February 19, 2018 Liz Grimes
We arranged a time to meet with the couple. There was a challenge! The bride was still living in Romania while the groom was living in the US. Skype to the rescue! The groom came to us and we skyped in his bride.
Our meeting with Drew and Bita included our usual detailed questions about beliefs, shared values, important aspects of their faiths, what traditions to include and family background to take into consideration. Bita was great about helping us understand what she wanted. She shared a video that represented what she wanted in her ceremony. They decided they wanted me (Liz) to be their officiant.
While I was the officiant on the day of the wedding, it really was a team effort to make this ceremony exactly what Drew and Bita wanted. Jac assisted with the research. Whenever I would reach a wall in the writing or the flow, he could step in with fresh eyes and help overcome those obstacles. The couple was an integral part of this team, providing us feedback along the way, and helping us understand what was most important to them.
They were very worried about having their ceremony elements understood by the family and friends who were not familiar with the Persian wedding traditions. It was important to them that they be able to fully represent the wedding traditions which were important to Bita and help the guest to understand the importance of these traditions. Drew also wanted some of the western traditions included in the ceremony.
Bita and Drew shared their many fears with us. They worried about finding someone willing to lead such a unique ceremony, who would respect and honor the culture and faith represented. The unique nature of their relationship created fears of being accepted by an officiant. They soon saw that no matter how unique or different their relationship might be, we would honor and respect it. They learned that their wishes for their ceremony was what would be the guiding force for the development of their ceremony. Drew and Bita worried that the distance between us and them could present difficulties. The use of technology allayed those fears.
While working on the ceremony, we maintained frequent contact to be sure that we were on the same track. The real challenge came in maintaining the flow of the ceremony while including both traditional Persian customs and traditional Western elements. Their fears of alienating and upsetting family members were addressed by maintaining a focus on the common values of love, family and commitment that both cultures share. By working closely with the couple, we were able to accomplish this. It was important to hear what they wanted, what was important to them and find a way to provide it.
Our willingness to truly listen to what the couple wanted, learn from the couple, do research, make recommendations and work closely with the couple during the process, provided them with exactly the ceremony they wanted. The blend of Western and Persian customs ended up flowing seamlessly from one element to the next.
When they saw the finished ceremony, they were delighted with it! There were only a couple of small edits they made to address some verbiage. They also included their choice for ring vows, some very special verses from the Quran.
There were a couple of issues we did end up addressing at the last minute. Bita’s mother had been ill and her health took a turn for the worse. This prevented her parents from traveling from Germany to the US to be present for the ceremony of their daughter. They set up a laptop and Skyped to her parents in her mother’s hospital room. This allowed us to include the traditional Persian questions to the father which allowed his daughter to proceed with the marriage. Unfortunately, her mother was too ill to participate, even via Skype. However, Bita’s sisters were able to step in and answer the questions normally reserved for her mother.
After the ceremony, I overheard many guests telling the couple what a beautiful and meaningful ceremony it was. Guests approached me to tell us how much they loved the ceremony. Many asked how long I had known Drew and Bita since it was obvious that I had a deep connection with them. (We had only met a couple of months earlie!)
Drew said, “The planning of our wedding was very overwhelming. We did not know who, what, when or how everything was going to happen. We were referred to the Grimes by Stacy Street of the Weir Jordan house. We had a mix of Persian and southern American tradition in our ceremony. This was not a easy task to pull off. Liz and Jac Grimes came up with many great ideas that worked perfectly to make a beautiful wedding. They are loving and caring people that made us feel like part of the family. They are very professional and always responded quick. They are experienced and know what it takes to make this very important day feel perfect. We recommend them to anyone that is planning a unique or different just as well traditional wedding.”
If you are like Bita and Drew and want your culture and faith respectfully and fully represented in your wedding ceremony, we would be delighted to talk with you. You can schedule a time to talk and learn how to have the ceremony you want!