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on April 4, 2015
We must not be the intended audience for this book, because, although we are indeed planning my wedding, we didn't find it particularly helpful. Being a atheist/agnostic combo who live in the Godless wilderness that is San Francisco, and who are planning a nontraditional wedding, we were at sea with this book. The book carries several assumptions which are not true for myself and my partner, which made the tone (of course your wedding will be deeply religious/spiritual, of course you wouldn't want people diminishing the sanctity of the ceremony by drinking alcohol during it, etc.) a touch off-putting. It is quite lengthly, and written in a slow, thorough style which would suit many readers quite well, but I found hard to scan, and the lack of an index made it difficult to find specific info. I think this book will be fine for many folks, especially those who are religious, but it didn't serve my needs.
14 people found this helpful
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on August 12, 2016
I loved this book even though I'm not the intended audience at all. The author is a Christian pastor, we are atheists. The author says you should hire a professional officiant, we had my aunt do it. But we just basically ignored the preface and found the rest of the book very useful!

She explains each part of the ceremony very clearly and includes a lot of wording options. Some are spiritual, some are secular, some use flowery language, some are plainspoken. Of all the websites and books I checked I did not find better wording options anywhere.

Reading through all of the options was really helpful to see what things we absolutely did not want, vs what resonated with us. In the end, we started with a base of her words, and changed them or re-wrote parts until it felt like our words. This book gave us a really important foundation to build upon, and that was just what we needed.
3 people found this helpful
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on October 25, 2015
This book is very helpful when planning a wedding. I used it conjunction with the officant's guide book: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1452119015?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_search_detailpage

This book has tons of examples to help create the ceremony. I created a draft for the bride and groom, and loaned them this book with some samples selected so they could pick and choose for what worked for them. This helped and also inspired them to know what they really wanted. I'd recommend this for an officiant or a couple who is not sure what they want yet but they want to ensure the ceremony is meaningful to them.
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on August 6, 2016
This book proved extremely helpful as my now-husband and I were having a friend officiate our wedding and so we were starting from scratch and had to build our ceremony from the ground up. We ended up taking some of the passages from the book and personalizing them to add our customized flair. We received so many compliments after the ceremony (I'm sure this is in large part to how well our friend officiated!), and I know the well-written passages added so much meaning to the event and were different than a cookie-cutter ceremony.
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on October 16, 2017
A couple of years ago, my niece asked me to officiate her wedding. She waited until 6 weeks prior, but I could not turn her down.
I had never done one and I had no idea what to do!
This book helped me through a very stress-filled time buy giving me a wealth of information.
Some of the people at the wedding actually thought that I was a pro because of the attention to detail.
A few months ago, my daughter was engaged and asked if I would perform her ceremony.
Once again, this book is off of the shelf and on my desk.
Best of all, I had e-mailed Dr. Johnson a question today and I had my answer from her within hours!
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on May 26, 2014
As a wedding officiant, I have purchased many ceremony planning books over the years. This has become my "go to" book, especially for couples who want a more secular (rather than religious) ceremony. I recently purchased the newest edition in the Kindle version, which cimes with downloadable pdf files of the example verbiage for different parts of the ceremony. This makes it easier to email suggestions back and forth to the bride and groom. I can't recommend this book more highly.
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on July 26, 2012
What an excellent resource for anyone composing a wedding ceremony! I made extensive use of 'The Wedding Ceremony Planner' last spring while crafting the ceremony for my friends' wedding: the first one I've officiated. You can trawl the Internet for sample ceremonies and advice, but I found it very convenient to have all of that in one compact book.

Dr. Johnson provides a wonderful array of options for each section of the ceremony, including the gathering words, the declarations of support and intent, and the vows. There are also recommendations for music and readings, as well as scripts for popular traditions, such as the lighting of a unity candle or vows to the couple's children. (Unfortunately, Dr. Johnson does not include any language for handfasting, which she dismisses as a misappropriation of a betrothal custom. That may be, but it is still a lovely ritual, and it has a longer history than the unity candle.)

The book describes marriage as a spiritual commitment, but it does not promote any religious agenda, and it is perfectly relevant to a nonreligious wedding (as was the case with my friends' wedding). I was impressed with Dr. Johnson's clear and sensitive advice, based on years of experience as an officiant. Our rehearsal would have been much more intimidating without her list of tips!

I only have a few real criticisms of this book. The first is that the sample texts are a bit difficult to navigate. One section follows the last on the same page, making the book hard to browse. It would be better to start each section of the ceremony on a new page, and to indicate the topic of each page with headings next to the page number. However, with some Post-Its, I was able to divide the book into its various sections and make it easier to find the parts I wanted.

Furthermore, it would be nice if this book were written with gender-neutral language, instead of defaulting to the titles "bride" and "groom." More and more same-sex couples are gaining access to marriage, and many of them are eschewing traditional ceremonies in favor of original ones. 'The Wedding Ceremony Planner' would be a great resource to any couple, and inclusive language would make it a more pleasant read for LGBTQ people.

I plan to use this book again if I ever have the honor of conducting another wedding ceremony. I recommend it highly!
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on October 26, 2015
I found this book extremely helpful. We also needed a ceremony without any God references, and this got us 95% of the way there. We mixed and matched sections, revamped a couple sentences that still included the "G" word, incorporated personal vows and readings and - ta da - a personal ceremony with just 2 evenings' work.

Our most frequent compliment from guests was how personal and meaningful the ceremony was. "A two kleenex-er", according to one guest. Most importantly, it was meaningful and sacred for us, and 100% true to our beliefs. Well worth the effort.
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on April 9, 2013
We got this book and it has been an amazing tool to help us draft out ceremony and assist with forming our vows.
We are not having a traditional minister or JP but a family member will be marrying us. I have handed this book down to a friend to use and they love it just as much as we did.

The structuring of the ceremony is laid out step by step and we did not have to go to another book to get a feel for the flow of a proper ceremony (even if our wedding isnt very "proper")

Would by again!
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on September 14, 2010
Overview:
I read through this book yesterday afternoon and was successfully able to piece together my entire ceremony within a few hours. The first part of the book is an overview of wedding ceremonies, who participates, etc. Much of this section was common sense, but it can be helpful to have a reminder to check obvious things when you're as frazzled as I am.

The second section of the book is the sections of the wedding ceremony and examples. There is a good range of styles for each section of the wedding, from short and informal to quoting saccharine poems at each other... and the range from devoutly religious to entirely dodging the topic. Examples for second/mature weddings, weddings with children, etc. are included. I had our vows picked out before purchasing this book, but I used passages from this book for every other part of the wedding. I love how our ceremony transitions smoothly from the introduction through the prayers, vows, ring exchange, etc. The flow of my ceremony would have been much poorer using only internet sources.

The most helpful part for me was the section of ten example weddings, which shows how the author fits the ceremony together.

Pros:
It's thorough without being long-winded.
Good selection & range of examples.
Quality vs. Quantity

Cons:
Quality vs. Quantity. There are good examples, not hundreds of them. I was able to find many that I loved, but not everyone will. I noticed that the lack of suggestions for working in the giving away of the bride... I googled that part ;)
One person found this helpful
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