5 Wedding Poems By Black Poets

In honor of Black Poetry Day, let’s talk about wedding poetry by Black poets. Here are five beautiful selections for your consideration.

Photo credit: http://www.kristenweaverblog.com

1.You Came Too, Nikki Giovani

I came to the crowd seeking friends
I came to the crowd seeking love
I came to the crowd for understanding

I found you

I came to the crowd to weep
I came to the crowd to laugh

You dried my tears
You shared my happiness

I went from the crowd seeking you
I went from the crowd seeking me
I went from the crowd forever

You came, too

2 Desire, Alice Walker

My desire is always the same; wherever Life deposits me: 

I want to stick my toe
& soon my whole body
into the water. 

I want to shake out a fat broom
& sweep dried leaves
bruised blossoms
dead insects & dust. 

I want to grow
something. It seems impossible that desire can sometimes transform into devotion; but this has happened. 

And that is how I’ve survived:
how the hole I carefully tended
in the garden of my heart
grew a heart to fill it

3. Invitation To Love,  Paul Laurence Dunbar

Come when the nights are bright with stars 

Or come when the moon is mellow; 

Come when the sun his golden bars 

Drops on the hay-field yellow. 

Come in the twilight soft and gray, 

Come in the night or come in the day, 

Come, O love, whene’er you may, 

And you are welcome, welcome. 

You are sweet, O Love, dear Love, 

You are soft as the nesting dove. 

Come to my heart and bring it to rest 

As the bird flies home to its welcome nest. 

Come when my heart is full of grief 

Or when my heart is merry; 

Come with the falling of the leaf 

Or with the redd’ning cherry. 

Come when the year’s first blossom blows, 

Come when the summer gleams and glows, 

Come with the winter’s drifting snows, 

And you are welcome, welcome

4. Touched By An Angel, Maya Angelou

We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life. 

Love arrives
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls. 

We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love’s light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free

5.  And I Have You, Nikki Giovanni 

Rain has drops
Sun has shine
Moon has beams
That make you mine
Rivers have banks
Sands for shores
Hearts have heartbeats
That make me yours
Needles have eyes
Though pins may prick
Elmer has glue
To make things stick
Winter has Spring
Stockings feet
Pepper has mint
To make it sweet
Teachers have lessons
Soup du jour
Lawyers sue bad folks
Doctors cure
All and all
This much is true
You have me
And I have you

Inspirations For Your Biker Themed Elopement

October 14 is National Motorcycle Ride Day so let’s talk about inspirations for the bride who’s wedding dreams are less Will & Kate and more Easy Rider.

California beaches and national parks provide the perfect backdrop for the free spirited, rebel nature of a biker elopement. If you’d rather ride off into the future on the back of your new husband’s Harley than in the backseat of the wedding getaway car,  then I know you’ll enjoy these photos borrowed from styled shoots that appear on Southern California Bride and Green Wedding Shoes.  All photos remain the property of their rightful owners.

Photo credit: http://www.greenweddingshoes.com
Motorcycle Elopement,  Los Angeles wedding officiant
Photo credit: http://www.greenweddingshoes.com
Motorcycle Elopement, Los Angeles wedding officiant
Photo credit: http://www.greenweddingshoes.com
Biker Elopement, Los Angeles wedding officiant
Photo credit. http://www.thesoutherncaliforniabride.com
Photo credit: http://www.thesoutherncaliforniabride.com
Motorcycle Elopement,  Los Angeles wedding officiant ph
Photo credit: http://www.thesoutherncaliforniabride.com

Something Old, Something New, Something  Jurrassic: Dinosaur Bone Wedding Bands

Something Old, Something New, Something  Jurrassic: Dinosaur Bone Wedding Bands

October 11 is National Fossil Day, so let’s talk about wedding bands made of fossilized dinosaur bone, petrified wood and meteorite. Pretty awesome, right?

Dinosaur Bone wedding rings, los angeles wedding officiants
Women’s wedding band by Jewelry by Johan

Diamonds may be forever but fossilized dinosaur bone is also pretty high on the durability scale. Jeweler Johan creates beautiful wedding sets from dinosaur bone said to be from the Morrison Formation in Utah: a site that dates back 65, 000,000 years to the Jurrasic era. Aailable designs also incorporate fossilized wood, elk antlers and meteorites.

Dinosaur bone wedding rings, Los Angeles wedding officiant s
Engagement rings and wedding bands from Jewelry by Johan

But Jewelry by Johan isn’t the only jeweler to offer Jurrassic jewelry. This men’s wedding band, featuring an inlay of dyed red dinosaur bone is the creation of Brilliance: a leading maker of wedding and engagement rings from conflict free diamonds and alternative materials.

Men’s band with red dinosaur bone inlay by Brilliance.
Meteorite wedding band set, Los Angeles wedding officiants
Meteorite wedding and engagement ring from Reico Designs

This beautiful bridal set is made of meteorite and set with a black diamond. It’s offered by Recio Designs, a company that promises no two rings are ever the same. According to the company’s website the meteor used to create this set is “over 4 billion years old, literally older than dirt.” 

As an anthropologist I would love ti wear a ring made of dinosaur bone and meteorite. I may get one for my right hand. Let me know what you think in the comments

Choosing The Right Wedding Handbag

October 10 is National Handbag Day, so let’s talk about choosing the right hand bag to accentuate your wedding day look.

Wedding handbags, Los Angeles wedding officiant s
Photo credit http://www.glamcheck.com

On most days we ladies would be lost without our purses and handbags. Face it, we carry our lives in our purses so the wedding day is no time to be without this most important of items. But on the other hand, are we really going to carry around our favorite Michael Kors bag at the wedding reception? That  would “not” be a good look in the wedding photos.

Bridal bags to the rescue. A good bridal bag is big enough to hold your cosmetics and a small mirror for your all important touch-ups as well as your cell phone in case you want to snap a selfie with the new spouse or with your bridesmaids, but it is not so big as to be cumbersome.

Your wedding handbag should also compliment your wedding gown; meaning it is made of a similar fabric and in a complimentary color and with similar embellishment such as beads and sequins.

How To Have A  Meaningful Atheist Wedding

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International Symbol of Atheism

Merriam-Webster online defines atheism  as a lack of belief or a strong disbelief in the existence of a god or any gods “or” a philosophical or religious position chacterized by disbelief in the existence of a god or any gods. It defines an Atheist as a person who subscribes to or advocates atheism.

The belief in God or gods is at the center of most religions and belief systems. These religions and belief systems in turn lay the foundations for ritualized life cycle celebrations— such as weddings, funerals, baby blessings and bar/bat mitzvahs—that offer a sense of belonging, community and make life meaningful to  their adherants.

So where does that leave the wedding couple that is Atheist or for other reasons wants to have a wedding that does not acknowledge the existence of God yet still be meaningful ? If you, dear Atheist, feel that your only option is  a cold courthouse style wedding–bereft of any sense of joy, community or the ritualized pagentry of a church wedding–I’m happy to tell you that you are wrong.

Atheist weddings, Los Angeles wedding officiants. African-American Wedding Officiants

While a religious wedding is a celebration of religious tradition, an Athiest wedding has the potential to be a celebration of love and joy. Whereas a religious wedding ceremony usually focuses on “God’s” rules concerning marriage, an Atheist celebration is free to focus on you and how you view marriage. In this type of ceremony you have greater freedom of expression that allows you to include music, readings and traditions that may not be allowed in a more traditional ceremony but hold great meaning for you. An Atheist ceremony will also allow you to invite friends and family to participate in your wedding ceremony in non-conforming ways.

At it’s simplist the word  atheist means “without God” so an Atheist wedding ceremony is one that does not mention God or any Higher Power. Many of my couples are interfaith or don’t follow any particular religious doctrine. They thus choose a ceremony that avoids reference to any form of Deity as a way to avoid discomfort or resentment on either side of the aisle.

Atheist weddings are structured much the same as religious weddings. Your officiant  will begin with an opening or welcome, usually followed by words that reflect your shared values, your hopes and intentions for your marriage and your vows to each other. There may also be readings from poetry, historical or current events or cultural references that are relevant  your wedding ceremony. Friends  and family may participate as readers or they may sing songs that are important to either partner.

As the ceremony draws to a close, the officiant may perform secular versions of such wedding traditions as the unity candle or wedding lasso. An experienced officiant can secularize almost any typically religious unity ceremony or may opt for something that is less likely to be viewed as religious, such as a sand blending. This is also the segment where cultural traditions like jumping the broom may be added.

You will then be prounouced as married before your friends, family and guests. As you can see, just because Atheist means without God is no reason that your Atheist wedding has to be without the joy, beauty, meaning and sense of community that is inspired by a religious wedding.

7 Ways To Give Your Wedding A Feminist Spirit

Feminist Wedding, African American Wedding Officiant, Los Angeles

Let’s face it ladies, although the wedding day is supposed to be all about us, the wedding ceremony and many wedding traditions are steeped in patriarchal values. Take the position of best man for example. Legend has it that in antiquity brides were often taken by force and the best man was there to help the groom fight off her rescuing kinsmen. In that same vein, the bride stands to the left of the groom so that his right hand is free to reach for his sword should those rescuing kinsmen appear.

If you’re reading this blog post, it’s likely that you plan to have a marriage based on equality and partnership with your husband, so why not infuse your wedding ceremony with a little woman-power. After all, in marriage as in other areas of life it’s always best to start how you plan to finish.

Here are seven ideas to bring a little feminism to the wedding party. You can use some or all of them. You may also choose to have a completely traditional wedding. Feminism is about choice and the choice is yours.

1. Don’t Let Yourself Be Given Away

Feminist Wedding,  Los Angeles wedding officiant

Time was a woman went from being the property of her father to being the property of her husband. This transfer of ownership was accomplished by the “giving of the bride”. If the idea of being “given away” makes you cringe, you may opt to enter solo or you and your groom can enter together. If you don’t want to completely forego tradition, the officiant could ask ” Who supports Mary’s choice to marry John” or use other less sexist language.

2. Wear A Colorful Wedding Dress

Feminist Wedding, Los Angeles wedding officiant

The white wedding dress is an undying tradition among Western brides. It’s said to represent the brides purity and virginity. However the white wedding dress began less as a symbol of purity and more as a symbol of status. Prior to the Victorian era most brides simply wore their best dress on their wedding day and few saw the sense in buying a dress that would only be worn once . That all changed when Queen Victoria wed Prince Albert in 1840. Prior to this wedding, English royalty typically wore embroidered crimson robes for weddings.  Victoria herself chose to buck tradition when she opted to wear white because it was her favorite color. After the royal wedding, the white wedding dress became a symbol of wealth and status.

Queen Victoria also reportedly took only the 2nd and last bath of her life on her wedding day. Aren’t we glad that tradition didn’t catch on?

3. Take The Lead In Reading The Vows

Feminist Wedding,  Los Angeles wedding officiant

Traditionally the groom is asked to read or recite his vows first. This supposedly symbolizes his willingness to take the lead in marriage matters and to be the head of the home. However you can shake the dust off of this tradition by having the officiant address you first. It sends the message that you don’t plan on always coming in 2nd in the marriage.

4. Ditch The Sexist Language

Feminist Wedding,  Gender neutral wedding, African American wedding officiant,  Los Angeles wedding officiant

You’ve probably never noticed how sexist and male-centric the ending of the standard wedding ceremony is:

  • I now pronounce you “man” and wife.
  • You may now kiss your bride.
  • I now present Mr. and Mrs. John Smith

How about asking your officiant to give those words a dose of equality? Instead you could opt for words like:

  • I now pronounce you husband and wife.
  • I now pronounce you married.
  • You may now seal your vows with a kiss.
  • I now present Mr. and Mrs. John and Mary Smith.

5. Rethink How Or If You Will Change Your Last Name

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Modern brides “and” grooms have plenty of options instead of the standard practice of “her” taking “his” last name; especially in California where the Name Change Act of 2007 allows the bride and/or groom to change their surname at the time that the marriage license is obtained. Couples or allowed to state on the license what the post-marriage name will be. The bride may take the groom’s name or vice versa. One or the other may hyphenate their names or join their names together to create a new name. There is no additional name change fee if the name is changed when the license is purchased.

6. Feature Female Voices And Readings 

Los Angeles Wedding Officiant
Photo credit http://www.tailormadeceremonies.com

Hire a female officiant ( shameless plug, IKR ). Have women to deliver readings and poetry during the ceremony. For even more feminist punch, feature readings writers offering a feminist perspective on love, romance and marriage.

7. Take The Driver’s Seat, Literally.

Feminist Wedding, Los Angeles wedding officiant

My favorite scene from Legally Blond II was Elle behind the wheel as she and her new husband drove away from their wedding. I thought, “What a subtle, yet unmistakable nod to girl power.” I doubt there’s any more powerfully feminist statement a bride can make than hopping into the seat of the getaway car and driving off into the sunset.

 

 

Cannabis Ceremonies Are A “Budding” Wedding Trend

Cannabis ceremonies, aka weed weddings, are becoming quite the thing in states such as Washington, Oregan and Colorado where the sale and usage of recreational pot is legal. Interest in these ceremonies is also growing in California. However, despite the passage of Prop 64 in 2016, the sale and use of recreational pot will not be legal until January 1, 2018. That means that all you California brides and grooms who are looking forward to replacing the unity candle with a hit off a unity bong will have to wait a few more months, that is if you want your ceremony to be above board.

Marijuana no longer carries the social stigma that it once did. Not only is it going mainstream, it’s going upscale and wedding vendors around the country are tailoring their services to accommodate clients who want to view their nuptials through a purple haze. Indeed, there are vendors offering  everything from cannabis accented floral arrangements, to bud bars & budtenders, to favor bags filled with edibles and joints.

A word of caution about edibles: Part of California legislation going into effect in January prohibits the sale of edibles that might entice children. Specifically, the law prohibits the sale of edibles that resemble animals, fruits or people or those that look like children’s  candy. So hold off on those edibles that look like lollipops and gummy bears.

Due to current California law, weed weddings, marijuana marriages or cannabis ceremonies are currently not a feasible option in this state. Therefore I reached out to Elizabeth Corr Sheils of Bridal Bliss a wedding planning service that offers these ceremonies in Washington state and Oregon where the use of recreational cannabis is legal.

So Elizabeth how many weed weddings has Bridal Bliss coordinated?

We have coordinated three weed weddings over the past couple of years. We have loved each wedding as they are all unique and fun in their own ways.

What special considerations go into plsnning weed weddings??

When planning weed weddings we have to carefully take into consideration Oregon’s tobacco and smoking laws. Because of these laws our past weddings that incorporated weed were all held on private properties. We set up the weed tents away from the general reception area as we wanted to be mindful that not all guests at the wedding would partake in smoking.

Is alcohol allowed at these weddings?

Alcohol is allowed to be served at weddings where weed is also present, but they must be administered by two separate companies. When weed is being distributed we always rely on the services of experienced “budtenders” who are able to make educated suggestions and control distribution.

Aside from weed, do you offer edibles to the guests?

None of our guests have opted to offer edibles to their guests.

How do you handle the presence of children at these weddings?

The presence of children at a weed themed wedding is no different than the presence of children at weddings where alcohol is served. Part of the budtender’s service is to ensure that minors are not being administered weed.

Have you received complaints from guests at any of your weed themed weddings?

We have not received any complaints from guests. When planning a wedding that incorporates weed, we try to be as thoughtful as possible as we know that not everyone will partake. We always recommend our couples to design an area that is a little more inconspicuous and away from the main reception area.

Cannabis bar at at wedding reception , weed weddings, 420 weddings, cannabis ceremonies

Photo of the bud bar from John and Whitney’s 2015 wedding. Photo credit: Jessica Hill Photography

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John and Whitney’s budtender about his craft. Photo credit Jessica Hill Photography.

Weed tent, weed weddings,  420 weddings, cannabis ceremonies

Liesl and Eric’s weed tent at their June 2017 wedding. Photo credit Brittany Lauren Photography.

Weed Weddings,  420 Weddings, Los Angeles wedding officiant

Reading material from Liesl and Eric’s wedding. Photo credit Brittany Lauren Photography.

Weed Weddings, 420 Weddings,  cannabis ceremonies,  Los Angeles wedding officiant

The area of the weed tent is discreetly identified by a sign bearing the green cross. Photo credit Jessica Hill Photography.

Bridal Bliss has a strong reputation as a leader in the Northwest wedding planning industry. The planners of Bridal Bliss are known for planning weddings that are innovative and fun. Bridal Bliss serves the areas of Central Oregan and Seattle, Washington, offering full planning services, day of coordination  and elopement packages.