A wedding isn’t the only occasion to celebrate a time-honored tradition or adopt/create a new one. For me, weddings began to change when women began marrying themselves. This was not so much because they reached a certain age and hadn’t found “the one”, but because they wanted to acknowledge their personhood and validate self love. I still thought it was weird simply because I don’t favor attention and with no bride our groom I’d have to answer all the questions.
Then there are dog weddings, cat domestic partnerships and marriages for citizenship, usually(random list,
unrelated to bigotry). I had never considered the myriad of ways people
were celebrating becoming married.
If you’re a couple who has decided to have a family, to bring children into the fold, baptism and naming ceremonies are a great way to bring loved ones together to honor your child(ren) and
be reminded of our responsibility to keep them. Unlike a wedding, baptisms and naming ceremonies are usually smaller gatherings. This allows everyone to participate in the ritual
and learn about it’s importance as the day transpires. “A naming ceremony is the event at which an infant, a youth, or an adult is given a name or names. The timing can vary from mere days after birth to several months or many years afterwards. Some of these ceremonies have religious or cultural significance.” Especially, the significance and role of water to wash away, cleanse and renew or feed the
roots of a plant that will continue to grow with you.
Funerals are oft regarded as sad affairs. Just the other day I contemplated the head count of a wedding versus a funeral. There are
many reasons, usually fueled by avoidance, that people choose to pass on either affair. Both contain their own sets of triggers. But, today, a memorial or funeral ceremony can be a small gathering with great heart. Just consider the traditions of the past. Light a candle or many candles, pray, chant, tell stories, share memories and smile through it all. Each intention you and your guests have to celebrate those at the center of attention can only foster love and possibly improved relationships.
Within each of these ceremonies must be a personal touch. It is valuable to explain why you are holding the ceremony and what the ceremony represents. If you have made modifications, share the reasoning behind these changes. The more meaning given to the event, the more you and your invitees will enjoy it. You may even be changed by it.
Whichever event you are preparing for, there are many considerations to keep in mind. Who will attend, what is their role in the day (if there is one), are gifts required or in lieu would donations be requested. I recommend that the guest list include people you do not have major conflicts with because the energy they bring will definitely impact the space. It may be a great idea to invite someone who is unfamiliar with the type of event you are coordinating so they can bring their curiosity and support. It may open hearts and create a mindful collaboration amongst family and friends.
We have a tendency to build guest lists from everyone we know. Any name you can remember goes on that list, including the friends your parents went with to college. Then you align the budget to the guest list and realize the small affair has become an event worthy of All Instagram. By keeping the guest/witness list short, you’re sure to have a celebration well remembered for years to come.