When Life Gives you Lemons …Making Wedding Lemonade

I’d checked in with the bride and groom, signed the marriage license, reviewed all the ceremony details and all systems were ‘go.’ But there were still some guests who hadn’t arrived. These were close family members who were supposed to be picked up at their hotel by a bus service. It was all worked out in advance, complete with a clear, specific timeline. Weddings can be very detailed. But for some reason the service let them down. Was the driver lost? What was going on? As information trickled out, it was obvious that they wouldn’t arrive, through no fault of their own, for at least another 45 minutes. The couple, understandably upset, didn’t want to go forward without these special family members, who’d travelled so far to be with them. They wanted them there to witness and support them on this important day. But the other guests were all seated at the ceremony site. What to do?

Scheduling and timing mishaps are probably the most common wedding calamities. When this one happened I remember a few weddings where cocktails were served before the ceremony. This gave me an idea. I suggested the venue send some wait staff to the ceremony site with water, lemonade or drinks of some sort. They quickly agreed, even taking drink orders!

Cool down and relax.

Once everyone had a drink in hand, and adjusted to the idea that we were waiting, the guests relaxed and started having a great time.  The minutes passed quickly. When the missing family finally arrived we proceeded – a full hour after the scheduled start time. I thanked everyone for the patience and made a few light-hearted remarks about it – and it was all smiles and a beautiful wedding ceremony ensued.

Voila! You have to roll with it. Fortunately, the venue was relaxed about it, even though it certainly messed up the food preparation timeline.

Have a tasty beverage.

When calmness is projected, people respond in the same. It’s human nature. Even if I’m upset or nervous inside, I never let my clients see me sweat. They depend on me to keep it together.

It’s not always possible for your wedding plans to go perfectly. That’s life. Stuff happens. It may rain, the cake may not show up, the bus might get lost. But how you handle it is what really matters.

Another common, but small glitch, is the swollen finger on a hot day, making the ring exchange a little difficult. I always anticipate this outdoors and am ready to calm the couple’s anxiety. In a heightened emotional moment a few seconds fumbling with the ring feels like an eternity. As Einstein once famously said: ‘Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT’S relativity.’


Enjoy the ride.

Another frequent occurrence is lost guests. Please be sure every single guest has clear directions, even if you have to print out a map with details and send it to them. Never rely entirely on a GPS, they are not perfect and there are places where you can’t get cell signal.

Marriage is about the long haul. It takes patience and flexibility, and learning to let go of anger and not sweat the small stuff. If you can handle your wedding that way, you’re off to a great start.

Thank you Lisa Rhinehart Photography  for the gorgeous photos.


Posted in Ceremonies and Celebrations, Pocono Weddings, Tips on Weddings, Wedding Ceremonies | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Superstitions and Customs

There is a difference between superstition and custom, although superstitions can evolve into customs and traditions over time. Because we sometimes don’t know where our practices originated, or what they mean, when we understand them they can become less or more appealing. Today’s column highlights some wedding superstitions that I think are interesting, strange, or just plain fun.

By superstition we generally mean a belief in supernatural causes, beliefs that link events together without proof or reason, especially when these ideas are outside conventional thought. A black cat walks in front of you – it means bad luck – that is a typical superstition. Walking down the aisle – that is a custom. Mainstream religious practices may have started entangled in superstitions, but are no longer considered such because they have entered the realm of acceptance. Superstitions, on the other hand, are not considered truth. Superstitions are sometimes called ‘old wives tales,’ but perhaps old women, long ago, knew something others didn’t? Or is it all just luck, or manipulation? Do you see omens or just coincidence? You be the judge, of course, but Stevie Wonder did sing: ‘Superstition ain’t the way.’


What's in your bouquet?

Here’s a good one. We’ve all heard of the groom carrying the bride across the threshold – this comes from the idea that he is protecting her from evil spirits lurking below that could come up through the soles of her feet. Now that you know the origin, I think we can file that under strange!

People often say that the ‘rain is good luck on your wedding day.’ Is this just a way to rationalize? In the Hindu tradition this is taken more seriously, and remember, rain is important for crops and growth so I’d call it symbolism, not superstition.

A very silly superstition comes from old England where a spider found in a wedding dress means good luck. Why? No clue on this one.


Groom carrying his bride... why??

A Swedish bride puts a silver coin from her father and a gold coin from her mother in each shoe to ensure that she’ll never do without. This is a good message for all women, to remind them they shouldn’t have to be completely dependent on a husband, and perhaps speaks to the progressive view of women in Scandinavian culture. Gotta love those Vikings. The tradition has spread and now many women here do this for good luck, too.

Did you ever hear of a sugar cube being included in a bouquet? Me neither, but its meaning is quite clear. I just learned about this is Greek and Canadian superstition to sweeten the marriage. And by the way: Greek and Canadian?

Here’s one I frequently incorporate in several different ways – bells!! Bells are thought to keep evil spirits away, and are also a symbol of ringing out the old and ringing in the new. I don’t believe in evil spirits, but I do love bells.

You’re probably familiar with the Jewish custom of ‘breaking the glass’ – but did you know it is also done in Italy at the reception?  The symbolism is quite similar. In the Italian custom (superstition?) the number of pieces of glass represents the number of years of marriage. The Jewish custom has several other explanations – my favorite being that the broken glass reminds us of the fragility of life and love.

Its good luck to have some money.

A new one on me is a Southern one – that of burying a bottle of bourbon for your wedding day. I love the idea of any kind of time capsule and this could fall into that category. Bury the bottle upside down at the wedding site one month before the big day, and dig it up after the ceremony to enjoy. Not especially deep in meaning, but totally fun.

Customs, symbols, superstitions and traditions – they are all a part of weddings and learning more about them makes your day all the sweeter – now go get a sugar cube to prove it.

Thank you Lisa Rhinehart Photography  for the gorgeous photos.


Posted in Ceremonies and Celebrations, Pocono Weddings, Tips on Weddings, Wedding Ceremonies | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Transforming the humble umbrella

I’ve written a lot about rain plans for weddings, and for good reason! If you are having an outdoor wedding ceremony (or reception) you must have a great plan for any unwelcome weather. One idea I’ve suggested in the past is having lots of umbrellas available on a day where there may be a few sprinkles as you’re set to walk down the aisle.

Lots and lots of umbrellas!

This got me thinking about umbrellas in general. I’ve also suggested them for shade for those extra sunny outdoor ceremonies.

Now here’s a completely different twist on the use of umbrellas. An umbrellas ritual. Here’s how it would work –  the couple opens and stands under the umbrella, then have your officiant, best woman and man, or other special person, pour ‘rain’ over the umbrella.  Confetti, lavender, seeds or any small items appropriate for throwing will work. Or have the entire wedding party and even guests participate!

A shower or petals... they could use an umbrella!


This clearly symbolizes weathering life’s storms. When I officiate, I always explain rituals before they happen, but this one would not require much of an explanation – it’s pretty self-evident. Something about the couple ‘agreeing to protect one another, stand together and weather life’s storms’ would do nicely. The optimal moment would be at the end of the ceremony – perhaps just before walking down the aisle, then all the guests can also pelt the couple with the ‘rain.’ What a nice twist. Those trusty bubbles would also work here. The final kiss under the umbrella would be terrific as well.

A ritual such as this adds a great element of fun, a terrific photo opportunity, and an exciting send-off for the couple. I’m a fan of anything at the end of the ceremony that adds that ‘wow’ factor. I love sending the couple down the aisle with a bang – whether it’s confetti cannons, jumping a branch, breaking the glass or other ritualistic action. I love to get the guests fired up about this, and it just makes for a joyous moment for a joyous occasion.

There are also a few interesting umbrella rituals from places near and far.

A traditional Chinese wedding features a full procession and according to tradition, the bride wears a red veil to hide her face, and her mother or attendant holds a red umbrella over her head to encourage fertility.

A Chinese tradition.

In Finland the bride walks from house to house collecting wedding presents. She puts them in a pillowcase, and has an assistant: an older married man (pretty specific, right?) who holds an umbrella over her head. The umbrella symbolizes protection and safe haven.

Love New Orleans culture? I do. If so, consider a ‘second line’ for your ceremony recessional, complete with a great swinging New Orleans song!  Historically umbrellas were used for shade and it was also a sign of southern style and grace.  The umbrella then became an accessory of choice for many southern weddings and was often an indicator of societal statue.  Second Line Umbrellas now reflect attitude and personal style as they the revelers spin them, as if to say “laissez les bons temps rouler!”

Originally used in 'second line' parades.

In France newlyweds dance under a big umbrella while guests toss paper ribbons over them, quite similar to the idea I’ve proposed.

A French tradition.

So the humble umbrella can be transformed into a fantastic, interactive ritual. Have a great time using an umbrella for your wedding – rain or shine!

Rain or shine.. the humble umbrella.



Posted in Ceremonies and Celebrations, Pocono Weddings, Tips on Weddings, Wedding Ceremonies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A few fun ideas …

I can’t always be focusing on the deeper meaning of ritual and how to avoid wedding disasters!  Although culture, religion, history, tradition and symbolism are my primary focus as a Celebrant, today I present a few somewhat random, light-hearted ideas you may find inspiring for your wedding or even for an upcoming party of any type.

Photos. A popular idea I really love is having family photos on display. It gives a sense of continuity and helps guests learn about one another’s family and friends. Hanging photos from a clothes line, creating displays in unusual ways, adds lots of flare.

For a casual outdoor wedding set up various seating arrangements and let people pick their own seats. Picnic tables, blankets, small tables and chairs all mixed together create a festive but relaxed environment. Bring it all together with flowers or matching tablecloths.

Lighting magic - photo: Lisa Rhinehart


Lights lights lights. It’s not done until its overdone. Whether using a professional DJ or lighting company or doing-it-yourself you can’t have too many cool lights for the party. I love strings of lights, you know, they kind you buy in the home and garden section at Target! Mix them all up and string them across the room. String lights can also be used to create an interesting effect for your ceremony site, but remember lights, like candles, don’t have the most effect in daylight.

Karaoke for your reception! Enough said!


Photo credit: Dana Crosby, Silent Film Photography

Build a bouquet! Have guests who are seated on the aisle hand flowers to the bride as she processes… she gathers them together in a bouquet – then places them in a vase at the front. They can be moved to the reception afterwards. This is especially good for a very small wedding when you can have every single guest involved.

Have advice cards on the dinner tables. Let your guests share their wisdom, wishes or jokes with you.

Bring in a ‘bouncy house,’ usually for kids but why can’t grown-ups enjoy it? This is best done before any serious drinking takes place.

Careful there boys!

And speaking of kids games for adults, why not have a piñata? This would be wonderful especially if you have one that looks like a wedding cake.

Pre-ceremony drinks! Why not offer guests cocktails before the ceremony – or even pre-ceremony snacks? Beverages can be with or without alcohol – but keep it mild.

Confetti cannons for the pronouncement is something I’ve done a few times – its awesome. If you can’t do it for the ceremony do it for your entrance or first dance at the reception.

And finally – how about a coin toss or rock-paper-scissors to decide who goes first for the exchange of vows?

Whimsical, light-hearted interactive elements always add that extra sparkle of joy to any celebration. Surprises are great too. Many couples want something unique and somewhat of a wow factor. I hope one of these ideas will work for you.

Photo: Enchanting Entertainment.


Posted in Ceremonies and Celebrations, Pocono Weddings, Tips on Weddings, Wedding Ceremonies | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Remarriage – How to handle 2nd or 3rd Weddings

People often ask what’s appropriate for a second or even third wedding. The short answer is: anything you want.  At least 40% of today’s weddings involve at least one partner who has been married before.* The stigma of divorce is, thankfully, long past. And the hope of what is to come is always cause for celebration. So, while anything goes, there are a few things you might want to keep in mind.

One of the best parts about remarriage is you get to do it your way. With young couples and first weddings compromises are often made, with couples giving over decision-making to parents, especially when they are paying for the whole affair. Now you have control and that means creative control as well – the chance to have the ceremony and celebration in a style and with meaning that reflects where you are in your lives.

Involve the children.

Consider a theme wedding, such as a beach or a bar-b-q.  Destination weddings are great for remarriages – but please be considerate of the expense involved for those invited. Ideas that may not have gone over the first time around now cam be a reality. You may want to have the lavish affair you can now afford. Or conversely – just keep it extremely simple. You’re older now – remember, to provide some childcare for your guests, if appropriate. And most importantly, if you or your partner have children, you have the opportunity to include them in your ceremony and celebration.

Some couples tying the knot for the second or third time choose elopement. And in Pennsylvania elopement is especially easy as no witnesses are required for the legal part. I love a romantic elopement and perform them often. After the turmoil life can bring, sometimes all you need is love and one another.

Everyone deserves happiness.

If a friend or family member wants to throw you a shower – you may gracefully decline. Showers come from the tradition of helping a new family set up house. You probably already have all the toasters you need. However, maybe you never had a shower, or just want to have one for the fun of it. If you do have a shower, make it non-traditional, such as have a wine tasting, cook-off, or garden plant exchange. Or collect items for your local shelter (check first to see what the really need.)

There is no real reason to forgo an engagement party – but remember that many of your family and friends already attended your other engagement party and wedding. So it’s probably a good idea, like a shower, to make it a ‘no gifts’ affair. If you know there are people who simply will not abide by that – again, suggest a charity donation, and guide everyone to your favorites.

Whether you are approaching marriage after a divorce, or you are a widow or widower, taking that new chance at love and remarrying is always a ‘leap of faith.’  It is also an opportunity to bring families together and celebrate once more! Congratulations. Whatever our circumstances, we all deserve happiness. Give yourself permission for that and all will be well.


* U.S. Census Bureau


Photos: Garth Woods






Posted in Ceremonies and Celebrations, Pocono Weddings, Tips on Weddings, Wedding Ceremonies | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Puzzles, Pretzel and Pebbles… what could they possibly have in common?

Ritual: A sequence of activities involving gestures, words, and objects, performed in a special place, and performed in a specific sequence. Rituals exist across cultures, time, traditions and religions. Rituals are a feature known to all human societies.

Readers of this column know how much I love ritual and how important I feel it is to have the ritual match the couple. If the ritual doesn’t make sense for someone’s world view it is hollow and meaningless. Rituals are important as a rite of passage, especially for birth, death and weddings.

This is why, sometimes, I invent or reimagine rituals. Here are three unusual wedding rituals where I have done just that; they involve puzzles, pretzels and pebbles.

Tossing Pebbles (photo: Garth Woods)

Over the years I have had a few couples who were puzzle fans – whether old-fashioned jigsaw puzzles, crossword, cyphers, and of course computer games. Puzzles challenge the mind and when undertaken with others, create memorable shared experiences. For one particular couple here’s what we came up with for their wedding ceremony. They took an almost completed puzzle they’d put together in advance and glued the pieces in place so it could stand up up to be seen at the ceremony. For their ritual they placed the final pieces into the puzzle. The meaning was clear. I spoke of how they enjoyed spending time together working on puzzles and how they were like a puzzle whose pieces fit, each contributing to something larger than themselves. And let’s not forget that puzzles teach patience, something much needed in marriage!

Special puzzle for ritual.

For a couple who loved baking and had learned to bake wonderful pretzels, we created something unique. They baked one of their very delicious pretzels (the large soft kind) and shared it as a wedding ritual. I talked about the historic and cultural significance and how sharing food represents their commitment to nourish one another. It tied in with their own backgrounds of German and Italian, and I learned in my research that pretzels had at one time actually been used in religious rituals. A twisted bread was used with the knot representing the trinity. (Bread is always a strong symbol.)

Even a pretzel can be used for a ritual.

And for a kayaking couple who loved spending time on the river – they collected river rocks which we gave out to everyone in attendance. The guests were instructed to hold them throughout the ceremony. I asked them to think of infusing their love, blessings, good thoughts, along with the energy of the moment, into those pebbles. After the ceremony we walked down to the riverbank and tossed them back where they belong. We were sending our wishes for the couple into the universe. It was a group participation thing, which is always a fun and a bonding experience as well.

I share these these three rituals to give you the idea of how even everyday objects, the little things in our daily lives, can hold meaning. Puzzles, pretzels, pebbles. If we stop and look around, look a little deeper, we find symbolism and a sense of wonder. Ritual works, whether religious or not, and science has proven this. Performing rituals helps insure a better outcome according to Francesca Gino, and Michael I. Norton in their Scientific American article in 2013. And that’s exactly why I love using them in the wedding ceremonies I create.








Posted in Ceremonies and Celebrations, Pocono Weddings, Tips on Weddings, Wedding Ceremonies | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A beautiful Indian tradition…

I recently had a bride of Indian heritage ask me about using the ‘dot’ on the forehead for her wedding ceremony. I knew a bit about this but realized it was time to learn more and, of course, share it in this column.

The dot, popular in India, is called a ‘bindi’ coming from the Sanskrit word ‘bindu’ meaning point or dot. It is also known as a ‘tilka,’ ‘tilaka’ or ‘tika’ in Hinduism. I will use the term tika here, as that is the term the bride used and because I wanted to stay consistent. This felt confusing enough – at least at first.

Beautiful tika

The tika can be more than a dot, sometimes it can be a line or other shape, and signifies a deeper meaning than a bindi. The tika is a sign of blessings or greetings, while the bindi can simply be decorative. Another small difference is the tika is applied with paste or power, but a bindi may be a paste as well as a jewel. I find them both to be very attractive. The bindi is worn only by women, but a tika is worn by both men and women

Not only Hindus, but Sikhs and Jains apply the red tika, and even Christians in India use them for special occasions.

Both bindi and tika are applied between the eyebrows because this spot symbolizes wisdom and concentration (the third eye) but a tika can be applied to other parts of the body.

A red bindi is worn by most young girls and women in India, but different colors can represent different stages in one’s life. Men wear the tika for various reasons but mostly as a cultural symbol to mark that the wearer is Hindu.


So clearly there are lots of variations on this. That’s what you get when four thousand years of culture and traditions are passed down. What began as a sign of marital status has evolved into a fashion statement, but that critical location on the forehead is still highly significant.

The groom receives the tika

Back to my bride – because the red tika represents marriage, love and prosperity, this would be great to incorporate into their wedding ceremony.  Traditionally a tika was used specifically for weddings when the father of the bride puts in on the groom’s forehead to show he accepts him as his son-in-law. This ritual would take place about a month before the actual wedding day, and that’s not surprising, because in India wedding celebrations take place over a longer time period and are quite elaborate.  With changing times people have become more flexible, and now it can be done at any time and is used for women in weddings as well.


There are many other customs to honor Indian heritage, such as bangle bracelets, mehndi, flower garlands, and who wouldn’t want to see the groom enter on a horse or elephant? There are the Seven Steps, which I love, and many more. But my brides (yes, two brides) wanted the tika, so together we came up with the idea to have each of them mark the other with the dot at the end of the ceremony, after I pronounce them, but before they kiss. Of course I will explain a little history ahead of time, so everyone can better enjoy this special moment. I think it will be wonderful!

Posted in Ceremonies and Celebrations, Pocono Weddings, Tips on Weddings, Wedding Ceremonies | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do you need a wedding program?

About every year or so I tweak and repost this column. Why? Because everyone planning a wedding eventually comes to this question: should I have a ceremony program?

As the big day approaches I sometimes hear from ‘my’ couples, asking for the ‘order of service.’ I know immediately why. They are creating a program and want to include an outline of what will take place.

A great program booklet from one of my couples

This is a common practice, and in a religious ceremony it can help people get ready to find the page for a scriptural passage or which hymn will be up next. That’s ok – to a point. But a program for your ceremony it isn’t always necessary or even desirable. Do I really need to read ‘lighting of candles’ to know that the candles are being lit?

When you think about it, the ‘order of service’ simply encourages people to anticipate what is happening next, distracting them from what is happening in the present. It becomes a checklist to be completed. I believe it is more enjoyable to allow the words and actions to unfold.

Instead, why not approach the booklet as a chance to expand and enhance the ceremony experience for your guests, rather than distract them?

Traditional but still unique.

If you have the time and inclination, a wedding program can provide ‘added value.’ For more creative couples it can even become quite the artistic project!  And it can serve multiple functions.

Here are some suggestions to add content and value to a program:

When listing the bridal party – explain who they are, your relationship with them, or even where they live. People travel far to attend weddings. You can show your appreciation of their time and effort by making mention of it.

Use photos – of yourself, your family and friends. Even your pet who unfortunately, was unable to attend, but sends best wishes!

Share interesting information about your attendants.

Get creative – the program can be made to look like a theater playbill, a menu, a newspaper, a fan, a passport, a map, a chalkboard, anything goes!

Explain rituals that are being performed. Give historical, cultural or religious background, and why it is being used. This is true for religious or secular ceremonies. Remember not everyone is versed in your traditions and will appreciate learning about them.

Give music credits – details on what songs or selections were played and what they mean to you.

If your ceremony is in a unique location – explain why you chose it.

Readings, poems, lyrics – just as with rituals – explain why you are using them in your ceremony, especially if there is particular story to accompany it. Or, include a poem, song lyric, or other writing that you could not fit into the ceremony. But don’t include the work itself if someone is reading it.

Honor family members with a tribute to them by using a meaningful quote with their name – especially poignant for those who couldn’t attend or those deceased.

For multicultural or multilingual families, have translations of some or the entire ceremony.

If children are involved in the wedding party, they can create the cover or write something special. They might also help by assembling or distributing the booklet. Don’t forget to credit children for any role they play in the wedding, and thank them for their support of the marriage. They will appreciate the sentiment, and love seeing their names in print.

If you do decide to create program booklet, I hope you’ll make it special, but if you are stressed, too busy, or simply cannot take on one more task – don’t do it! While your guests may be delighted to find a program full of surprises, truly, no one will be disappointed that there is none at all.


Posted in Ceremonies and Celebrations, Pocono Weddings, Tips on Weddings, Wedding Ceremonies | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Planning an engagement or wedding? Ask yourself this…

I adore weddings, but I do take all of the hoopla of both engagements and weddings with a healthy grain of salt. Becoming engaged is a special time in one’s life. Enjoy it to the max, because making a serious commitment to another person is truly profound. Savor these moments.

But (you knew there would be a ‘but’) there seems to be more and more pressure on the person making the proposal to do something spectacular. This is not necessary. Neither a marriage proposal, nor a wedding needs to be a spectacle. Sometimes the quietest moment is the most intense. If you have a flare for the dramatic, ok, go for it – but no one should feel pressured to create something that isn’t right for them.

A quiet moment can be the way to propose.

Often couples get caught up in these trappings while forgetting the deeper meaning of what is happening. So while you’re asking about flowers and cakes and dresses and shoes – ask yourself this:

- If you didn’t have to please anyone else, would this be the choice you’d be making?

- If you didn’t worry about what other people might think, would you do something differently?

When the guest list feels like it’s getting out of control, ask yourself: are these the people I really care about?

Congratulations for doing it your own way!

The answers to these questions will be a useful guide in your decision-making. I’m not saying other people shouldn’t be taken in account. After all, a marriage is about much more than just the two people getting married. Compromise is one of the keys to a successful wedding plan, as well as a successful marriage.

However, you need to balance others needs with your own. The clothes you choose to wear should feel like you. The way you present yourself should be authentic. Magazines are fun, but they often don’t really reflect reality.

Casual fits this couple.

There are some sources of information that do emphasize more realistic approaches, and I hope my tiny piece of the media world is one of them. A few site I like are: Off Beat Bride, Broke-Ass Bride, A Practical Wedding, A Realistic Wedding and the Huffington Post has a great wedding section as well.

I agree with blogger Marta Segal Block when she writes: ‘how do you know if blogs are helping or hurting you? Ask yourself:

1. How do I feel after I look at this blog; energized to start planning or depressed?

2. Is this blog trying to help me or sell me something?

3. Are there a variety of budgets and ethnicities represented on this blog? Do they show anything that resembles what I want, what I can afford, or what I look like?

4. Am I starting to think more about the “things” associated with my wedding and less about the people?

5. Am I ignoring the advice of my wedding vendors in favor of wedding advice given by an anonymous blogger?’

Don’t let wedding planning divide you and your partner. Take the time to do the normal things you do together and don’t let the big event overtake everything.

The right moment.

So while all those little details are great, don’t get me wrong, I adore flowers and photography, I’m just saying don’t lose your perspective.

The perfect wedding is a myth. You’re getting married, you’re an adult and you don’t believe in fairy tales any more. Enjoy all the little details and remember the big picture stuff. Most of all keep your sense of perspective. There, that’s wasn’t cynical of me, was it? Please pass the salt.



Thank you Lisa Rhinehart for your fantastic photography!

Posted in Ceremonies and Celebrations, Pocono Weddings, Tips on Weddings, Wedding Ceremonies | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Strong Symbolism of Water

Recently I wrote about the symbolism of the circle, noting how such a basic and simple thing – a circle – can express so much meaning. I also wrote about the box ritual – again, simple idea, but with great significance. The same, and more, can be said about water.

All cultures, religions and traditions have rituals using water. Holy water. We find symbolism and references everywhere.

A water sharing ritual for the wedding ceremony. (Garth Woods)

Almost all Christian churches or sects have initiation rituals involving water: baptism. Its origins are in the flight of the Israelites out of slavery, and then the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist in the Jordan.

In Judaism purification rituals include washing hands, feet, or total immersion which must done in ‘living water’, meaning the sea, a river, a spring, or in a mikveh (Hebrew for the ritual bath).
To Hindus all water is sacred, especially rivers, and there are seven sacred rivers, most of us know the Ganges, but also: Yamuna, Godavari, Sarasvati, Narmada, Sindhu and Kaveri.

In Islam water is also very important for cleansing and purifying, and in Taoism water is considered an aspect of wisdom. These are just some of the many religious traditions that incorporate water as profoundly symbolic.


By the water (Bayshore Photography)

Moving from religion to culture, history, and science – we know that all life started in water, where it began to take its many amazing forms. Everything that lives needs water, from the smallest plants to the largest whale. And from the beginning of history, humans have built their homes and their lives around water.

On a global scale the need for access to clean water is one of the upmost importance for the survival of our planet and everything living on it.

And on a micro scale, day-to-day, even including our own hobbies or passions, water plays a big part in our lives. Maybe you simply love sitting by an ocean, lake or stream. Perhaps you love to kayak, swim or fish. The uses, symbols and meanings we human attach to water are endless, because water is itself so vast and remarkable. Even our own bodies are 60% water.

Pope Frances washes in ritual.

Water literally and metaphorically cleanses and soothes, it also lifts and refreshes, it can transport, cool and certainly quenches our thirst. Water supports all life.

What a strong symbol, especially for marriage; and that is why a ‘water sharing’ ritual is one of my favorites. It’s quite simple but yet powerful. The words I choose to go along with it might vary greatly depending on the couple.  The action itself is simple, too: you simply pour and share some water. It is a symbol of your promise to nourish and sustain one another. And may you never thirst for love!


Posted in Ceremonies and Celebrations, Pocono Weddings, Tips on Weddings, Wedding Ceremonies | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
  • Blog Authors

    Lois Heckman

    Lois Heckman is a certified Life-Cycle Celebrant who officiates at weddings, funerals, and other ceremonies in the Poconos and beyond. She has performed hundreds of ceremonies and brings a wealth of knowledge to her work. Visit her website: ... Read Full
  • Categories

  • Archives