Continuing the story of Jessica and Bill’s Maryland backyard wedding. (Part 1 for the intro and Part 2 for Style Overview.) Photo by Kate Hauschka.
I have to admit theirs was one of my favorite ceremonies. Working with officiant, they put together a ceremony that was very inclusive of both families, having them participate in many parts of the ceremony. To me, this represented more of the Asian cultures where a wedding is more about the joining of two families than of two people.
Chinese Tea Ceremony: Prior to beginning the ceremony, Bill and Jessica performed the Chinese tea ceremony, offering tea to the elders in their families as a sign of respect, in exchange for some words of wisdom.
Ringing of the Bells: Just prior to the processional, Bill and Jessica’s nephews and cousins rang bells to signal the beginning of the ceremony. In many cultures, it is a tradition to make some noise at weddings because it was said that the noise scared away any evil spirits that might do harm to the couple or to their marriage.
Water & Fire: As part of the processional, 2 of Bill and Jessica’s nieces and cousins, carried 2 small jugs of water. Then the two mothers poured from each of the small jugs into a larger vessel. Then the two fathers along with Jessica and Bill performed the Unity Candle ceremony. Both of these rituals symbolizing the joining of two families
Bread, Salt & Wine: In Ukrainian tradition, the presentation of bread and salt is a traditional way of offering greetings on special occasions. Their parents presented Bill and Jessica with bread, salt, and wine. The bread represents the parents’ hope that their children will never experience hunger or need, and the salt reminds the couple that their life may be difficult at times and they must learn together to cope with life’s struggles. With the wine, the parents hope that they will never thirst and that they will have a life of good health and cheer and share the company of many good friends.
Family Blessing: At the end of the ceremony, the officiant again invited both sets of parents and siblings to place their hands on the bride and groom to offer their blessings.