Into the Future Thru the Past

Weddings on Amelia Island are always intriguing, as brides here effortlessly introduce new ideas in décor, fashion, flowers, food, and fun into their celebrations. I absolutely love it when a couple’s individuality and personality shine through! But, as we look ahead, let’s not forget to glance over our shoulder and remember that weddings themselves are a rich part of tradition, marking important touchstones in our history. As you take pride in your something “new,” don’t forget to incorporate precious gifts that can be passed from generation to generation.

Let’s start with family. What’s more traditional than family, such as family pearls, the family Bible, the family china, or just plain family? Dust them off and use them! Whitney and Scott Chicco knew they wanted lots of family participation in their wedding celebration. “For us, having family as part of the wedding was a must.” One memorable moment of the Chiccos’ day was when Scott’s sister read a prayer she had written for the wedding couple during the ceremony. At my wedding to my husband, Greg, my preacher father officiated, and we surprised the groom’s family by inviting their own family pastor to take part with him.

Another important tradition is honoring deceased family members. Kayla and Brian Blackwell displayed a table of grandparents’ photos. A wonderful way to remember loved ones is for the bride to wear an heirloom broach, or carry a grandmother’s handkerchief or other sentimental item. “It was 38 years ago when I carried a small, white Bible under my flowers,” smiles Pam Simmons. Brooke Raulerson, owner of Revelation Design, said she is seeing lots of brides incorporating Bibles into their bouquets this year.

Of course, it’s common to honor family by inviting them to be part of the wedding party, but when the list gets too long, you might explore having what is called a “house party.” The house party attendants help with showers, parties, wedding day tasks, and sit in front with the family, but do not stand at the altar with the official bridal party. I served in Allyson and Brian Etheridge’s house party with several other girls. We enjoyed working with the bridesmaids to make Allyson’s wedding season a gem.

China and crystal scream wedding tradition, but how about a visit to Grandma to borrow hers for the big day? Some brides are collecting lots of pieces and using them for the reception, while others are using dinner plates in a hutch with messages inscribed on them for guests, or as general décor.

Wedding vows are an important ritual in most ceremonies, but how about using your parents’ vows? Or think about family vows, as the Mustos did. “We are a blended family, and my husband said vows to my children, and then we gave them each rings so that the ceremony included all of us and joined us together as a family,” explains Kim. Other couples are even reciting vows to their parents before speaking them to each other.

And don’t forget the groom’s cake! Brides, this is your chance to honor your man in the midst of all the glory the day bestows upon you. Or maybe it’s not a cake. Lauren Mathewson presented Dairy Queen Blizzards—his favorite—to her husband, Grayson. Along with the cake is the tradition of a wedding beverage, such as a specialty martini, personalized bottles of wine like Jessica and Terry Turner used, or sweet tea in a mason jar. Speaking of drinks, Southerners say that if you bury a bottle of bourbon upside down one month before the wedding at the wedding site, it will not rain on your day!

In closing, let me leave you with a quote from Paula McLain’s The Paris Wife. “To marry was to say you believed in the future and in the past, too—that history and tradition and hope could stay knit together to hold you up.”