I love when couples are completely made for each other. Usually the phrase "made for each other" is reserved for describing the couple mentally. All their experiences and personality traits have made them grow into the perfect person to support and love the other. This is what I run into most often, but recently, I had a bride and groom with unique circumstances. This made planning their wedding a truly unique experience for me. The Bride had a condition that caused her to not be able to speak above a whisper, and the Groom had an inner ear injury that caused loud noises to unbearably hurt his ears. I still can't even believe that they found each other! What are the odds of that! Their situations perfectly fit like a puzzle!
They came to me in search of a solution. The Problem: They couldn't have a traditional Wedding Reception with music and dancing; the Groom wouldn't be able to sustain the noise. They had a lot of family coming into town from out of state, and wanted to give them a wonderful wedding experience, but they were at a loss of what to do for entertainment. So we brainstormed our options.
I started the planning process with all the typical questions, and the result was so beautiful. We talked about their likes and dislikes, any interests they have. As we were talking, they each expressed their love for the Bo-ho style and wanted to incorporate it into the day.
The vows: The couple was frustrated because the bride could not speak loud enough for her vows to be audible to their wedding guests, and they could not use microphones because the amplification would hurt the groom's ears. One solution we tossed around was having their vows projected on a screen, but ultimately we decided to order programs with the vows included. The property had such a beautiful backdrop and it was an outdoor ceremony, so we didn't want to obscure the view with a giant screen.
The clapping: The groom was nervous about clapping and cheers from the wedding guests. There are a lot of moments throughout a wedding when family and friends support the couple through enthusiastic cheering. The solution we came up with were Ribbon wands! Traditionally there would be bells attached to the end of the wands as well. The bells stem from an Irish tradition and the noise was rumored to ward off spirits. But to reduce noise, we opted to make them without the bells. Guests were instructed to wave the wands in lieu of clapping or cheering. In order to make sure guests did not forget, the Officiant made an announcement, and we encouraged the closest family members and friends that were familiar with the grooms condition, to wave their wands early and quickly, so others would see them and remember to wave theirs as well.
The Meal: Even the clinking of silverware on dinner plates was too painful for the Groom. Plastic dinnerware doesn't really say "wedding", also not environmentally friendly, so we needed a quiet and elegant alternative. After searching around a bit, we found wooden dinnerware. It was beautiful, and fit our theme and requirements perfectly. Glassware, we still went with glass and encouraged guests not to clink while cheering the couple. We spaced the tables out farther than we normally would as well, to minimize concentrated noises levels.
The Speeches: Without amplification, speeches were a challenge. How would we make them audible for all the guests? Luckily for us, the reception location was a bit windy. we used that to carry sound. We placed the bride and groom upwind from the rest of the wedding guests, and the guests formed a semi-circle around them. It worked out really well, and it was more intimate with everyone gathering together, rather than staying in their seats. (P.S. The wind helpful in this respect, but not so helpful when it came to the wooden plates. They were light, and kept blowing off the tables. We tilted water glasses to weigh them down. Problem solved!)
The Music: The couple still wanted to have a First Dance as husband and wife. I'm glad they still shared this moment, because it is one of my absolute favorite moments of a wedding. We rented a speaker and hooked an IPod to it, with the groom setting the sound to a comfortable level for him. This is what we used for the Ceremony and First Dance. After the First Dance, there was just one more official dance, so guests could join the couple out on the floor. I put on my DJ hat, starting and stopping the music when necessary.
The Alternative Entertainment: This was probably the most difficult part of their wedding to plan. We thought about the possibility of lawn games, but were worried about the noise level escalating if guests were enthusiastic about winning. (Especially after a few drinks). Going with the Bohemian theme, we wanted to create a relaxing environment. The most relaxing thing I can think of is massage. We hired a traveling masseuse to set up a chair massage for the wedding guest, and also hired a henna tattoo artist to tattoo guests. It was all set up under a lit canopy with a Bo-ho throw rug underneath. It set the perfect ambiance. Most of the guests were from New York, and coming to California, it was a fun experience for them to be submerged in our slower paced, relaxing way of life.
Other details were of the more classic wedding traditions. The ceremony was a fusion of Jewish, Hindu, and Celtic traditions. There was a coffee and tea bar to accompany the Bo-ho feel. A cake cutting, adorable wedding favors, a non-traditional guestbook... and it was all absolutely lovely.
This wedding day came together so charmingly. I cannot express the fondness with which I remember the day. I can only imagine how warmly the guests remember the day. It will forever be a favorite of mine.
Venue: Beltane Ranch, Kenwood, CA
Photography: Jade Turgel Photography
Catering: Park Avenue
Floral: EV Floral Design
Masseuse: Wine Country Mobile Spa
Henna Tattoo Artist: Hayet Amatullah
Hair and Makeup: Sculpt Hair