Here's to an informative and amazing 2017!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
A blessed and joyous 2017 to you, your family, and loved ones! The past 6 months have been chock-full of new beginnings, with the start of a graduate program in Expressive Arts Therapies and Licensed Mental Health Counseling, as well as many wedding ceremonies, family events, holidays and gatherings. My resolution this year is to post once every week, with information relating to wedding traditions, special pieces to consider for your ceremony, as well as interesting tidbits and fun facts.
Here's to an informative and amazing 2017!
Well, ladies and gentlemen, it's finally here... that time of year affectionately known as "Wedding Season." While I have already officiated 8 weddings in 2016, the month of May seems to be the unofficial "kickoff" for weddings here on the North Fork of Long Island. Limos and party buses abound; couples, along with their families and friends flock each weekend to the wineries, farms, and summer homes.
Love is truly in the air!
May you all have a wonderful, joy-filled
and blessed 2016 Wedding Season!
This morning's unexpected chopping down of a huge maple tree in front of my residence has me sitting and contemplating new blog topics for your wedding ceremony; for you and your beloved as a couple; some unique rituals and their history in wedding lore; and some fun items for your enjoyment.
STAY TUNED!!! NEW POSTS COMING SOON!!!! (Promise!)
I'm Irish… and on this St. Patrick's Day, I would like to wish everyone bright and joyous tidings with a traditional Irish blessing (coincidentally, it is the closing to an upcoming wedding ceremony I am officiating on March 20th).
May the meaning of this hour be fulfilled through the days and years to come.
May the love of this man and this woman, their unity of spirit, grow deeper and stronger in the uncertainties and changes of life they will share.
Loving each other, may they love all persons.
Trusting each other, may they learn to trust life.
May their love reach out to the love of all, that their lives may bless all whose lives they touch.
May they find comfort together in shared hours of shadow, as well as in the bright sunshine of joy.
May they be to each other both strong and gentle.
May all who follow their lives with interest and affection have cause to rejoice not alone in their happiness, but in their brave and generous living, which makes life beautiful and significant.
HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY!!!
So, you just got engaged and everyone is asking the question of the hour, "So when are you getting married? When is the big day?" We all know that weddings, whether big or small, take planning (even though I went from engaged to married in 10 short weeks, every single day was full of planning, whether cake tasting, or talking to the DJ, or having a mid-week meeting with the caterer). Most of the time, if you go to a venue that you both really connect to, their "prime wedding dates" are already taken (sometimes, for the next 2 - 3 years!) Have you ever considered the opportunities that exist in having a winter wedding?
Just a couple of great reasons to consider a winter wedding:
When I think of winter, I think of pine cones, snowflakes, snowmen, cranberries, hot chocolate, candles and fireplaces. I think of the brightest color palette possible to stand out against a white snowy winter backdrop (evergreen, cranberry red, midnight blue, silver, gold). Have a hot chocolate bar; have the bridal party engage in a snowball fight for the pictures; include candles and fire for the prettiest glow. For more ideas, check out this link from Buzzfeed: 42 Lovely Ideas for a Cold-Weather Wedding
How can I best serve you in creating a ceremony for your winter wedding ceremony?
There are many couples, particularly here on the Eastern End of Long Island, who have begun opting for beach, vineyard, or farm wedding ceremonies; ceremonies containing more rustic and outdoor elements, those of air, water, sky and earth. For those couples who want a more personalized touch to their wedding ceremony and are in a “nature-based” frame of mind, the Sand Ceremony is an excellent item to incorporate. Not only does it allow for each of you, as partners, to add your own individual touch; it also allows you to incorporate your respective families, children from previous marriages, as well as all of the long-standing relationships that have come before you.
The current incarnation of the Sand Ceremony can trace its roots back to the Native American culture, either through Hawaii’s indigenous peoples or Native Americans from the mainland. Colored sand dyed with various natural elements (i.e. gypsum for blue, ochre for yellow, etc.) was used to create sand paintings part of spiritual healing ceremonies. In keeping with this tradition, in a “typical” sand ceremony, each member of the couple is asked to choose a color, one that resonates with a personality trait, is a “power color”, or simply their favorite color. A third color of sand (typically standard beach sand or plain white) is chosen to represent the friends and family of the couple, the “foundation” on which each individual stands. The officiant (or family member) begins the sand ceremony by pouring the “foundation” sand into a vessel the couple has chosen [I have seen vessels ranging from heart shapes to simple bowls to frames]. The couple then pours their colors of sand on top, creating a unique one-of-a-kind pattern, symbolizing the combining of two lives into one. Once the sand colors are poured into the Unity Container, the belief is that, as long as it should take for each grain of sand to be extracted from one another and brought back to their separate containers – that is how long you should be together. The couple, now in a physical representation of the vows they have just spoken, is forever joined and entwined like the grains of sand.
For some more in-depth information on the Unity Sand Ceremony, check out these links. They will help you begin to think about colors, vessels, ideas, and allow you to make this ancient ritual your own, either as a couple or a family.
SHARON VAZ – UNITY SAND CEREMONY
SANDSATIONAL SPARKLE – CHOOSING YOUR COLORED SAND
KENSINGTON CLASSICS PINTEREST PAGE (Ideas for vessels and colors)
Dun-Dun-Da-Da – “Here Comes the Bride”
Who among us doesn’t know the traditional notes of “The Wedding March” signaling the entrance of the bride, providing the background for her walk down the aisle and the start of the wedding ceremony? Yes, this music is significant; yes, this music speaks to years of wedded bliss and millions of ceremonies between two beloved parties. What happens, though, when these dulcet tones don’t speak to YOU and YOUR day of celebration? What notes can you turn to?
Traditionally, when working on a ceremony, there are 2 to 3 pieces of music you will want to incorporate – the processional (the entrance of the bridal party); the bride’s song; and the recessional. Some of the questions you may want to ask yourselves when delving into the music realm are as follows:
Once you have answered any or all of these questions, now it’s time to have some FUN! Go on to YouTube and type in the names of some wedding songs you have heard. Listen intently and see yourselves either walking down the aisle or recessing together as husband and wife. What do you envision? In some of my previous ceremonies, people have used traditional instrumental pieces (Canon in D, Pachabel’s Canon, The Wedding March from A Midsummer Night’s Dream); a great many have used non-traditional pieces, such as “Somebody’s Getting Married” from The Muppets Take Manhattan, the Theme from the Legend of Zelda, and “The Imperial March” from Star Wars.
When you begin to think about your unique relationship and what you truly want to remember for your special day, the sky’s the limit! Be creative! Be yourselves! Express it in music!
"Signs, signs, everywhere are signs... "
One of the most popular trends I have seen in both the weddings I have performed as well as those I have had the honor to attend as a guest for family and friends are signs. These signs range from the simple "Here Comes The Bride" that the littlest of participants carries down the aisle in the procession (to the ooh's and aah's of all in attendance) to the intricate... the personalization and uniqueness of the couple's love is reflected in these seemingly simple items. They add a one-of-a-kind flavor to your ceremony and are a wonderful way to involve your guests.
Buzzfeed posted 40 of the most awesome signs they guarantee you will want to see and use in your ceremony. Check them out here.
What awesome signs have you had the pleasure of seeing at weddings? I would love to see them. Contact me and let me "read the signs"!
In Your Own Words: Selecting and Writing Your
Reprinted from the blog, East End Experience (February 9, 2014)
With the New Year, we have a new installment in Rev. Sarah Wilson’s Down the Aisle Series of advice and tips from a wedding officiant. This time, she lends guidance to the daunting task of creating your own vows.
Did you get engaged over the holiday season? Are you in the throes of preparing your wedding ceremony and celebration? Have you ever been to a ceremony (for a friend, acquaintance, or family member) and thought it was a personal and intimate experience, reflecting the couple and their relationship? Well, perhaps, if you enjoyed that ceremony, what you might have heard were vows personally written by the couple.
“But Rev. Sarah, I am not a writer! I wouldn’t know what to say!”
Many couples are daunted by the mere suggestion of writing and hand-crafting part of their own ceremony. Yes, it is an intimate and personal expression of your love for one another and you are putting your emotions at the forefront of your special day. However, if not now, what better time to express these things to your beloved?
Legally, for a couple to be married in the State of New York, an officiant (minister, justice of the peace, priest, rabbi, etc.) needs to hear an affirmative answer from both parties (“I do”) and have two witnesses hear that the couple has answered “Yes” to the question of being joined together in the bond of marriage. Altogether, it counts for about 28 words. The remainder of your ceremony is up to you and your unique relationship! I have heard couples use song lyrics, words from Winnie-the-Pooh or Mr. Rogers, or just spoken their hearts to each other in the moment. They write their vows on index cards, pieces of paper, or just speak from their memory.
There are many sites containing many beautiful words and vows on the Internet and in books. I recommend sitting down with your partner, taking a good look at the person you are going to spend the rest of your life with, and allow your heart to do the rest. You know why you chose this person – why not express it to the rest of the world by writing your own vows? You won’t have a ceremony like anyone else in the world – it will be yours and yours alone. Shouldn’t we all have one thing in the world that is just ours?
Next time, we will chat about music choices – another personal expression of your unique love.
A question came up for me today, and I am wondering how people choose their "special day"… everyone has a wedding anniversary and it means something different to everyone. For some, it might be the anniversary of when they began dating… for some, it could be the anniversary of their engagement…. for others, it needs to be a date they can "easily" remember…
For the past couple of years, there have been "mnemonic" devices in place to help us remember - 10/11/12; 11/12/13… This is the last year where there will be that option (12/13/14)… And then, if you want something really interesting, you can be like my couple from Virginia, Jessie and Kevin, who are getting married on Pi Day 2015!
How can you remember YOUR special day? What made you choose your special day? Why did you choose that day?
If you have a special day that you would like to get married and need an officiant, I would love to chat with you about how your day can reflect your special choice and the unique love you share. Contact me via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, and let's chat!
An Ordained Interfaith Minister & Licensed wedding officiant.