I received an email from Adrienne’s best friend and maid of honor, as she is in the special event industry and was helping Adrienne and Ryan plan from afar (they live in Las Vegas) – and said that she was happy to see that I was on the vendor list at Wiens Family Cellars in Temecula (I love that venue!) and have me as an option, since she knew me from various wedding industry events and loved my approach. Yay! Her initial email said that the couple were both raised Catholic and wanted to include some Catholic traditions into the ceremony, which initial worried me as I only do non-religious wedding ceremonies or include only the slightest tinge (more to satisfy a Mom or Grandma, usually, than my couple). So, I asked for more details about that right away. Luckily, in the very first response from the bride, she clarified that it was more about including the Filipino traditions of the coins, veil, and cord. Not a problem at all! I have a non-religious version of that tradition, actually, that quite a few of my couples have loved including, as it allows them to honor culture and heritage without including religious verbiage that doesn’t fit them as much.
The three of us met soon after via Zoom, since they live elsewhere, of course, to talk about what they wanted and didn’t want from their ceremony, and then we walked through my process and how I work.
She told me that it was important to her to include the veil, coins, and cord ceremony, and that any religious tinge is for her father, so we talked about options for that. They told me that they are both extremely close to their families (including having family members in their wedding party – her brother on her side and his father as his best man), so we talked about family blessing and family honoring options. And we talked about who they are together and how important it is to celebrate what they are together and what they’ve created for their relationship and their life together – and that’s my favorite part!
So, what did we create together?
We included a family and friends blessing and show of support. For them, it wasn’t just about their families, but also the friends who were like family, all those who are important to them. So, we asked each side – those who consider themselves to be family or close friend of each one – to offer this couple their goodwill and support, and then to welcome into their community this newest member, giving them their love and affection. I must admit, at times it can get a bit competitive, with the group I ask second (in this case, Ryan’s family and friends) getting louder and more joyous than the first group, when they realize that they can be, so, if they seem like a fun and energetic crowd – and this group was – I sometimes ask if the first group wants another shot at being louder with their welcome (and they took it!)!
As expected, we included a veil and cord ceremony. To be honest, we were going to include the coins as well, but they were left behind at home – I offered to quickly gather 13 coins to use, but they chose to skip it, so I edited the ceremony on the fly (not the first time, I promise!). They asked two important people to come up and be part of it, first placing the veils around their shoulders, and then placing the cord over the two of them, connecting them in such a physical and visual way.
I have to tell you, they wrote fantastic vows! They chose to both start with identical and quite traditional vows, and then into very personal and totally moving vows, with a great mixture of love and laughter. I often tell my couples that their vows should be a mixture of why they love and appreciate about this person, and what they promise them – and Adrienne and Ryan nailed it!
And they did a mixture of traditional and non-traditional during those “traditional” wedding moments. While they had me introduce the kiss with the traditional, “You may now kiss the bride,” and we ended with a traditional instruction for the first time as Mr. and Mrs., they chose not to have any sort of question asked when she came down the aisle with her father. Since we were going to ask all of her family and all of his family for their blessing and support, we saw no need to ask just her father in that moment. Hugs and handshakes were all that was needed right then.
Plus, as always, I included stories about their relationship from the homework assignment they did for me – separately, so that I could pull in both of their voices – to help everyone there really know who these two are together and why everyone was there to celebrate them. As completely appropriate for their relationship, and always hoped for, there was a wonderful mixture of both laughter and tears! I was cracking up right along with them, too!