November 14, 2014

tribe | wedding wisdom (part 1: non-traditions)

PART 1 of many about my incredible wedding. This time on traditions, or non-traditions.

For our epic weekend wedding a few months ago, we decided to skip a whole lot of traditions.

These included but were not limited to the bouquet toss, the cake cutting, the not-sleeping-in-the-same-place-before-the-wedding, the keeping the bride a secret the day of the wedding, the receiving line, and the heading off at the end of the reception to be alone (we eventually did head off alone, don't worry).  This is a photo during our "scheduled photo-op" at the beginning of our ceremony, where our celebrant instructed everyone that they had 30 seconds to take our photo, and then they had to put away all cell-phones and cameras to be fully present.  It rocked.

striking a photo op pose at the beginning of our ceremony
photo cred: my mother in law

While these traditions didn't fit with our vision of getting married, we did consider all of them, and in general, tried to think about why the tradition was created and if there was anything we wanted to save from the concept.  For example, the receiving line is a huge pain and means that the bride and groom stand for a long time in one spot, instead of dancing, drinking, eating, and milling about.  The point of the receiving line, however, is that the bride and groom get to thank every single guest for being present.  We tried to take this concept and put our own spin on it.  Chris and I did a thank you speech on Friday night, thanking everyone.  We also tried to talk with everyone over the course of the weekend (much more possible in a weekend wedding).  While we probably missed someone, mostly everyone came up to us at some point and we got to have an actual conversation, or dance with them, or share a private joke that maybe wouldn't have been as appropriate if there were a line of people in waiting behind them.  For us, this worked.  

(photo credit: my mom)

Here's a list of a few of the other traditions we thought about // the sentiment behind why they're traditionally part of weddings //why we decided not to do them // and what we did instead (if anything):

1. rehearsal dinner with bridal party // to spend some special time with your innermost tribe // we wanted the wedding to feel inclusive, both of us have been to weddings where it feels like the wedding party is the VIPs and everyone else is just there to watch and didn't want that // we each spent a few days the week before with our innermost tribe.  we also spent the evening Friday night with just our inner most tribe, sitting around a fire telling stories.  

2. being apart the night before the wedding // to build up anticipation for the wedding, because historically couples had not yet been intimate prior to the wedding // we already had a ton of anticipation building up and we thought it was even more fun to build this anticipation together, and um, the intimacy thing wasn't a factor for us // we did get ready separately and had a first look, which was still a really exciting first moment in our wedding "costumes" together.

3. prayers during the wedding// to connect the couple to the greater powers of the universe // we are always in the process of conceptualizing our own vision of this force and didn't want to put our vision of that on everyone at our wedding.  we always feel funny at catholic weddings for example, or saying prayers in hebrew at jewish weddings.  // we did a ring-warming ceremony, explained briefly in the ceremony by our two mothers, this involves passing the rings around in a little bowl or cup to everyone present during the first part of the ceremony.  this gives everyone a moment with the rings to say a prayer, make a wish, gift us energy, without mandating that it be in a certain form or words.  it was a huge hit and every time I look at my wedding ring, I think of the thoughts and prayers of all the people I love.

4. cake cutting // to signify that the party has begun // we wanted to maximize time dancing // we just had our DJ announce that the cake was being served, and had our wedding planner start cutting it.  she saved us a piece that we did NOT shove in each others faces later in the evening.

5. the guest book // so you can look back and see messages from everyone who attended your wedding // our worry that the book just gets placed on a shelf somewhere never to be looked at and the messages always seem so impersonal like "congrats you two" // we had our RSVP cards ask for marriage advice from everyone - we put these in a little book to hopefully pull out any time we need some marriage advice & our wonderful family friend created this amazing guest book finger-print tree that everyone printed and signed their name next to.  hopefully this will go on our wall.

6. heading off in a sparkler show-down at the end of the dance party // to mark the end of the party, have everyone wish the couple well // we really wanted to do a chinese lantern send-off with everyone and wanted to sing songs around the camp fire late into the night // so that's what we did.

...and then eventually, we headed back to our honeymoon cabin just the two of us, so happy to be starting our married life surrounded by our community.

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