It takes a village…to nurture a marriage. Wedding ideas to engage the support of your guests

Wedding ideas to get your guests onboard for the journey.

Gathering your family and friends around for the wedding ceremony can be awesome. Lots of love, laughter, dancing, hugging…it’s a community affair. Here are some great wedding  ideas to engage your guests in being advocates for your marriage, long after the wedding party is over.

Relationship is always changing and moving in and out of rhythm and form – how your friends respond, support and engage with you during these hard times can make a big difference.  Yet, often, it’s a big step for a couple to reach out and get help, to own the ‘cracks’. 

Rumi, the Sufi Mystic and Poet, wrote, ‘the wound is where the light enters you’. Leonard Cohen echoed this when he sang, “Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.’ 

In most relationships, there is a fair amount of ‘sitting in the fire’ that expectation and hidden dreams fuels, as well as basking in the sheer joy of sharing a life together. Deep listening is a key to opening the door to understanding. The cracks in a marriage can be distressing, painful and for some, surprising. It may be even hard to imagine how the ‘light is going to come in’. The empathy we receive for the tough times can be balm to the tired soul that sometimes feels battered and empty in ‘love’.

At the wedding, you have invited those people who are important to you. You may want to explicitly ask them for their support or it may be that you acknowledge their friendship and that it takes a community to nurture a marriage and family.

Some great wedding ideas that engage your guests:
  • An acknowledgement of the support and care from your friends and family that you already receive and an invitation to be advocates for this relationship in the future.
  • You could specifically name your parents and/or siblings, as your support. Maybe honouring the strengths in their relationship or marriage that inspire and encourage you.
  • Here’s an example from Karen and Marty’s wedding ceremony. Celebrant: Each and every one of you has supported them in the past and, it is their wish that you will be there, by their sides, into the future. Each one of you brings a quality that has touched, inspired and challenged them to grow…in a safe and trusted way. Karen would now like to take this moment to honour each of you for the gift of your presence and symbolise your importance to their lives by inviting you, one by one, to hold one of the three handfasting ties while she holds the other end…sending love both ways. If we could keep it flowing and if you could then turn and pass the tie to the person on your right. 

Each guest/couple were standing in a set position in the circle so that Karen and Marty could walk around the circle and read the gratitude card for each guest/couple. After completion, Marty and Karen stood by each other’s side as Wendy spoke, “It’s the community of friends that can hold us, foster in us a sense of belonging and community. Marty and Karen, in times of both joy and need, may you call upon the strength and support that is here for you and may you feel the embrace of the love and friendship that is present… and also in your wider community of the many friends and family who could not join us today (due to Covid-19 restrictions).

  • Or, it might be that the celebrant speaks an invitation directly to the family and friends present. Celebrant: If, when cracks appear, keeping in mind that this is a natural course in most intimate relationships, can we hold our dearest friends, while they try to express and figure out what the hell is going on in times of stress and disharmony in  their ‘love lives’?  And, can we steer clear of gossip, comparison, analysing, commiserating, advising… rather, offering our mindful presence and ‘listening’ ears and heart so they can find their way, individually and as a couple, through to the other side in an empowered way? Remembering, the words from Leonard Cohen’s song, “Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”  A couple’s vulnerabilities can be met with love and their strengths can, in this way, be supported, nourished and given some space to grow. 
  • Or, it might be that you ask your family and friends a direct question that requires a hearty reply! Celebrant: They ask you, their closest friends and family, to support them in this commitment to their marriage. To help them work together, to laugh together, to raise a family and create a healthy life together.  They ask, will you be advocates of the love and commitment they celebrated in this marriage ceremony and support and uphold them not only today (and have a great party) but in the many years to come? If so, would you please respond with a hearty ‘we will’!  Guests: We will!
Preparation for any project, business, partnership… and marriage is essential. If you want to know how to build some solid skills for communicating honestly and effectively, listening deeply and giving sound empathy to one another, that will help to support ‘the light to shine from the cracks’, join me in the 12 week online Ongo program or empathy circles in my event section.
For pre-marriage guidance support you can contact Prepare/Enrich – Building Strong Relationships.
You will find many other great wedding ideas and marriage support in my blog.
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