Why a Good Ceremony Matters (Even After a Decade)

“Ten years ago today,” wrote April and Matt on May 26, 2023, “you were a central figure in a ceremony that ended up meaning more to us than we had imagined.”

“You turned the ceremony from a step in the wedding process to a moment full of meaning.”

The couple shared, “We had assumed the reception would be the part of the wedding that would stay with us ten years later, but instead it’s the feeling of standing across from each other as we made our commitment.”

Bride and Groom stand with officiant during their outdoor wedding ceremony

As my very first “official” couple after launching Grace Ceremonies in 2013, Matt and April were responding to my invitation to reflect on a decade of marriage, and what their wedding ceremony meant to them — then and now.

Even as a new officiant, I knew more than any wonderful script I might write or fabulous delivery I might execute, the best ceremonies help couples through the process of wedding.

In April and Matt’s words, “With you, we laid out our plan for transitioning from a long-term monogamous couple to husband and wife.”

Bride and Groom stand with officiant after their outdoor wedding ceremony

Almost every aspect of wedding planning is about a day — an event — ​but the ceremony is about creating a marriage: a shared commitment that begins before the wedding and continues for a lifetime.

I ask questions that guide couples in better understanding their relationship, clarifying their values and articulating their aspirations as marriage partners.

As Matt and April explained, “Centering these ideas started from our first meeting with you. The questions you laid out sparked some important conversations that laid a framework for us to this day. Thank you.”

Couple on their 10th wedding anniversary

As April and Matt’s 10th wedding anniversary approached, I asked the couple five questions about their wedding, vows, anniversaries and ten years of marriage.  They graciously responded, adding:

“We are happy to once again lean on your questions to ​give us a moment to pause and reflect together.”

1- What is your favorite memory from your wedding day?

​April and Matt: After the traditional wedding kiss, April hugged Matt. Everything and everyone else melted away and it was just the two of us.

2- What part of your ceremony has stayed with you the most?

Matt: The vows we made. Thanks to the keepsake book of our ceremony you gave us, we are able to reread them over the year.

April: The overall tone of inclusivity. There were opportunities for key family members and friends to be involved, but also the readings and tone were relatable to everyone in our extended interfaith family. No one was left out, but more importantly, everyone that mattered to us was part of our day. ​

3- Do you ever revisit your wedding vows, and do they still feel relevant?

April and Matt: We love having our wedding vows on hand, and they still feel very relevant. It speaks to all the pre-work (in a large part due to your involvement and questions!) that gave us insight on what was really going to matter to us over time. Our vows were not just a formula; we said what we wanted to say, and we made vows we knew we could keep.

4- What aspect of your marriage are you most proud of, or grateful for?

April: I’m grateful for the way we keep learning how to be there for each other. Marriage isn’t always easy and we don’t always agree or even get along. When we feel that happening, we’re able to remind each other of our commitment and love. We talk about what each person needs and lean back towards each other until we’re connected again. And we try to learn from that to make it easier the next time things are hard. I am grateful for the commitment and trust we have that allows for this.

(I don’t know if I anticipated just how much harder it was once you had children, especially in the early years when we were so sleep deprived! But we have been able to do it as needed and it’s a great source of comfort to know we have the ability to reconnect.)

Matt: The part that I am proudest of is that we still make each other laugh and can connect even when we are often completely overwhelmed with life. Each year we have gotten better at this because we have understood that it takes work. The work we put in is always worth it. Though it isn’t something I always considered when thinking of marriage, it is something I enjoy and am grateful for. The work we put in helps keep us centered and ensures we are partners; ensures our family is ultimately happy even when we have struggles.

5- How do you celebrate your wedding anniversaries?

​Matt and April: Since getting married, we’ve had children and life gets busy. We rarely make a special day out of our anniversary. Often it’s a lunch or a half-day while the kids are in school. However, we always make the time to reread our vows, and some years we are able to reread the entire ceremony. And by reading it to our kids now, they are also able to be part of it.

“Thank you again for being part of our wedding day and ​the role you played in our marriage ever since.”

“Ten years ago today,” wrote April and Matt on May 26, 2023, “you were a central figure in a ceremony that ended up meaning more to us than we had imagined.”

“You turned the ceremony from a step in the wedding process to a moment full of meaning.”

The couple shared, “We had assumed the reception would be the part of the wedding that would stay with us ten years later, but instead it’s the feeling of standing across from each other as we made our commitment.”

Bride and Groom stand with officiant during their outdoor wedding ceremony

As my very first “official” couple after launching Grace Ceremonies in 2013, Matt and April were responding to my invitation to reflect on a decade of marriage, and what their wedding ceremony meant to them — then and now.

Even as a new officiant, I knew more than any wonderful script I might write or fabulous delivery I might execute, the best ceremonies help couples through the process of wedding.

In April and Matt’s words, “With you, we laid out our plan for transitioning from a long-term monogamous couple to husband and wife.”

Bride and Groom stand with officiant after their outdoor wedding ceremony

Almost every aspect of wedding planning is about a day — an event — ​but the ceremony is about creating a marriage: a shared commitment that begins before the wedding and continues for a lifetime.

I ask questions that guide couples in better understanding their relationship, clarifying their values and articulating their aspirations as marriage partners.

As Matt and April explained, “Centering these ideas started from our first meeting with you. The questions you laid out sparked some important conversations that laid a framework for us to this day. Thank you.”

Couple on their 10th wedding anniversary

As April and Matt’s 10th wedding anniversary approached, I asked the couple five questions about their wedding, vows, anniversaries and ten years of marriage.  They graciously responded, adding:

“We are happy to once again lean on your questions to ​give us a moment to pause and reflect together.”

1- What is your favorite memory from your wedding day?

​April and Matt: After the traditional wedding kiss, April hugged Matt. Everything and everyone else melted away and it was just the two of us.

2- What part of your ceremony has stayed with you the most?

Matt: The vows we made. Thanks to the keepsake book of our ceremony you gave us, we are able to reread them over the year.

April: The overall tone of inclusivity. There were opportunities for key family members and friends to be involved, but also the readings and tone were relatable to everyone in our extended interfaith family. No one was left out, but more importantly, everyone that mattered to us was part of our day. ​

3- Do you ever revisit your wedding vows, and do they still feel relevant?

April and Matt: We love having our wedding vows on hand, and they still feel very relevant. It speaks to all the pre-work (in a large part due to your involvement and questions!) that gave us insight on what was really going to matter to us over time. Our vows were not just a formula; we said what we wanted to say, and we made vows we knew we could keep.

4- What aspect of your marriage are you most proud of, or grateful for?

April: I’m grateful for the way we keep learning how to be there for each other. Marriage isn’t always easy and we don’t always agree or even get along. When we feel that happening, we’re able to remind each other of our commitment and love. We talk about what each person needs and lean back towards each other until we’re connected again. And we try to learn from that to make it easier the next time things are hard. I am grateful for the commitment and trust we have that allows for this.

(I don’t know if I anticipated just how much harder it was once you had children, especially in the early years when we were so sleep deprived! But we have been able to do it as needed and it’s a great source of comfort to know we have the ability to reconnect.)

Matt: The part that I am proudest of is that we still make each other laugh and can connect even when we are often completely overwhelmed with life. Each year we have gotten better at this because we have understood that it takes work. The work we put in is always worth it. Though it isn’t something I always considered when thinking of marriage, it is something I enjoy and am grateful for. The work we put in helps keep us centered and ensures we are partners; ensures our family is ultimately happy even when we have struggles.

5- How do you celebrate your wedding anniversaries?

​Matt and April: Since getting married, we’ve had children and life gets busy. We rarely make a special day out of our anniversary. Often it’s a lunch or a half-day while the kids are in school. However, we always make the time to reread our vows, and some years we are able to reread the entire ceremony. And by reading it to our kids now, they are also able to be part of it.

“Thank you again for being part of our wedding day and ​the role you played in our marriage ever since.”

Why a Good Ceremony Matters (Even After a Decade)

“Ten years ago today,” wrote April and Matt on May 26, 2023, “you were a central figure in a ceremony that ended up meaning more to us than we had imagined.”

“You turned the ceremony from a step in the wedding process to a moment full of meaning.”

The couple shared, “We had assumed the reception would be the part of the wedding that would stay with us ten years later, but instead it’s the feeling of standing across from each other as we made our commitment.”

Bride and Groom stand with officiant during their outdoor wedding ceremony

As my very first “official” couple after launching Grace Ceremonies in 2013, Matt and April were responding to my invitation to reflect on a decade of marriage, and what their wedding ceremony meant to them — then and now.

Even as a new officiant, I knew more than any wonderful script I might write or fabulous delivery I might execute, the best ceremonies help couples through the process of wedding.

In April and Matt’s words, “With you, we laid out our plan for transitioning from a long-term monogamous couple to husband and wife.”

Bride and Groom stand with officiant after their outdoor wedding ceremony

Almost every aspect of wedding planning is about a day — an event — ​but the ceremony is about creating a marriage: a shared commitment that begins before the wedding and continues for a lifetime.

I ask questions that guide couples in better understanding their relationship, clarifying their values and articulating their aspirations as marriage partners.

As Matt and April explained, “Centering these ideas started from our first meeting with you. The questions you laid out sparked some important conversations that laid a framework for us to this day. Thank you.”

Couple on their 10th wedding anniversary

As April and Matt’s 10th wedding anniversary approached, I asked the couple five questions about their wedding, vows, anniversaries and ten years of marriage.  They graciously responded, adding:

“We are happy to once again lean on your questions to ​give us a moment to pause and reflect together.”

1- What is your favorite memory from your wedding day?

​April and Matt: After the traditional wedding kiss, April hugged Matt. Everything and everyone else melted away and it was just the two of us.

2- What part of your ceremony has stayed with you the most?

Matt: The vows we made. Thanks to the keepsake book of our ceremony you gave us, we are able to reread them over the year.

April: The overall tone of inclusivity. There were opportunities for key family members and friends to be involved, but also the readings and tone were relatable to everyone in our extended interfaith family. No one was left out, but more importantly, everyone that mattered to us was part of our day. ​

3- Do you ever revisit your wedding vows, and do they still feel relevant?

April and Matt: We love having our wedding vows on hand, and they still feel very relevant. It speaks to all the pre-work (in a large part due to your involvement and questions!) that gave us insight on what was really going to matter to us over time. Our vows were not just a formula; we said what we wanted to say, and we made vows we knew we could keep.

4- What aspect of your marriage are you most proud of, or grateful for?

April: I’m grateful for the way we keep learning how to be there for each other. Marriage isn’t always easy and we don’t always agree or even get along. When we feel that happening, we’re able to remind each other of our commitment and love. We talk about what each person needs and lean back towards each other until we’re connected again. And we try to learn from that to make it easier the next time things are hard. I am grateful for the commitment and trust we have that allows for this.

(I don’t know if I anticipated just how much harder it was once you had children, especially in the early years when we were so sleep deprived! But we have been able to do it as needed and it’s a great source of comfort to know we have the ability to reconnect.)

Matt: The part that I am proudest of is that we still make each other laugh and can connect even when we are often completely overwhelmed with life. Each year we have gotten better at this because we have understood that it takes work. The work we put in is always worth it. Though it isn’t something I always considered when thinking of marriage, it is something I enjoy and am grateful for. The work we put in helps keep us centered and ensures we are partners; ensures our family is ultimately happy even when we have struggles.

5- How do you celebrate your wedding anniversaries?

​Matt and April: Since getting married, we’ve had children and life gets busy. We rarely make a special day out of our anniversary. Often it’s a lunch or a half-day while the kids are in school. However, we always make the time to reread our vows, and some years we are able to reread the entire ceremony. And by reading it to our kids now, they are also able to be part of it.

“Thank you again for being part of our wedding day and ​the role you played in our marriage ever since.”

“Ten years ago today,” wrote April and Matt on May 26, 2023, “you were a central figure in a ceremony that ended up meaning more to us than we had imagined.”

“You turned the ceremony from a step in the wedding process to a moment full of meaning.”

The couple shared, “We had assumed the reception would be the part of the wedding that would stay with us ten years later, but instead it’s the feeling of standing across from each other as we made our commitment.”

Bride and Groom stand with officiant during their outdoor wedding ceremony

As my very first “official” couple after launching Grace Ceremonies in 2013, Matt and April were responding to my invitation to reflect on a decade of marriage, and what their wedding ceremony meant to them — then and now.

Even as a new officiant, I knew more than any wonderful script I might write or fabulous delivery I might execute, the best ceremonies help couples through the process of wedding.

In April and Matt’s words, “With you, we laid out our plan for transitioning from a long-term monogamous couple to husband and wife.”

Bride and Groom stand with officiant after their outdoor wedding ceremony

Almost every aspect of wedding planning is about a day — an event — ​but the ceremony is about creating a marriage: a shared commitment that begins before the wedding and continues for a lifetime.

I ask questions that guide couples in better understanding their relationship, clarifying their values and articulating their aspirations as marriage partners.

As Matt and April explained, “Centering these ideas started from our first meeting with you. The questions you laid out sparked some important conversations that laid a framework for us to this day. Thank you.”

Couple on their 10th wedding anniversary

As April and Matt’s 10th wedding anniversary approached, I asked the couple five questions about their wedding, vows, anniversaries and ten years of marriage.  They graciously responded, adding:

“We are happy to once again lean on your questions to ​give us a moment to pause and reflect together.”

1- What is your favorite memory from your wedding day?

​April and Matt: After the traditional wedding kiss, April hugged Matt. Everything and everyone else melted away and it was just the two of us.

2- What part of your ceremony has stayed with you the most?

Matt: The vows we made. Thanks to the keepsake book of our ceremony you gave us, we are able to reread them over the year.

April: The overall tone of inclusivity. There were opportunities for key family members and friends to be involved, but also the readings and tone were relatable to everyone in our extended interfaith family. No one was left out, but more importantly, everyone that mattered to us was part of our day. ​

3- Do you ever revisit your wedding vows, and do they still feel relevant?

April and Matt: We love having our wedding vows on hand, and they still feel very relevant. It speaks to all the pre-work (in a large part due to your involvement and questions!) that gave us insight on what was really going to matter to us over time. Our vows were not just a formula; we said what we wanted to say, and we made vows we knew we could keep.

4- What aspect of your marriage are you most proud of, or grateful for?

April: I’m grateful for the way we keep learning how to be there for each other. Marriage isn’t always easy and we don’t always agree or even get along. When we feel that happening, we’re able to remind each other of our commitment and love. We talk about what each person needs and lean back towards each other until we’re connected again. And we try to learn from that to make it easier the next time things are hard. I am grateful for the commitment and trust we have that allows for this.

(I don’t know if I anticipated just how much harder it was once you had children, especially in the early years when we were so sleep deprived! But we have been able to do it as needed and it’s a great source of comfort to know we have the ability to reconnect.)

Matt: The part that I am proudest of is that we still make each other laugh and can connect even when we are often completely overwhelmed with life. Each year we have gotten better at this because we have understood that it takes work. The work we put in is always worth it. Though it isn’t something I always considered when thinking of marriage, it is something I enjoy and am grateful for. The work we put in helps keep us centered and ensures we are partners; ensures our family is ultimately happy even when we have struggles.

5- How do you celebrate your wedding anniversaries?

​Matt and April: Since getting married, we’ve had children and life gets busy. We rarely make a special day out of our anniversary. Often it’s a lunch or a half-day while the kids are in school. However, we always make the time to reread our vows, and some years we are able to reread the entire ceremony. And by reading it to our kids now, they are also able to be part of it.

“Thank you again for being part of our wedding day and ​the role you played in our marriage ever since.”