened and shared on the first anniversary, creating ritual for years to come.

And as a little teaser; winning flavor combos include coffee beans + vanilla pod, skittles + lemon, ginger + lime, lemon + bitters, rose + apple, rhubarb + grapefruit. But hey, the list is endless!

Images: James Bennett Photography

Image: Benedict Sutton 

The Polaroid Camera Ceremony

Such a fun moment to add to your wedding ceremony from Celebrant Clair! Including a polaroid or Instax camera in your wedding ceremony is a simple yet fun way for you to express your commitment to one another. My fiancé & I are planning to include this in our own wedding ceremony later this year!

What happens: You and your partner take a photograph of each other using an instant camera (usually after exchanging vows, or after signing the marriage register).

“You will now each take a picture of one another. While these will be only two of many photos taken today, they’ll be a special reminder for you of the vows you’ve made today. These pictures will reflect an unedited, unique moment from your wedding ceremony, captured from the perspective of your partner. Keep these pictures safe, and when you look upon them, look back to this moment on this day and feel the love that you feel now for one another.” 

I’ve been offering use of my Instax camera as part of the wedding ceremonies I perform for couples and it’s always a fun moment in any wedding ceremony. I put the photos in a little envelope for my couples with some magnetic tape, so they have the option to display the pictures on their fridge at home. In some ceremonies, couples have included their children in this part of the ceremony, taking pictures of each other. In other ceremonies, the bridal party has taken the opportunity to photobomb the picture!

Image: Will Idea Studio

The Shot of Whiskey Ceremony

The couple below, Lannii & Andrew adores whiskey, so they both decided that this was one thing their ceremony just had to have. “Other than writing our vows, the biggest inclusion in the ceremony was that, instead of exchanging rings, we exchanged a shot of whiskey. Andrew doesn’t wear jewellery, and we both share a passion for a good Rye whiskey so it made sense for us. We used some cute glasses Andrew’s mum had bought me for Christmas. We also played paper scissors rock with my mum and sisters to determine who signed as a witness (Andrew had already decided on his mum, being an only child).”

Images by Ricky Gestro from Lanii & Andrew’s Intimate Perth City Rooftop Wedding

The Glass Ceremony

Caitlin and Rob started their very own tradition on the day, explaining “We decided to create a new tradition for our wedding (more DIY). An important part of the wedding was the coming together of two families, so we decided to centre our new tradition on that.” Caitlin’s mum Jenie is a fantastic glass artist (Jenie Yolland). “We have a piece of glass art that we created together in a workshop, and whenever Rob’s mum is in Melbourne she always books herself and her sister in for one of Jenie’s art glass-making workshops. So, we decided to represent the fusing together of two families with the fusing together of glass art.”

“Each member of the Lloyd and Yolland clans was given a small cup filled with smashed, coloured glass. During the ceremony we all poured our separate containers into one large bowl and all that glass will be used to create a form of glass art called a Geode. This incredibly specific and one-of-a-kind artwork will be displayed in our home. There is a photo of us presenting an example green and white Geode on our signing table to our guests at the ceremony, with us posing very naturally…”

Images by Matt Elliott Photos & Film from Caitlin & Rob’s Charming Outdoor Country Wedding 

The Sand Ceremony

An old favourite, the sand ceremony can be just the couple or the couple with their families joining in. You can make it even more personal by pouring different coloured sands – favourite colours, colours that represent something to you or your partner.

Melinda & Eleanor’s favourite people joined together for a sand ceremony. “We also made sure that our children, niece and nephew were included as they have always been supportive and understanding of our love for each other” tell Mel & El. It was also reflective of their decision to not abide by other traditions. “We created our own tradition by including the rainbow sand, as our love did not and does not fit into the ‘traditional’ meaning of the word marriage.”

Images by James White Photography from Melinda & Eleanor’s Casual Garden Wedding at Hazelhurst Art Gallery

The Tree Planting Ceremony

A tree-planting ceremony involves you and your beloved planting a tree together. This is particularly special if your venue is a place you can visit time and time again. It also works if you plant it into a pot together. The idea is that you’re nurturing and planting the seeds together in your marriage, just like Mother Nature.

This beautiful gesture, as well as a fun alternative to the first kiss, is shown at Trudy & Matt’s wedding! The couple ditched the first kiss. “During the ceremony, we planted a tree (a Wedding Bush, which is native to WA). We also skulled a pint of homebrew with linked arms, instead of having a first kiss.”

Images by Shoshana Kruger Photography from Trudy & Matt’s Cheery Fun Perth Wedding

The Jewellery Exchange

We all know and love the symbolism of the ring exchange, but there is an extra special ritual you can also perform and it’s especially perfect if you’re bringing the significance of children into the mix. Gifting the children in your family a special piece of jewellery while making vows to each other, gives them their special and important part in the wedding ceremony, but also brings a special bond to the family too.

At Kate & Rob’s wedding, Kate remembers, “I made special vows to Bob’s daughter, Evie, which was very important to me. I promised to love her and care for her and I thanked her for letting me into her life.”

Images by Stone & Wool Photography from Kate & Bob’s Romantic Boho NYE Wedding 

The Shot/Shoey Ceremony

From Amanda & Rhys’ gorgeous wedding, the couple chose a fun and meaningful way to honour their late parents. “We did a shot of Sambuca mid-ceremony (my late mum’s fave drink) and said a few words about her and took a swig of Rhys’ late dad’s favourite beer, HOWEVER, Rhys surprised me and us all by taking off his RM Williams boot and doing a “shoey” of his dad’s beer in his honour! Not the norm, but for us in every way. The ceremony was so important to us and is our favourite part. Our personalised vows, the fun inclusion of having our guests choose who goes first by a ‘hand up’ vote and the shot we took for our late parents.”

Images by George F Photography from Amanda & Rhys’ Romantic Darwin Wedding