The latest trend is for couples to dress down and confess their flaws. A Shadow Wedding is an intimate ritual held before a regular “light” wedding in which all manner of difficult material between the couple is welcomed. It provides a consecrated place for partners to give voice to their darker sides, along with any doubts and fears about committing to lifelong partnership. Through the process of creating and participating in a Shadow Wedding, partners choose one another with eyes wide open, seeing both the beautiful and the ugly in their beloved.
In Jungian psychology, the shadow refers to the instinctive, irrational and least desirable aspects of one’s personality; your dark side, the bits you feverishly suppress. Especially on your wedding day.
Basically, a Shadow Wedding allows couples to explore their own and their partner’s shadow selves – those parts of themselves that might harbor fear of marriage itself, and fear of how they might react to those less-desirable traits in their partner. In it, you work through a kind of “dark side” of your habits/flaws/shortcomings. This usually occurs several weeks before their actual wedding.
Being fearless helps, however you will be asked to step out of your realm of familiarity and say things about yourself and your partner that allow you to reveal the real you. Think of it as stopping a traditional ceremony right when the person says “for better or for worse” and then having them elaborate, exactly, on what the worse is, just a week prior.
“If a relationship is going to develop in an atmosphere of truth, wholeness, acceptance and ultimately love, partners need to know themselves and each other in all their dimensions — even if some of those dimensions are difficult to digest.” ~ Douglas and Naomi Moseley, The Shadow Side of Intimate Relationships
“This is not for people who don’t recover well from fighting,” said Jessica Wolk Benson, who with her husband, Ron experienced a Shadow Wedding. “This requires blazing honesty, and if that will be too upsetting to some, it wouldn’t be good for them.” It’s an opportunity to air out all your proverbial dirty laundry prior to saying “I do.” Shadow weddings are a way for each partner to take responsibility for the baggage they’re bringing into the union. It’s a way to make sure you’re in love with a person’s darkest side before you commit to their best parts.
“In a conscious marriage you openly acknowledge the fact that you, like everyone else, have negative traits.” ~ Harville Hendrix
The name refers to “shadow material,” the dirty truths each person must present about themselves in the form of vows, like “I vow to never do the dishes when I’m tired,” or, “I vow to call my girlfriends and complain about you instead of bringing the issue directly to you,” for example. The point is not to celebrate the darkness, but to recognize that it’s there, that it’s part of the deal, whether you want it or not.
Most shadow weddings are held at night, and many couples opt to wear unattractive clothing, or sometimes, costumes. Sometimes there’s a bonfire, but every ceremony is personalized. The price ranges from $2,500 to $7,500, depending on how often you meet.
Performing a shadow wedding can’t guarantee a problem-free marriage, says Jessica Benson, but “larger problems arise when couples try to hide their faults.
When you tell the truth in your relationship, it becomes a part of your past. If you lie, it becomes a part of your future!
BONUS Articles: My Big Fake Wedding
Welcome to The Shadow Wedding Experience
At Shadow Weddings, Extra Baggage Is Encouraged
Speaking The Unspeakable: ‘Shadow Weddings’ Before The Big Day
Introducing Shadow Weddings, the New, Dark, and Brutally Honest Wedding Ritual
Copyright © 2015 – Larry James. This information is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website and Wedding Blog. Larry James is a non-denominational minister and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: Cell: 480-205-3694. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Check Larry’s availability.
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