Ceremonies - Actions are Louder than Words
associated with advertising, subliminal messaging is inherently
found in almost every form
of communication. This retro Coca Cola poster serves as a good
example. The people at Coke wanted you to associate
youth, vibrancy and attractiveness with the use of their product. These
qualities are visually implied in this advertisement. Interestingly,
the poster gives you no instructions such as "Enjoy
Coke!" or "Take home a six pack today!" The
poster doesn't need to; if you associate being desirable with
their product you'll buy Coke without being asked. These
messages are said to be "subliminal" - a silent,
implied form of communication. Regardless of whom you hire
to officiate for you, your wedding ceremony is going to be
full of these messages.
messages in a wedding ceremony take place whether we want them
to or not. The
good news is that you have a lot of control over what is said
directly as well as subliminally in your ceremony.
take a look at a bad subliminal. The audience is asked
to rise as the bride, escorted by her father, walks her down
the aisle to the waiting groom. The father places his
daughter's hand on the forearm of the groom and bids them both
his love and takes his seat. Seems innocent enough doesn't
by placing her hand on his arm her father is subliminally
take her now" or "You're the man, you'll be calling the shots," or "The
man is the head of the household." Any way you look at it, this
gesture suggests male supremacy. Insult is added to injury when the minister
asks the father "Do you give your daughter in marriage?"- a
question directly implying property rights.
ceremonies are much different. The audience is asked
to rise as the bride and her escort, typically her father,
walk down the aisle toward the waiting groom. However,
the bride and her escort only come as far as the half way point. There,
surrounded by her on looking guests, she embraces her father. Her
groom now comes to meet her- coming half way also.
photo at the top of this page illustrates this. Kelly is being
escorted down the aisle by her father. Her mother, beaming,
looks on from the first row of the right side. Kelly will approach
her groom no further. She will embrace her father at mid-aisle
after which her groom, Brock, will 'come half way to meet her'
- a subliminal. There, with guests all around them, the groom
will meet his soon to be father in law. Offering his hand to
her, Kelly will accept, and the couple will walk
down the aisle together.
entrance, choreographed in this way, shows that her family
her to adulthood, but as adults she and her groom have
gone forward together- as equals.
can create other opportunities in your ceremony to subliminally
send the right messages to
your guests as well. Let's consider the lighting of taper
candles to the Unity Candle. The Unity Candle is lit
during mid ceremony by the bride and groom, visually implying
that the two have become one (a subliminal). I ask the
mothers of the bride and groom to light the two taper
candles at the very beginning of the ceremony. During
the rehearsal session I ask moms to do the following when I
invite them to light taper candles during the ceremony:
toward each other first, and then
walk together to the Unity Candle setting. Let the audience
see you cordially talking to each other. Light the taper
candles and embrace one another warmly. Continue talking
to each other as you return to your seats. Above all,
take your time in doing this.
This behavior subliminally suggests
that both mothers are delighted their son and daughter are
marrying each other. This is an outstanding message to be sending
(subliminally) to your guests at the beginning of the ceremony,
and it sets the right mood for the rest of the ceremony to
body language will be the single greatest communicator of your
heart and mind during this event
(not your words). I learned long ago that the single
most desirable quality in a bride and groom, whom I'm going
to present to hundreds of theirs friends,- is poise. Suggesting
calm, displaying elegance, comfortable with showing affection,-
poise is clearly the supreme subliminal.
music you choose for your wedding will carry with it implied
messages about you too. A
couple who's choice in music is creative and artistic or flat
and predictable will have these qualities associated with them
as well. The same can be said about ceremony wording.
understand that these silent implied messages, used throughout
your ceremony, are going
to speak louder than any words. And subliminals are particularly
potent because there is no defense against them. Whether
you send the right ones or the wrong ones, your guests are
going to receive these messages.