How Is a Nonreligious Ceremony Different From a Nondenominational Wedding Ceremony?

How is a non religious wedding ceremony different from a nondenominational wedding ceremony? It’s a question that I’m asked every now and then.

Nondenominational still implies that the ceremony is Christian in some way, without adhering to a particular sect of Christianity. There are many sects, with 30 or so main denominations.

A nonreligious wedding ceremony will have no mention of God or anything religious. It might still have spiritual elements, like stopping to breathe and soak in the moment, or acknowledging nature during the ceremony or by blessing the couple’s hands. Religious and spiritual are not the same thing and lots of people are spiritual, without necessarily being religious.

Nondenominational ceremonies mention God and are faith-based, but with so many different faiths and spiritual beliefs, I find it’s best to mention God as everyone’s homeboy.

I am not a Christian minister. I am a minister of metaphysics (where science and spirituality come together) so wedding attendees may have knowledge of the bible that’s far superior to my own, so I only mention Jesus when specifically instructed to by my couple and usually ask if they have a religious family member who would like to come up to read it or lead a prayer.

Every now and then I’ll meet a religious grandparent while at the wedding and receive 20 questions about my religious training. I tell that grandparent that I’m a nondenominational minister who honors the truth in all faiths and that the couple’s ceremony is fairly laid-back, but still honors God. That answer usually suffices.

Nonreligious wedding ceremonies are my specialty. Nor are they generally spiritual. There are quite a few religious ministers in my town, but few who will officiate a wedding that brings a gay couple together or couples from two different faiths. When two different faiths are present, it can be best to have a ceremony totally free of anything spiritual, but can also include elements from each faith and honor both. The trick is not to make anyone in attendance feel alienated.

Nonreligious ceremonies are becoming more and more common. One reason they’re becoming more popular is the lack of rules or defined way of doing things. Sometimes a couple will have their dog as their ring bearer, a grandparent acting as flower girl or even a surprise wedding. I’ve been fortunate enough to officiate three surprise weddings. One of those surprise weddings was a play in the couple’s backyard that turned out to be their wedding. The play was Roman themed and I dressed up as Julius Caesar! Everyone in attendance was so surprised and it was one of my favorite wedding ceremonies.

Beaded Flower Wreaths – Plan Them Out Carefully

Planning out your bead flower wreath is the first and most essential step to assembling it and enjoying it for years to come. Why? Because, with living flowers, if you run short of a certain kind of flower, you can simply reach for more or go buy some at the florist. With bead flowers, you have to make them first, which takes a lot more time.

As a guideline you can use some principles from arranging living flowers.

Use an odd number of each bloom you plan to use. That means, in general, 1, 3 or 5 roses, not 2 or 4. Using an odd number of flowers gives a more natural look.

Use coordinating colors, such as pink and mauve; or many shades of the same color, such as flowers all in light blue to cobalt.

Keep the visual “weight” closer to the base of the wreath. This means, place more of your larger blooms or those in deeper color tones from the horizontal midline to the bottom of the wreath.

Let each flower “breathe.” That is, don’t pack them so tightly that the main flowers are crowded or are largely hidden behind secondary flowers. Leave some space so a viewer can see deeper into the wreath than the surface layer. Leave room for light to come through from behind the wreath.

Use several different kinds of greenery. If you use all rose leaves, for example, your piece will be missing an important element of visual interest.

“Anchor” the piece with greenery. In a potted arrangement, this would mean to place a row of leaves at the pot’s rim. In a wreath, use enough greenery for the wreath to feel generous and lush, but not crowded. Use leaves to fill in any blank spots between flowers around the outer edge. Don’t forget leaves to help fill some of the center space of the wreath.

Use a coordinating container. In a potted arrangement, this would be a pot that goes with the piece and doesn’t distract from it. In wreaths, this is using an appropriate ribbon to cover the wire frame. I usually use wide green ribbon. Use something that will fit the wreath’s theme.

Vary the height of your flowers so the wreath doesn’t come out “flat.” Press some leaves to the back to they will almost touch the wall; and bring others more forward. This gives life and a natural, more spontaneous look to your wreath.

I like to add one or two “surprises” to most of my wreaths. A “surprise” is a small flower in a color that doesn’t really “go” with the other flowers. Another surprise could be a few Swarovski beads hidden among the greenery, for the recipient to gradually find as they enjoy the wreath over time. See my “Anniversary Wreath Closeup” for an example. You can also use a pretty bow or some other unexpected feature.

I still find that, even if I have a wreath perfectly planned out in my head, once I’m actually placing the flowers on the frame, my plan can change. Sometimes I delete a flower or two from my plan, or decide I need something additional. After your wreath is assembled, you might have one or two of your main flowers left over – which is fine! Save it for the next wreath. Once you’ve had a little practice and experience, you’ll be able to modify these guidelines.