Wedding Bliss: Making the Ceremony Your Own

Yes, we’re still talking about Saturday night’s
 wedding. My cousin and his fiance were married
on Saturday early evening at the Coral Gables Congregational Church. The wedding ceremony was short, sweet and full of traditions and symbolism. The church was beautifully
decorated from bright pink and deep purple
flowers adorning the altar to gorgeous hydrangeas tied to the ends of the pews. The colorful flowers were the masterpiece of Nevot Flower Design. Though the ceremony wasn’t a full Catholic ceremony, being that the Groom is Catholic but the Bride is Christian, it did include a little of both. A perfect combination of both beliefs and traditions, just like any marriage should be.

The Bride wore a gorgeous strapless lace dress with beading and featherlike appliques on the skirt of the dress. This dress was unlike any I had seen at any other wedding. I loved that it wasn’t the expected strapless ballgown and the feather like appliques added some modern twist to a gorgeous, traditional gown. The Bride’s veil was as long as the train of her dress. Something as the “dress fluffer” I didn’t expect. I had the veil all set to go, when I realized its length and had to make it look just perfect before she walked down the aisle, only messing up the original placement of the veil over her shoulders, so I quickIy had to fix it again. I just hope that my sneaky fix didn’t come out in her pictures! Needless to say she looked flawless and absolutely beautiful on her way down the aisle. The Bride’s dress was found at the local Coral Gables Bridal and will be shown when TLC airs the taping of this wedding on The Bridal Mile, a type of Say Yes to the Dress show. Yes, you read correctly, they’re going to be Reality TV stars on October 25th when the show airs! The Bride held a gorgeous bouquet of white roses, the stems were wrapped in sparkling band of little rhinestones that went all around the stems. It also had little rhinestones inside the flowers of the bouquet. As her something borrowed, the Bride had the Groom’s First Communion Rosary wrapped around the stems of her bouquet as well.

The Bridesmaids modeled beautiful dark plum, silk, strapless dresses down the aisle. The classy Bridesmaid dresses were found at Priscilla of Boston in Coral Gables. (They have many more locations in other states as well.) Their hair was worn curled and half up with a very pretty rhinestone barrett holding it together. The hairdo exposed the beautiful earings they had received as gifts and fit all of their hair types. Something Brides need to consider when picking out a hairstyle for their Bridal Party. The Bridesmaids walked down the aisle with deep dark purple calla lily bouquets, which were also wrapped in a band of rhinestones to match the Bride’s bouquet.

Traditions that were included was the Spanish tradition of placing the mantilla over the couple, which symbolized eternal unity. This is usually done by the couples grandmothers, godmothers or favorite aunts. In this case it was the Groom’s grandmother and Bride’s favorite aunt who did the honors. The mantilla used was passed down by the Groom’s father and step-mother, a symbol of something they used at their own wedding. The Bride and Groom also included the giving of coins, or arras, as they’re known in Spanish. The arras have a few different meanings rolled into these little coins. They represent the old tradition of the man having to pay the Bride’s family a dowry. We know this is outdated, but stay with me. It also represents Jesus and the 12 Apostles, since 13 coins are exchanged. The act of exchanging the coins represents the Groom’s promise to provide for his family and the Bride’s trust in his ability to do so. Though women now a days are very independent and can be self-sufficient, there’s something about these old traditions and the “roles” of husband and wife that really get to me.

At the beginning of the ceremony, both the Bride and Groom’s moms went up to the altar and each lit a candle on either side of the Unity Candle. During the ceremony, the Bride and Groom each, with the candle representing each family, lit the larger candle together, representing their now united family of one. For some reason at every wedding this ritual is performed, I cry like a baby. There’s something about lighting the candle together and becoming a family independent from the one of your parents, the only family you’ve ever been a part of, that just gets to me in some weird emotional way. This is by far my favorite ritual in the entire ceremony. Some cultures are known to relight the Unity Candle at each anniversary later on. I think this is a beautiful way to remember your Wedding Day for years to come and something you could possibly share with your children one day too. The vows during this ceremony were so beautiful. They were a little different from what I’m used to at a Catholic ceremony and a little longer, but I found them to be so meaningful. It was as if the Bride and Groom were having a conversation and not just repeating a couple of words the Minister was saying. Although longer than I’ve ever seen vows to be, I loved everything they included and how the couple seemed to just be talking to each other.

As guests walked into the Church, I was honored to serve as one of the Greeters along with one of the Bride’s cousins. We were to greet guests and provide them with a program for the ceremony. The programs included all the information on the ceremony, including who was in the Bridal Party, who was doing the readings, who the Greeters were, who were the one’s who had the honor of putting the mantilla on the couple, and anyone else who had a part in the ceremony. On the back of the programs a few “Did you know?” facts about the couple and the wedding day were included. Things that were pointed out in the fun facts were information about the Bride carrying the Groom’s First Communion rosary in her bouquet, that she was wearing her grandmother’s wedding band, how the Bride and Groom met. I thought this was a cute idea because it let guests know some of the more personal and not so evident traditions that the family was honoring on their own.

The Bride and Groom made sure the ceremony was a representation of themselves. At the beginning of the ceremony, right before the Minister began the ceremony, he mentioned that the Bride and Groom wanted to dedicate the ceremony to some special ladies in their lives who had passed and couldn’t be there to share in this day with them. It was dedicated to her grandmother, his great-grandmother and great-aunt. I thought that was a nice way to include people who were extremely special to the both of them that unfortunately couldn’t be there to witness it. These special ladies names were also included in the back of the programs. Having lost all of my grandparents, I’m always thinking of ways I could one day incorporate their memory on my special day. When my brother was married, our grandmother had recently passed, and he had a photo of her displayed off the side of the altar on the Groom’s side. It was his way of including her memory and her presence on a day that meant a lot for him. I think it’s beautiful when couples remember those who have passed in moments that are important to them, such as a Wedding Day.

How did you make your wedding day ceremony your own? Did you include any special rituals or traditions that are important in your family? How did you incorporate them? Did you do anything special for anyone who had passed? If so, what did you do to remember them?

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2 responses to “Wedding Bliss: Making the Ceremony Your Own

  1. Ame, you’re absolutely welcome! I’m happy you’re enjoying these! And the wedding was sooo great I’m sure others will be getting some great ideas from your fabulous night! xoxo

  2. Michelle this is just SUCH an awesome article!!!! If I were doing it all over again..I would definitely refer to your blog for ideas!!! You write so well and this is actually my first taste of pictures from that day because I’ve barely been able to see anything yet!! Thanks so much for this!!!

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