Ah, weddings. The grand matinee where love is the star, and everyone else is, well, somewhere between supporting cast and background extras. But let’s cut to the chase: the wedding world can sometimes feel like a carnival, and not the fun kind with fairy floss and dodgem cars. So, how do you make sure your ceremony isn’t just another sideshow? Join me, Josh Withers, in deciding what to keep and what to remove from your ceremony in “Cut & Paste: Curating A Wedding That’s Uniquely You.”

Your ceremony should be as unique as your fingerprint, not a carbon copy of every Pinterest board ever created (unless that’s your jam, and that’s okay too). So, mute the background noise, focus on what truly matters, and create a day that’s as unforgettable as the first time you said, “I love you.” Because this is your story, and it deserves to be told in a way that’s authentically, unmistakably you.

Image: Bulb Creative Photography

Ditch the “Shoulds” and “Musts”

First things first, let’s talk about the “shoulds” and “musts” that often rear their heads when you’re planning a wedding. You “should” have a three-tier cake, you “must” have a flower girl, and you “should” absolutely throw that bouquet like you’re competing in the Olympics. But here’s the kicker: who wrote this script? Your wedding isn’t a period drama; it’s the public premiere of your story as a couple. The only should, should be that you both are present. Everything else has a question mark next to it.

The Power of Intentionality

The best ceremonies are like a well-crafted espresso: intentional and memorable. Every element, from the playlist to the vows, should be a reflection of you and your partner and what you’re creating: a marriage. Ask yourself, what will make you grin like a Cheshire cat years down the line? Will it be your niece chucking rose petals, or would you prefer her to recite a poem that makes everyone’s heart swell? The choice is yours, and it should be as meaningful as a handwritten love letter.

Your Personal Brand of Style

Now, let’s roll up our sleeves and dive into the fun stuff: making the ceremony unmistakably smell, sound, and look like you. Are you both mad about hiking? Why not exchange vows on a mountain peak? More into the surf and sand? A beach ceremony with the ocean as your backdrop could be just the ticket. From handcrafted décor to a playlist that’s more ‘you’ than your Spotify algorithm, the possibilities are endless.

There’s been a trend in recent years towards the wedding being a kind of dress-up party where we chase that essence of that Roaring Twenties glamour, complete with jazz, flappers, and lavish soirées, which is so much fun, but is it you?

Do the hard work and figure out who you both are as a couple. What are your goals and ambitions? Where will you be in 5, 10, 50 years? What is this marriage for and how can we celebrate it today?

Image: Luke Fletcher

Image: House Of Love Photography

The Vows: Your Love, Your Words

The vows are the emotional crescendo of any marriage ceremony. My goal as a celebrant is to build u pto the vows, step away and let you breath your marriage to life, then come back in and basically play you out of the ceremony. I really do think they’re that important and beautiful. Whether you’re going for the tried-and-true from Google or crafting your own, make sure they’re a mirror of your relationship. If you’re the type to crack a joke even in the most sentimental moments, then by all means, make ’em laugh. If you’re the kind to wear your heart on your sleeve, then let those tears flow, my friend.

The Guest List: Quality Over Quantity

Let’s be clear: your wedding isn’t a gala dinner that needs bums on every seat. Invite the people who’ve been the supporting characters in your love story. This isn’t just a crowd; it’s an ensemble cast of people who genuinely adore you.

No-one deserves an invite, but everyone who is an active part of celebrating and encouraging your life and marriage together deserves to be there.

The Celebrant: The Narrator of Your Story

Last but absolutely not least, your celebrant isn’t just the person who makes your union official; they’re the narrator of your love story. Choose a celebrant who understands your vision, your quirks, and the unique flavour of your love. Choose a celebrant who can accurately celebrate you both.

If you’re stuck for a guess I can sincerely recommend this article’s author (wink wink!)…

Image: Bulb Creative

10 Things You Can Cut From Your Wedding Ceremony 

I love the wedding ceremony, it’s a beautiful tapestry of love, commitment, and sometimes, a smattering of elements that make you wonder, “Why is this even here?” Let’s be honest, not everything in a traditional ceremony speaks to every couple. I’ve made an international career in pulling the wedding ceremony to pieces and then rebuilding it with craft and intention.

So, if you’re looking to make room for more of what matters, you’ve come to the right place.

1. The Processional Parade: Do you need a procession that rivals the cast of a Broadway musical? Simplify it. The fewer people you have marching down the aisle, the sooner you can get to the good stuff—like saying “I do.”
2. The Bouquet and Garter Toss: Unless you’re keen on turning your wedding into a sporting event, these can easily be skipped. Use that time for an extra dance or a heartfelt toast instead.
3. Unity Ceremonies: Sand, candles, and even cocktails have had their moments in the unity ceremony spotlight. But if mixing substances doesn’t mix well with your vision, feel free to ditch it.
4. Multiple Readings: A well-chosen reading can be a beautiful thing, but too many can turn your ceremony into a literary marathon. If you’re going to have one, make it count. If not, no big deal.
5. The Receiving Line: This tradition can eat up a lot of time. Why not visit each table during the reception instead? It’s more personal and leaves more time for the ceremony itself.
6. Overly Elaborate Décor: Sometimes less is more. Cutting back on décor not only saves time but also lets the focus stay where it should be—on you and your love.
7. The Ring Warming: Passing your rings through the crowd for blessings is sweet but time-consuming. If you’re not attached to it, consider a more intimate exchange.
8. Lengthy Vows: Vows are the heart of the ceremony, but they don’t have to be an epic saga. Keep them concise and meaningful, and you’ll have more time for other personalised elements. If you have a lot to say, consider putting it in a letter.
9. The Guest Book: Do you need to watch people sign a book? Move this to the reception area and reclaim those precious minutes for something more engaging.
10. The Exit Strategy: The grand exit is fun but not a must-have. If you’re not keen on a dramatic farewell, use that time to mingle with your guests or sneak in an extra dance.

Image: Tessa Shannon

Remember, your wedding ceremony is your canvas. Feel free to paint it with the colours that resonate with you, not just the one’s tradition hands you. By cutting out what doesn’t serve your vision, you make room for what does—more love, more joy, and more moments that you’ll treasure forever.

Image: Bulb Creative

About Josh WithersJosh Withers creates epic marriage ceremonies for adventurous couples. He is a fun-loving, cheeky, and creative wedding celebrant who loves to make weddings memorable and meaningful. Josh believes that weddings are not just about signing papers and saying vows, but about celebrating the unique story and personality of each couple. He crafts a ceremony that reflects your style, values, and sense of humour. Josh is based on the Gold Coast, Australia, but travels around the world every week to officiate awesome weddings.

He has performed weddings in New Zealand, Fiji, Bali, Canada, Iceland, Europe, and the USA. Josh is also a podcaster, blogger, speaker, and author on all things wedding-related. He is passionate about helping couples plan their dream weddings without stress or drama. If you are looking for a wedding celebrant who will make you laugh, cry, and smile all at the same time, look no further than Josh Withers.