Archive for the ‘Rituals’ Category

Quickie Question: Call Me Old-Fashioned?

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

According to HuffPo, Twitter was all a-twitter on Wednesday over wedding and marriage traditions. Using the hashtag #CallMeOldFashioned, lots of people told everyone on Twitter what retro thing they want from their wedding and/or marriage.

The old-fashioned traditions in question ranged from being sure everyone knows that white dress means an intact hymen (please, please, please stop sharing that with me, everyone!), to wanting to be carried over the threshhold (awe!), to wanting to stay home and keep house, to believing their marriages will last forever without any straying on either part.

One woman said she wasn’t going to introduce her boyfriend to her parents until she had an engagement ring from him, which is decidedly not old-fashioned. It’s only very recently that a woman was likely to get engaged to someone who hadn’t already gotten a thumbs up from her father. That, in itself, is a fairly recent development from the times when the woman found herself engaged when her father darn well introduced the groom to her.

Did I do some old-fashioned things when I was getting married? Yes, I did. I did the old-fashioned thing of making the wedding happen by hand. I slept apart from Mr. Twistie the night before our wedding, even though we were both in the same house. I just felt like I needed to be alone then. It wasn’t like I thought that would make me somehow ‘purer’ or avoid the chance of seeing him in the morning. I just needed to spend some time in my own head that night. Nonetheless, it was a fairly old-fashioned thing to do. We had a receiving line, which was already well out of fashion at the time. I’m still glad we did that. I meant we didn’t miss saying hello to anyone. And Mr. Twistie and I waited to move in together until after we were married. That was my choice. I preferred things that way.

What about you? Did you do something very old-fashioned? Will you? Do you have some old fashioned wedding accessories? Have you made a choice that makes some of your friends wonder how you got so backwards or your parents heave a sigh of relief? Is it something you are happy with, or do you regret any of it? Was it your idea, or did you bow to someone else’s preferences?

Tell me all about it!

Speechifying 101a for the Best Man

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

Whether your wedding reception is held in a church hall, hotel, or a backyard, whether you toss the bouquet and cut the cake or not, whether you’re in formalwear or bathing suits, one tradition is bound to be followed: the best man’s speech.

Of course, not every best man is used to public speaking. Or best woman. We’re not fussy about the gender of the bridal party around here. But no matter who’s filling the role, there are a few tips that will make making that speech easier for the speaker and nicer for the listeners, too.

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.

You Can Dance If You Want To (But You Shouldn’t Have To)

Friday, September 10th, 2010

On this, the final day of bridesmaids week – hey, it was a five-day business week – I wanted to address a tradition that I know for a fact makes at least some people a little uncomfortable. I know this because I am one of those people. Specifically, I am talking about the tradition of having all of the wedding attendants, bridesmaids and groomsmen, bridesmen and groomsmaids, dance with one another at some point during the whole first dance, father-daughter dance, mother-son dance string of scheduled formal dancing. It’s actually considered a tad passé to ask the attendants to have a go on the dance floor, but you still see it occasionally at some wedding receptions.

Since this tradition seems to be dying out anyway, there’s really no need for me to put it down, I suppose. But just in case there are any otherwise happy bridesmaids out there reading this who are dreading the thought of slow dancing with some friend of the groom they have never seen or sniffed, I thought I’d share my three reasons for not particularly liking the attendants’ dance. As I see it, this old tradition is…

1. Awkward: While I actually wish that there were more opportunities for social dancing that included switching partners in a platonic, fun way, I still think that having to cut a rug with someone you may find icky while 75+ people look on is just plain weird. It’s one thing to dance with an unfamiliar partner – one who may never have heard of Arthur Murray or mouthwash – and quite another to do it on demand while a photographer circles the dance floor. And if you’re a young junior bridesmaid, it’s even weirder.

2. Boring: So now the wedding guests have sat through the first dance, the father-daughter dance, and the mother-son dance, and perhaps the bride and groom also invited their grandparents up for a waltz. Even if you edited your chosen songs down, you’re still potentially talking about a good quarter of an hour’s worth of dancing on display that the guests have to sit through while they wait for the refreshments.

3. Ineffective: If the bride or groom’s goal is to get people to shake their booties, there are easier ways to do it, like hiring a good DJ or leading by example and shaking it themselves. Because, really, I think that wedding guests can sense the awkwardness of the attendants’ dance, and I don’t know anyone particularly inspired by embarrassment.

I’d recommend that any bridesmaids like myself who aren’t keen on dancing with a random groomsman and suspect that the bride is considering an attendants’ dance at the reception suggest letting all of the enrelationshipped attendants dance with their SOs and then, halfway through the dance, inviting other couples to join them for a special slow dance. Or better yet, suggest that the marrying couple not force their wedding guests to sit through one more spotlit dance.

Now I have to ask: Bridesmaids and former bridesmaids, have you ever found yourself on the parquet in the arms of someone just awful because you were obliged to participate in an attendants’ dance?

(Image via BeDazzled Photography)

Who Says You Need a Getaway Car?

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Ah, the traditional wedding getaway car decorated with shaving cream, old shoes, tin cans, wrapping paper, and anything else those rakish groomsmen could find. You have to love it – at least when it’s not your car being taped up all the heck and filled to bursting with helium balloons. But what about those brides and grooms who make their way through life sans automobile and would prefer to exit their weddings the same way? No problem, you can affix a piece of oak tag reading ‘JUST MARRIED’ and a few ribbons to almost anything!

Rusl and Jane on their side-by-side recumbent tandem love bike. For real, their recumbent tandem love bike. The rest of us should be so lucky. Photo by Christopher Cotrell (who is a guy I know, but I didn’t realize the pic was his until I looked more closely. Hi, quosquos!) Want more power? There are always getaway motorcycles!

Might a pedicab, complete with ‘JUST MARRIED’ sign, make your new spouse feel like royalty as you romantically traverse the streets with your sharply dressed driver? Photo by Hitched Photography, pedicab by Boston Pedicab Need to make a water crossing? Try a getaway boat.

If you’re already at the course, why not get a couple of holes in? A golf cart makes a great getaway vehicle, provided you’re not going too far or don’t mind going very slow. Photo by the amazing Paul Retherford For faster transportation on snowier terrain, try a snowmobile. Want to mosey? Try a sledge.

Get married at Camp Jabulani in Hoedspruit, South Africa, and your getaway vehicle might have a name, a personality, and a digestive system! I also encountered pictures of getaway camels and getaway horses, and I suppose if you can ride an animal, you could probably figure out a way to give its harness or whatever a bit of jazzing up! (Just watch out for teeth, hooves, tails, and claws.)

Something Fun for Friday (and Your Cake Cutting!)

Friday, July 30th, 2010

FYI: Yours truly wrote a couple of guest posts over at Wedding-Scoops! The first dealt with planning a wedding online, and the second was a primer on wedding etiquette. Check them out!

It’s be-ribboned wedding cake charms, the only tool necessary for a good old fashioned cake charm pull! The practice of pulling tiny silver charms out of cake apparently began as one of those old Victorian wedding traditions that is alternately described as a lighthearted game and a ritual that would literally predict who would become an old maid. The cake charm you pulled from within or underneath the wedding cake might predict any of the following or any number of other good and not-so-good fortunes, for example: