Four personal and intimate weddings: California cut

Bride and bridesmades stroll down a country lane

Four Personal & Intimate Weddings: California cut

Last week I wrote about two individual weddings characterised by the couples’ absolute confidence in themselves and their desire to have their friends share the journey. Neither of these weddings were spectator events and nor are the Weddings: California.

A love balloon at a celebration

Weddings: California Pard-ee!

Weddings: California kicked off with a big party preceded by a quite solemn and calm service held in some refurbished ruins – no roof! The union was celebrated in a conventional way (California style-y!) with beautiful bridesmaids and smart grooms men. The pre-dinner speeches were family-oriented and ignored “the gallery”, turning the proceedings to the personal. Then we adjourned to four or five long trestle tables of about 30 each with food delivered on huge platters for sharing: a full-on feast.

All outside, with lights strung in the trees and up-lighters everywhere, this was the California dream of a wedding. No need to wake up as we made our entrance into the massive refurbished barn. There was a bar at one end. And a band, on a stage decorated with huge photo blow-ups, about 50m away at the other end. And there was wild dancing in the middle!  R&B classics, California soul and whole lot of lovin’ characterised this movie of a wedding.

A couple kiss on the beach

California Smooth as a silky wave

The second in California was all about words. An agnostic couple and their independent celebrant  (a good friend) had minutely planned all the words and actions  in the service. The many readings were original, poignant and personal to a level known only to the couple. We guests felt that we were witnessing a personal commitment to a union for life that otherwise would have been held in secret. As the groom pointed out in his speech, that was the intention. It would be an understatement to say it was moving and I think it unlikely that anyone who was there will forget it.  For me however, it was the addition of an individual, personal, hand-written message from either the bride or the groom on the inside of the tent-fold of each person’s place name that was the swoon moment. The spell was complete.

Weddings: California Roll

My point here is that it is the small – even free – things that make the public commitment of a wedding a private, intimate and special event. The tiniest touch that makes the guests feel honoured to have been invited. The bride’s favourite ritual; the groom’s favourite dish; one family’s ‘special dance or song; secret messages or favourite poetry. Get the big things sorted early: the type of service, the venue, the photographer. Then spend 18 months talking through the tiny details that will weave threads of commitment around you, binding you forever.

Sloan Hickman

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