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(708) 490-8860

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About Thomas Witham
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For Those Previously Married

Designing Your Ceremony

Facing Your Guests (Modern Format)
Backs Turned (Traditional Format)
Examples of Wedding Vows
Effective Seating
Aisle Runner or Petals
Children in Wedding Ceremonies
The Escorting of a Bride
Taking Parental Vows
The Use of Music
Using a Pedestal
Using a Wedding Carriage
A New Role For Grandparents
Wedding Ceremony Readings
In Memoriam

Ceremonies in Special Places
Ceremonies in Theme
Taking Your Ceremony to Others
Staying in Character
What Name Should I Use?
What if it Rains?
Fibbing Your Start Time
Ceremonies in Candlelight
The Reception Line

The Order of Events

Primary Options:
Read this First
The Unity Candle
Champagne Sharing
The Sand Ceremony
The Blessing Tree
Tying the Knot
Tasting the Elements
Using a Photomontage
The Giving of Roses

Options In Finale:
Butterfly Release
Dove Release
Balloon Release
Tossing Petals
Bubbles in a Wedding Ceremony
Applause Walk

The Five Rules:
Rule One
Rule Two
Rule Three
Rule Four
Rule Five

Advice on Photography
Advice on Wedding Coordinators
Death by Venue
An Invitation To Journalists

Resources and Links

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Staying In Character
After Ceremony Photo
Sheri and Christopher at Stonegate Banquets in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.

Becoming a Lead Actor and Actress

"Stuff" happens. And sometimes "stuff" happens in a wedding ceremony. I have seen couples desperately try to light a Unity Candle which absolutely refused to light. One couple lit their Unity Candle but as they walked away the candle went out leaving only a wisp of rising smoke. The audience gasped and thought they were seeing an omen. In another ceremony a car crashed just outside on a nearby highway. The sound of shattering glass left all of us wondering if the occupants survived. They did, and without injury. Then there was the bride's father who showed up intoxicated and became rather vocal throughout the ceremony. At first the guests chuckled, but before long the gentleman was escorted out.

Ooops! It won't light!Regarding your ceremony, you must prepare yourselves for things that might happen which are not in the script. Most importantly, you must prepare yourselves on how you will react to them. For if an incident happens, the guests will do two things: They will look at the incident, and then the will look right at you. They are intensely curious to see how you're going to react.

Many years ago, I performed a wedding ceremony at a gazebo in Valparaiso, Indiana. It was a beautiful summer day. On the left side of the aisle, a baby in the arms of her mother began to cry, and then began to cry louder. During the exchange of vows, the bride, thoroughly upset with this, turned her gaze from her groom and toward the mother and "looked daggers" at her. At this, the mother came out of her chair as if it were electrified and moved to the rear of the audience. Guests laughed under their breaths, but everyone knew the bride was thoroughly pissed. Although it has been over fifteen years since I performed that wedding and I cannot recall anything else about it, I can still see the bride, with her venomous look, as if it were yesterday.

In theater, actors and actresses learn what is called "Staying in Character." This means- that if you or one of the other actors forgets his lines or makes a wrong move,- you go with it. You stay playing your character in his or her intended role as if nothing has happened.

In a wedding ceremony, if you show anger, or frustration, or irritation with some unplanned event, I can guarantee you it's what your guests will talk the most about regarding your ceremony. Do you want that?

I teach my couples that no matter what might happen during their ceremony, they will remain calm and composed; in other words "bullet proof." I and your ushers will take care of the problem for you; you are always in my good care. Some problems, like crying babies whose parents will not move to the rear present a problem that we have to live with, since it is not proper to eject a guest. Sometimes, even during a ceremony, we have to grin and bear it. But you will gain far higher marks for remaining elegant and composed through any challenge your ceremony might present you, rather than showing anger or frustration with it.

For the thirty minutes of your ceremony, your behavior must be "textbook." I will gently lead you though any unforeseen event. Just show a little lightness, stay in character, and your classiness will get you high marks.


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