We have all been to those weddings where guests (and possible you) were more interested in the scenery around them, and checking their watches every 2 minutes, counting down the time for the reception and fun! First of all, your wedding ceremony shouldn't be an hour like a full church service! Everyone (myself included) cannot focus on anything for more than 10 minutes before checking their phones, watch, what the person in the distance is doing....
Let's be brutally honest, when guests arrive, they are excited to see/meet people, and to share in the happiness of being part of a lovely event! The bride walks down the aisle and everyone smiles broader at the stunning beauty! Then the ceremony starts. It's ok you can groan. From here the guests listen for the "I do", followed by vows that they hope are original and have some humor or insight on how the couple met. Rings are exchanged, and they know in a few moments there will be a kiss and then they can get back to the celebrating with everyone!
I try to keep our ceremonies at 10-15 minutes. But I have had and been to the wedding ceremonies where the couple choose to drag it on. There is a welcome, opening statement, prayer, a reading, statement of marriage.... You lost your audience after the prayer. The guests are now looking up into the trees, staring out at the water, looking at their watches/phones. Bottom line, it is hard to just look at 2 people staring at each other with a bunch of words being said in about the same tone. So how do you fix this?
Engage the audience, include them, give them movement and visual elements! There are many ways to do this.
If you want a reading in the ceremony, have a guest come up and read it instead of the officiant/minister. It is a great way to include an audience member, and intrigue your guests. Who is coming forward? What are they going to say?
Have a respected family member say the prayer. Everyone's attention will shift from the couple to the family member.
Write your own vows. The repeat after me style is easier on the couple, but very boring for guests. Instead, speak your own vows. Some brave couples to "speak from the heart" and don't prepare anything, but just speak their feelings. Other couples choose vows that are in the provided ceremony templates and each choose one without telling the other which one they chose. They copy and paste, and present them to each other at the ceremony. Of course the best are the ones with a piece of the couple in the vows. One of the funniest I heard was a groom saying he would always be patient and understanding even when she never orders bacon and always eats his. Of course, everyone was laughing.
This is one of the most common unity ceremonies. It is a great visual representation of the blending of a marriage. It is easy to include children or parents in to the ceremony to show a blending of families. The containers for the unity sand are as numerous as the colors of sand you can use! View more information and wording options here.
Anniversary Sand Ceremony (also called Beach Sand Ceremony)
The Anniversary sand ceremony is a great addition to any beach wedding or elopement. Prior to the ceremony, the Bride and Groom both write a small love letter to the other. Then at the ceremony, they place a handful of sand from under their feet into the jar. The very sand they took their vows is now in the jar! They then add the love letters. On their anniversary, they open the jar, and read their love letters! Some couples choose to leave out the love letters making it a beach sand ceremony! View possible wording and more information here.
The rose is considered the a symbol of love. In this ceremony love, especially within a marriage, is defined and explained. View more information and the wording here.
Your officiant should be able to help you with wording for your unique situation! Check back often for more specialty ceremony elements!