Save The Date: Committed 2018

December 11th, 2017
Committed 2017 had gorgeous displays by talented vendors!  Photo by Genevieve Lauren Photography.

Committed 2017 had gorgeous displays by talented vendors! Photo by Genevieve Lauren Photography.

Remember the fabulous wedding show put on every year by the Green Wedding Alliance?  Well, the 2018 show is coming right up.  You can put Sunday, January 21, 2018 on your calendar right now.

The event will be at Greenhouse Loft, 2545 W. Diversey Ave., 2nd Floor.  It’s a beautiful venue and just right for this event.  Committed gives you a sneak peek at some of the finest wedding vendors in Chicago, all of whom are themselves committed to sustainable practices.

Here are some more photos from last year’s event, to whet your appetite.  All photos by Genevieve Lauren Photography.

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The Perfection Trap

October 23rd, 2017
Would you know if this wasn't the perfect wedding?  Photo by T & S Hughes Photography.

Would you know if this wasn’t the perfect wedding? Photo by T & S Hughes Photography.

Just for kicks, I went to my favorite search engine and typed in “perfect wedding.”  It came back with links to Perfect Wedding Guide, Perfect Wedding Magazine, “20 Secrets to Planning Your Perfect Wedding,” and Plan Your Perfect Wedding Magazine.  And that was just the first page.  (It seems there’s also a movie called The Perfect Wedding.)

These results are hardly anomalies.  I’ve read countless articles and blog posts on the “perfect wedding.”  I’m pretty sure there’s even text on my own website that alludes to the “perfect wedding.”  A lot of wedding advertising refers to various forms of perfection.  Anybody besides me see a problem here?

Perfection is a pretty high standard for a one-time event.  What makes it worse is that it is entirely undefined.  It’s both nebulous and unrealistic.  And this is the standard to which all weddings are held.  And that is a recipe for a lot of anxiety on the part of people planning their weddings.

If you’re a fairly casual person and don’t really care whether or not your wedding is “perfect,” then there’s no problem.  But if you have even a scrap of perfectionism in your character (and a lot of people do), then the standard of the perfect wedding can get in your way.

I’ve seen this with my own clients.  Once, I had a bride confide in me the night before her wedding that she didn’t think she would be able to look “perfect enough” for her wedding the next day.  I’ve listened as clients worried that things would not go “perfectly” on their wedding day.  I’ve witnessed much (metaphorical) hair-pulling and teeth-gnashing as clients tried to find that one “perfect” thing so their wedding could be “perfect.”

Wouldn’t wedding planning be easier if we could just drop the fiction that there is such a thing as a “perfect wedding”?  There’s a wedding that’s a perfect fit for you and your spouse-to-be.  There are lots and lots of perfectly lovely weddings.  But there’s no reason to go looking for the perfect wedding.  Have your wedding, instead.  Doesn’t that sound perfect?

Weddings and Cultural Appropriation

October 16th, 2017
Rabbi Debra Nesselson was their terrific officiant. Photo by Danielle Heinson Photography.

Whose wedding customs are you using? Photo by Danielle Heinson Photography.

All right, I have a tough subject for you today.  Let’s talk about cultural appropriation and weddings.  Ready?

So, what is cultural appropriation?  How is it defined?  Everyday Feminism defines it more or less like this:

Cultural appropriation is when a person adopts parts of a culture that is not only not their own, but which also belongs to a group that has been systematically oppressed by their own group.

That includes a whole swath of cultural items, from visual art to hairstyles to music to cultural artifacts to religious practices and beyond.  Well known examples are things like a famous white singer adopting a hairstyle that originates with people of African origin, such as cornrows.  Or wearing a costume that represents stereotypes about a group of people.  If you’re interested in all the different ways that these practices are problematic, I refer you to the Everyday Feminism article linked above.

All right, so what does this have to do with weddings?  Well, I’ve seen various cultural practices, almost entirely Native American in origin, used in weddings and wedding receptions by white people who otherwise appear to have no connection to any Native culture.

For example, I worked with an officiant once who began an otherwise standard wedding ceremony between two people who were not of Native origin by smudging the area with burning sage and using what they said was a Native invocation.  I’ve seen dream catchers used as reception decor and you can rent a so-called wedding tipi for your outdoor reception.  (I won’t give the companies clicks by linking to them, but you can look them up and see what I’m talking about.)

Just for fun, use a search engine to look for things beginning with “Native American wedding….”  You’ll find dresses, blessings, traditions, vases, rings, vows, gifts, and so on.  Apparently, there’s an entire subsection of the US wedding industry devoted to selling Native American elements of weddings–probably mostly to white people.  I have to wonder how much of that money is actually going to Native people.  My guess is that it’s a pretty small fraction.

So, should you use elements of another culture in your wedding ceremony or reception?  I’m not going to tell you one way or the other, since everyone’s circumstances are different.  All I’m going to do is ask you to think about it before you do and make sure that there is no element of exploitation or other harm in your use.   That will require research, perhaps some conversations, and a good bit of soul-searching.  It’s worth it, though:  After all, you’re only planning to get married once, so you might as well do it in such a way that it causes no harm.

One More Set of Wedding Photos

October 2nd, 2017

I know you love seeing photos, so here is one more set from a recent wedding reception.  The couple were married earlier in the year, with just their families attending in their home.  This was the big reception they threw to celebrate after the fact.  And it was a terrific party!

The reception was at The Clubhouse at Dolphin Lake in Homewood, where the in-house caterer is Wiley’s Grill.  Roses are Red Flower Boutique provided the floral displays.  The Cover Girls provided very popular entertainment (dancing violinists!).  I hope to be able to share professional photos from GodzRoqk Designs Photography in a few weeks, and maybe even some video from Media in Black.  These are my photos taken at the event.

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