Marriage has changed a lot over the years; it used to be a simple business transaction between two patriarchs, and now it’s a celebration of two people’s love for each other. No two relationships are the same, so it’s only right that every wedding is as unique as the happy couple coming together in marriage. While some people find comfort in some long-standing wedding traditions, such as the bride taking her husband’s last name, or having a religious ceremony, others might feel that these traditions do not reflect their core beliefs and values, therefore they decide to break with tradition and try something new. Once you’ve eliminated a traditional wedding template, there are so many ways you could start your life as a married couple. Here are just a few ideas to inspire you.

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Same-sex marriages

If there is ever a time to question which wedding traditions to set aside, it’s when you’re having a non-traditional wedding. Of course, if you want to incorporate traditional elements into your same-sex wedding, that is your right, but there is some freedom in not having to follow a strict guideline. You don’t need a specific gay or lesbian wedding planning guide if you know exactly the kind of wedding you want to plan. You can include the gendered roles, or throw them out and improvise something entirely different. You can have both fathers walk both brides down the aisle, all parents walking their children down the aisle, or have the parents stay seated during the entire ceremony.

The only problems you might encounter are finding a venue that will happily accommodate a same-sex wedding. It’s also worth bearing in mind that, although they could face a fine for doing so, there is still a chance that business owners could still refuse to do something like make your wedding cake. It’s best to try and book these services early to avoid a lot of the hassle this could bring. Otherwise, just insert as much of your personality as you can into your ceremony; if there are wedding traditions that align with your beliefs, then by all means include them. If not, have fun figuring it all out.

Joining families

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Not everyone comes into a marriage completely unattached. When kids are already in the picture, marriage should be about bringing the two different families together to make a new happy family. To show the children that they are just as part of the union as you and your new spouse, add a family puzzle element to your ceremony. You can have a new family photo taken soon after the engagement, then transform it into a simple jigsaw puzzle for everyone to assemble together at the altar, symbolizing the new family coming together.

There are other ways you can make the whole ceremony about the joining of the families, instead of just the happy couple. The children of the bride can escort her down the aisle and give her away; you could include a statement about facing things as a family in your vows; or you could write individual vows to your biological children and your stepchildren to make everyone feel represented in this blended family. There are even some ceremonies that can be adjusted to include the children, such as the unity candle ceremony. Usually, the bride and groom each have a lit candle, and they use these to light a bigger candle, representing their union. Simply get the kids to join in by giving them their own candle.

Looking towards the future

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Even though divorce is no longer the taboo it used to be, everyone goes into marriage hopeful that it will last until death. For that reason, many partners like to incorporate something into their ceremony that they can cherish in the distance future. To preserve the love they both feel for each other on their wedding day, some couples use a love letters ceremony, which  involves the couple writing love letters to each other during the ceremony, then sealing them away in a box with a bottle of wine and two wine glasses. The idea is to open the box when your marriage is going through a difficult time; you’ll open the box, drink the wine together, then read how much you loved each other the day you got married. Hopefully you will never have a reason to open the box, but if you do then the contents might encourage you to work through your problems.

Alternatively, you could just decide to open a special wedding box on a certain wedding anniversary. Some couples custom design a treasure box to hold love letters, photographs, and a special bottle of wine, gin, or whisky. After saying their vows, they seal the box with some nails, or a padlock, and promise not to open it until the Silver wedding anniversary.

There are also ways to get a more long-lasting souvenir from your wedding day. Couples who plan an outdoor ceremony might even choose to get married with a tree planting ceremony. Planting a tree  a physical manifestation of the growth of your relationship. Together, you can see the tree grow just as your love and married life does, and you must nurture it in order to keep it alive. You should also choose the best tree for your future marriage. Oak is a symbol of power, and it stands strong during all things. Palms symbolize peace, and bending yet not breaking. If you want to include the whole family in the nurturing of your marriage, you could have your parents contribute small jars of soil from their gardens to represent the blending of lives and families. Alternatively, you can save the tree planting for the day after the wedding, and just gather your immediate family to plant the tree in your back garden. With every passing year of your marriage, you can watch the little plant grow into a strong tree, reminding you that your relationship has grown stronger every year.

The post Your Union Your Way: The Right Ceremony For Your Marriage appeared first on DIY Weddings Magazine.

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