From the Sacred to the Mundane: Outdoor Weddings, Part Deux

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!

Outdoor Weddings

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.

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