07/03/2014 05:57 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

7 Keys for an Authentic Wedding Ceremony

Design Pics / Colleen Cahill via Getty Images

As a celebrant, I often hear from guests how often the weddings they attend are dull. Perfunctory at best. Boring at worst.

And yet this is arguably the most important landmark in the life of a couple. Today, we seek experience over words, which may in themselves have little meaning.

Here are seven keys to make a ceremony meaningful and memorable:

1. Write your own vows.

What are your values, as individuals and as a couple? What do you mean for each other? What are the promises you will make to support your values? Start with a blank sheet of paper and reflect on the commitments you would like to make.

2. Choose the intention for your wedding experience.

How do you want to feel? How will your guests feel as they leave the ceremony? If your wedding could be the best day of your life, how will that be for you? And your guests? What experience would you like to create? A clear intention is the first step to achieving the outcome you wish.

3. Share declarations of love.
What brought you together? What do you most love in each other? What is your story? Share declarations of love with each other, those moments when you recognized the special qualities you love in each other. You may also ask your celebrant to tell your story in an About The Couple section.

4. Make sure your guests feel valued and included.

They have chosen to be with you, to witness your vows, share your joy and celebrate your marriage. Let them know you appreciate them, and their presence with you.

5. Choose your music.
Traditional, or special for you. Think about the bride's entry, interlude, recessional pieces. Music adds ambiance.

6. Choose symbolic exchanges.

Hand fasting, common cup, sand ceremony, shawl blessing are some popular ones. These exchanges speak to your uniqueness as a couple.

7. Work with your celebrant.
If you paid $25,000 for a wedding gown, you would make sure it fits you. Your gown may be worn once. Your ceremony is the foundation for your future life together. Make sure it is authentic, and fits for you as a couple.

Your wedding can be touching, moving and personal -- for you and your guests -- as you celebrate your love on the most special day in your lives together.

Rev Anne Naylor creates and conducts unique and personal wedding ceremonies in the South of France and other destinations.