I've long been considering this and have mentioned it in passing here, but thinks the weeks are flying by I wanted to get you thoughts. There are two main points in particular that I'd like thoughts on....I'm kinda writing this as a loose timeline since that's the way it makes sense to ask in my head.
We'll be having a civil ceremony (former Mayor officiating). Probably 80-100 guests. Likely indoors unless we get really weather lucky.
ISSUE 1 - Has anyone had/seen the officiant pass the rings (probably in one bag) through the audience asking each guest to reflect a moment and give us their thoughts/prayers/blessings/whatever they wish to call them? Honestly, I probably saw it on 4 Weddings (closet addict!). To me, the goal is having the guests take an active (if small) part in the ceremony of our marriage, acknowledging their importance in our lives thus far and in our lives to come as H/W. They'd eventually work back up to the front (maybe down one side, back up the other, then a GM/BM can grab them when needed). They'd be included as usual when we get to the vows.
After the intro and possible start of the ring pass, we will probably have two VIP readings (my mom, maybe his sister...a few minutes each, probably prose). Somewhere in there we may also have a moment of silence which I'm mentioning to be thorough (thoughts are welcome, it just isn't what's in my head right now....the decision on that will be made by a few VIPs and it would be short and then we'd move on).
Then, I'd like to then have "our" part, including the official magic legal words, split up a bit.
ISSUE 2 - First, FI & I would just each "share"...I'm working on how I'd have this intro-ed but I see it as being a chance (not too long!) to share our thoughts on the moment and a bit on our love ("I couldn't have dreamed a dream as wonderful as the love I've found with you. I admire.... I am proud....). Basically, I think that vows should really be promises but I'd want to have the chance to say more than just that in the public space of our wedding. I see the tone as a little sentimental, love-of-my-life stuff, though would be fine with a laugh in there too (like about our obsessions with our aquatic frogs or our welcome mat: "Welcome to our Bipartisan Household: Please don't get us started.") Again, we'd be mindful of time and folks getting antsy...
After that exchange (which we would not have shared previously....though might print and include on a card table or at least in an album), we'd do more traditional (though secular) vows. It is also VERY important to me that the vows "match"....I want us to promise each other the same thing and for it to be the big stuff (loyalty, respect, love, honor....certainly no "obey" in either way!). I think that sets things on equal footing and I feel like we can do that but still have personalized statements b/c of the Shares (yes, could be in a card....but I think the ceremony will be short anyway and like when the ceremony carries the emotion of personalization).