We all have heard about the wedding, but there is also something that is called as a commitment ceremony. Ideally, this is more for couples who belong to the same sex like gay’s, lesbians or even transgender. This is a special ceremony, which is very similar to a wedding; but here the difference can be unstructured and loose, traditional and formal, or even secular and religious. To understand the difference between the two, let us look at each of them individually.
The commitment ceremony
There are a few key elements, which are an essential part of any commitment ceremony. Although the rules may vary depending on the law of the land, the place of worship etc. These key elements are the foundation, which every commitment ceremony has. Let us look at them
In this, the guests are welcomed by the officiant or person of authority and will also speak or give a few general advises that will help the couple in their new journey.
In this, the couples make a declaration of their intention to be a married or committed couple. Just like how in a traditional wedding, the bride and groom exchange vows, the same is applicable here.
If the commitment ceremony is done in a traditional and religious manner, the text that is read out focuses more on the love factor between the two. However, in the case of a secular ceremony, apart from the music and text, it can also include personal writings, famous quotes, literature passages, poems etc. They can be generic or focused on the type of couple who are getting into the commitment ceremony.
4. Ring exchange
Like a traditional wedding, even in the commitment ceremony there is an exchange of rings with the significance of the reasons why the ring is given.
The officiant then officially declares the couple on the completion of the commitment ceremony.
The wedding ceremony key elements
The same as above, the guests are welcomed after the officiant enters the wedding venue or alter.
This is the entry of the wedding party
3. Gathering words
This is generally done by somebody close to the bride. Here it is not just about presenting the couple; but also about any family ritual that has to be followed at the time of the ceremony. It is also about thanking everybody who is a part of it as well as remembering people who are no longer alive.
4. The marriage address
This is often done by a common friend of the couple; where he or she talks about various things about the couple. It will also include things like when they first met, the way they started to feel for each other etc.
5. The declaration of intent
This is the most special part of the wedding when the couple give their consent to be a part of the other’s life and accept each other. In short the I Do part
6. Specific ritual or wine ceremony
This part can vary depending on the traditional aspect of the type of religious wedding that is taking place. For example, it can be the wedding traditions of the Jewish customs or the traditional Christian style etc.
7. Exchanging of Vows
Here, either the couple of repeats what the officiant states, or chooses to read their own vows depending on their choice.
8. Ring ceremony along with the vows
Again another common thing that is followed is the traditional ring ceremony. This goes along with any special vow that the couple want to give each other.
9. Unity ritual and declaration
This marks the end of the ceremony where the groom kisses his bride and they both join hands. The officiant also declares that he officially ends the ceremony with the powers that is vested on him.
10. The closing mark
The wedding ceremony ends with an official announcement that the bride and groom are now a couple. After this announcement, they then walk down the aisle as a couple.
Ideas for Gay wedding vows
Have you ever thought of the wedding vows that gay couples take at the time of their wedding? Like any normal wedding these people also wish to make their wedding experience blissful and an affair to remember for years to come. This is only possible if their vows are different than that of the usual vow which the straight couple takes. Since the relationship is different; the wedding vows certainly need to be one of its kinds. Here are some ideas to help you out.
1. Decide who would read out the vows
First of all, you need to decide whether you would like to speak out your vows; or would you prefer to repeat the words as they are read out by the officiator. Some people like speaking out their own vows as it makes them more personal and intimate. Some people, however, feel intimidated by the idea of speaking the vows unguided.
Nobody wants anything to go wrong on their wedding day or commitment ceremony. So if you are not confident about speaking out your vows unguided; you can very conveniently let the officiator guide you through it. However, the decision to use either of the alternatives must be made by mutual consent of both partners. Do consult your partner before deciding anything.
Once you have decided how to take the vows, then comes the all important point of what to speak. You can go for just using the traditional vows. Traditional vows lend a solemn air to the ceremony. And by choosing to use the traditional and customary words, you can save yourself from the hassle of having to formulate your own vows.
2. Personalized wedding vows
Not every couple feels satisfied by just exchanging the common and traditional vows. If you too are among the couples who want something more expressive, something more personal to avow your commitment for each other; than you can write down your own vows. Such personalized vows are definitely more expressive of the feelings of each of the partners.
You can make them more impressive by inserting into them some significant poetic passages or scriptures. Try and find out the most suitable words and passages for your vows. Don’t rush through this. Spend as much time as you need to find the perfect words to express exactly what you want to say to your partner.
3. Add romance to your vows
In your vows, you can also describe how and when you realized for the first time that you were in love with your partner. This can add a very warm and romantic moment to your wedding vows. You may also describe what made you fall in love with your chosen partner. Also express how your life has changed for the better ever since your partner became such a special part of it.
4. Express what you feel
You can describe what your union means to you. Some may describe it as ‘eternal union with a true soul mate,’ some may call it ‘a life time of devotion.’ Choose words that mean the most to you; and try and make this as romantic as possible. Use words that give evidence to the sincerity of your love for your partner.
5. Express gratitude
Include words of gratitude in your vows. Express gratitude to your partner for accepting and reciprocating your love with such devotion. This is a perfect time to show to your partner what they mean to you and how much you love them. And here, especially if you are being blessed in a religious ceremony that some religions offer to same-sex couples; you can also include some religious element into your vows. This you can do by expressing your gratitude to God for blessing you with the love of your chosen partner.