We have gone over a lot of wedding stuff, and if you’re preparing for your own, I’m sure you’ve heard and seen the parts of a program but do you really know what’s going on? Do you know the meaning of what you’re doing? I’m sure you’ll give me a 50% nod and still have no idea what it’s for.
Through this blog entry, I’ll try to explain some of the wedding programs’ symbolism (as cliché as it is) and give you some fresh ideas on what you can do to make it exciting or at least as memorable.
One of the most common part of wedding receptions is the ceremonial cutting of the cake. The bride cuts the first piece together with the groom. It has come to symbolize the first task in the couple’s life together. Originally, the guests would take part of this to but as cakes became grander and guest lists get bigger, the task became quite unnerving. After cutting the cake, the bride and groom feed each other the first slice which symbolizes the mutual commitment to share and provide for each other. Two people as one facing life’s journey together. Wedding is a commitment to share whatever path life takes you on, with love and devotion, and the shared cutting of the first slice represents this commitment. Sharing of the cake to each other symbolizes your vows which means to love, honor and respect one another.
Lately, I have had requests from couples that I host to leave out the traditional symbolism spiels for the cake cutting and wine toast just because they find it senseless. I kind of agree that this spiel is just a waste of breath as no one intently listens to it and remembers so, I devised a way to spruce up this portion and make it more meaningful, to sum it up:
- It is the first task in the couple’s life together
- Commitment to each other
- Sharing and providing for each other
- Love and devotion
- Sometimes, they even say that whomever eats the bigger slice in one bite rules the house.
So my suggestion here is to narrate to the crowd a simple mini-vow coming from the couple while they are doing the ceremonial cake cutting. A simple 1-minute testimonial for each other (bride and groom) telling each other how they plan to do this in their most simple, sincerest way. They may even get their cheesiest lines from their original vows (I would ask this from the couple but this means they would have to give me a copy of their vows which might be somewhat out of the way for them). This is good for the video and is cheesier (or generally saying, sweeter) way of pulling off the segment.
Next is the ceremonial toast. Again, it’s a tradition that almost all couples go through during a wedding reception unless they can get away with it. Basically, the wine represents two individual lives, and the intertwining arms while drinking it combines them into one single life. It also symbolizes passion and to some, fertility for each other coming into a married life.
It’s a day where we set aside whatever we find is corny and cheesy and overdone. It’s your day, you are licensed to be a cheese-ball and no one will care. So what we do instead is to tweak it to make it less traditional-ish. We do the same for the wine toast, another narrative of each other’s’ promise (such as in the vows) expression how they plan to keep each other passionately interested, how they see themselves in 50 years, what type of family scale do they wish, how do they envision their future to be, those things. It is to epitomize what they aspire to become as one unit.
I see these wedding reception segments from three point of views: the organizers’, the couples’ and the guests. To most, these are overused and traditionally pointless for our modernistic taste, but if we look deeper into its roots, the history of why we do this is very special yet then again, the basis is nothing but ritualistic. Every wedding that I go to whether I host or as a guest has their own take, their own style and treatment but at the end of the day, it all boils down to the two people (eventually as one) celebrating it. It doesn’t matter what the program is as long as it is done tastefully and in order, that’s the essence of preparing for the whole thing. The rest is just for documentation and memory.