When many people think of the “end” of the wedding ceremony, their minds wander to “The Kiss!” and the introduction of the newly married couple. But, there are nifty customs that can be a charming coda, shining a light on the transition from the ceremony to the receiving line or reception. For instance, among those of Jewish faith and ancestry, stomping a glass is an especially fun moment. Tossing of the familiar rice, long a sign of fertility, has been replaced with the more eco-friendly bird seed or, in some cases, rose petals. I have come upon some couples with innovative ideas to wrap up the ceremony. For a recent Buddhist-inspired wedding, I gave each guest a small bell to ring energetically at the end of the wedding. And for those, like myself, with pyromaniac tendencies, sparklers and British-inspired “Crackers” are a feast for the eyes and ears issuing the call to kick off the party.
Like any part of the wedding, one can improvise for last minute events or elopements. Take today: late this afternoon, I married the very kind and happy British couple Helen and David, who were accompanied by their spirited children Joseph and Emily. Joseph dutifully managed the ring portion of the ceremony, while Emily provided music, staging suggestions, and various sorts of event planning assistance. My bag of tricks included bottles of bubbles, a perfect bit of ceremony-ending drama for primary school kids. along with “Just Married” cards, serving as multi-purpose wedding props.
Knowing that youngsters would be front and center at this wedding, I dashed to the Hallmark store, before arriving at Central Park, to get some ribbons for a balloon release as a special surprise. It was easy to explain to the kids that they should make a wish for Mummy and Daddy and their family to close this special ceremony, releasing the balloons to great cheers. But it was a stroke of brilliance when Emily suggested that she and Joseph should write their parents’ names and the wedding date onto the balloon, so that this event would be celebrated by any who might come upon the object. Joseph enhanced the project by sketching life-like stick figures of David and Helen. So, we all wished upon the balloon and sent it flying into the early summer skies of New York. (As an aside, many years ago, when I was a school girl in Ponca City, OK, we also released balloons, with notes attached. There were numerous instances when generous strangers found the balloons and sent greetings back to our school. So, I think that Emily and Joseph may be onto something with others partaking in the good news!)
The wedding was perfect, the bride was beautiful, and the backdrop was divine. So, our family basked in the happiness of the day, including wishes sent from Helen’s brother Vincent, back in the U.K. Vincent: it’s not too late to send up a balloon of wishes before the family returns home on Saturday!
P.S. To Emily-I am still working on our music project!