A New Wedding Tradition Or Is It Here Today Gone Tomorrow?
In this two part series, I will look at the some of the developments that have become staples of the wedding whether they be in the ceremony or at the reception.
Part 1: The Wedding Ceremony:
Since 1975, BobHawkins.com has been part of numerous wedding ceremonies (over 5,000 in total) that have taken place outside the traditional church setting, and has observed many variations in the ceremony since that time.
The following are not used at every ceremony, but will be around for some time to come.
The most popular addition to the wedding ceremony, the Unity Candle, symbolizes the union of two families. It works best in an indoor setting.
There are two variations to the Unity Candle. Each one employs two smaller candles. The first is to have the mothers of the couple light the two smaller outside candles; the couple then use these candles to light the larger main candle.
The second and more popular variation calls for the couple to light the smaller candles separately, and then together light the main candle.
If you are planning to use a Unity Candle, the best way to prevent the candles from blowing out is buy a trick birthday candle at a party supply store. These candles never blow out. Take a drill bit the same size as the trick birthday candle and hollow out the wick in the main candle. Then, insert the trick candle into the hole. Now the candle will burn the entire time. (You can also do this for the two smaller candles. Just make sure you have something to extinguish them.
The Sand Ceremony is similar in meaning to the Unity Candle, but works well for outdoor weddings. The difference is that the Sand Ceremony usually represents the joining of two lives. Just as it would be impossible to separate two different colors of sand, it would similarly be impossible to separate the wedded partners. A benefit of the Sand Ceremony is that there will be a lasting keepsake.
There are many variations to the Sand Ceremony, but two are quite popular.
The more common variation calls for the couple to pour sand of different colors into a vase. Choose a unique looking vase and two smaller vases that are both about half the size of the largest vase. Fill the two smaller vases with colored sand. At the designated time, the couple pour the sand from the smaller vases into the third vase.
Another way that works well if you and or your spouse have children from a previous relationship is to let them pour sand into the vase as well. Add one small vase of coloured sand per child. Make sure that the big vase has the capacity for all the sand.
Make sure to choose contrasting colors of sand.
Because rice and confetti are too hard to clean up, most venues will not allow them. The blowing of bubbles has acted as a replacement.
Like confetti and rice, bubbles come into play when the officiant has declared that the couple are a married couple.
The small containers for the soapy liquid can be expensive compared to a regular bottle of bubbles; therefore, arrange for someone to collect the bottles at the end of the wedding ceremony, and offer them for sale on a wedding chat board. Refilling them with soap and water is easy.
Gifts to Stepchildren:
If one or both of the couple have children from a previous relationship, it may be important to ensure that they know that both adults will be there for them for a long time to come.
Thus, it is not uncommon for a stepparent to make some sort of promise to the stepchildren after the couple have exchanged their vows. In many cases, especially for younger female children, a ring or necklace is given. Keep in mind that this ceremony does not work for all families, and that the relationship between the child and the soon- to-be stepparent should be one that warrants this type of addition to the ceremony.
The Rose Ceremony symbolizes the love one has for the other.
The script of the Rose Ceremony is typically:
“Your gift to each other for your wedding today has been your wedding rings. These rings shall always be an outward demonstration of your vows of love and respect, and a public showing of your commitment to each other.
You now have what remains the most honorable title which may exist between a couple – the title of married couple For your first gift as couple, that gift will be a single rose.
In the past, the rose was considered a symbol of love; a single rose always meant only one thing: The words “I love you.” Thus, it is appropriate that your first gift, as husband and wife, should be a single rose.
Please exchange your first gift as husband and wife. In some way, it seems as though you have done nothing at all. Just a moment ago you were holding one small rose, and now you are holding one small rose. A marriage ceremony is like that. Tomorrow is going to seem no different from yesterday, but, in fact, today, just now, you both have given and received one of the most valuable and precious gifts of life, one I hope you will always remember, the gift of true and abiding love within the devotion of marriage.
_________ and _____________, I ask that wherever you make your home, whether it be a large and elegant home, or a small and graceful one, that you both pick one very special location for roses; so that on each anniversary of this truly wonderful occasion, you both may take a rose to that spot as a re commitment to your marriage – that your marriage will be based on love.
In every marriage, there will be times when it will be difficult to find the right words. It is easy to hurt whom we most love. It is easy to be hurt by those whom we most love. It may be difficult to say,“I am sorry,” “I forgive you,” “I need you,” or “I am hurting.” If this should happen, and if you cannot find the right words, then leave a rose at the spot both of you have selected, for that rose will then say what matters most of all. That rose will say the words, “I still love you.” The other should accept the rose for the words which cannot be found, and remember the love and hope that you both share today.
__________ and ________, if there is anything you ought to remember of this marriage ceremony, it is that love brought you here, today; it is love only that can make your union glorious, and your marriage enduring.”
Facebook Update or Tweet:
Relatively new to the wedding ceremony, some technologically savvy couples, or those that met through Facebook, are taking a moment just after they are pronounced a married couple, to pull out their smart phones and change their relationship status from engaged to married and send out a Tweet as well.
It remains to be seen how popular this ritual will become, or how long it last in this ever changing tech world.
The next two ceremonies are becoming less common for different reasons including local government regulations.
Not as common as it once was, say seven or so years ago, is the releasing of doves at weddings.
There are many different ways and times during a wedding ceremony when doves are released, such releasing a flock during the first kiss, or the married couple each holding a dove and releasing them in unison (called a Hand Release).
The use of dove has dropped in popularity in our area appears to be due to the lack of availability and the regulations that came into effect during the bird flu scare a few years ago.
Note that the birds are not really doves but white domestic homing pigeons. These birds are trained to return to their home when released.
The use of monarch butterflies at weddings came and went very quickly in most areas. In general, government regulation has discouraged the practice.
The monarch butterflies are kept in boxes and are refrigerated to make them go dormant. When they are released from the boxes, the butterflies revive and fly away. If monarch butterflies are to be used, one must know whether local regulations permit their release. Any company that provides them will be able to advise on their permissibility.
In Closing This article has discussed the different ceremonies that have been added to the traditional wedding ceremony over the years. There are many more, and it seems a new one comes along every few years. The next article in this series will look at the wedding reception and cover everything from the chocolate fountain to the entertainment.
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