Why Mitzi and Shaffi chose a Ceremony in the Round

A ceremony in the round is something I have aspired to do since becoming a celebrant in 2018.

The offbeat bride describes a wedding in the round as a kick-ass way to give all your guests a great view, avoid aisle-walking drama, and totally buck tradition. A 2019 Martha Stewart Weddings** article on a ceremony in the round says that they offer flexibility, creativity and intimacy.

This is exactly what Shaffi and Mitzi had in mind for their stunning Heron Island wedding. The logistical aspects of pulling off a ceremony in the round are much more difficult than the decision to have one. I’ll talk you through the steps I took to make it happen seamlessly and magically.

1 Location
We chose our location on the Island, looking at the backdrop and adjusting the ceremony time to suit the weather (made it later, closer to sunset and so it was a bit cooler). I was lucky to have my husband Brendan with me who has a very practical brain – he stepped out (man measured) the circle from the middle and put marks at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock. He then used a stick to create a circular line in the sand so that guests knew where the circle was – this gave it a much more symmetrical feel.

2 Explaining this to Guests
We discussed when and how I would explain the ceremony style to guests, what order we would walk in, and who would stand where. It was agreed I would greet the guests and Shaffi and Mitzi at the pre-wedding drinks and invite them to follow me down to the ceremony location. Shaffi’s parents were asked to stand immediately next to Mitzi and Mitzi’s parents next to Shaffi. Not only did this mean that the bride’s parents could see the bride but it also symbolised the welcoming of Mitzi into Shaffi’s family and so on. Guests were asked to remove their shoes and wait until we were all in position – I went first and stood on the outside of the circle with my back to the ocean so that Mitzi and Shaffi had the best view. Shaffi and his parents then joined me, and then Mitzi walked down with her Dad. Immediate family then joined the circle and then the remaining 20 or so epic guests.

3 The Ceremony itself
Guests did have a little trouble spacing the circle evenly to start with, it was good to have that line in the sand and I asked them to make sure that they could reach out to the person next to them when the time came. Shaffi and Mitzi started their ceremony with a kiss, which shocked Mum but she quickly got over it. They were part of the circle until just after the vows – when I got my amazing bride and groom to step into the circle. At that point, I filled their place in the circle and we literally surrounded the couple with love by joining hands and completing the circle. They exchange rings from inside the circle of love. It was very easy for me to stay out of the photos which is always a good thing and we signed the paperwork once we were off the beach.

Thank you to Mitzi and Shaffi for letting me share their story and to Sarah Lette Photography for allowing me to share her spectacular photos.

References
* https://offbeatbride.com/wedding-in-the-round/
** https://www.marthastewart.com/7899378/benefits-wedding-ceremony-in-the-round-explained

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