Archive for the ‘Ceremonies’ Category

Pretty Silly in Pink

Sunday, July 3rd, 2011

Tearful Brides? Not Hardly!

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

No tears here!

A while back I asked all of your lovely ladies and gents which of you cried at your weddings or anticipated crying at your weddings, and the results were pretty interesting. 61% of the unmarried set thought they’d cry, while 63% of people who were actually married DID NOT actually cry. So it seems that a lot of us think we’re going to cry while we say our vows, but not all that many of us actually do.

Me? I laughed. At my own inability to read the bit of paper that held my vows. Oops! And I’ve seen plenty of brides and grooms do the same. I like to hear a little laughter during the wedding vows – it certainly makes things more interesting for guests. And in the spirit of my love of laughter during wedding ceremonies, I’m putting up a new poll modeled after the crying at weddings survey.

For those not yet married:

For those already married:

Don’t see yourself laughing during wedding vows because it’s so solemn an occasion? Maybe you won’t laugh, but don’t discount the possibility! As solemn as you may think you’ll be feeling, a case of the giggles can come on without warning. So former brides and grooms, if you were a laugher, I’d love to know what made you laugh!


Gentiles Embracing the Ketubah

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

A Jewish wedding tradition with a growing following

Am I the only one who likes seeing wedding traditions from one faith or heritage embraced by people from other backgrounds? I know that there are some people who don’t like the co-opting of wedding traditions by “outsiders” but I my take is that wedding traditions wouldn’t have become traditions if brides and grooms didn’t find value in them. It’s not for me to say that so-and-so can’t do X, Y, and Z because those practices belong to another culture. Take the ketubah, a traditional and beautiful element of the Jewish wedding and marriage. According to a recent New York Times piece, more non-religious and Christian couples are embracing the ketubah in their own weddings.

“We wanted a permanent reminder of the covenant we made with God,” Mrs. Austin said. “We see this document superseding the marriage license of a state or a court.”

Such sentiments have been reshaping the market for ketubot (the plural in Hebrew) in the past decade. Michael Shapiro, an observant Jew from Toronto who sells artistic ketubot through the Web site, said he had seen the non-Jewish share of his customers rise from zero to about 10 percent. He is forming a spinoff site,, that concentrates on non-Jewish consumers.

The decade of non-Jews discovering the ketubah coincides with three relevant social trends: the rise of Christian Zionism, the growth of interfaith marriage, and the mainstreaming of the New Age movement with its search for spirituality in multiple faith traditions. As a result, an increasing number of gentiles have taken up Judaic practices: holding a Passover Seder, eating kosher food and studying kabbalah, the Jewish mystical movement.

What began as way to protect the bride’s interests in the event of a divorce and morphed into a beautiful and artful representation of specific contractural provisions for marriage had a resurgence of popularity in the 1960s Jewish counterculture. Suddenly the ketubah was back and once again something to display rather than something to be hidden away. And, like I said, the ketubah is now finding its way into non-Jewish weddings and onto non-Jewish walls. I’m cool with that – in fact, I think it’s very cool, especially for those Christians who want to give a nod to their religion’s Jewish roots.

How does it strike you, this flow of wedding traditions from one faith or background to another? Do you think it’s cool, or kind of weird and inauthentic?

Wedding Inspiration: Arches and Arbors

Monday, January 10th, 2011

(Note from Christa – Whoops, sorry for the technical difficulties, here and on Manolo for the Home. Not sure why all the images disappeared, but they’re all back now! Enjoy!)

For the wedding ceremony, especially if one is saying one’s vows out of doors, having something that frames the main event can be helpful in setting the mood. The easiest option? The basic trellis archway, which can be purchased or rented for about $35. But sometimes those wedding arches can be pretty blah, and it may just be that your wedding theme doesn’t exactly lend itself to saying “I do” under something that would look more appropriate in a backyard garden. For those couples who want an arch or an arbor at the wedding ceremony, I’ve collected some inspirational images that will hopefully inspire the creation of a truly beautiful frame.



The Warming and Blessing of the Rings

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010


One of the easiest ways to personalize your wedding ceremony – other than writing your own custom wedding vows – is including rituals in the event. For some, that might mean finding and then lighting the perfect unity candles. For others, it can mean planting a tree together. The wedding ceremony rituals you incorporate into your big day should be up to you, not me, but that’s not going to stop me from telling you about my new favorite: the wedding ring warming ceremony.

In the wedding ring warming ceremony, the rings go from being gifts the halves of a couple give each other to being a sort of gift that everyone present gives to the marrying pair. At some point in the event, usually before the ceremony officially begins, the officiant announces that wedding rings will be passed from guest to guest so that each can share love, support, wisdom, and a prayer for the couple through a quiet blessing before the rings are exchanged.

Once the rings have been held by each guest at the ceremony, the officiant takes them back and says something like: “Now warmed and blessed by those who love you the most, these rings will both show the world that you are one and carry the eternal good wishes and love of all who were present here today.”

Alternately, some couples will tie their rings on a ribbon and hang them on a sign at the ceremony entrance – guarded by a pair of well-chosen friends or relatives. The sign and the guardians explain to wedding guests making their entrances that they should pause and bless the rings before taking their seats. This less formal ring warming works well at larger weddings where guest lists of 100 or more people make passing the rings around during the wedding ceremony itself impossible.

And for couples who simply aren’t comfortable having a bunch of people touch their wedding rings, it’s fine to ditch the ‘warming’ but leave the ‘good vibes’ – the officiant can hold up the rings and ask everyone present to join him or her in blessing the wedding bands.

Either way, hands-on or hands-off, I like wedding rituals that give brides and grooms a way of including relatives and friends in the ceremony. After all, you can’t make everyone a bridesmaid or a groomsmen, and how many readers can one wedding have, anyway? Are you taking steps to include loved ones in your wedding?

Did You Know: The ‘Apache Wedding Prayer’

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Many brides and grooms, when considering ways to add some punch to a wedding ceremony, come across what is usually called the Apache wedding prayer or Native American wedding prayer. There are quite a few different versions, but goes a little something like this:

Now you will feel no rain,
for each of you will be shelter for the other.
Now you will feel no cold,
for each of you will be warmth to the other.
Now there will be no loneliness,
for each of you will be companion to the other.
Now you are two persons,
but there is only one life before you.
May beauty surround you both in the journey ahead
and through all the years.
May happiness be your companion,
and your days together be good and long upon the earth.

The author of the Apache wedding prayer is usually unstated or simply listed as ‘source unknown,’ but apparently it’s not that difficult to find out who wrote it. According to Wikipedia, the Apache wedding prayer:

…was written for the 1950 Western novel Blood Brother by Elliott Arnold. The blessing entered popular consciousness when it made its way into the film adaptation of the novel Broken Arrow, scripted by Albert Maltz, and has no known connection to the traditions of the Apache or any other Native American group. The Economist, citing “One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding” by Rebecca Mead, has characterized it as “‘traditionalesque’, commerce disguised as tradition”. There have since been several different additions and alterations to the poem.

The Apache wedding prayer as it is usually recited today is somewhat different from the prayer in Blood Brother and Broken Arrow, and it’s not clear exactly when the prayer made its way into the public nuptial consciousness (and thereafter onto posters and plaques and greeting cards). What is known is that it definitely wasn’t adapted by Henry Wadworth Longfellow, as some web sites claim, since he died something like 65 years before Blood Brother was published.

So if you’ve been eyeing the Apache wedding prayer for inclusion in your wedding ceremony, you may be wondering if you should nix the idea. I say not if you love it! After all, plenty of couples include quotes and rituals from movies and books in their wedding ceremonies, and just because something doesn’t pre-date history doesn’t make it any less valuable.

Why Have a Morning Wedding Ceremony and Reception?

Monday, September 27th, 2010

I like to run wedding ideas by The Beard by prefacing them with “If I was planning our wedding all over again, I would…” and the last wedding planning idea I hit him with was having a morning wedding. Gack, I hear some people thinking, a morning wedding? Why?! And I will admit, later on in this very post even, that there are definitely some downsides to having a morning wedding. But there are upsides, too, and for the right couple with the right families and social circle, a morning wedding can be the ultimate antidote to the whole overwhelming wedding cluster-you-know-what.

Built-in ambiance
I wouldn’t advise anyone not eloping to say their vows at sunrise exactly, but morning light can make for some amazing photographs. Outdoor morning weddings are awesome, particularly if you’re getting married somewhere that gets hot as heck midway through the day. Sparkling morning dew! A refreshing breeze! Birds chirping their cheerful little heads off! What more could you want at an outdoor wedding? And for the indoors set, that great morning light still makes for fantastic photos.