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This is a comprehensive resource for anyone planning a wedding who doesn’t want to leave the details of this joyous event up to their officiant.
The DIY movement hits the traditional wedding ceremony and changes things up in many artful and satisfying new ways in the revised edition of Dayna Reid’s Do-it-Yourself Wedding Ceremony: Choosing the Perfect Words and Officiating Your Unforgettable Day. The author is a minister and has officiated at weddings for fourteen years; this experience with many different cultural and religious traditions gives authority to her suggestions for different readings, music selections, and other components so couples can tailor a celebration that most meaningfully expresses their interests and beliefs.
Reid outlines potential elements that might be included in a marriage ceremony, from the procession to the recession, and delves into deeper examination of each so that couples can create a truly personalized event. It is empowering to have all the tools and templates needed to craft a celebration of the marriage union whether it is a spiritual or nonspiritual ceremony, a first wedding, a renewal of vows, or a ceremony uniting a blended family.
The book describes wedding elements from many cultures, such as the Hawaiian exchange of leis, the African American tradition of jumping the broom, and examples from Jewish, Christian, Zen Buddhist, and Celtic wedding ceremonies. Couples can read about ways to involve children in the event, honor their parents, and recognize loved ones who are deceased or unable to attend their wedding. There is a chapter full of sample ceremonies and Reid even discusses how to become ordained or become a marriage officiant, in case a pair wants to have someone special in their lives perform a custom ceremony.
Some of the examples of readings, prayers, and quotes will be familiar to wedding veterans, such as quotes from the Bible and Kahlil Gibran, but others are derived from a bouquet of surprising and unusual sources, such as Robert A. Heinlein, Armenian blessings, the Star Wars movies, classic children’s books, and popular song lyrics. It would be fun to attend a wedding where the bride or groom recites a scene from the film Sideways, quotes a Beatles lyric, or murmurs the paean to love by an Ent and his Entwife from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Two Towers.
It’s easy to imagine how this book might look after a wedding couple got through with it: spine bent, replete with pages that are dogeared, stained, underlined, and packed with a rainbow of curly edged sticky notes. This is a comprehensive resource for anyone who is planning a wedding and doesn’t want to leave the details of this joyous event up to their officiant. Others will welcome a book that outlines how to create a wedding ceremony that honors a couple coming from different cultures or beliefs. Whatever their background, Reid’s book is a great reference for couples who want to devote as much attention to the significance of their vows as the selection of their wedding feast entrée or flower arrangements.
23rd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards
Entry Title Do-It-Yourself Wedding Ceremony: Choosing the Perfect Words and Officiating Your Unforgettable Day
Author: Dayna Reid
Judge Number: 100
Entry Category: Reference Books
Books are evaluated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “needs improvement” and 5 meaning “outstanding”.
Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 4
Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 4
Production Quality and Cover Design: 4
Plot and Story Appeal: N/A
Character Appeal and Development: N/A
Voice and Writing Style: 5
In a way, this is a perfect self-published book: it provides high quality, very specific information to a niche audience (people planning to get married soon who want a completely personalized ceremony). It is completely clear from the first page who your target audience is, and I can see the book being useful and helpful for many years to come. Overall, this is a joyous book for people celebrating a happy time in their lives: I am disappointed, however, to learn that a ship captain cannot actually perform a marriage ceremony. I appreciate the inclusion of web sites to help couples know laws governing who can officiate at a marriage ceremony and what the legal requirements are by state.
Another possible target audience for the book is someone who’s been asked to officiate at a wedding and who needs inspiration as to what to say.
A how-to guide for choosing the words that mean the most to you for your wedding ceremony, as well as designing the event.
In a welcome respite from the marriage-industrial complex, minister and officiant Reid takes the immensely practical tack of helping you select the right words for your wedding, from pure suggestions to full sample ceremonies. That's not to say that the book's cup doesn't runneth over with glad tidings and peals of joy at the event; just that the author would like to see you get it right for yourself. To start the process, Reid offers a step-by-step overview of the many possible elements that can be included in a ceremony, from approval and dedication blessings, to the declaration of intent and pronouncement (the only legal stipulations involved), to vows and the exchange of rings, to the kiss and the close. Since the whole point of this project is to provide the reader with word choices, Reid serves up abundant samples for each element in the service. They might be spiritual or nonspiritual, traditional or alternative; they might be brief or extended, soupy or flinty. Her sources are rangy and inclusive—biblical scripture, Native American blessings and prayers, Buddhist homilies, rabbinical teachings, Irish blessings and toasts; Armenian, Hawaiian, Inuit; Rumi, Oscar Levant, Kierkegaard; song lyrics, movies, children's books, television. Even if some of them make you recoil—perhaps Richard Bach isn't your cup of tea—there is always a counterbalance somewhere in these pages. Reid encourages readers to use the words as a springboard to zero in on the day's significance and intent, to embellish upon them, just as she recommends ways in which to broaden the ceremony with personal touches, such as the ringing of little brass bells instead of the shower of rice or birdseed. Lastly, she takes on the bureaucracy; obtaining license, filing paperwork, officiating.
This may be a nuts-and-bolts primer on fashioning the architecture and words for your marriage, but Reid keeps it sweet as the cake and smooth as the silk.
Recommendations for DIY Wedding Ceremony ...
"The BEST wedding ceremony book I've found. Examples from secular, spiritual, and even zen ceremonies. A great resource for couples who wish to truly personalize their ceremony to make it meaningful and memorable."
~ Joy, Bellevue, WA.
"A great resource for those wanting to create sacred space that welcomes and holds all the beauty of life and love."
~ Oriah Mountain Dreamer, author of The Invitation.
"DIY Wedding Ceremony is full of memory making words, thoughts and ideas to help any couple make their wedding day more meaningful and memorable and more personal. DIY Wedding Ceremony guided and nourished my spirit as well as the bonding between my husband and I. It pulls together wisdom, care and options for every type of ceremony with grace and perfection. A must have for all couples ready to create their own perfect wedding ceremony."
~ Sada Simran Singh Khalsa, Unity Church, Seattle