by MassachusettsJustice of the Peace & Notary Public
Carol J. Merletti
Unique Wedding Ideas

                               Bride and Groom Facing Each Other During the Ceremony

During the many weddings that I have attended before becoming a Justice of the Peace, I often wondered why the officiant faced the
guests, while the bride and groom had their backs towards them when exchanging the most important aspect of their wedding ceremony
– their vows.  It always appeared strange to me.  When guests are taking pictures, they want to see the beaming faces of a bride and
groom when they look back at the pictures that they have taken, and not the face of the officiant that they will never see again.  I
decided to test this theory with my clients, and to this day, they have all agreed that it made more sense for them to be facing their
family and friends.  Why on earth would people want to take pictures of me?  At all of the weddings that I have performed to date, when I
announced this, people were always pleasantly surprised that I suggested this arrangement, and agreed that it just made sense.

To picture how this looks, you need to know that you are not directly facing your guests.  The bride and groom are on a slant facing
each other, while your officiant is on the side of you, on a slant as well, and not having his or her back to your guests.  This way, if you
are an emotional or nervous couple, you can avoid this by focusing on each other, and focusing on me.  While I cannot look at you the
whole time, as I am reading your vows, as all vows are different, so I can't not possibly remember your vows by heart, I am looking up
and down throughout the ceremony.  But the point is, that if the three of us only focus on each other, you won't lose it!  And if you do, so
be it!  That is natural and perfectly O.K.

Of course, this is just an option for the bride and groom and not something that they must do.  But it is something to think about.
                                                                    Unique Idea Beyond Tradition

                                                                Wine, Box, & Love Letter Ceremony

While there are so many traditions that a couple can incorporate into their wedding vows, such as the Unity Candle, The Rose
Exchange, and many more, there is one special idea that I learned about from my dear friend, Richard Carson (Thanks Rich!) who
attended a wedding in Holland.  While he was not sure if it was a Dutch tradition, nor did he know the wording for this particular
ceremony (to which I created my own.) he found it to be extremely touching.  When he returned to the states, he could not wait to share
this with me.  Basically the JP or officiant asks the couple getting married to find a strong wooden box that will hold two bottles of wine
and two wine glasses.  The couple is then asked to each write a letter to one another, expressing their thoughts about the good qualities
that they found in their future partner and their reasons for falling in love with each other.  Under no condition can they read each other’
s letter.  They are to seal them and put them in the box with the wine and glasses.  Upon finalizing the wedding ceremony, the officiant
will announce to the guests that he / she had asked the couple to write letters to each other and put them in the box with the wine and
glasses.  The officiant will explain that should the couple ever find their marriage in serious trouble, before making any irrational
decisions, they must open the box, drink wine together, and read the letter that they wrote to one another to reflect on why they fell in
love with each other in the first place. The hope is that there will never be a reason to have to open the box, unless of course, it is for a
10th year anniversary! (This is not meant to have a negative tone by any means as some may perceive it to be.   It is meant to only be
positive and in my ceremonies is worded as such.  In this day and age, it is only "too common" to give up too easily in a marriage -- Just
take a look at Hollywood.) At the wedding in Holland, members of the wedding party were handed nails to hammer the box shut.  
However, I do not use the hammer and nails, and ask the couple to just close the box or latch it instead of using a hammer and nails.)
This is only a suggestion, but I just think that it makes the ceremony extra special for the couple.

Truthfully, I find this to be the most romantic (and coolest!) addition to incorporate into a marriage ceremony.  Not that my husband and I
needed to do this (well O.K., maybe sometimes!), but I wish that we had.  It would have been fun opening it up on our 10th, 15th, 20th,
or 25th Anniversary!  All joking aside, I simply cannot tell you just how popular this has become.  And I simply cannot express enough
just how much it is better to NOT TELL YOUR GUEST / FAMILY MEMBERS / WEDDING PARTY that you are doing this!  Every ceremony
that I have officiated over with this being incorporated into their vows has been nothing but a huge surprise and hit!  People actually
cry.  They are overwhelmed and pleased to have been a witness to something so unique and different at a wedding ceremony.

My clients have been extremely creative with their boxes by putting foam inside to raise up and support their wine glasses and their
wine.  They have also lined the inside with satin or silk material.  Not only have they put their letters to each other, their wine and their
glasses, in their box, but they included CDs of their favorite music, favorite pictures of themselves together, etc.  One ceremony that I
officiated over had every member of their wedding party also put a letter in the box expressing their feelings about the couple.  Having
said that, I am always excited about seeing each and every box when I arrive at their ceremony.  They are always uniquely made. One
couple turned their box into a coffee table made out of three different kinds of wood. (Please see some picture samples below.)

The Officiant would say the following:


Unfortunately, due to the continuous pirating of work that I, Carol J. Merletti, ” have written for the WINE,
BOX, AND LOVE LETTER CERMONY on other wedding websites, without my permission, or giving me the credit to my copyright wording
for this particular ceremony, I have been forced to remove this from my website.  I simply cannot tell you just how much this has upset
me since my website has been up-and-running.  I am truly upset over this and dishearten by the dishonesty of others.  When I posted
this on my website, it was meant, and only meant, to help couples think about how they could make their wedding vows “unique” and
“different”, and to incorporate something into their wedding vows that was different from most ceremonies.  It was never meant for other
wedding websites to remove my work and take credit for my work.
Therefore, effective immediately, if you wish to know about the particular, special, and unique wording to be included in your wedding
vows, you are most welcome to contact me directly at, or at 781-322-8857

-- Author, Carol J. Merletti --
Have a Slideshow of You Both Growing Up Separately and Then Together at Your Reception

At your reception, have a slideshow containing pictures of you both growing up until you get to the present. (If you would rather be
surprised with the outcome, perhaps both moms and/or your bridesmaids can compile it.)

Group pictures of you both growing up separately on the same slides when you were both approximately the same age.  It could be your
baby photos, first days of school, etc.  Use whatever you can get your hands on! The more similarities -- the better!  Be careful as you
grow into your teenage years. This is your day as bride and groom, so avoid including former flames if you include prom photos and so

As the slides progress through the baby photos, young childhood, middle childhood, teenage years, and so forth, coordinate
appropriate music to fit with those themed slides. You can easily do this through Microsoft PowerPoint’s slideshow functions, or custom
create a CD with proper timing to your slides.

Finally, conclude with your grand finale of photos when the two of you met, and progress through the present. This sentimental display
will serve as an adorable and emotional keepsake for years to come. Doubtless you will need a few boxes of tissues for your moms and
very dear friends.

Put Your Engagement Photo on a Postage Stamp When Sending Out Your Wedding Invitations / or a Wedding
                                                     Picture on Your Thank You Cards

I found this website on the Internet.  It is the coolest thing!  I just ordered stamps with pictures of my dog, Augie and my cat, Smokey on

     Put Your Wedding Date on Custom Printed M&M's at

                                                       Share Your Precious Memories

Showcase your love for each other by decorating a table with photos, albums, and memorabilia from the various unforgettable times you
have spent together. Vacations you have taken, special events and outings you have attended, and basically any fun times and
activities you have shared could be displayed in the form of sporting or musical event tickets, a stuffed animal, or countless other small
tokens of your lives together. (Reception halls will be very happy to help you set up such a display table.)

  Surprise Your Parents / Grandparents at the Conclusion of your Wedding Ceremony

Once you are pronounced as husband and wife, as you walk up the aisle together to the back of the church or function hall, turn
around and walk back down the aisle to escort our parents out instead of having the ushers do it - your parents, as well as your guests,
will be surprised and find it a great gesture.

Instead of a Guest Book, Have an Engravable Tray Near the Entrance of your Reception

Arrange to have an engraving tool and sterling silver tray placed on a table. Have someone stand at the table as your guests arrive and
instruct them on how to engrave their name on the tray.

The memories of your wedding day will stay with you forever when you display your tray in your home for all to see. It most certainly is
an alternative to a guest book that most people won't see again.

                                                           Sponsor a Sick Kids Hospital

While you will always want your guests best wishes at your wedding, something more meaningful that will always remain forever in your
hearts would be to sponsor a "Sick Kids Hospital".  You can do this by placing a card in your wedding invitation asking them to make a
donation to sick kids in lieu of wedding gifts. Include an envelope in your invitation. Have a box available at the entrance of your function
hall for your guests to drop in as they enter your ceremony / reception. Make sure that you provide the information on the charity that
you are sponsoring. Not only will your guests appreciate this idea, but they will find this to be a generous contribution for a good cause.

                             In Lieu of Tossing the Bouquet, Give a Rose to Every Female

Make the rose a duplicate of one of the flowers in your bouquet.  Have a poem attached to each rose declaring your wishes for love,
success, health and happiness.

   Instead of Carrying a Bouquet, Have your Guests on the Outside Aisles Hand you a Flower

As you walk down the aisle, have each guest seated on the end hand you a flower. When you reach the front of the church, have your
dad tie a ribbon around the bouquet.
(c) Copyright – Carol J. Merletti –  All rights reserved.

The information on this page may not be reproduced, republished or mirrored, in whole or in part, on another webpage or website without the
expressed written consent of the copyright holder and is strictly prohibited by International Copyright Law.
Wedding of Your Desire
Carol J. Merletti
2010 Wedding Wire
Bride's Choice Awards
(Listed under Officiants)
2009 Wedding Wire
Bride's Choice Awards
(Listed under Officiants)
2011 Wedding Wire
Bride's Choice Awards
(Listed under Officiants)
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