Last week, I had the tremendous pleasure to marry Jenny and David in Central Park. The day was somewhat dreary, but the spirit of my bride and groom was shining through during this wonderful ceremony at the Ladies Pavilion in Central Park.
My couple met while studying for their medical degrees at Harvard. Jenny was born in China and came to the U.S. as a young girl. David, the son of a Korean mother and Swiss father, had been raised in Geneva. We clearly had many cultural and linguistic traditions from which to draw upon for this sweet wedding!
In preparing for the big day, we discussed a number of ideas that would create a personalized ceremony for this special bride and groom, including multi-lingual vows and readings from their individual cultures. I pored over Chinese language wedding readings and poems from Korean writers and Swiss writers, too (Italian, German, and French writers from Switzerland, to be precise!). In the end, Jenny and David were drawn to two customs that we incorporated in the ceremony, which also featured touching personalized vows and a ring warming, with each guest participating in this beautiful occasion.
The first wedding tradition we included was the Chinese wedding cup. This ritual takes place before the vows. Two special goblets are attached with a red ribbon (red, of course, is a lucky color in Chinese weddings). The bride and groom share sips of wine from their own individual glass, crossing arms and taking sips from their beloved’s cup. To honor David’s ancestry, a Swiss liquor was used for the ceremony! (With a nip in the air, the couple then passed the wedding cups among the guests to share in the spirits.)
We also added a Chinese hand binding ceremony, following the ring exchange. I had created a special braided ribbon for the day, representing the threads of Jenny and David’s lives that were now woven together forever. The threads of the ribbon also symbolized the hopes and dreams of their family and friends, lovingly enveloping them on their wedding day. To modernize the custom, we included a popular western “Blessing of the hands” poem, I’ve used with brides and grooms over the years.
The touching moments came one after the next, in this sweet autumn wedding.