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    A conversation with wedding officiant Zanne Koehne.

    Why do people want non-traditional ceremonies? 

    “A traditional wedding ceremony may not feel as special to people who have never conformed to what society has found as acceptable. The last wedding that I performed was a hand fasting (a Pagan custom of tying the couples’ hands together). This practice meant a great deal to both the bride and the groom. It is something that they will remember forever. Also, if we are speaking in terms of a ‘traditional’ wedding between a man and a woman, things are changing in that arena as well. I offer commitment ceremonies for same-sex couples, located here in Kentucky, where same-sex marriage is not legal.” 

    Before meeting with an officiant, what should couples think about and discuss? 

    “These questions: Is there a reading or poem that means a great deal to both of them? Will the bride be given away or is this too traditional for the wedding? Will they write their own vows or would it be easier for them to focus on what they are saying if they repeat after the officiant? Will there be an exchange of rings? If so, do they want to write that part as well or repeat after the officiant? How would the couple like to be presented after marriage? Are there any announcements that the couple would like to make directly following the ceremony?”

    What’s your process like after you meet with a couple and figure out what they want in their ceremony? 

    “I like to make every wedding ceremony personal. When I meet with the couple, I like to find out several facts about them so that I can write something meaningful to both of them. I take that info and I apply it to the eight parts of the ceremony, which can be deleted or changed to fit the couple’s preferences.” (The eight parts of a wedding ceremony: the reading, the officiant’s opening word, giving away of the bride, charge to the couple — the explanation of the significance of the vows, the exchange of vows, the exchange of rings, declaration of marriage and first kiss, presentation of the couple.)

    What are some ways that couples can be unique and show their personalities in a ceremony? 

    “One way that I have seen is writing of their own vows. The words that they say to one another are so true and pure. They can choose to deliver their vows in different ways as well, like a song or poem. The type of music that is played during the ceremony can also be a great opportunity for showing each of their personalities.” 

    What advice do you give couples who want to write their own vows?  

    “My advice is to always keep it simple. It is okay to read it off of a small sheet of paper if they wish. They are going to be nervous enough as it is to worry about memorizing anything. Most of all, it is very important that they think carefully about the vows that they are making. Marriage is a bond that is meant for a lifetime.”

    Have there been any elements of weddings that you’ve officiated that you think other couples could take inspiration from? 

    “It is very important that both the bride and the groom pick a place that speaks to both of them. Ceremonies in homes have a very personal feel. I have performed a ceremony at the waterfront that had a public and open feel. I have performed at the beautiful Marcus Lindsey, giving the ceremony a very traditional feel without being in a church environment.”

    Are there any places locally that you’ve seen and thought would make a good place for a ceremony?

    “Though a bit morbid, I have always thought the opening to Cave Hill Cemetery would be an amazing place for a ceremony, especially during the fall when the leaves are beautiful colors. I also think that the stage in Central Park would be an amazing place for a wedding. It would accommodate a large attendance.”  


    This article is courtesy of Louisville Bride. To subscribe to Louisville Magazine, click here.

    Photo courtesy of Shutterstock/Augustino

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