We are living in a time of rising eco-consciousness, which is just fine with me. Every aspect of our lives needs to be examined, possibly challenged, and often changed so that we may all learn how to live in a more sustainable way, thus ensuring a healthy planet for future generations.
And this includes weddings. For many of us, considering the environmental impact of our actions is still new and unfamiliar territory. Thankfully, there are plenty of people who have been giving this subject lots of thought. Search for “green weddings” on the web and you will see what I mean.
I was delighted to discover that one of the couples at whose wedding ceremony I will be officiating in June is among those who are leading the way for the rest of us. Leah’s blog not only has suggestions for brides and grooms who want to make their weddings a little greener, but she also rates the suggestions in terms of which are the most economical. Enjoy!
Last year in May I officiated at a wedding which was running late due to a sudden nasty storm that blew in at exactly the wrong moment. It took about forty-five minutes for the venue staff to move things indoors and for the DJ to dry off his equipment. Mostly everyone took it in stride, although I know it was a little bit stressful for the bride and groom. Overall, the wedding party was able to adjust to the changes easily enough.
Except for the flower girl. When it came time for her to walk down the much shorter aisle than what had been rehearsed outside, she carefully walked forward, took petals one at a time out of her basket and dropped them to the floor. When she arrived at the front of the room where the bridal party was assembled, she turned around and started back down the aisle, still carefully taking one petal at a time from her basket. She was half way to the back of the room when I realized what she was doing. She thought that her job would not be finished until she had emptied the basket completely of those rose petals. And, by golly, she was going to do just that! So when she got to the back of the room, she turned around again to head up the aisle. Well, by this time we were all grinning and giggling, and some of the guests started snapping photos of this very serious and conscientious flower girl. When she got to the front a second time, her mother intervened and the bride was finally able to make her long-awaited appearance.
This lovely young lady was just another reminder that when children are a part of a wedding ceremony, you should be ready for anything to happen! If you prefer that things be predictable or more formal, then you may want to think twice before including children in your wedding party. It can become way too stressful for both you and the child. But if you can go with the flow and are open to the surprises (and delights) that children in weddings can bring, then by all means include them in your ceremony!
Well, just when I was ready to move on from this topic, I read Nina Callaway’s “10 Tips for the Perfect Outdoor Wedding: Avoiding Outdoor Wedding Pitfalls” on the About.com website. She does a great job of reminding anyone planning an outdoor wedding of things that you need to consider so that everyone can enjoy your special day.
Check it out at http://weddings.about.com/cs/weddinglocations/a/outdoorwedding.htm
OK, so a few years back I attended an outdoor wedding that took place at high noon in 95-degree heat on the first Saturday in July at a city in the lower Midwest. The concept was creative and a little risky: the bridesmaids and the bride arrived by canoe, one at a time on the shore of a peaceful lake. The rest of us, the guests, Celebrant, groomsmen and groom all waited patiently in the hot sun, waving away the buzzing insects with the thoughtfully provided fans.
What was in short supply, however, was shade. Someone’s grandfather, in a wheelchair and with his portable oxygen supply, wasn’t looking so good, even before the bride made it to the shore. As for me, the redhead-by-nature with super-pale skin: I kept hoping for a quick ceremony so I could rush back to the shade and AC of my ’97 Chevy Prizm.
Well, as it turns out, the bride and bridesmaids arrived without a hitch, and the wedding ceremony itself was just lovely. But my experience as a guest at this ceremony informs me now as I talk with couples who are planning outdoor ceremonies. I encourage them to go ahead and plan the wedding of their dreams, but be sure to consider the needs of their guests in the process. Tents, pavilions, parasols, fans, and even providing sunscreen can go a long way toward helping everyone relax and celebrate your big day when you have chosen the great outdoors to be your wedding chapel!
I never cease to be amazed at the beauty of nature, especially in the seasons of transition, fall and spring. I suppose that’s why so many couples prefer to be married outside, even couples who aren’t necessarily the “outdoorsy” types. You just can’t beat Mother Nature’s décor!
Yet, I suspect there might be something else going on, as well. Once, while riding on a ski lift with a friend, both of us were absolutely awestruck by the majesty of the Rocky Mountains. She commented softly, “It’s hard to not believe in God in a place like this.” The sense of the sacred was inescapable.
Perhaps celebrating wedding ceremonies outdoors helps many of us to recognize the sacred act being performed when two people join their lives in committed love. The beauty and peacefulness that so many of us experience in nature helps us to quiet our noisy lives for a moment or two, hopefully long enough to see a glimpse of the sacred in this powerful moment between these two human beings taking the leap of faith that is a marriage.