One of the most symbolic parts of any wedding ceremony is the ring exchange. But what exactly goes into a ring exchange and what words are you supposed to say? Let’s find out!

What is a ring exchange? What is a ring ceremony?

So first things first: What is a ring exchange? A ring exchange, also known as a ring ceremony, is the part during a wedding ceremony when the couple will exchange wedding rings. Each member of the couple will hold the other’s wedding ring and slide it onto their partner’s finger.

The ring exchange usually happens after the couple has exchanged wedding vows and before they share their first kiss. It marks the commitment they are making on their wedding day. In a short and simple ring wedding ceremony, the vows and ring exchange may happen at the same time.

What is the symbolism of rings? What is the meaning of wedding rings? 

While most modern married couples wear wedding rings, not many stop to ask why. What is the symbolism of wedding rings and what do these rings mean?

Over 5000 years ago, rings were first exchanged in Ancient Egypt as symbols of love. They were typically made of woven reeds or leather and stood for eternal life and everlasting love. Soon after, rings began showing up in Ancient Greek and Roman civilizations, with the Romans using rings as signs of betrothal (aka the first engagement rings!).

While wedding rings have come a long way since then, they still symbolize a lot of the same things: unity, love and an eternal bond.

ring exchange during a young hip and married wedding elopement
by Erica Miller Photography

What is a ring warming ceremony?

To add even more meaning and significance to a ring exchange, some couples choose to conduct a ring warming ceremony first. A ring warming ceremony is when your wedding rings are passed from guest to guest, each warming the rings with their love, before they arrive at the front of the ceremony in time for your ring exchange. Guests typically hold the weddings rings in their hands while thinking or whispering loving thoughts for the couple.

While this may sound like a beautiful tradition, there are some things you’ll need to consider before including a ring warming in your wedding ceremony:

  • How are you making the ring warming sanitary? After a few years of covid, most people are not going to want to touch rings that hundreds of people have held and breathed on. Consider making hand sanitizer available or coming up with a creative, no-touch option for the warming.
  • How are you keeping the rings safe? With two tiny rings being passed between dozens or hundreds of people, there’s a good chance they might get lost! In order to not lose the rings, you may want to tie them together or keep them in a box.
  • How will you ensure the rings arrive on time? Ideally, the ring warming is happening throughout your ceremony with the rings arriving to your officiant just in time for the ring exchange. But in reality, this type of precision usually requires someone to know where the rings are at all times and to keep them moving at a good pace.

Keep in mind that a ring warming may also be distracting for guests if it’s happening throughout your ceremony. Instead of listening to your vows, they may be fumbling for the rings or paying attention to someone else holding the rings. If that’s a concern for you, consider tweaking the ring warming so it’s not a distraction. Perhaps you could have the rings on a pillow at the entrance to your ceremony so all of your guests can pass by them and “warm” them with love on their way to their seats.

showing off wedding rings after a helicopter elopement
by Erica Miller Photography

Wedding ring blessings: What words do you say during the ring exchange?

The words you say during your ring exchange are called a ring statement or a wedding ring blessing. A ring statement is usually a short (1-2 sentence) line explaining the significance of the rings to you and reaffirming your commitment to your partner.

Are ring statements and wedding vows the same thing?

No. Your wedding vows are the promises you make to one another for your lifelong marriage. They are usually significantly longer than a ring statement and focus more on what you love about each other and what you want your marriage to look like.

A ring statement, on the other hand (pun intended!), is a short line or two focused solely on the rings and reaffirming your commitment. It is not long promises but is simply a nice way to bring additional meaning to your ring exchange. Think of it as the closing line of your vows – the perfect conclusion to all of the promises you have already made.

However, some couples who are having very short ceremonies (like in an elopement), may choose to say their vows during their ring exchange. Or they may opt to skip the vows or the ring statement altogether. The great thing about a wedding ceremony is you can do it your way!

wedding ring exchange at helicopter elopement with young hip & married
by Erica Miller Photography

10 ring statements & wedding ring blessings for your ring exchange

Choosing a ring statement for your ring exchange allows you to add another level of personalization to your wedding ceremony. You could go with the traditional wedding ring statement, “With this ring, I thee wed.” Or you could opt for something much more niche, like a Lord of the Rings wedding ring statement.

Whatever words you choose for your ring exchange, we hope they are meaningful to you and make your ring exchange that much more special.

Here are some of our favourite ring statements:

  1. With this ring, I gladly marry you and join my life to yours forevermore.
  2. I give you this ring as a reminder that I will love, honour, and cherish you, in all times, in all places, and in all ways, forever.
  3. This ring is an outward sign of an inward commitment. Today, with these vows, I make my commitment to you.
  4. With this ring, I give you my heart. From this day forward, you shall not walk alone. My heart will be your shelter and my arms will be your home.
  5. I give you this ring as a symbol of my vow. With all that I am, I will love and honour you.
  6. Just as this circle is without end, my love for you is eternal and my commitment to you will never fail. With this ring, I take you to be my trusted confidante and partner for life.
  7. I give you this ring as a symbol of my love for you. Let it be a reminder that I am always by your side, even when you snore!
  8. With this ring, I marry you and bind my life to yours. It is a symbol of my eternal love, my everlasting friendship, and the promise of all my tomorrows.
  9. This ring is my precious gift to you, as a sign that from this day forward, you shall be surrounded and encircled by my love.
  10. Let this ring be a symbol of our love, may it represent our today, our tomorrows, our future & our past.

Inspired by these ring statements? Go ahead and use one as the words for your ring exchange. Feel free to mix and match them or create your own!

Now that you have the words for your ring exchange settled, it’s time to plan the rest of your wedding ceremony. Book your Young Hip & Married wedding officiant today for the ultimate creative, custom and personal wedding ceremony! 

For couples planning a religious wedding, including bible verses and scripture about marriage in their ceremony is incredibly important. These sacred verses for marriage set the tone for not only your wedding day but your marriage too.

So how do you decide which scripture on marriage to include? Below we’re sharing 25 of our favourite wedding scriptures and bible quotes on marriage that would work perfectly for your wedding ceremony.

Not religious or worried about including a bible verse that doesn’t align with your beliefs? We get it. Check out our suggestions below for alternative verses, readings and quotes.

Do you have to include scripture on marriage in your wedding? 

Absolutely not! You can have a secular (non-religious) wedding with no mention of religion, scripture or the bible. You can have a religious wedding, but that religion doesn’t have to be Christianity. Or you could even have a religious, Christian wedding, but skip quoting the bible altogether.

We believe your ceremony should be done in your style, whether or not that includes religious verses about marriage. With a Young Hip & Married custom wedding ceremony, you can design your own ceremony and include a ton of religious references or none at all.

If you are getting married in a religious institution, double check what their ceremonies look like. Many will have formats in place that include scripture, but may be open to removing or tweaking it.

young hip and married wedding ceremony

How do you find scripture about marriage that aligns with your values? 

So you want to include a Christian quote for marriage in your wedding ceremony, but you don’t really want to hear about women submitting to men, how divorce is evil, or that marriage can only be between a man and a woman? We get that!

While many parts of the bible are not as inclusive as they should be, you can still find verses and scripture about love and marriage that align with your values. Case in point: None of the 25 bible verses below say anything about how weak women are or how immoral divorce is!

Seek out verses that feel good to you and represent what you believe about your partnership. Feel free to cut down passages or find versions that use words you’re comfortable with. You could also use a bible verse to inspire another prayer or reading, or work with an inclusive clergy member to help you find the right scripture.

Of course, you could skip the bible scripture for your wedding altogether and use a reading from somewhere else instead!

What about wedding prayers, readings or quotes? 

Besides biblical scripture, here are some other wedding prayers, readings and quotes you can use during your ceremony:

25 bible verses and scripture about marriage for your wedding ceremony

25 marriage scriptures for your wedding ceremony

1 Corinthians 13:2-7

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

PS: 1 Corinthians 13 is one of the most popular bible vows for marriage, and for good reason! But if you want to do something a bit more unique, check out our alternatives to 1 Corinthians 13.

Romans 12:10

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Colossians 3:14-17

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Genesis 2:24

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

Matthew 19:4-6

‘Haven’t you read,’ he replied, ‘that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.’

bride and groom with hands on the bible at their religious wedding ceremony

John 14:27

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Song of Solomon 3:4

I have found the one whom my soul loves.

1 Corinthians 13:13

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Ecclesiastes 4:9

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.

1 Corinthians 16:14

Let all that you do be done in love.

Isaiah 62:5

For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your sons marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.

1 John 4:7-8

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

Ephesians 4:2-3

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

holy bible scripture for wedding day

Romans 8:28

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Isaiah 54:10

‘For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,’ says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

Proverbs 3:3-4

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.

Psalm 143:8

Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you lift up my soul.

Ephesians 4:32

Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

Psalm 85:10-11

Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other. Faithfulness springs up from the ground, and righteousness looks down from the sky.

Song of Solomon 8:7

Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned.

bible on dock overlooking the water and sunset

Ruth 1:16-17

But Ruth said, ‘Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.’

1 John 4:16

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

Proverbs 30:18-19

There are three things that amaze me—no, four things that I don’t understand: how an eagle glides through the sky, how a snake slithers on a rock, how a ship navigates the ocean, how a man loves a woman.

Jude 1:2

Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.

Song of Solomon 6:3

I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine…

Which scripture on marriage do you want to use at your wedding? Let us know!

Whether you’re planning a religious wedding or a secular ceremony, a Young Hip & Married wedding officiant can help you get married in your own unique way. Get in touch for a custom quote! 

So your son is getting married? Congratulations! But he’s asked you to give a speech at the rehearsal dinner and you have no clue what to say. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Below we’re sharing exactly how to structure your speech plus providing you with some father of the groom rehearsal dinner speech samples.

Why give a rehearsal dinner speech? 

Well, the best reason to give a rehearsal dinner speech is probably because your son or daughter asked you to give one! But why do speeches at the rehearsal dinner happen at all?

A rehearsal dinner is a more intimate occasion – usually a nice dinner following the wedding ceremony rehearsal. It’s generally for the couple, their parents, the wedding party and maybe some out of town or close family and friends. The guest list is smaller than the wedding and the focus is on the new family and upcoming wedding day.

With a rehearsal dinner speech, you can welcome the two families coming together and set the stage for a beautiful wedding day. Note that while speeches may happen at the rehearsal dinner, there will likely be speeches at the wedding reception too. Check in with the almost-newlyweds about when they would like you to deliver your speech.

PS: Don’t miss our resource for bride and groom wedding speeches! 

Father Of The Groom Rehearsal Dinner Speech Samples
by Tomasz Wagner Photography

What about the mother of the groom? Or the bride’s parents? Who should speak at the rehearsal dinner?

While this post is all about father of the groom wedding speeches, a lot of our advice and samples below will apply to all parents of the couple getting married. And, of course, not all weddings have brides or grooms (and not all couples have moms and dads), so a “father of the groom” may not even exist!

Traditionally, only the men of the family would speak at weddings. Speeches were done by the father of the bride, the groom and the best man. But these days, anyone who is special to the couple can be invited to say a few words! There’s no reason why only the men get to speak.

Typically, a rehearsal dinner speech is given by whoever is hosting the event (aka paying for it). Sometimes one side of the family will take on the responsibility and cost of hosting the rehearsal dinner, so it would be customary for someone from that side of the family to give a speech.

The wedding couple may also ask a few other people to speak at their rehearsal dinner, such as members of the wedding party or other family members. This is typically done so we’re not leaving all of the speeches for the reception. Couples will break up the speeches – some happening at the rehearsal dinner and some happening at the wedding reception – so everyone gets a chance to speak and no one event becomes hours and hours of speeches.

wedding reception speech by parents of the bride and groom, father of the groom speech
by Sachin Khona Photography

How to structure your father of the groom rehearsal dinner speech

Check out our step-by-step instructions for writing your father of the groom speech, plus father of the groom rehearsal dinner speech samples below!

Step #1: Begin with a toast introduction and welcome

Start your father of the groom speech off by simply introducing yourself and your relation to the couple. If you are the first to speak, the host of the event, or the first to speak from your side of the family, this would also be a great opportunity to welcome everyone to the rehearsal dinner.

Note: If you are not the host of the event, it may not be appropriate to welcome everyone. That would be like attending a friend’s birthday and welcoming everyone to the party – not your place. Instead, share how happy you are to be there and thank the hosts for their hospitality.

Step #2: Talk about the groom

As the father of the groom, your speech should naturally start with a few sentences about your son. You can talk about how proud you are of them, what a joy it was to raise them, how much you’ve loved getting to know them as an adult, etc. You could also share a short story from their childhood that showcases your father-son bond.

father helping groom with his wedding outfit

Step #3: Talk about the groom’s partner

Next, you’ll want to bring in your son’s partner and soon-to-be spouse. You can talk about how you knew they were the one, the affect they’ve had on your son or what you admire most about them. Most importantly, be sure to welcome them into your family.

Step #4: Share a fun story about the couple

Now that you’ve talk about both the groom and his partner separately, it’s time to bring them together! You can share a short story about how the couple met, what brought them together or any favourite memories you have with them.

Step #5: (op) Share some marriage advice

If you’d like to add to your father of the groom rehearsal dinner speech, consider adding a bit of marriage advice. This should be something short and sweet that you want to pass onto the happy couple.

Father Of The Groom Rehearsal Dinner Speech Samples
by Tomasz Wagner Photography

Step #6: Look forward to the wedding

As you begin to wrap up your speech, don’t forget to reference the wedding around the corner. Talk about how much you’re looking forward to it, share any advice you have for the newlyweds on the big day, and thank anyone who has been helping with the wedding planning.

Step #7: End with a toast conclusion

Lastly, you’ll end your speech with a toast to the couple of the hour. Cheers to the almost-newlyweds!

Hint: Don’t forget to remind everyone to raise their glasses! So often, speakers will just dive into their toasts and only half the guests will know what’s happening. Take our advice and start this section of your speech by saying, “Let’s all raise a glass…”

wedding toast, wedding speech, raise a glass, champagne toast, wedding reception

Father of the groom rehearsal dinner speech samples

Need some more inspiration for your speech? Check out our father of the groom rehearsal dinner speech samples below!

Father of the groom example speech #1

My name is Herb and I am the father of the groom. Together with his mother, we would like to thank you all for being here tonight as we celebrate Taylor and Cory.

Growing up, I always knew Taylor was going to go on great adventures. From finding him camping out in our backyard at four years old to wiring him money on his first backpacking trip in Germany, I knew Taylor was going to see and do everything he set his mind to. And that’s why I’m so glad he has found his perfect adventure companion in Cory.

Cory, it has been the pleasure of my life to watch how you and Taylor love, support and cherish one another. I couldn’t be prouder of the life you two have built and am thrilled to welcome you to the family. 

Ever since the moment you two met at a hostel in Thailand, I think we all knew this was it. Taylor had found his person. And we are all so excited to celebrate the two of you finding one another at your wedding this Saturday! 

So if everyone could please raise their glasses to Taylor and Cory, who are about to embark on the greatest adventure of their lives. Cheers! 

wedding reception speech and toast, wedding champagne toast

Father of the groom example speech #2

Hello, my name is Lin and I am the father of the groom. I’d like to start by thanking the Sheng family for hosting this beautiful rehearsal dinner and truly making us all feel so welcome tonight.

My husband and I could not be more proud to be standing here on the cusp of Taylor and Cory’s wedding day. Cory, having you as a son has been the greatest blessing. Being able to raise you and see the man you have become has meant so much to your dad and me. We could not be more proud of you!

The only thing any parent wants is for their child to be happy, to have purpose and to find love. Cory, I am thrilled that you have found all of that and more in Taylor. Taylor is the most kind and warm human and we are so excited to officially welcome them into our family. 

I still remember when you first introduced us to Taylor. Cory, you were so nervous! But right away, we could tell that Taylor was someone special. The way you two lit up around was another was so wonderful to see. We knew after that first dinner that we’d be seeing your wedding one day – and here we are! 

Taylor and Cory, as we look forward to your beautiful wedding day this weekend, I want you to remember one thing: Choose one another. Every day when you wake up, choose each other. Choose your relationship. Choose your life together. Do that and you’ll never spend a day wanting. 

And so, let’s all raise our glasses to Cory and Taylor, and a love that chooses us every single day! 

father of the groom and mother of the groom hug the newlyweds after their wedding reception speech
by Sachin Khona Photography

Father of the groom example speech #3

Hello everyone! My name is Jeff and I am the father of the groom. Together with Randy, we are thrilled to welcome you all here tonight to Taylor and Cory’s rehearsal dinner.

Cory, I am so proud to be your father. Raising you from a baby into the impressive young man you are today has been the best job I could ever ask for. You taught me so much about what it means to love, to care and to go the extra mile.

Taylor, when I first met you I thought, “Cory, don’t mess this up!” I knew you were so special and could already see how much you had changed my son for the better. We are all better people for having known you and I am so glad you are finally joining our family.

When Taylor and Cory got engaged, Cory called to share the news with Randy and me. But instead of saying “she said yes” or “I asked,” Cory said, “We did it! We’re engaged!” And right from that moment, I knew that everything Taylor and Cory would do, they would do together. There was no more “I” – there was only “we.”

And so, as we look forward to Cory and Taylor becoming an official “we” this weekend, let’s all raise our glasses to the best team ever. Taylor and Cory, congratulations on finding your perfect teammate!  

Father Of The Groom Rehearsal Dinner Speech Samples, wedding champagne toast

Father of the groom rehearsal dinner speech do’s & don’ts

DO check in with the couple and ensure they want you to give a speech. Don’t just rush the stage or grab the mic! Check in with the couple ahead of time or wait until they ask you to give a speech.

DON’T talk forever. Keep it short! A good speech is 2-3 minutes long and never more than 5 minutes. Again, check in with the couple. Odds are they will have the night scheduled out and a specific time they want you to aim for.

DO remember to mention your son’s partner. Even though you are the father of the groom, you shouldn’t just talk about the groom. Remember, this event is about two people. So include both members of the couple in your speech.

DON’T bring up anything embarrassing. There’s a fine line between funny and cringe-worthy. A story about your son wearing a cape to school? Funny! A story about your son’s ex-girlfriend or how he dealt with your divorce? Not funny.

father of the groom wedding speech
by Page and Holmes Photography

DO write your speech down. This isn’t one of those times were you should wing it. Take the time to plan what you’re going to say and write your speech in advance.

DON’T leave the other parent out. If you’re the one giving the speech, don’t forget to mention your co-parent or spouse and share sentiments from both of you.

DO practice. You don’t have to memorize your speech but you should be comfortable and familiar with it. Take time to practice at home in front of the mirror before the rehearsal dinner.


There you have it! Everything you need for an amazing father of the groom rehearsal dinner speech! And speaking of important words at weddings, don’t forget to check out our wedding officiant packages and free vow writing guide

When it comes to your wedding party (aka bridal party), we know things can get a little stressful. It’s hard to manage a group of different people from different parts of your life who all have different likes and dislikes, different budgets, different schedules and different experiences with weddings.

But at the end of the day, you want to have an awesome experience with your wedding party and they want that too. One of the best ways to ensure the wedding experience is great for everyone is to make it unique to you. By personalizing your wedding, you can do what’s best for your group, instead of trying to fit everyone into a boring, traditional box.

wedding party, bridal party with young hip & married
by Notting Hill Photography

4 things to keep in mind

Before we jump into our ideas for rethinking your wedding party, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Remember that you are inviting your friends to have positions of honour at your wedding. You are not hiring them as unpaid wedding planners, party throwers or crafty DIY-ers.
  2. No one can read your mind. Don’t just assume your wedding party will know what you want.
  3. It’s okay if your wedding party members don’t all become best friends. As long as everyone gets along and is respectful, there’s no need to force lifelong friendship on adults who may not have much in common (besides how much they like you!).
  4. Your wedding is not everyone else’s top priority. Remember that your wedding party members have full lives outside of your wedding and it’s nice to check in with them about those lives from time to time.

For more tips, don’t miss our post on how to have a stress-free wedding party experience!

Reconsider gender norms

Traditionally, we’re told a bridal party is made up of bridesmaids, on the bride’s side, and groomsmen, on the groom’s side. But by 2022, we’re throwing all of that out the window!

There’s no need to separate your wedding party by gender or use gendered terms. People of all genders get married and have friends of all genders who stand up and support them. There’s no need to put anyone in a box. Choose your wedding party based on your relationships, not someone’s anatomy.

To make your wedding more inclusive, feel free to ditch traditional wedding party monikers. Instead of bridesmaids and groomsmen, try:

  • Wedding crew
  • Wedding party
  • Wedding people
  • People of honour
  • Best humans
  • Or just call them by their names!

PS: We’re also not here for the term “bride tribe.” Not only is this gendered but it also appropriates Indigenous culture. So just say no!

wedding party in denim jackets
by Jelger & Tanja Photographers

Gift experiences instead of wedding party gifts they’ll only use once

If you do a Google search for “bridal party gifts,” you’ll be inundated with adorable ways to pop the question to your friends when asking them to be a part of your wedding party. But instead of a tumbler that says “bridesmaid” or a piece of jewelry you’d like them to wear on the wedding day, why not gift your wedding party an experience?

With experiences, you’re creating memories that you and your loved ones can cherish for a lot longer than anyone will drink out of a “bridesmaid” glass. It gives you a great chance to bond and focus on your friendship which, after all, is the entire reason why you’ve asked them to be in your wedding party!

Some great gift experiences might include:

  • Spa day
  • Paint night
  • Tickets to a sports game
  • Dinner at their favourite restaurant
  • Wine or beer tasting
  • Picnic at their local park
toast with wedding party
by Erica Miller Photography

Play the best bridesmaid song to walk down the aisle to

If you’re planning for your wedding party to walk down the aisle during the processional of your ceremony, then why not make their entrance one to remember with a great song? You can go with something fun and uplifting, a song about friendship, or maybe a tune you all used to listen to back in your college days.

If you’re not sure what song to pick, ask your wedding party for their suggestions. Or if you have a song in mind, surprise them with the tune on the big day!

Here are some of our favourite wedding party processional songs to walk down the aisle to:

  • Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton
  • Graduation (Friends Forever) by Vitamin C
  • Star Wars Theme
  • I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) by The Proclaimers
  • I’ll Cover You from Rent
  • Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles
  • Good as Hell by Lizzo (why not?)

Don’t make it all about the outfits

Sometimes it feels like a wedding party is all about the outfits. In fact, couples can get so stuck on fabric colour, shoe height and hair length that they forget that their wedding party is made up of their friends, not paid models. Yes, you want your wedding photos to look nice, but surely you didn’t decide to have a wedding party just so you could spend months working out the perfect outfits?

Instead, take the focus off of the outfits and keep things simple. Either give your group more relaxed instructions, such as wearing some shade of blue, with accessories they already have at home. Or find an affordable and accessible outfit everyone can easily rent or buy. Cut down on endless shopping trips and conversations about measurements, fittings, matching, etc.

With the outfits out of the way, you can turn your focus to more important wedding planning tasks and just hanging out with your wedding people!

bridesmaids, wedding party
by Free Burds Creative

Should the best man hold the wedding rings? What about the best woman at your wedding? 

Traditionally, the best man holds the wedding rings, passing them to the wedding officiant when asked at the ceremony. However, that doesn’t have to be the case! What if your wedding doesn’t have a best man? What if you have a best woman at your wedding instead? Or a best person?

You can ask anyone you want to hold your wedding rings. A great way to give someone a position of honour, such as your parents, would be asking them to hold your wedding rings. You could even do something creative, such as ring warming ceremony, or have your dog bring the rings in on their collar!

Rethink having kids in your wedding: Do you need flower girls and ring boys? 

Should you have kids in your wedding party? Maybe! If you have children in your life who are important to you and up for the task, go for it. But don’t force it if you have to ask your second cousin twice removed if she’ll lend you her twins for the weekend, even though you haven’t seen them in five years.

Kids are often not great at waiting patiently, walking in a straight line, smiling for hours and sitting still. They like to run around, they are prone to spilling on their clothes, and they don’t always follow instructions. Accept that going in and you’ll have a much better experience.

If you do decide to include kids in your wedding party, throw out the gender norms. There’s no reason you need to have flower girls who are female and ring boys who are male. A group of children can come down the aisle carrying flowers, bubbles, a cute sign or nothing at all.

And as for the rings, if you really want a child to hold them, we suggest not giving them the rings until right before they walk down the aisle – or else those rings will get lost!

flower girl, ring boy, ring bearer, children in wedding party
by Erica Miller Photography

Skip the cheesy entrance dance 

You know what we’re talking about. We’ve all been to a wedding where the MC introduces the wedding party at the reception and they’re forced to do a cheesy entrance dance as they come in. Let’s leave that trend back in 2012 where it belongs.

(We’re totally kidding….kinda! But seriously, if you have your heart set on a choreographed entrance dance, go for it!) 

Ask your wedding party to take a seat

Traditionally, the wedding party will stand with the couple at the front throughout their ceremony. And while some couples like this look, consider asking your wedding party to take a seat instead.

Not only will your wedding party appreciate the chance to sit down and rest their feet, but it also puts the focus back on you two. After all, it’s the two of you getting married – not your cousins and high school besties.

With the wedding party seated, your ceremony can be completely about your love and commitment, not a fidgeting wedding party. You can spend your ceremony looking into your spouse-to-be’s eyes, instead of over their shoulder at their sibling, best friend, and one person from college.

Your wedding crew can still get ready with you and process down the aisle. But when they get to the end of the aisle, instead of standing at the front, they can take a seat in the first row. They’ll have the best seats in the house, perfect for your closest friends and family who want to watch you get married.

family wedding, wedding party
by Erica Miller Photography

Invite your friends to be your something blue

A beautiful way to include more friends and family members in your unofficial wedding party is to ask them to be your “something blue” from the old wedding rhyme, “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.”

Reach out to your group of besties and ask them all to wear a little something blue on your wedding day – such as a blue outfit, blue shoes or blue accessory. You could even gift them all with their “blue thing” for the big day, like a blue brooch or blue socks.

Then, on your wedding day, make it a point to grab a photo with your “something blue crew” where everyone shows off their blue item. This way, your friends know how much they mean to you and you make them feel included, without the hassle of having 20+ people in your wedding party.

Thank your wedding crew & shout them out

Your wedding party likely went above and beyond for you. While accepting a position of honour in a wedding party isn’t the same as accepting a job, most wedding party members put in a lot of work. They probably paid quite a bit of money to buy their wedding outfit and accessories, helped with wedding planning and prep, maybe organized a pre-wedding party or two, and dedicated a lot of time to your wedding. So you absolutely want to make sure they know how grateful you are for everything they’ve done.

Typically, couples will give their party members gifts to thank them for all of their help. Consider gifting something sentimental (like a handwritten card or a photo of you two), an experience (like we shared above) or something practical (like a gift card to their favourite coffee shop).

But beyond a gift, you want to thank your wedding people in words and actions too. Thank them often and out loud throughout the wedding day and at any pre-wedding events. And definitely give them a huge shout out during your wedding speech.

bridesmaids, maid of honour, young hip and married, wedding party
by Blue Coral Photography
groomsmen, best man, wedding party
by Lumina Weddings

What do you want your wedding party to remember about your wedding? 

If you find yourself feeling stressed or having a difficult time with your party, come back to this question: What do you want your wedding party to remember about your wedding?

You probably don’t want them to look back and remember stress-inducing text messages and long email chains, working for hours to set up your venue, feeling uncomfortable in their outfit or not being able to afford all of your pre-wedding events and gifts.

More likely, you want your wedding party to remember the fun lunch you had together while wedding outfit shopping, all the laughs at your pre-wedding event, the beautiful ceremony they got to witness, and dancing the night away together on the dance floor. With this in mind, cut down on the drama, let go of the fine details and focus on creating a fun experience for everyone.

Ditch the wedding party altogether! 

Feeling unsure about having a wedding party in the first place? Consider ditching the wedding party altogether! By skipping the wedding party, you’ll be able to save on costs, time and drama. You won’t have to rank your friends or force them to spend a lot of money on outfits and other wedding expenses.

Even without an official wedding party, you can still enjoy lots of pre-wedding events with your friends. You can still have a wedding shower or bachelor/bachelorette party, you can still ask loved ones to come outfit shopping with you or lend a hand with wedding day tasks, and you can still invite your nearest and dearest to get ready with you on the morning of your wedding. All the pros of a bridal party with none of the hassle!

wedding party blowing bubbles and popping champagne for newlywed couple kissing
by Erica Miller Photography

What unique things are you planning for your wedding party experience? Let us know!

And don’t forget to check out our custom wedding ceremony packages – the perfect way to make your wedding unique and personal to you!

In 2019, we wrote a blog post about how to have an inclusive wedding ceremony. And while the wedding industry has changed a lot in three years – and some aspects are more welcoming and inclusive – we still have a lot of work to do.

So to celebrate Pride Month 2022, we reached out to a few friends in the wedding industry to get their thoughts on inclusion, access and safety for all couples in the wedding industry, particularly LGBTQ+ couples. Below we’re sharing their thoughts to learn more about where the industry is at, inspire action and continue the conversation well beyond Pride Month.

Using inclusive language at your wedding and in your wedding planning

inclusive wedding language
by Olive & Bean Photo

Back in 2018, we wrote a blog post with ideas for inclusive language at your wedding ceremony. So much of traditional ceremony language is gendered and doesn’t fit modern couples. Check out that post to update your language so your ceremony is inclusive of everyone attending (and getting married!).

It’s not just the language on your wedding day that matters, but all of the language you experience during your wedding planning. A few years ago, we changed our contact forms from “Bride’s name” and “Groom’s name” to “Partner 1’s name” and “Partner 2’s name.” We also ask our couples what their pronouns are, so we can address them appropriately, and encourage our officiants to include their pronouns in their bios and email signatures.

Whytecliff park inclusive wedding
by John Bello Photography

Our friends at Rad Occasions shared how they are updating their language. They said, “We are working to be more inclusive in our language (ie: wedding party instead of bridal party) and going the extra distance by educating ourselves and fellow vendors when necessary.”

And check out this great resource by Jess McSweeney sharing simple tweaks you can make to your language as a wedding vendor, and why those tweaks are so important:

Prioritizing trust and creating a safe space for all

Elopement at Quarry Lake, Alberta with wedding officiant justice of the peace marriage commissioner wedding celebrant
by Deanna Rachel Photography

Some couples arrive at their wedding day without the support of friends and family or with a history of being unwelcome by the institution of marriage. As vendors, we have to recognize the importance of the moment and prioritize the safety of our couples. As much as allyship is about celebration, it’s also about history and remembering what people have gone through to get to where they are.

Vancouver photographer John Bello (who we are so lucky to have on our Young Hip & Married elopement photography team!) shares this advice with other photographers, “When you have the opportunity to photograph LGBTQ+ couples, and those who may have varied gender identities and gender expressions, please remember that they have chosen YOU.

You are the person they are comfortable enough to let all their walls down in front of and have invited you to experience and capture their most intimate and vulnerable moments. This is SO special.”

inclusive wedding elopement
by John Bello Photography

John continues, “But remember, in this day and age (horribly still), it’s those intimate and vulnerable moments that can attract hate, and lead to prejudice and discrimination.

Get a feel for your couple’s comfort levels before you begin your shoot. Set the tone by creating a safe and comfortable space and vibe. Always make sure you ask your couples if they are comfortable with holding hands or showing PDA in public or in public spaces before suddenly taking them to busy locations to take photographs.

Double check before posting any photos of them online and onto social media. Even if in your contract, they’ve agreed to you using their photos in your portfolio, just ask again if you don’t remember talking about it with them specifically. It takes two seconds.

Again, it comes down to TRUST + SAFETY.”

Such an important reminder! Check out John’s post with more wisdom here.

East Sooke Regional Park elopement with Young Hip & Married
by Tulle & Tweed Photography

Rad Occasions echoes John’s sentiment saying, “[When needed] we have also gone as far as to letting everyone know that we are a safe space at a wedding so someone feels uncomfortable they can come to us and hopefully we can help them.”

As John says, it comes down to trust and safety. More important than appearing inclusive or getting the most likes on social media is the trust and safety of your couples.

Celebrating & supporting LGBTQ+ couples, vendors and communities

backyard vancouver elopement with young hip and married wedding officiant
by Kelsey Goodwin Photography

As a team comprised of allies and members of the LGBTQ+ community, we want to create a welcoming, inclusive and safe space for our LGBTQ+ couples at Young Hip & Married. But more than that, we want to celebrate them! In choosing to get married, these couples are choosing to honour their love. We couldn’t be more proud or privileged to join them in that celebration!

Photographer John Bello continues that after safety and trust are established, it’s our duty to celebrate a couple. He says, “Most importantly, set an intention to celebrate their love, vulnerability and courage. Honour it well through your art and vision. Be sure to acknowledge and carry the awareness of the special TRUST they have in YOU, the trust to share in such a vulnerable, personal space.

This space you have been invited into is a gift. Appreciate it. Honour it. Celebrate it.”

Whytecliff park Vancouver elopement with Young Hip & Married
by John Bello Photography

Our friends at Cascata Films agree. They say, “For us as videographers, we live for the love story. We would love to see people focus more on the beautiful love stories and less on gender. Love is love, and it’s really all that matters! We feel absolutely privileged when any couple gives us the chance to tell the story of their wedding!”

And while not everyone has the privilege to not focus on gender, we want to do whatever we can to celebrate and support our couples’ love stories.

Deer Lake Park Vancouver elopement with Young Hip & Married
by John Bello Photography

Young Hip & Married Officiant Chris-Ann shares how in celebrating LGBTQ+ love, she’s also honouring her own identity as a queer person. And what’s more, her couples love that bond and representation too.

Chris-Ann says, “As a member of the queer community, it means a lot to me to be able to offer my services to other 2SLGBTQIA+ folx. Folks who may not feel comfortable with the history or formality of the marriage process or other marriage commissioners who may or may not be affirming of their love.

This couple (pictured) were the sweetest couple I’ve had the chance to marry. And their thank you card, that expressed their gratitude for being married by another queer person, completely reminded me how much I love what I get to do!”

inclusive wedding on Vancouver Island with Young Hip & Married
by Tulle & Tweed Photography

Officiant Chris-Ann also reminds us that Pride Month (and every month!) offers us opportunities to not just support LGBTQ+ couples but also to support, patronize and promote LGBTQ+ vendors, creators and communities.

She says, “Pride Month! A month to remember the history and struggle of 2SLGBTQIA+ folx. And (dare I say) not to support businesses or corporations who capitalize on these celebrations.

With that in mind, my challenge to all of you would be (as a customer) to support queer owned businesses and (as a vendor) to promote queer businesses before your own, even if you are an ally – especially if you are an ally!”

Thank you to our friends at Rad Occasions, Cascata Films, John Bello Photography, Jess McSweeney and Officiant Chris-Ann for all of your wisdom and thoughts on inclusive weddings and how we can better the wedding industry for everyone.

We’d love to hear how you are making the wedding industry more inclusive, in what ways the industry can do better and where the industry has improved. We would love to open up this conversation and invite you to comment below, send us a DM on Instagram or send us an email with your thoughts.

We’re also very open to any feedback you have for us here at Young Hip & Married. We’d love to learn how we can do better and make weddings more welcoming, inclusive and safe for all.

On April 8, 2022, Young Hip & Married officiated nine wedding ceremonies in a single day with Pop Up Chapel Co. and the incredible team of vendors and sponsors they assembled. From the words of welcome to the first kiss, our wedding officiants were on hand as so many couples celebrated their love and got married in one of the most unique ways possible!

All photos in this post were taken by the incredible Olive & Bean Photography! 

pop up chapel co wedding ceremonies at hycroft manor with young hip and married

pop up chapel co wedding ceremonies at hycroft manor with young hip and married

What is a pop up wedding ceremony?

The concept of a pop up wedding is a one day event, just like any other wedding. But unlike a typical wedding, a pop up wedding event usually marries a number of couples, one after another. All of the couples are able to save time, money and energy by going the pop up route where they share the same vendors and decor. But they can still put their own spin on their special day!

pop up chapel co wedding ceremonies with young hip and married wedding officiants

pop up chapel co wedding ceremonies with young hip and married wedding officiants

Pop up events also allow couples access to vendors they may have not been able to work with otherwise, due to budget or availability. It takes the stress out of planning a large event, as most of the planning is done for you. And it allows you to simply show up and get married! Of course, if you want to personalize or extend your celebration, you can always do that.

Bonus: Pop up weddings and elopements are also more eco-friendly! These smaller or shared events use fewer resources and help reduce any unnecessary waste.

hycroft manor elopement

hycroft manor elopement

hycroft manor elopement

What makes Pop Up Chapel Co. different?

We absolutely loved working with Pop Up Chapel! All of our wedding officiants and staff members were blown away by the professionalism, organization and mission of their team.

Not only does Pop Up Chapel put on an incredible and well-run event, they do so for a good cause. Each pop up event they hold raises money for a charity paired with the chapel. Young Hip & Married Customer Service Rockstar Jackie-Deane explains, “I love the priority of donating some of the proceeds to charity. Pop Up Chapel has donated almost $100,000 to various charities since they began. And they have married over 300 couples!”

pop up wedding ceremonies with young hip and married wedding officiants

pop up wedding ceremonies with young hip and married wedding officiants

The wedding ceremonies

While every couple shared the same venue and decor, our officiants truly felt that every wedding ceremony was a unique celebration of that couple. Some couples got married with just two witnesses in casual dress while others had 20+ guests and were dressed to the nines. But every couple, every guest and every vendor brought a huge level of energy and excitement to the day!

Wedding officiant Jane shares, “I liked being able to have a quick chat with each couple before their wedding ceremony started. I think that calmed everyone’s nerves and gave me a chance to talk through how they would stand, review their vows with them, and discuss who would have the rings.”

young hip and married wedding officiant at pop up wedding at hycroft manor

young hip and married wedding officiant at pop up wedding at hycroft manor

young hip and married wedding officiant at pop up wedding at hycroft manor

Pop Up couples could choose from a list of vows or personalize the experience further and write their own vows. They were also able to select ceremony music and hold a beautiful bouquet for their important walk down the aisle. Each ceremony began with a land acknowledgment and recognition of the partner charity we were raising money for, Trust Fund for Education.

Jackie-Deane, who witnessed the first wedding ceremony of the day, said, “Each couple is so unique – they can say their own vows or recite scripted ones, and some have guests and some don’t. It’s evident that Pop Up Chapel puts a lot of effort into each couple feeling special and celebrated for the time that they have at the venue.”

pop up chapel co vancouver elopement

pop up chapel co vancouver elopement

pop up chapel co vancouver elopement

The pop up wedding experience

Not only did this pop up event feature a beautiful wedding ceremony officiated by yours truly, but it also included photos and a mini cocktail hour reception! Couples celebrated with portraits all around beautiful Hycroft Manor, snacked on cake and lemon squares, and toasted their union with specialty drinks.

We enjoyed working alongside such a kind and friendly vendor team, all working hard to create a beautiful wedding day for each one of our couples. The unique decor and lemon theme were a cute touch! And we loved that Hycroft Manor provided both indoor and outdoor options for photos and celebrating.

young hip and married vancouver wedding officiant pop up wedding

young hip and married vancouver wedding officiant pop up wedding

Wedding officiant Erika reflects, “I REALLY loved the decor and how well it reflected the sustainability theme of the event. I like thinking that we helped reduce the carbon footprint in the wedding world that day but still, each couple got the full experience they were dreaming of: beautiful wedding outfits, venue, decor and cake, amazing photographers, and more!”

pop up chapel co wedding ceremonies

pop up chapel co wedding ceremonies

pop up chapel co wedding ceremonies

Would you get married in a pop up wedding ceremony? Stay tuned for our next pop up wedding collaboration! 

Shout out to the best team of vendors and sponsors – we loved working with you! 

Hycroft Manor, Wednesday Wedding Co., The Pop Up Chapel Co., Olive & Bean Photography, Ecorce Flowers, Bespoke Decor, Farawayland Weddings, Alex Flock, Cadeaux Bakery, The Printing House, Courtneys Crafty Cabin, Backyard Vineyards & The Lemon Square.

“Love is patient, love is kind…” Even if you don’t know 1 Corinthians 13, there’s a good chance you’ve heard it before. This bible passage is often recited at weddings, both in real life and in the movies.

There’s a reason why 1st Corinthians chapter 13 is so popular – it defines love in a really beautiful way! But what if you’re not Christian, don’t want religion involved in your wedding ceremony or just don’t want to use the Corinthians passage on love? What alternatives are there to 1 Corinthians 13?

wedding prayer wedding vows vancouver wedding
by Amber Leigh Photography

What is 1 Corinthians 13? 

First things first, let’s see what all of the hype is about. Below is the passage in its entirety from the NIV (New International Version) of the bible. Some couples will have the entire chapter read at the their wedding while others focus on just verses 4-7 (in bold below).

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

vancouver island wedding couple portrait
by Tulle & Tweed Photography

Why is 1st Corinthians 13:4-7 so popular? 

While the entire 1st Corinthians chapter is well known, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 is what we often hear at weddings. And it’s pretty easy to see why these four verses have become so popular for couples, both religious and non-religious.

Not only do these verses beautifully describe and define love, but they also speak to love being our driving motivation. It says that love is the purpose of being human. The love described in these bible verses isn’t just a romantic love shared between newlyweds, but could apply to all kinds of love. It’s an aspirational piece of wedding scripture and one that most people will be able to connect to.

What other wedding bible verses can we use at our wedding?

So if you want to include bible verses in your wedding but don’t want to go with the popular (if over-used) 1st Corinthians passage, there are lots of options for you. Many couples look to the books of Ruth and Song of Solomon for their wedding bible verses.

Ruth 1:16-17 speaks to a partner’s devotion to her spouse. This level of commitment is definitely on-theme for a wedding ceremony.

Ruth 1:16-17 

16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.”

Song of Solomon 2 is another popular wedding bible passage where a maiden describes her feelings of love towards her beloved. It’s quite a romantic passage, ending with, “My beloved is mine and I am his.” Below are a few verses from Song of Solomon chapter 2; you can read the entire chapter here.

Song of Solomon 2:3-4

Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest
    is my beloved among the young men.
I delight to sit in his shade,
    and his fruit is sweet to my taste.
Let him lead me to the banquet hall,
    and let his banner over me be love.

The Lord’s Prayer is another popular bible verse recited at weddings. It works well as an opening prayer or closing prayer for your wedding ceremony, especially if you’re getting married in a Christian church and community where your guests can join in.

Matthew 6:9-13

“This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from the evil one.

alternatives to 1 corinthians 13 for your wedding ceremony
by Erica Miller Photography

What wedding prayers can we use at our ceremony? 

Including a wedding prayer in your ceremony is a great way to connect to your faith and centre your ceremony on what’s most important to you. But you don’t have to be Christian or even religious to include a wedding prayer. Many wedding blessings are non-denominational or more spiritual in nature. You could even take a shot at writing your own wedding prayer or wedding blessing that best captures what you and your partner value most!

Short prayer or long prayer, religious or spiritual, light-hearted or serious, you can find (or write!) the perfect blessing for your wedding ceremony. Check out our list of wedding prayers here!

Not sure if a wedding blessing is right for you? Read our post on how to add a wedding prayer to your ceremony to see if it’s a good fit!

What if we don’t want scripture for our wedding? 

If you don’t want bible scripture or verses to be part of your wedding ceremony, you absolutely don’t have to include them! Remember, this is your wedding and every word should reflect your values and be meaningful to you. If wedding scripture is not of interest, don’t include it!

Of course, if you are getting married in a religious venue or under religious jurisdiction, it’s best to check with your wedding officiant about what will be included in your ceremony script. Some religious institutions will insist on scripture readings at your wedding. Chat with your officiant to see what options you have.

Note: At Young Hip & Married, our wedding officiants will never include scripture, bible verses or religious content in your wedding ceremony unless you specifically request it!

couple after their helicopter elopement
by Amber Leigh Photography

What non-religious readings can we include in our wedding ceremony?

Want to have a reading at your wedding ceremony but don’t want it to be 1 Corinthians 13, come from the bible or be religious at all? We’ve got you. There are lots of readings to choose from:

You could also include quotes in your ceremony, including romantic quotes from the movies, or wedding blessings, because not all wedding prayers are religious.

If you love the meaning behind 1st Corinthians 13 but don’t want to use the actual scripture, why not write your own version? Let 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 inspire you to create your own definition of love and share that on your wedding day. We can’t think of a more meaningful addition to your wedding ceremony.

Of course, you can also opt to not include a reading, bible verse, scripture, quote or prayer in your wedding ceremony. All of these creative additions are optional and not at all required. If you’re stressing to find the perfect reading or not connecting with any of the options, consider leaving it our of your wedding ceremony entirely.

That way, you’ll have more time and energy to devote to the ceremony elements that mean the most to you!

Now that you have a better idea of what wedding readings and blessings you may want included in your ceremony, it’s time to find your perfect wedding officiant. Get to know our team and our packages, then get in touch to book!

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When we were first introduced to Beth Kramer and the amazing space she co-founded for the wedding industry, Altared, we knew we had found our people. Fighting against traditions that alienate and exclude people, doing whatever we can to support wedding vendors, and making this industry a happier place for everyone are all missions we stand behind.

Which is why we’re so excited to introduce you to Beth, Altared and the incredible ways they are working to change the wedding industry (and how you can get involved).

Without further ado, let’s meet Beth and learn about Altared!

Please introduce yourself! Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Elisabeth “Beth” Kramer (she/her) and I’m a wedding planner in Portland, Oregon. My mission is to fight the Wedding Industrial Complex.

That term is a shorthand that I use to denote all of the gross things that exist in our society and are also 100 percent a part of the wedding industry. Think: racism, ageism, homophobia — pretty much anything that makes people unsafe and unseen.

I do this through a newsletter, a consulting service, an event, a podcast, and my own writing (on my blog and at various publications), all of which can be found on my website

I also wrote a book about how to plan a wedding that’s in line with your values, and make all of the resources I use as a wedding planner free to use on my site.

What is Altared? 

Altared logo
Logo designed by Small Yard Flowers

Altared is a space for wedding vendors who want to change the wedding industry. This work has taken many different forms since Altared started in February 2020. As of this writing (March 2022) through May 2022, the two main forms are:

  • a series of virtual classes. Each class is a paid partnership with an established educator on the topics of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in the wedding industry for wedding vendors.
  • a series of wedding vendor support sessions. Each 60-minute virtual session will be led by certified trauma support specialist Michelle Jalali and be open to seven wedding vendors.

The list of classes and sessions, including monthly themes, can be found on the Altared homepage.

How did Altared get started? How did it evolve into what it is today?

Altared started as a completely different event.

The Marriage Expo was hosted in April 2019 by Emily Sterling of Rooted & Wild: Spirited Ceremonies, Arielle Zamora of Small Yard Flowers, and me (wedding planner Elisabeth Kramer). The goal was to take the “traditional” wedding show and refocus the conversation on what really matters on a wedding day: the marriage.

The event was successful — eight couples showed up — but it was clear that the most dynamic conversations weren’t happening between couples.

They were happening between wedding vendors.

And thus, Altared was born.

The very first Altared was hosted in Portland, Oregon, on February 9, 2020. It featured three speakers: Kheoshi Owens of Empress Rules Equity Consulting, Jamie Thrower of Studio XIII Photography, and Arielle Zamora of Small Yard Flowers.

The event sold out.

Response was even more overwhelming the next time Altared was hosted: December 12, 2020. This event was virtual and had a very simple goal: Make wedding vendors less sad. Sixty-four vendors attended from nine states and two countries.

Next came a series of virtual classes hosted from February 2021 through June 2021, and a wedding vendor support care package sent in December 2021. Every month, Altared also sends a roundup of wedding industry news with a focus on resources for and by vendors.

Altared wedding industry event
by Studio XIII Photography

Who is Altared for?

Wedding vendors who want to change the wedding industry.

Why does the wedding world need a community like Altared?

In my experience, it’s very easy to feel isolated as a small business owner, which nearly all wedding vendors are. I find it can also be particularly easy to feel isolated in the wedding industry, which historically has focused on societal norms that hurt and alienate people.

Altared exists so that wedding vendors can work together to be more inclusive, sustainable, mindful, and, ultimately, happy with what we do and how we do it. That’s needed because I believe it’s hard to effect positive change from a place of isolation; it’s much easier when you have coworkers and friends working alongside you.

I also want to note that Altared is NOT a membership group. This is a common misconception because there are lots of membership groups in the wedding industry. Altared is very intentionally not this; people can engage with Altared in whatever way serves them best, be that signing up for the free newsletter, joining a support session, going to a class. There’s no right or wrong.

Altared event for wedding industry wedding vendors
by Studio XIII Photography
Altared wedding vendor event
by Studio XIII Photography

How have wedding vendors responded to the classes and events Altared hosts?

Wedding vendors have responded very well to Altared! In the two years that Altared has been around — nearly all of which has been during the COVID-19 pandemic — Altared has grown from a regional networking function to an organization that serves wedding vendors throughout the U.S. and in several nations around the world (so far, Canada, Japan, and Germany). 

A couple examples:

  • The Altared newsletter serves more than 250 wedding vendors with an average open rate of 66. 5 percent and an average click rate of 11.5 percent. It’s a small and engaged group.
  • Last year’s series of classes had an average of 22 students with representation from 22 states and three countries; we are on track for similar numbers for the 2022 class season.

Analytics aside, Altared folks seem to actually like each other! They make friends! I know this because I see them partner on projects, share each other’s work, and refer one another to their clients. 

One recent example:

Every month for the 2022 class season, I’ve put out a call for vendors to sponsor other vendors to go to an Altared class. This is 100 percent a goodwill thing; sure, I give the vendors who sponsor a ticket the option to be called out on the Altared Instagram but it’s really just a “do a nice thing” thing.

Every month, Altared folks have shown up. For February’s class alone, we had FIVE vendors sponsor tickets so that other vendors, whom they’ve never met, could go to the class. I think this is the coolest thing.

What have been some of your biggest takeaways from your work with Altared? What work have you been most proud of? 

My biggest takeaway from my work with Altared is that I’m not alone. That’s also a theme I often hear from vendors who interact with Altared in some way, whether it’s by subscribing to get the free newsletter or joining a $7 support session or coming to a $50 class. In nearly every situation, I hear from at least one fellow vendor who says, “Wow. I thought I was the only one.” or “This is really refreshing.”

Altared wedding vendor space
by Studio XIII Photography

What are you most looking forward to doing with Altared in 2022/2023? 

I am cautiously optimistic that we’ll be able to host an in-person Altared in December 2022. This is something I was hoping to do in December 2021 but that I opted not to because of COVID.

I see this event as a coming together — in-person and virtually — of all of the amazing people who have entered the Altared universe since we started in February 2020. Many of those folks have been able to meet each other online through Altared’s various offerings so I’m really looking forward to providing a space where those relationships can deepen and grow.

After a tough couple of years in the wedding industry, what message would you want to share with your fellow wedding vendors? 

You’re not alone.

I say this both as a co-founder of Altared who regularly interacts with dozens of vendors all over the world and as a vendor myself who has experienced extreme financial and mental hardship during COVID-19.

I make this joke a lot but it’s applicable: I don’t miss much about my former corporate life but I do miss coworkers so email me. 

Altared wedding industry class for wedding vendors
by Studio XIII Photography

How can people get involved with Altared and get in touch? 

The Altared newsletter is best. You can subscribe via this link.

Altared’s next class on April 19, 2022 is “Your Ableism Is Showing, and How It’s Hurting Your Wedding Business” with deafblind entrepreneur, disabled rights activist, and accessibility educator Erin Perkins. And Altared’s next wedding vendor support session is happening on April 26, 2022 for wedding vendors who are raising a child or children.

To find out about all of Altared’s classes, support sessions and events, visit our website.

I love to hear from people who work in weddings. I’m at If you’re emailing me specifically about Altared, you can also use

We are so excited to announce that Vancouver photographer John Bello is joining our Intimate Elopement + Photography team here at Young Hip & Married! Not only is John an awesome human and photographer, but he brings his passion for representation and love of genuine emotion to his work in the most beautiful and meaningful ways.

You can learn more about John in our interview below: Check out his photography style, learn why representation in photography is so important to him, and help John celebrate his 10th wedding season!

All photos in this post are courtesy of John Bello

Please introduce yourself! Who are you and what do you do?

john bello vancouver photographer

Hi!! My name is John Bello!

I would like to acknowledge, I have the privilege and opportunity to document weddings and celebrations that primarily take place on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples – Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm Nations, also known as Vancouver. This is the land where my photography operates, benefits and flourishes. This is the place I call home. I live in the vibrant Davie Village in Vancouver’s West End, and am a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community.

2022 is the year of my 10th wedding season, a decade of pure love, growth, pride and trust from all of my couples. I like to say that a wedding day is not just about the couple, I believe it is truly about the people around you and the emotions the day carries. It’s super important to me to capture these emotions genuinely by both being a fly on the wall and immersing myself as a guest. It’s the ugly cries and the deep belly laughs that mean the most to me!

wedding ceremony by john bello

couple portrait by john bello

tea ceremony by john bello

What first drew you to wedding photography?

When I first started taking photos, I noticed the style of wedding photography shifting from fashion and portraiture to a more documentary, candid and storytelling style of capturing celebrations. I was immediately drawn to the raw emotions of images and the impact they had on me as a viewer. At the time, I was at the beginning of my own new journey of self-love and learning to embrace vulnerability, and I resonated with that when I started seeing all these emotionally impactful wedding photos.

What is your favourite moment to capture on the big day?

My favourite moment to capture on the wedding day is just after the couple gets married. I love capturing the first hugs with loved ones, the elation, the tears, the giant sighs of relief. Love bursting from all directions.

wedding ceremony by john bello

wedding reception by john bello

lgbtq+ couple embrace by john bello

We love your passion for highlighting diversity and valuing representation. Can you tell us more about that? Why is that important to you?

As a gay person of colour (Filipino to be exact!), I had a difficult time connecting to the world around me in my early years and then coming into my own as an adult. I felt a huge disconnect to the shows, movies, commercials and campaign ads that I grew up consuming. It always made me feel less than, or an afterthought.. I never saw ‘myself’ or people that looked like me portrayed in the spotlight. So it really had a negative impact on my self worth and confidence and how I saw myself fitting into this world.

This is why as a photographer, I am super passionate about the importance of representation, especially the representation of LGBTQ+ couples in my photos. I can’t even count how many times a couple has booked with me, saying it was because how amazing it felt to have found people that looked exactly like them in my work.

Representation truly helps people feel connected, important and seen. If a person can see themselves in a photographer’s work, that deep connection is powerful beyond measure.

I am well aware that it is a huge privilege for me to be able to share photos of LGBTQ+ couples when I am allowed to. I have photographed so many beautiful queer weddings over the years but have never been able to share them due to privacy reasons – fear of repercussion from couple’s families, workplaces, and overall safety of their well being.

This is why I’m passionate about representation. Representation helps normalize ideas of love and normalizes ideas of people. It is very unfortunate that there are those that don’t agree with me and what I stand for, but my hope is that the impact of representation is what changes people’s minds and their hearts.

lgbtq+ groom portrait by john bello

couple photography by john bello

How can couples ensure they’re working with someone who aligns with their values?

Finding a photographer or wedding vendor that aligns with your own values is one of the biggest things that make up the foundation of an overall amazing wedding experience.

For example, if you are looking for a photographer who is queer friendly and inclusive,
the first thing I suggest doing is taking the time to make a conscious effort to really dive into their website and Instagram. You can quickly get a clear sense of who a photographer is just by how they articulate their messages, what they post, and what they share.

Ask yourself: Does this photographer acknowledge the use of pronouns? Do they use gender neutral language when communicating their thoughts? What kind of causes do they normally support?

These are some of the first things you can look out for!

The other thing you want to be conscious of is the type of content they feature throughout their galleries and the intention behind each image.

Is there diversity in their portfolio?
Is there any tokenism in this body of work?

couple portrait by john bello

couple portrait by john bello

What advice do you have for couples planning an elopement?

Hire Young Hip and Married! (Author’s note: We didn’t even ask him to say that!)

Even small and intimate weddings have so many working parts. The last thing you want to do on your wedding day is to be constantly worrying about logistics. Hiring an elopement officiant company takes this stress away and allows you the opportunity to be fully present, within yourself, and each other as a couple!

And being present IS the secret to the best photos and the secret to having the most memorable day!

Book Your Elopement Today!

couple portrait by john bello

When you’re not busy with weddings, how do you love to spend your time?

When I’m not busy with weddings and behind the computer, I appreciate both my down time, and being social! I love lazy days where I can paint or watercolor, sprinkle multiple naps in between and order some yummy takeout.

Most of my personal time is spent with my partner Andy and our loveable, fluffy goldendoodle Rufus!
@rufusdupaww on Instagram!

As a couple, we love the summer weather, lakeside camping, and spending days at Wreck Beach. Going to music festivals, house and techno shows, live concerts, and drag brunches are things we enjoy all year round.

Thank you so much, John! Check out more of John’s incredible work below. And if you want John to capture your special day, get in touch to book your Intimate Elopement + Photography!

We’ve all been to that wedding. You know the one: An awesome couple gets married but their ceremony is a total snooze fest. Everything feels impersonal and out of touch, and all of their guests are bored. So how do you avoid having that wedding and actually involve your guests in your wedding ceremony?

We’re glad you asked! Below we’re sharing 19 awesome ways to include your guests in your ceremony. Not only will these ideas keep your guests happy and engaged (and awake!) but they’ll also make your wedding day feel more meaningful and unique to you.

Have your guests in your wedding party

Of course, one of the best ways to include your most special people in your wedding day is to ask them to join your wedding party. Whether as a bridesmaid, groomsman, person of honour or attendant, you can have your loved ones play a special role on your wedding day.

Invite a guest to do a reading

Another great way to honour a special guest, and include them in your ceremony, is by inviting them to do a reading. You can pick a wedding reading from literature, songs or even your favourite TV show and have a guest come up during the ceremony to recite it.

Vancouver wedding
by Erica Miller Photography

Add your guests to your processional

If you’re planning on a processional (when the wedding party and couple walk down the aisle at the beginning of the ceremony), why not add a few more special guests? This is a great place to include close family and friends who aren’t technically part of the wedding party, but who you still want to honour. Or, if you’re having a small wedding, why not invite every guest to join in on the procession?

Ask two guests to be your witnesses

Another great way to honour and include special guests in your wedding ceremony is by inviting them to be your witnesses. Depending on where you get married, you may need one or two people to witness your wedding and sign your marriage licence. Want to have even more fun with this? Put all of your guests’ names in a hat and during the ceremony, pull out two names. Those two are your witnesses!

Conduct a ring warming

A ring warming is based on a Celtic tradition where the wedding rings are passed around to all of the guests to bless before they’re exchanged by the couple. This is a beautiful and intimate way to involve your guests in your wedding ceremony. If you’re concerned about how long it will take to pass the rings around, you could instead display them at the entrance of your ceremony and have guests bless them as they walk in. And to keep things as hygienic as possible, you’ll want to provide hand sanitizer!

Last tip: Don’t leave the rings loose! Make sure they’re tied together and, preferably, in a box. The last thing you want is to lose a ring during the ring warming ceremony.

wedding rings

Recite a community vow

A community vow is a promise that your community of loved ones make to you – and it’s one of our favourite ways to include your guests in your wedding ceremony. To do this, your officiant could say something like, “And do you, friends and family, promise to support this couple, encourage their marriage and witness their lives together? If so, please respond with a resounding, ‘We do!’” To which all of your guests will shout, “We do!”

For more vow ideas, click here!

Include your guests in your story

With a Custom & Creative Ceremony, your officiant will write your ceremony script just for you, incorporating your personal love story. And there’s nothing more personal than including your loved ones in your ceremony. Whether it’s your roommate who introduced you two or your grandma who knew they were the one after the first date, any guest would be honoured to be included in your ceremony script.

Ask your guests to sing along

Who says you have to wait until the reception to start playing some music? If music is a big part of your relationship, or there’s a meaningful song you want to incorporate into your ceremony, you can absolutely ask your guests to sing along with you. Just be sure to provide the lyrics! You could alternatively ask guests to read a poem out loud or hand out kazoos and make it a real party.

how to involve your guests in your wedding ceremony
by Erica Miller Photography

Write your own vows

Your guests will be more engaged and interested in your ceremony if it feels like you. After all, they’re attending your wedding because they love and support you. To be able to witness vows and hear personal words from the heart is one of the best ways to make your wedding more meaningful for you and your guests.

PS: Need help writing your vows? Check out our vow writing course! 

Ask for marriage advice

A more sentimental way to involve your guests in your wedding ceremony is to ask for their best marriage advice. You can have a book or wishing stones placed at the entrance of your ceremony for guests to share their advice as they walk in, or place cards on guests’ seats for them to fill out.

Have an interactive recessional

A recessional (when the couple and the wedding party make their way back up the aisle after the ceremony is over) is the perfect time to let loose and celebrate. You did it – you’re married! A recessional is also the perfect time to involve your guests. Play awesome music and encourage everyone to dance, or hand out bubbles for guests to blow your way as you exit your ceremony.

sparkler exit with wedding guests
by Beautiful Life Studios

Form a prayer circle

If you’re a spiritual or religious couple, a great way to combine your beliefs and your loved ones is with a prayer circle. You can do this before, during or after your ceremony by inviting your guests to join hands and recite or listen to a prayer of your choosing. For a full list of wedding prayers, click here.

Incorporate candles

You may have heard of a unity candle, when the couple each takes a candle and lights a third candle, representing how they are coming together as one. But you can also use candles to include your guests in your ceremony. For instance, you can have your guests each light their own candle from your unity candle, creating a beautiful glowing effect.

Greet your guests

At most weddings, the couple doesn’t actually get to greet their guests until the reception, when they hastily go around doing a toast at every table. But wouldn’t it be great if you greeted your guests at the beginning of your wedding day? Think about how much more intimate your wedding ceremony would feel if you got to hug each of your loved ones before standing up and making your commitment to your new spouse. PS: This works best with a smaller guest count!

involve your guests in your wedding ceremony with custom jean jackets
by Erica Miller Photography

Create your own unity tradition

Many unity traditions only involve the couple but there’s no reason you can’t get creative and include all of your guests. For example, we once officiated a wedding where the couple and all of their guests took a shot in the middle of the ceremony! Have fun with it and don’t be afraid to change the rules. If you need some ideas, check out 23 creative additions you can add to your ceremony.

Let your guests in on a surprise

Just like in the wedding scene from Love Actually… minus the best man being in love with the bride, of course! A great way to have your guests feel involved and excited during your ceremony is to let them in on a surprise. Planning to play your spouse’s favourite song without them knowing or do a flash mob dance down the aisle? Let your guests in on the surprise!

Take your program to the next level

Do you need wedding ceremony programs? Probably not. But if you do decide to have programs, why not take them up a notch and make them more fun for your guests? You could include guest trivia, like which couples have been married the longest, a family tree or even funny photos of your guests.

involve your guests in your wedding ceremony, round ceremony
by Erica Miller Photography

Be encircled by love 

Really want to feel your guests’ love? Instead of the traditional ceremony set up, arrange the chairs so that your guests are all in a circle with you and your spouse in the centre. This is a great way for your guests to feel more engaged in your ceremony, and for you to more deeply feel their presence and love.

Shout your guests out virtually

If not all of your guests are able to join you in person, you can still involve your guests in your wedding ceremony virtually. By 2022, none of us are strangers to live streamed ceremonies. But instead of making your virtual guests feel like they’re on another boring Zoom call, keep it interactive by waving to them during the ceremony, asking them to leave you comments in the chat or sending them gift boxes to open up during the ceremony.

And there you have it, 19 ways to involve your guests in your wedding ceremony! Before we leave you, here are a few more tips to ensure your wedding ceremony is as awesome for you as it is for your loved ones.

Quick tips to keep your guests involved and engaged in your wedding ceremony

  • Start on time. Try to start your ceremony as close to on time as you can. It’s not nice to make your guests wait! Plus, if you’re late for your ceremony, your whole timeline will be delayed. This may cause you to have to skip or shorten something later in the day.
  • Make sure your guests are comfortable. No one wants to stand in heels for a 45 minute ceremony or sit outside in the pouring rain. Take a walk through your ceremony space and consider what your guests will need to feel comfortable.
  • Don’t let things go on too long. Even your closest loved ones don’t want to sit through a ceremony that lasts forever. People will get bored, tired, restless or hungry if you make them sit there for too long.
  • Have fun! Your ceremony can be sentimental and serious, but it doesn’t have to be stiff. Don’t be afraid to incorporate some inside jokes or lighter moments. Your guests will love laughing along with you.
  • Make it you. Your guests love you and will be most engaged in a ceremony that reflects who you two truly are. Talk to your officiant about how you can add more of your personality, culture, traditions and beliefs into your wedding ceremony.

written by Riana Ang-Canning
feature image by Erica Miller Photography