You have prepared for months. The guests are booked and you have your dress, rings and airline tickets. Now how can you have your ceremony truly reflect not only your love for each other but also incorporate a piece of the glorious location you’ve traveled so far to?
Research into local traditions or symbolic ceremonies can be a huge help in blending your exotic location into a memorable and cherished wedding. For my wedding, our families were joined together by the use of a sand ceremony and the thought provoking words islanders have used for over a hundred years. We brought with us two different colored sands and, upon arrival, add sand from the beach. We then combined the 3 different sands together representing the blending together of our families at this beautiful location. The local minister recited the treasured words “as impossible as it would be to separate each grain of sand, let no one pull apart this family that is now one”. This is very common for island weddings and can easily replace a unity candle common in church weddings.
My extensive research led me to many different vases and containers for sand ceremonies. One great site I found was weddingstar.com. Hawaiians have used large shells to pour the sand together and some traditions pour hot wax on top of the jar to seal the sand inside. Our vase was engraved with both our initials and our wedding date and a large cork keeps the sand inside. It is a wonderful memory of a magical day.
Another great tradition from the ancient Mayan and Aztec cultures, which is still performed at many weddings throughout Mexico, is the sunset ceremony and tying of wrists together. I attended such a ceremony in Puerto Vallarta and it was breathtaking. A minister gently ties the couples wrists together with a ribbon and says a blessing. The couple raises their arms together as the sun sets and all the guests stand and face the setting sun. The couple shares a kiss and the minister unties the ribbon and presents the newly married couple to their guests as the sun disappears. Timing is essential and many local resort wedding planners can assist in incorporating local Indian traditions into your ceremony. Timing is key for this type of ceremony but even if your aren’t getting married at sunset, the use of a ribbon can add a very similar Mexican flare. Oh, and if the forecast calls for rain, simply ask your planner to stick a dagger in the sand as this is said to clear away the clouds!
Finally, last month, which I was in Tahiti, I witnessed a symbolic Tahitian ceremony. Here, the couple holds each other’s hands as the minister or village priest takes half of an already opened coconut from the brides family and then takes another half from the groom’s family. He pours the coconut milk over the couples hands. He then switches the coconuts and returns them to the families. Think of it as holy water blessing the union of two together. The couple stands in a circle of flowers and the smells of the islands fills the air. Since weddings in Tahiti are now legal in the U.S., I am sure many more couples will try to blend aspects from French Polynesia into their weddings.
Have you found a unique way to bring your destination into your destination wedding? Leave us a comment and share!