I am writing this post by the chimney, near a Christmas tree with a view over the evergreen rolling hills on a sunny winter day in Tuscany. Putting up the decorations, preparing the presents, and watching the Christmas lights make me remember so vividly all the winter holidays traditions we had back in Mexico when I was a little child.
This is how I know that traditions matter. They can evoke happy moments that can get us through tough times. They also have the superpower of making us feel closer to our beloved ones. That’s why, when I organize and design a wedding, I am always keen on creating or reinventing a tradition that will be only yours to cherish. Here are some ideas from the amazing officiant I collaborate with, Jo Bertolino.
This simple yet so affectionate ritual consists in passing the rings around in a satchel before the bride and and the groom exchange them.
Every guest keeps them “warm” for a second, making a silent wish of happiness and prosperity to the couple standing in front of them.
This way, when the rings arrive at you, they are charged with all the wishes of a long, happy future together.
Your guests will truly become part of your symbolic ceremony and your wedding rings will mean a lot more to you. Trust me, you will always remember the moment you received them, warmed by all the love your favorite people feel for you.
This ritual might be challenging for big weddings with more than 50 guests, but for small ones, it is one of the most emotionally charged rituals I have ever seen.
This ritual is about origins and growth. At one of the weddings I designed we brought a small olive tree in the church.
As you might know, the olive tree is the symbol of Tuscany. The couple wanted to celebrate this magical land by planting an olive tree that would grow in the location of their wedding, giving its fruits for years to come.
The priest who celebrated the wedding blessed the tree. The bride and the groom watered it, as a reminder that the tree, like a relationship, needs to be taken care of in order to grow and last for a lifetime.
The tree was later planted in the soil of the venue where they tied the knot and it did grow a lot since then, as did their love.
This ritual idea consists of choosing a bottle of wine the bride and the groom liked in Tuscany and putting it in a box, along with the letters they write to each other on their wedding day.
On their first anniversary, they will open the bottle and read the letters, remembering their special day and the Italian warmth and hospitality.
Realizing how you felt when you wrote the letter and reading the one from your loved one is the best way of spending your first wedding anniversary.
I always recommend this easy to make, intimate ritual, because we all need more love letters and more Tuscany in our lives, don’t we?
An important part of the wedding is to honor those who can’t be there, because they can’t travel, or because they are not with us anymore. I know what it means because I lost my father a few months before my wedding, I wrote more about it here.
Probably this is why finding a way to honor those who aren’t there to celebrate the wedding became one of my missions. If someone from your family can’t travel, there’s so much we can do, like organizing a streaming and sending them the highlights of the day but that’s not all…
For the wedding of Shawn&Frank, we made a signature drink called “Dale’s Bourbon Blessing” and it was in honor of Shawn’s stepfather Dale, who couldn’t travel to the wedding. It was based on his favorite bourbon and the guests had an opportunity to make a toast feeling his presence and thinking about him.
Another idea is to decorate the bride’s bouquet with a ribbon made by the photos of those who couldn’t be there, so they walk down the aisle with her.
We can also put a plate with their names saving them the seat in the first row, to remember that they matter, a lot.
We don’t form deep connections only with humans though.
Some of my couples are very fond of their pets who couldn’t travel with them to Tuscany for the wedding. For one of my brides who loved her pet goats very much, an idea I had was to make a cocktail steerer representing them, as well as some photos along the venue.
There’s really no limit to what we can do to make your luxury wedding in Tuscany unique and memorable.
I would like to thank the amazing Jo Bertolino for many of these ideas, you can find even more rituals in her blog.
What are the rituals you have seen at the weddings that have warmed your heart?
Which one is appealing to you?