Monday, March 7, 2011

What's in a place?

Through many discussions, Jeff and I have settled on a date (finally) Because of many reasons, we couldn’t do it earlier than 2012, so we decided on September 22, 2012. Actually having a date makes it much more real, even though it’s still upwards of a year away.
This of course, leads to a renewed budget talk, renewed vendor search and especially, a renewed talk about the type of ceremony we wish to have. Jeff and I have different ideas of where to have our ceremony. I would love to have it in the church that I attended when I was a child, where my father was married, where I was baptized, etc. This church is the closest thing I have to a sort of community church, where the priest knows me and has known me since I was little.
One other church could have contended with the Greek Church, and that was Notre Dame de L’Assomption, which was a French Catholic church. My mother took me to this church, I was part of the choir and vivdly remember Christmas mass, sitting in the pews, and gazing at this beautiful statue of the Virgin (which I wrote about in one of my previous blogs). Unfortunately, this church was sold and bought by a circus company and is now the place is used as an exercise room for acrobats, stained glass windows and religious statues and all. And what became of the statue of the Virgin which I so fondly remember? I saw her broken pieces in the garbage bin when I went to go witness the day the circus company moved in.
But back to the original story, the Greek Orthodox church is where I would like to have the ceremony where Jeff and I will become husband and wife. But I am torn (still) in this decision for many reasons. One, is that apart from myself and my father’s parents and my father’s brother, no one will have any ties to this church and even more importantly, no one will have any idea of what will be going on. Not only will most of the ceremony be conducted in Greek (which I myself do not speak), but it is also quite different from a Catholic ceremony. It is much longer and more ritualized, and there are aspects (such as the Stefana) which are completely alien to maybe 50 out of the 60 people there.
Another reason is that Jeff is toying with the idea of wearing his ribbon shirt to honour both his grandparents and his Mohawk heritage. I don’t know how the priest will react to this, or how it will look. Will it look like it is meant, a joining of two cultures, or will it just look odd...
And maybe more than anything prior, Jeff really wants an outdoor ceremony. Although we have talked about this, and knowing how much the ceremony is important to me (I get angry when I talk to people about this and their response is - Who cares? The party is what’s important!), he told me he will go along with what I choose. But part of a marriage is the idea that one does not get her own way anymore, marriage is about compromising. How can I push aside his idea of an outside ceremony for something that is important only for myself?
Who knew this could be so difficult!


  1. September, outside wedding... hmm the weather usually starts to get a little cold- so I'm not sure about that one. How about in a place where you can see beautiful scenery from the little stand thing you get married in? (big pictureque window of the outside)

    Make your own BRAND new traditions and ties to a church/place/whatever. If it feels right for you- stop worrying about a new tradition. Start one.

    Ribbon shirt- awesome. I love the idea of tying together two different heritages and I'm sure that it would mean a lot for him. As a compromise, he could change after the ceremony or something. Worrying about it looking weird, why? It's both of your day and the people that love you both and care and know you should understand Jeff's heritage and accept you both for who you are.

    Much love.

    -Serena x

  2. I agree with Serena on the shirt - definitely, nobody will mind. People these days get married in kilts, neon suits, you name it!

    If weather and/or nostalgia concerns do keep you inside the church, you can always do pictures outside, to enjoy and emphasize your mutual connection to nature.

    And one can always think outside the box... there are other churches - even if you don't feel like any others are options, you have plenty of time to gently poke around and see whether there is a church you can see yourself getting married in before the big day. You might surprise yourself! Then everybody will understand and it'll be all good.

    That being said, I'll mention again that I don't think people would mind a Greek ceremony. As you said, a lot of people see weddings as really being about the party. Any ceremony will seem long to those people. You can also print simple English-Greek booklets available online for people to follow. It being Greek will probably be fun and exotic for a lot of folks. If you feel continually drawn to that I would encourage you to explore that option (eg speak soon to the priest about whether that date is available). Your vows will be in English anyway, that's all people need to understand!