It is a beautiful sunny day on Lake Como when Pietro and Nadia, two kindred souls from different cultures, come together in marriage at the stunning Villa Parravicini. As their officiant, it is my pleasure and honor to celebrate their union and share their love story with the numerous guests gathered here. It is a special occasion, a lay wedding that intertwines the lives, stories, and cultures of the bride and groom in a multicultural harmony.
A lay wedding ceremony in three languages
As the guests gather in the villa’s garden, the sound of laughter and conversations fills the air. There is great anticipation for the arrival of the couple, and the curiosity about the bride’s dress, as tradition dictates, is at its peak. Every detail of the wedding has been carefully planned. Nadia and Pietro wanted a ceremony that would narrate their first meeting and the blossoming of their love story with intricate details, and most importantly, in three different languages since their respective families and guests come from all over the world. Special attention has been given to the arrangement of the Light Ceremony Wedding, which the couple chose, upon my suggestion, to add an extra touch of magic to the moment following the exchange of vows and rings. As their officiant, I guided them in arranging the candles and provided important advice on how to set them up.
The importance of the location in a lay wedding
The ceremony takes place outdoors, in the villa’s picturesque park, so it is essential to place the candles in candle holders that can shield the flame from the wind. A gentle breeze is enough to extinguish the flame, and that is something we absolutely want to avoid. Therefore, we chose cylindrical glass candle holders to protect the flame and ensure that it burns throughout the ceremony, especially during the lighting of the most significant candle, the white one placed at the center of the table between the two candles representing the bride and groom. At the crucial moment, both these candles will light that central candle, one green for the groom and one yellow for the bride, symbolizing the light that the two lovers bring into each other’s lives.
Music starts the lay wedding ceremony
The ceremony begins with the music of a string quartet, an ensemble chosen by the couple to underscore the most romantic moments of the ceremony. As their officiant and a musician myself, I have previously coordinated with the musicians, agreeing on the selection of each piece and the duration of their musical interventions, which will serve as a background to the ceremony’s steps. It is my responsibility to ensure that the quartet is positioned strategically to my right, maintaining constant visual contact with the first violinist. Flexibility and readiness to extend or shorten the duration of the various pieces at different moments of the ceremony are valuable requirements for making this moment even more engaging and emotional.
My commitment as a lay-humanist celebrant
I arrive at the location two hours before the start of the ceremony to conduct microphone checks and coordinate with the musicians, photographers, and the wedding planner. It is not my habit to see the couple before the ceremony, to allow them tranquility and complete calm, considering the emotional load of the moment. However, sometimes they approach me for words of encouragement, and perhaps even a hug, as is the case with Pietro and Nadia, with whom a special bond has been established.
The entrance of the bride and groom
At the entrance of the groom, the guests rise to welcome him and express their affection. Pietro, a native Italian from Mantua with deep roots in the cultural and artistic traditions of his country, walks down the aisle, moved, with his mother. He wears an elegant dark blue suit with a gray waistcoat, exuding a friendly and gentle demeanor.
Then the bride arrives: Nadia, a woman of Bosnian origin, of great beauty and charm. She wears a white dress, embellished with a large fabric bow under the neckline; the bridal bouquet is simple and composed of white roses and other yellow and green flowers, the three colors chosen for the wedding: yellow, green, and white. After months of preparation, seeing Pietro and Nadia, so happy, standing in front of each other to say the fateful “Yes, I do!” is the greatest joy for me.
The heart of the lay wedding ceremony: the love story of Nadia & Pietro
As a secular-humanist celebrant, I have prepared a speech that honors the union of Pietro and Nadia, recognizing their cultural diversity and celebrating it as a strength that enriches their life together. The ceremony is conducted in three different languages: Italian, German, and English, to ensure that all guests can understand the profound meaning of this multilingual and multicultural wedding. The heart of the ceremony is the love story of Nadia and Pietro, which I narrate with the right touch of romance and humor, just as the couple requested.
In front of an arch adorned with yellow, white, and green flowers, the chosen colors by the couple as a leitmotif of their wedding, symbolizing the union of their cultures, Pietro and Nadia exchange touching personal vows and declarations of love, written in their own hand. Every word spoken is filled with emotion, conveying the immense love they have for each other. The guests are captivated by the intensity and beauty of this moment.
A special guest to deliver the wedding rings: Ginger
Even the exchange of wedding rings holds an unexpected surprise and a contagious joy for the couple and all those present: their little dog, Ginger, a red-haired poodle, enters triumphantly along the path to the ceremony spot, donning a green bowtie and a ring-bearing backpack on its back. The leap that the little dog makes to jump into the arms of Pietro and Nadia will remain one of the funniest and most touching images of the entire day.
The Light Ceremony Wedding
And after the vows, comes the long-awaited moment: the symbolic act of lighting the candles. Together, Pietro and Nadia each take a candle and light it from the central flame, symbolizing the union of their souls and the creation of a new family. Then, together, they place the lit candles in their respective candle holders, surrounding them with light and hope. Providing the soundtrack to this emotionally charged moment is the string quartet, performing an elegant and refined composition by Astor Piazzolla, which is simultaneously filled with color and passion.
“And now, the groom may kiss the bride!“
The ceremony concludes with the proclamation and the classic, yet indispensable, phrase: “And now, the groom may kiss the bride!” This phrase sends the participants into raptures, with applause and tears, in this celebration of deep and shared joy. The loudest applause occurs when Pietro and Nadia exchange their first kiss as husband and wife.
Amor vincit omnia
The secular-humanist wedding of Pietro and Nadia at Villa Parravicini on Lake Como was an unprecedented event. It demonstrated that love can overcome cultural and linguistic barriers, uniting people in mutual respect and understanding.
As a secular-humanist celebrant, I am proud and honored to have had the opportunity to officiate Nadia and Pietro’s wedding and to serve as a bridge between two cultures that grow richer in their encounter every day.
Love knows no borders
The secular-humanist wedding of Pietro and Nadia will forever remain a precious memory, a symbol of unity, diversity, and unconditional love. Through their story, they teach us that love knows no boundaries and that the union of different cultures can create a unique and powerful beauty.
The memories of that unforgettable day will live forever in the hearts of Pietro and Nadia and all those fortunate enough to be present.
Would you like an unforgettable wedding ceremony? Send me a WhatsApp message!
As a secular-humanist celebrant, I dedicate utmost care to telling the story of my couples in the most authentic and personalized way, capturing the tone and mood that the couple desires for their special day.
Send me a WhatsApp message if you desire a unique and personalized wedding ceremony, where every detail tells of your life and your love story with unique and special words and gestures. I will be happy to help you!