CHANGE OF PACE
Unusual themes, venues make for unique weddings
By Tim Torres
Copley News Service
Five years from now no one will remember your exact wedding vows, but they'll never forget your reception: wine, sumptuous roasted pig and flowing Roman togas.
Having an unusual wedding reception theme is one way to make the most important day of your life undeniably memorable to your guests.
PICK A THEME
A great themed reception has to start with a great theme. Make sure it fits your personality, experts say. Some themes are more serious, others are edgy and playful. Popular themes, according to beaucoup.com, include beach or nautical themes, garden themes, even Western-style or Renaissance themes.
The over-the-top Roman theme from wedthemes.com calls for the wearing of tunics or togas with sandals. The meal would be buffet style with fresh fruit and rotisserie. Decorations could be tall columns, wreathes, garlands and anything else in the Roman fashion. The salad would be Caesar, of course.
Can't remember your Latin? "Motorcycle themes are growing in popularity," says Rose Smith of wedthemes.com. She recently advised a couple on a pirate-themed reception and another on a wizard theme. "It was absolutely wonderful."
Other themes to do: fairy wonderland, Scottish, Mexican fiesta, Arabian nights or Greek mythology (where guests can come dressed as a particular Greek hero of their choice.)
NASCAR themes are also revving up. In this fantasy you decorate with race flags and streamers, toy cars or painted numbers of the different cars and drivers. If you like, you can decorate with a particular driver motif. The best part about this theme is that it is very casual. "You can do a lot with that," said Smith.
Popular movie themes like the Matrix and Lord of the Rings can be a lot of fun, advises her Web site, if the bride and groom are movie buffs. One recent wedding was themed after the movie "Moulin Rouge," says Wendy Hunter of Winsome Weddings in San Diego. The men, in this instance, dressed in top hats, tuxes and carried canes, she said.
Other themes from the experts: Roaring '20s, '40s swing, psychedelic '60s, and '70s disco, complete with lava lamps, 8-track tapes and mini disco balls.
Where you have your ceremony or reception is important.
Parks, clubs, theme parks and gardens are all popular venues. In selecting a spot, you need to look at weather, setup, cleanup, theme and cost.
One special way to spend your wedding day is aboard a cruise ship. In San Diego, a popular wedding venue is aboard one of the eight yachts of Hornblower Cruises AND Events. Hornblower can handle just about anything. The company's mega-yacht can host 1,000 people. Wedding coordinators make sure everything goes perfectly as you cruise San Diego Bay at gorgeous twilight.
"You're guaranteed to have the memory of a lifetime," says Rebecca Milkey, director of marketing. "You're going to talk about it for the rest of your life, so go for it."
HOW'S YOUR RECEPTION?
There are as many wedding reception traditions as there are favorite wedding songs.
Many of the old standards have unusual origins, often traced to ancient Egyptian and European customs, according to chicagomarriage.com.
For instance, wedding bouquets were originally made of strong herbs, thyme and garlic, which were meant to frighten away evil spirits, and to cover the odor of those who did not bathe routinely.
As for wedding cakes, during the days of the Roman Empire, wedding cakes were baked of wheat or barley. At the reception, they were traditionally broken over the head of the new bride by the groom as a symbol of her fertility. Guests would then scramble for pieces of the cake, and take them home for good luck.
Rev. John Billow of chicagomarriage.com performs weddings and advises many a betrothed in the Chicago area. One new tradition he has seen, used mostly by Hispanic couples, is the groom giving his bride 13 gold coins as a symbol of religious faith and then the couple being circled in a decorative rope or lasso during the ceremony. "I've wrapped that about them," said Billow, adding it is an ornate symbol of unity.
Some new twists in marriage ceremony noted by Hunter of Winsome Weddings includes using pet dogs or cats as flower and ring bearers and young children from previous marriages being involved in the vows, she says. It's "a little buy in," a nice touch for a blended family.
One couple even asked their guests to forgo the giving of gifts and instead sign up to work a day for Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit that builds homes for the poor. "That was a nice little twist on the registry," said Hunter.
Whatever playfulness you bring forth make sure you end it with an age-old Irish marriage blessing that really sums up the day for all and everything:
May God be with you and bless you;
May you see your children's children.
May you be poor in misfortune,
Rich in blessings,
May you know nothing but happiness.
From this day forward.
- chicagomarriage.com? Copley News Service
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