My Final Words To You

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I am a Chicago Wedding Officiant
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Elopement Ceremonies in Chicago
Chicago Justice of the Peace
Child Naming/Parental Dedication

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(800) 523-5957

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All About My Services

About Thomas Witham
How My Ceremonies Are Different
The Couples I Work For
Wedding Venues Where I've Performed
Religious & Philosophical Expression
Your Greatest Advocate
Letters of Appreciation
For Those Previously Married

Designing Your Ceremony

Facing Your Guests (Modern Format)
Backs Turned (Traditional Format)
Examples of Wedding Vows
Environment
Ushers
Effective Seating
Aisle Runner or Petals
Children in Wedding Ceremonies
The Escorting of a Bride
Taking Parental Vows
The Use of Music
Using a Pedestal
Using a Wedding Carriage
A New Role For Grandparents
Readers
Wedding Ceremony Readings
In Memoriam

Ceremonies in Special Places
Ceremonies in Theme
Taking Your Ceremony to Others
Improvisation
Staying in Character
What Name Should I Use?
What if it Rains?
Fibbing Your Start Time
Ceremonies in Candlelight
The Reception Line

The Order of Events

Primary Options:
Read this First
The Unity Candle
Champagne Sharing
The Sand Ceremony
The Blessing Tree
Tying the Knot
Tasting the Elements
Using a Photomontage
The Giving of Roses

Options In Finale:
Butterfly Release
Dove Release
Balloon Release
Tossing Petals
Bubbles in a Wedding Ceremony
Applause Walk

The Five Rules:
Rule One
Rule Two
Rule Three
Rule Four
Rule Five

Advice on Photography
Advice on Wedding Coordinators
Death by Venue
An Invitation To Journalists

Resources and Links

For Those Considering Plagiarism

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The Traditional Wedding Format
A traditional wedding ceremony
Angelo and Cheryl chose to stand in the traditional format at the Palmer House - Chicago,Il.


Choosing the Traditional Wedding Format

As this website points out, I am a big advocate of brides and grooms and bridal parties facing forward. There are over 225 images of this on my website. Indeed 99% of all couples who ask me to officiate for them choose to face forward. But 99% isn't 100%, and in any given year one or more couples will ask to have their ceremony in the traditional, backs turned format.

There are good reasons for this. Some couples, especially the brides, will want their ceremony in the traditional format because that's what they're most familiar with and it's the look of a wedding ceremony they have always dreamed of. For them, changing the format changes the dream, something they don't want to do.

Other couples, and this is the most common concern when considering facing forward- fear they would be intimidated by the forward format. I have helped couples of all confidence levels mentally make the change and choose the forward format but some couples truly want only the traditional format.

Here's the bottom line: I want you to pick the ceremony format that's right and comfortable for you. Facing forward is not a requirement of mine and never will be. If you want the traditional, backs turned arrangement then let's design your beautiful wedding in that format. Formatting, whether forward or traditional, is only one aspect of any given wedding ceremony. How you perform and the elegance and poise you exhibit far outweigh whether you faced forward or had your backs turned.

So follow your heart and choose the format that's right for you. And please remember: my first thousand weddings were all backs turned so I'm really quite capable of bring out the absolute best in that format as well.


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