In part three of Write Here Write Now, the Muses walk you through developing an outline for your wedding ceremony. While it might sound a bit academic and dull, an outline is actually a great way to organize all those brainstorming thoughts you came up with last week, and will give your ceremony shape. Imagine you have a pumpkin that you want to carve; you wouldn’t just take your pumpkin-cutter to it and hope you make a stellar jack-o-lantern. Nope, you draw out what you want, first. The same idea applies here!
Step Three: Outlining Like a Diva
What is an Outline, Anyway?
It’s probably been awhile since you even thought about an outline. A quick refresher: an outline is a way of laying out your ideas that allows you to clearly see what you need to write and where you intend to end up. You might remember a basic outline looking something like this.
1. Suss Out What is Important
Okay, so now we know why we want an outline and what an outline is. What does this have to do with your wedding ceremony? Everything. Look over your brainstorming list and highlight what stands out to you. For example, let’s say you know that you and your snookums both love bowling — it’s how you met, and it’s something you enjoy doing together. During your brainstorming, maybe you wrote down that commitment, intentions, support of family and working together are important themes in your relationship. You also wrote down a few of your favorite love songs and love poems, and mentioned that My Best Friend’s Wedding is your favorite romantic movie. You might highlight all of these, plus more.
2. Laying Down the Framework
All events, toasts, speeches, and yes, ceremonies, have a beginning, a middle and an end. You can start your outline with these three basic concepts:
The beginning is welcoming your guests, saying hello to those that have gathered. It’s customary for officiants to introduce themselves here and share how they know the bride and groom. The middle is where the meat and potatoes of the ceremony is going to go â€“ it is almost always the longest section. And the end involves the exchanging of rings, vows, and a closing.
3. Filling in the Framework
Now, with all this in mind, you can start filling in your outline with your own personal ideas. Start basic.
A. Officiant greets guests, says we are delighted to have them join us
B. Officiant introduces self, gives story of how he/she met us
C. Give overview of the ceremony –
ii. Discussion of intention
A. Group singing of “Say a Little Prayer for You”
B. Discussion of intentions
C. Importance of family and friends
i. Commitment of family and friends to the couple
F. Reading of poem (not sure which one)
G. One more song!!
B. Exchanging of Vows
i. Vows from Dr. Seuss
C. Exchanging of Rings
D. Thank You
i. Include instructions as to what happens next
It’s totally okay to have blanks right now. You don’t need to know everything. What you’re trying to do is incorporate your ideas into a structure. Note how some ideas have been used, and some haven’t yet. Don’t worry! When we get to actually writing everything, we’ll start to fill in more of those ideas, and the blank spaces will get plugged, too.
Next week, we’ll look at taking this outline and these ideas and start actually writing the ceremony based on them! Now that you know where you’re going and have an idea of how you want to get there, writing is going to be a whole lot easier.