Mr. Veggie and I sat down this week to begin thinking about our ceremony. And, we’re feeling a little, um, culturally poor. While some brides and grooms are able to draw from a wealth of meaningful cultural or religious traditions when planning their ceremony, we secular results of the American melting pot are feeling just a little bit in the dark.
I mean, sure we’re Americans, but what exactly does that mean culturally? What are American cultural traditions and just how would such traditions come across in a wedding? I certainly doubt that our organic, loca-vore, eco-friendly wedding will reflect the values of a Mickey D’s-MTV-SUV nation.
So what are we left with? A blank slate? Not exactly.
I am half Latvian and half everything else, and Mr. Veggie is half Welsh and half French. (Hmm… what would a Latvian-French-Welsh wedding look like? Tom Jones in a beret drinking vodka? I digress). But, having not grown up surrounded by these cultures, the traditions of our distant and not-so-distant European ancestors are, well… foreign.
We are Americans, and as Mr. Veggie recently pointed out, having both been born on Turtle Island, are “native” Americans in that sense. We feel strong emotional ties that bond us to the mountains, rivers, forests, and lakes that helped us become who we are today. Moreover, our beliefs and values are closely aligned with the cyclical world-view associated with the indigenous cultures of North America. But, while both of us have had powerful connections at various points in our lives with Native American culture, genetically only one of us holds mere 1/32nd of Native American heredity (Who’d have imagined a ginger-haired squaw?).
I gather that with a little research, I most likely will discover some Native American and possibly even early colonial American, or latter day American marriage rites that ring true to us. I may even dig up some Latvian, Welsh, or French traditions too good to pass up. And we’ve actually already thought of a Maori tradition we’d like to include to represent our time in New Zealand. But it all seems a bit contrived. Are traditions still traditions when you pick and choose the ones you want to follow?
I suppose I could be thankful that we don’t feel pressured to include outlandish cultural elements into our big day. But really I just feel at a loss. How do we create an intimate special ceremony, that conveys our belief system and pays homage to elements of our heritage without making us look like giant posers?