Early on in wedding planning, we decided that the “usual” family ceremony rituals would not fit with our wedding. The unity candle, the sand ceremony…they were all too clean: neat and tidy rituals representing two families coming together into one family. When I think of my family, neat and tidy come nowhere near describing it. To put it nicely, my family is just a mess. A better metaphor for might be a puzzle, but the kind you buy from the thrift store—you have no idea if you have all the pieces, there are probably stowaways from other puzzles, and it might even have dead bugs or legos inside as a bonus.
So we cut all of them out. Since none of the rituals felt like they fit, we opted out. No unity candle, no sand ceremony, no parent blessing, etc. We added in language to our ceremony meant to recognize our families, did a ring warming that included all our wedding guests, and hoped it would be enough. But I did wonder, later, if I had done enough to make our families feel honored and included. We’d largely planned the wedding by ourselves and I worry incessantly about other people, so I wondered.
And the more I wondered, the more I remembered things we’d done with our family in mind. Our hippo cake toppers were bought because of a family joke. I illustrated our guest book tree, modeling after Bryan’s mother’s favorite tree in their yard. We wrote notes to our immediate family members to open the day of the wedding, letting them know how much we appreciated all their support. Because our family was a puzzle, we adapted our own little rituals to fit all the different pieces.
So this week’s open thread is for all of you planning weddings and working through what rituals to include in your own ceremonies, and which to leave out. Are you sticking with tried and true rituals, or inventing your own?