It’s your day - and your fam­ily’s too

Cre­ative ways to honor the past and present

Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE -

Your wed­ding day? It’s “your” day. It’s all about you. Your wed­ding day? Your mother has been plan­ning it since the day you were born. It can be chal­leng­ing to cel­e­brate your unique ro­mance while some­how pleas­ing - or at least not alien­at­ing - your rel­a­tives. Do you plan the tra­di­tional cer­e­mony and re­cep­tion that your fam­ily might rec­om­mend (what’s wrong with a poufy white gown and plat­ters of prime rib?) or do you break the mould, and per­haps some hearts, by do­ing some­thing com­pletely dif­fer­ent?

For­tu­nately, to­day’s trend to­ward per­son­al­ized wed­dings can make it eas­ier to blend past and present for cou­ples will­ing to get cre­ative. Five ways to bring some fam­ily tra­di­tion into your wed­ding while stay­ing true to your vi­sion for the day:

1. The reli­gious cer­e­mony

Your par­ents may pre­fer a more (or less) reli­gious cer­e­mony, or they may ex­pect a dif­fer­ent reli­gious tra­di­tion to be the fo­cus of the day. Some brides and grooms have found ways to strad­dle the line by in­cor­po­rat­ing reli­gious tra­di­tions sen­si­tively and se­lec­tively. “Reli­gious el­e­ments are al­ways the great­est sign of re­spect for your elders and fam­ily,” says Cal­i­for­nia-based wed­ding plan­ner Deb­o­rah Moody. “You can bring in that cul­tural, his­toric part of who you are,” she says, with­out hav­ing a fully reli­gious wed­ding cer­e­mony.

Britni de la Cre­taz and her hus­band, Ben, opted to get mar­ried in a Cam­bridge, Mas­sachusetts, restau­rant rather than at a syn­a­gogue. But af­ter re­search­ing the mean­ing of the chup­pah, the Jewish wed­ding canopy, they de­cided to in­clude one in their cer­e­mony. They also signed a ke­tubah, a Jewish mar­riage con­tract, but opted for a sec­u­lar, hu­man­ist text in English that spoke of their mu­tual com­mit­ment. “My fam­ily would have pre­ferred that we have a more Jewish cer­e­mony,” de la Cre­taz says. But “we wanted the cer­e­mony to rep­re­sent all parts of our­selves and ul­ti­mately, it was our day.”

2. Your style, with heir­looms

Me­lanie Tan­nen­baum He­pler was just 3 when her grand­mother died, leav­ing her a neck­lace to be worn on her wed­ding day. He­pler loved the sen­ti­ment, but the neck­lace wasn’t her style. Her mother sug­gested hav­ing the pen­dant sewn in­side He­pler’s gown for her wed­ding on Long Is­land, New York, in 2014. Christy Cates plans to honor her de­ceased par­ents in a sim­i­lar way at her up­com­ing wed­ding. She is choos­ing a new gown that she likes, but “I have the lace from my mother’s dress and a piece of my fa­ther’s shirt that I am go­ing to have sewn into my dress,” she says. Both pieces are heart-shaped.

Cates and her fi­ance, Wil­liam Rus­sell, also de­signed their own en­gage­ment ring, but used a stone be­long­ing to his mother and added the same en­grav­ing that her par­ents put on their wed­ding rings: Eter­nal Love. “I love that it’s a new fam­ily heir­loom,” she says.

Kirsten Han and her hus­band, Calum Stu­art, cel­e­brated their very mod­ern, global re­la­tion­ship by mar­ry­ing in a cathe­dral in his na­tive Scot­land. He wore a kilt, while she wore a white gown for their cer­e­mony and changed into a Per­anakan ke­baya gown from her na­tive Sin­ga­pore for the re­cep­tion. “I wasn’t brought up Per­anakan my­self,” she says, “but be­cause I’m re­ally close to my grand­dad, it felt right. My brides­maids had the reg­u­lar ‘Western’ gowns, but Per­anakan brooches and jew­elry.”

Be­yond dresses and jew­elry, Moody, who is ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the As­so­ci­a­tion of Cer­ti­fied Pro­fes­sional Wed­ding Con­sul­tants, also en­cour­ages clients to bring fam­ily his­tory into the re­cep­tion through dec­o­ra­tive fab­rics. Con­sider us­ing white table­cloths with ta­ble run­ners made from a tra­di­tional fab­ric that echoes your her­itage, she says. This “con­ver­sa­tion starter for guests” brings “the cul­ture into the re­cep­tion with­out it be­ing a dom­i­nant theme.”

3. Fam­ily-in­spired foods

Tra­di­tional foods or fam­ily recipes can be in­cor­po­rated into part of the re­cep­tion with­out dom­i­nat­ing the event: think small bites dur­ing cock­tail hour, on a dessert ta­ble or even as a mid­night snack to keep the party go­ing.

“My grand­mother, who I was in­cred­i­bly close to, was a ma­jor choco­holic. So we had nice choco­lates on all the ta­bles and served a choco­late cake,” says Ju­lia Moss, who got mar­ried last month in south­ern Cal­i­for­nia. To honor her grand­fa­ther, a baker who “made the world’s best ba­nana cream pie, we gave lit­tle jars of ba­nana cream pud­ding to all our guests.” She ex­plained the con­nec­tions in short para­graphs in the wed­ding pro­gram.

4. Hon­or­ing lost loved ones

There are many ways to honor loved ones who have died: Pic­tures set in empty chairs, charms of re­mem­brance on the bou­quet, po­etry read­ings. Re­becca Bridge chose a venue in the Smokey Moun­tains to honor her de­ceased mother, who loved the area. Her cer­e­mony, while not tra­di­tion­ally reli­gious, in­cluded the Lord’s Prayer to honor her mom and fi­ance Mike Pan­to­liano’s de­ceased grand­par­ents.

Ser­ena Mark­strom Nu­gent’s cre­ative ap­proach to hon­or­ing de­ceased loved ones at her wed­ding in Eu­gene, Ore­gon: “We made an­gel wings and wrote the names of the peo­ple they rep­re­sented on them,” she says. “We gave the wings to peo­ple who were clos­est to the de­parted and asked them to save a seat for them. The wings were de­signed to rest over the back of the chairs and pews as though some­one with wings were sit­ting there.”— AP

In this 2014 photo pro­vided by Kirsten Han and Jen­ni­flower Wed­dings shows Han, left, and Calum Stu­art wear­ing tra­di­tional cloth­ing from their na­tive coun­tries for their wed­ding re­cep­tion in Dun­blane, Scot­land. — AP pho­tos

A pen­dant from a spe­cial neck­lace to honor her late grand­mother dis­creetly lo­cated in­side He­pler’s wed­ding dress, pre­serv­ing her style and in­clud­ing this piece of fam­ily his­tory in her wed­ding day.

Photo pro­vided by Ser­ena Mark­strom Nu­gent, brides­maids Shanti Mark­strom, left, sis­ter of bride, and An­gela Ben­nett (now An­gela Ja­que­tte) dis­trib­ute wings prior to the wed­ding cer­e­mony, in Eu­gene, Ore.

Photo pro­vided by Ser­ena Mark­strom Nu­gent, Michele Mark­strom, left, the mother of the bride, Ser­ena Mark­strom, holds wings rep­re­sent­ing one of her par­ents be­fore the cer­e­mony in Eu­gene, Ore.

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