I don’t know why, but I thought a “letter to Mom” would be a different way of doing the blog today and share with you my wedding. If you think it’s a corny idea, then don’t read it.
My now you’ve heard that I’ve gotten married again. Yep, it’s true. Hopefully one day soon you’ll meet her and I’m sure you’ll agree that she is just about the sweetest woman you’ve ever met.
We had a traditional Cherokee wedding in Tennessee while I was there shooting the Native Cultural Circle powwow. The Indians went over the top in making the day special for us and I have to be sure to thank them all again when I get back to Clarksville.
Chrisie and her husband Red were awesome. They made the wedding happen smoothly and were patient and explained each step of the wedding along with its significance.
Graham Harvey and his wife Mary spent many hours talking with Ale and me about the wedding and what each of us were bringing to the relationship. Graham performed the ceremony and I’m sure it was one of the strangest unions he has ever blessed.
Bill Larson, a new friend of mine and owner of “Clarksville Online” graciously offered to do the wedding photos. I had the chance to talk with Bill some in the days before the wedding and I hope to pick up some pointers from him about photography.
And I’ve got to remember Kat Dehring. She my friend who first told me about the powwow and made arrangements for me to get to Clarksville to shoot it. If she hadn’t told me about the powwow so many months ago, Ale’s and my day would not have been as special.
Things work out the way they’re supposed to.
A traditional Cherokee wedding is moving, emotional and a time for the community to truly fellowship and share in the blending of two lives. Unlike most typical “Euro” weddings, it’s not a time of pretense or show. It’s the cessation of two individual lives and the birthing of a new life for the couple.
The bride and groom each have two attendants that help assist in the wedding. An older man and younger man for the groom and older lady and younger lady for the bride. The older male and female attendants stand in for the parents of the couple as well as being representative of all the ancestors that have gone on before.
The younger stands in for the brother and sister of the couple; together they represent the future.
The observers stand in a circle with the officiating minister (Graham in this case) standing at one edge of the circle. The couple enters the circle each wearing a blue blanket and sprinkling tobacco as they walk. Tobacco is holy and sacred and the tobacco is meant to spiritually prepare the couple, observers and attendants for the wedding.
After some vows are exchanged, the attendants remove the blue blankets from the couple and together they are wrapped in one big white blanket which is tied in front. This symbolizes the leaving behind of two separate lives and the merging of two into one.
The “mother” of the bride hands the groom a double-necked vase which contains bitter and sweet herbs mixed in water. The bitter and sweet represent the future life of the couple together – there will be good times and rough times.
Together the couple drinks from the vase. The groom hands the vase back to the “mother” who then wraps it in a blanket and sits it on the ground in front of the couple. While she is doing this, the bride’s “sister” (or as Ale says it, “Seester”) hands the bride a cast iron frying pan; I was told this is to keep me in line.
The bride and groom kneel and with one hand each on the frying pan, together the couple breaks the vase. The pieces of the vase are then split evenly by the bride and groom and wrapped in the blue blankets they wore into the ceremony.
Then the couple is pronounced man and wife and the bride is kissed. I think I might have upset Graham; I couldn’t wait until he said the “magic words” so I kept kissing Ale early.
The next day the couple buries their part of the vase in a secret – unknown to the spouse – location so that the pieces will never be rejoined.
Well, Mom that’s a summation of a traditional Cherokee wedding. Made some great friends in Clarksville at the powwow and was lucky to have a helluva woman agree to be my bride.
I’m hoping that things work out so that I can spend Christmas and the holidays with Ale in Argentina and I’ll keep you posted.
In the meantime, I remain you loving son somewhere in the streets of Washington D.C.