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Archive for the ‘Wedding Traditions’ Category

“If I’m not mistaken, we gave you your wedding shower here. We all came into this room and gave you a golden shower.”

Michael Scott–regional manager, Dunder Mifflin.

Yesterday was our family meet-n-greet and wedding shower. Being a man, I have very little experience in the proceedings of a wedding shower. Men don’t go to wedding showers. We go to bachelor parties, and we go to weddings. So I had little to go on before the event. My expectations were that we would all hang out, eat food, Shannon and I would introduce our respective families, and then we’d go on our merry ways. As it turned out, I was pretty close. The one thing I missed was that people would bring us presents.

I’m a little uncomfortable receiving presents. Shannon confessed to me on the way home that she is too. I think it’s easy when you’re opening things in front of a couple of your family members, or when everyone is exchanging gifts. But to sit in front of a crowd of people (literally, there were 30 people watching us) and open presents, knowing that you didn’t get them anything, can be seriously awkward. Especially when you were only vaguely aware that people gave presents at a wedding shower in the first place. Obviously the “shower” in wedding shower should have been a give-away, since I’m pretty sure it doesn’t refer to some sort of cleansing ritual. But somehow I wasn’t prepared for the actual process of opening gifts from my entire extended family and Shannon’s much larger entire extended family.

After my initial discomfort, we got down to present opening. Our families were amazingly generous, and we got all kinds of cool stuff. Kitchen Aid cookware, a really cool hanging pan rack, bathroom coordinates (complete with toilet paper), sheets, some really cool dishes, fun games, a toaster, and lots of extremely nice cards and sentiments. I feel so truly blessed right now that Shannon and I both have such wonderful families.

One interesting gift-related tidbit. I’ll pick on my dad for a minute, because he’s a good sport. He’s single. He and my mom were amicably divorced about 5 years ago. He, along with my 21-year-old brother who is a broke college student, were the only ones in attendance that didn’t get us a gift. It doesn’t bother me at all. Hopefully it doesn’t bother him, because it’s totally fine. But I wondered why. I believe that, like me, he probably didn’t realize that a wedding shower was a gift-giving occasion. I bet my mom was invited to wedding showers all those years, and he wasn’t. She bought the gifts, went to the parties, helped plan the parties, and Dad stayed home to read the paper and watch the Tigers. He probably had no idea what the protocol was for the event. Isn’t it weird that there’s a whole subculture of wedding preparation that men are basically ignorant of?

Anyway, it was a great experience, and I’m glad I was able to take part in it. I feel so lucky to be marrying a woman who wants to share with me the procession of life. And the presents.

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My friend Lindsay suggested that we break down the wedding traditions we’ve been detailing in our Wedding Traditions Explained series from our own point of view. We thought it was a good idea, too. So here it is:

Tossing the bouquet and garter
We will not be doing either. In fact, we won’t even be having a bouquet or garter. I might carry something down the aisle, but it will likely not be flowers. So no tossing.

Including bridesmaids and groomsmen
We’re not having either. We decided it was unnecessary and it would save us some time, stress and money to forgo a wedding party altogether.

Giving away the bride
For awhile I thought if anyone was going to walk me down the aisle, it would be both of my parents, not just my dad. But then I decided the whole escorting down the aisle thing was silly. At least for me. Mike and I will be walking in solo and leaving together. Symbolic eh?

Bridal veil
Skipping it. I’ll wear the pretty lace hair adornment that my friend Katie bought me, and that’s it.

Wedding rings
We will have wedding rings. I like the symbolism here. We both had engagement rings, and we’ll both have wedding bands. And we both split the cost on all four.

Flowers
No final decisions, but I don’t think there will be flowers. Other decorations, yes. Flowers, probably not. No real reason, except we want our decorations to be fun, simple and sort of whimsical, and other ideas seem to work better than flowers.

Bride on groom’s left
We’re not sure yet what we’re doing with placement. We’re not having “sides” because my family is so much bigger than his, so we just want people to sit wherever. I think which side we stand on will depend on what looks and feels right. When we were in the backyard once, getting an idea of how things would be, it seemed like one side was sloped a little more than the other. Being 15 inches shorter than Mike, it makes sense for me to not stand downhill from him.

Wedding cake
No cake. But we will have an ice cream bar and a cupcake bar! Aw yeah.

Something Old…
I will have something old (dress, shoes), and something new (hair piece, rings), and something borrowed (earrings), and maybe even something blue by then, who knows. But none of it is to fulfill the ‘requirements’ of this old saying.

The “wedding”
Yes we’re having a wedding, but there is no purchasing of brides or whatever.

White dress
Nope. It’s green and ivory.

First kiss
Yes we will be having a first kiss. Except we’re trying to think of a good alternative to “you may kiss the bride.” Maybe something like, “You may now take your first kiss as a married couple.” Or something. Thoughts?

Carrying the bride across threshold
Um no. There will be no carrying of the bride over anything.

The honeymoon
Yes yes yes! We’re on a serious budget for the wedding so that we can have enough money for a honeymoon. Nothing fancy though. We’re thinking maybe a short cruise or something. But we definitely want to get away after the wedding.

Bridal shower and bachelor party
Rather than a shower for the women only (god I hate that!), we’re going to host a family meet n’ greet slash shower. Basically we want our families to meet before the wedding, so we’re going to host our own big get-together, and instead of having separate showers, the meet n’ greet can second as one. Then I guess it will be up to our friends if there are any other showers or bachelor(ette) parties. No expectations there.

Wedding march
This relates to our aisle walk above. No wedding march. And as we explained awhile ago, there will be no music either.

Taking hands during the ceremony
I’m sure we’ll hold hands at some point. Right hand to right hand though? That seems a lot like a handshake…

Toasting
We haven’t given this much thought actually. Maybe? But our reception is going to be more like a casual backyard party, and formal toasts might seem awkward. Or not. I’m not really sure. I have a feeling unless someone speaks up strongly about wanting to do a toast, we’ll probably skip this tradition.

Throwing rice
Definitely not. We won’t be departing in any big fashion, and in fact we’ll probably be staying later than most of the guests in order to clean up. So rice throwing or bubbles or sparklers… pretty obsolete.

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Yesterday Mike and I sent an email to several friends and family asking them to participate in an important part of our wedding ceremony. Awhile ago I was looking for a symbolic gesture that would, well, symbolize our unity. Like the unity candle. Only I don’t really like the unity candle or the mixing of the sands because it’s just two people. And even though we are definitely the primary players in this marriage, it’s also the merging of two families and networks of people. We wanted to somehow symbolize that.

So eventually I stumbled upon the quilt ceremony (sorry, I can no longer remember where I first saw this). Here’s how we explained it in the email:

We read about something called a quilt ceremony, in which the couple is wrapped in a quilt made from fabric from all their loved ones. This seemed like a perfect addition to our wedding ceremony for a couple reasons:
1) We want to symbolize more than the joining of two individuals, but the joining of two extended families and networks of people.
2) I (Shannon) am so crafty anyway!

Here is the plan:
– We will collect pieces of fabric from all the special people in our lives.
– We will keep track of from where and whom each piece comes.
– Shannon will make a quilt from this fabric.
– At the ceremony, the quilt will be used to symbolize the merging of our lives, families and friends.
– At the reception, the quilt will be displayed.
– We will have the quilt as a keepsake forever… 🙂

Then we asked everyone to send us a piece of fabric to add to the quilt. And we’d like to ask you to do the same. You all mean a lot to us, too, since this blog has been such a fun part of our wedding planning, and you guys always offer great ideas and encouragement.

So, if you’d like to contribute a piece of fabric to our Unity Quilt (I just made that up, I really have no idea if these things have a name), leave a comment with your email address or send us an email (shanmikeblog [at] gmail [dot] com), and we’ll get you the info you need.

Thanks, you guys are the awesomest!

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Wedding traditions are traditions for a reason: they’ve been around a long time. But where did they originate? Our Wedding Traditions Explained series attempts to find out. We have no real evidence to back up these claims, but they were gathered from various online sources. Take them for what they’re worth, and if you’ve heard differing explanations, please share.

Throwing Rice
The throwing of rice on the couple symbolizes prosperity and good luck. Wheat and other grains are sometimes thrown in addition to rice, thereby also wishing prosperity and lack of want. Today, however, there are many variations on the throwing or rice including blowing bubbles, holding sparklers, etc.

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Wedding traditions are traditions for a reason: they’ve been around a long time. But where did they originate? Our Wedding Traditions Explained series attempts to find out. We have no real evidence to back up these claims, but they were gathered from various online sources. Take them for what they’re worth, and if you’ve heard differing explanations, please share.

Toasting
Toasting comes from an ancient French custom of placing bread in the bottom of the glass. The person giving the toast would drain the drink to get the “toast.” According to legend, when a bride and groom drink their wedding toast, whoever finishes first will rule the family.

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Wedding traditions are traditions for a reason: they’ve been around a long time. But where did they originate? Our Wedding Traditions Explained series attempts to find out. We have no real evidence to back up these claims, but they were gathered from various online sources. Take them for what they’re worth, and if you’ve heard differing explanations, please share.

Taking Each Other’s Hands in Marriage
The open right hand is a symbol of strength, resource and purpose. The coming together of both right hands during a wedding ceremony is a symbol that the bride and the groom can depend on each other and the resources that each brings to the marriage. It also represents the merger of their lives together into one.

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Wedding traditions are traditions for a reason: they’ve been around a long time. But where did they originate? Our Wedding Traditions Explained series attempts to find out. We have no real evidence to back up these claims, but they were gathered from various online sources. Take them for what they’re worth, and if you’ve heard differing explanations, please share.

The Wedding March

A traditional church wedding usually features two bridal marches by two different classical composers. The bride walks down the aisle to  the “Bridal Chorus” from Richard Wagner’s 1848 opera “Lohengrin.” The newlyweds exit to the “Wedding March” from Felix Mendelssohn’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

The custom dates back to the royal marriage, in 1858, of Victoria, princess of Great Britain and Empress of Germany, to Prince Frederick William of Prussia. Victoria, eldest daughter of Britain’s Queen Victoria, selected the music herself.  Soon this custom was being repeated throughout Britain, and it has since become a Western wedding tradition.

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