Leanne and John’s Summer Solstice Wedding

When Leanne and John of Asheville, North Carolina met they each recognized their twin flame in the other. They began dating at Halloween and were engaged before the following Christmas.

Leanne is a native California girl so they chose Giracci Vineyards and Farms of Silverado, CA as the venue  for their destination wedding. Joanne Tutweiler of Queen Tut Events planned the intimate wedding that was officiated by Reverend Connie Jones-Steward.

The summer solstice themed ceremony took place amid the vineyards magnificent Oak trees and included a blessing from the four  directions, a wine sharing, handfasting and jumping the broom.

  • Venue: Giracci Vineyards and Farms
  • Planner: Queen Tut Events
  • Officiant Rev.  Connie Jones-Steward

5 African-American Wedding Traditions

February is Black History Month so I thought I’d blog about a few African-American Wedding traditions starting with one of the most popular, jumping the broom:

1)      Jumping The Broom: This wedding tradition is nearly synonymous with African-American weddings. There are several interpretations including that it represents sweeping away the past and the beginning of a fresh future. Another interpretation is that the broom represents the feminine principle and the bride’s willing acceptance to maintain her new household.

2)      The Dolla Dance aka The Money Dance: Versions of this dance are popular at African-American, Hispanic, Pilipino and Polish Weddings. Traditionally, male guests take turns dancing with the bride after presenting her with a dollar bill. In modern weddings it’s becoming more common for female guest to also dance with the groom after presenting him with a dollar.

3)      Honoring the Elders: In many West African cultures, it is considered proper to ask the blessing of the oldest person in attendance before proceeding with any weddings or similar ceremonies. This practice is becoming more prevalent among African-American weddings.

4)      The Electric Slide: You’d have to look far and wide to find an African-American wedding reception that didn’t include the Electric Slide, a dance first made popular in the late 1970s and featured in just about every African-American wedding themed movie made in recent years. If  you haven’t seen this dance you can check it out on YouTube.

5) Tasting the Four Elements: In this mini-ceremony, the bride and groom take turns tasting honey, lemon, cayenne and kola nuts to represent that all marriages will experience times of sweetness, sourness, hotness and bitterness and to demonstrate that the couple has the strength to make it through the good as well as the not-so-good times.

Candles in The Wind: A Wedding Day Fail

Candle flame

We all love candles. Their soft flickering flames have the power to evoke feelings of love, romance, promise, hope and spirituality. Perhaps that is why unity candles have become such a beloved part of the modern wedding ceremony.

However there is one particular type of wedding where unity candles can quickly spark feelings of frustration and even embarrassment as opposed to the more positive feelings mentioned above; that is the beach wedding.

Beach weddings are very popular in Los Angeles however Southern California beaches tend to be a bit windy and in this case the elements of fire and air are not on friendly terms. It is very hard to predict how windy it will be on the beaches of Los Angeles at any given time and even harder to get or keep your candles lit in even the slightest breeze.

If you want to incorporate a wind resistant unity ceremony into your beach wedding there are many options and alternatives and a creative wedding officiant will even be able to tweak existing traditions to fit your particular ceremony, as I did with the bread and salt ceremony for the couple that I married on New Year’s Day, 2011.

Some other beach friendly unity ceremonies include: jumping the broom, breaking the glass, handfasting or tying the knot, wine tasting and of course the unity sand ceremony.