Don’t ‘wing’ your wedding vows…


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Nuptial couples have been moving away from more traditional weddings and choosing to create something that is uniquely their own. Shawna Peterson of Weddingbella shares some quick tips for both couples and guests on how to navigate these new waters.

“Some of the biggest faux pas I have seen at weddings are when couples attempt to ‘wing’ their vows,” Shawna said. “Whether they’ve forgotten them at home, thought they had time to prepare them the day of or wanted their vows to be an impromptu disclosure of sentiment, this has generally not gone over well during the ceremony. With the spotlight directly on the couple, our natural reaction is to freeze up.”

She recommends that you prepare ahead of time and practise, so you can share your promises with ease on your big day.

Supplied photo

Shawna Peterson of Weddingbella officiates a wedding.

Another trend is having a family or friend act as your officiant.

“This in itself is not a faux pas,” Shawna said. “However, when you don’t seek the counsel of someone who knows how to create a ceremony, the couple may not get the ceremony they anticipate from their loved one. I’ve witnessed many ceremonies that were less than five minutes long because their officiant didn’t realize how short the ceremony would be.”

As for guests, Shawna says to keep the following in mind:

• Don’t be late and don’t be just on-time… show up at least 15 minutes early. The bride may be waiting in a vehicle until she sees everyone inside. Don’t be the reason the wedding start late;

• Tip bartenders (regardless of whether it’s a cash or open bar);

• Don’t be “that uncle” who drains the open bar tab. Open bars are there to be enjoyed responsibly;

• RSVP in a timely manner as couples don’t have time to follow up with each guest. If a couple has requested an electronic reply and you’re not tech savvy, phone them to respond;

• Take note of who is invited to the wedding (the invitation may not specify and it’s perfectly OK to ask). Don’t assume it includes your children or your new boy/girlfriend. Weddings are expensive, so make sure the couple is OK with your plus-one And don’t be offended by their response.

Shawna Peterson has been officiating weddings since 2014. She offers a variety of ceremony services including acting as an advisor for couples. For more information, visit or call 204-471-4880.

Carolyne Braid

Carolyne Braid
Crescentwood community correspondent

Carolyne Braid is a community correspondent for Crescentwood. You can reach her at

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