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  • Magdalena - ATB's founder

Symbolic wedding ceremony is the new black

Updated: Jul 23

Destination Wedding - why opting for a symbolic wedding ceremony is the best decision you’ll make.

Let's start with some numbers first. Most of the Destination Weddings you see on your Instagram, Facebook feed, Pinterest boards, and wedding blogs are in fact, symbolic ceremonies. According to the wedding industry statistics, approximately 80% of destination weddings swap the government official for a professional celebrant or MC.


You might be wondering why that is… The reason is pretty simple actually, it allows the couple to focus on what really matters - celebrating the love between the two of them, in the way that feels the most authentic to them. It also allows for the exchange of the vows to take place in some of the most breathtaking locations, where the designated government official wouldn’t necessarily be able to officiate.


When it comes to the ceremony itself, unlike in other elements of the wedding event, you really have to consider the human factor. The fact that your caterer has, let’s say, dry humor doesn’t affect the dinner served, but if your officiant lacks charisma… well, that might seriously affect one of the most important moments of your wedding! The government official assigned for your wedding might be a lovely person, but marrying people is just one of the many tasks on their list of duties. Do you really want to risk a stranger (or two, because you’ll likely need a translator) to recite you your legal obligations? Way to kill the romance!

*queue the horror music*

Isn’t it better to leave this job in the capable hands of a professional? A master of ceremony (MC) or professional celebrant is a person who lives and breathes weddings, someone who will make sure the ceremony is beautifully worded and delivered. You can go even further - if you are not in a mood to have a stranger present during this intimate moment, a symbolic ceremony allows you to choose someone close to the two of you to officiate. A relative? A close friend? It’s entirely up to you!


You are perhaps still thinking - but why can’t I just have it done in one go? 

I am not saying that choosing a civil ceremony for your destination wedding is a bad idea. I’m only asking - is your wedding really the day when you want to compromise for the sake of convenience?


Symbolic ceremony frees your wedding day from the, sometimes unnecessary, formalities.


You might be thinking now -  Hold on now, Magdalena! formalities are important! If it wasn’t for these formalities, we wouldn’t be legally married! You might also say - symbolic ceremony doesn’t feel real because we won’t be *really* married.

I am not saying formalities are not important. The act of signing the legal documents is what makes you a married couple in the eyes of the law, but is the signing of the proverbial paper what getting married is really about?


I like to use the driving test analogy here. Odd, I know, but it will make sense in a moment, I promise!


Do you remember the day you passed your driving test? I remember it like it was yesterday! I was so happy and excited, I immediately called all my friends and family to share the good news. Do you know what I shouted to my phone? I’m a driver!

Was I allowed to drive a car immediately? No. I needed to wait 3 weeks until I received the actual document. But to me, I became a driver the second my instructor said: congratulations, you have passed the exam. I assume it was similar for you, am I right? Did your proud friends and family members wait with their congratulations until you received the card itself? I think not! Because, to both you and them, passing the test was the essence of it. You did it, and that was the reason to celebrate. 


Do you see the analogy here? Symbolic wedding ceremony focuses on just that, the very essence of what getting married is about: the two of you declaring your love and commitment to one another, in front of your closest friends and families. I don’t think it can get anymore *real* than that, do you?


Ask yourself this - if the main reason behind a wedding is its legal consequences, why don’t we all just go to the courthouse and call it a day? Because there is so much more to what getting married means, and symbolic wedding ceremony allows you to choose the very best way to frame your vows.


And what about the legal aspect? I advise our couples to head to the courthouse before they embark on their destination wedding journey. It’s a great way to prep for the big day and perhaps celebrate with those who won’t be able to travel abroad for various reasons. It doesn’t have to be big, a dinner in your favorite restaurant or even just a drink in a bar - whatever feels the most ‘you’ that’s what you should do!



Would you like to know where to start and what to consider when planning your destination wedding? Click here to learn more!



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