Yes! I offer Customized Weddings… Especially African Themed ones!
These days people don’t want the conventional boring wedding with the same words and same format. After all, this is your life, your love, and you should be able to have a beautiful wedding your way in a way that honors your walk. My specialty is African Weddings but I have performed all kinds of weddings for people with different backgrounds. While I am based in St. Louis, Mo I will also travel… as long as you are taking care of my expenses! I also can offer consultations to those planning a customized wedding even if I am not the officiant. You can schedule a personal mentoring consultation in my services and discuss what you like.
For those who are ready to marry and are looking for some customizations that can be added, below is a list to start with. When you are ready to go further, you can secure my services through this link and form. Wedding Officiant Agreement
Brief Explanations of Ritual Elements and Traditions You May Want To Add To Your Ceremony
A typically African-American tradition in which the couple, when about to leave the ceremony, jump over a decorated broom which in place on the floor in front to them as they leave. This symbolizes “sweeping away the old” and entering into their new lives together.
Tasting the Elements
Yoruba tradition, the bride and groom taste flavors that represent different emotions within a relationship. The flavors typically used are sour (lemon), bitter (vinegar/ bitter kola), hot (cayenne), cool ( water) and sweet (honey). By tasting each of the flavors, the couple symbolically demonstrates that they will be able to get through the hard times in life, and, in the end, enjoy the sweetness of marriage.
Knocking the Door
Since marriage in African culture is considered the official joining of two families, a large emphasis is placed on getting family permissions and blessings before the wedding. This ceremony includes the groom asking permission from the parents to proceed and is done through “ knocking on a door” and or offering small gifts to the parents. The parents accepts and the wedding continues.
An African custom of choosing sticks from the family home or in general to represent each person and crossing them together and binding them together to represent two people coming together, the power of trees and their witnessing this.
A African custom of calling forth and or honoring those ancestors who have gone before. Liquid is poured on the ground or in a flower pot.
Tying the knot or Handfasting
African tradition where the bride and groom have their wrists tied together with cloth or braided grass or rope to represent their marriage. To symbolize your own unity, have your officiant or a close friend tie your wrists together with a piece of kente cloth or a strand of cowrie shells (symbols of fertility and prosperity), while affirming your commitment
Eating Kola nut
A traditional way of forming a contract is to eat a kola nut together. It is a symbol of heart, health, fertility.
Wisdom from the Elders-
An opportunity for the elders of the bride and groom and or the community to speak and offer advice and blessing for the couple for marriage.
In memory of your loved ones who have passed to spirit that normally would have been at this happy event – a parent, grandparent, a close relative or friend – and/or those who could not travel to with us today. This is done with reverence and respect in no way detracts from the joyful event of the day. If the wedding is outdoors, we can simply pause for moment of silence.
You may also does have a vase of flowers with a note in your program.
At an appropriate time in the ceremony, I would make mention of how you love and appreciate the support of your parents. We could also mention your siblings and their spouses if they are married. I would remind them that is their blood that is joined as well. This is a good way to include the families. I usually do this as part of my address.
If you are creating a new family you may want to include the children in the exchange of vows as well, especially if they are younger. This gives them an extra sense of security as the two families are blended into one. I have several ideas for you to look at as we design your ceremony.
Unity Candle Ceremony
The unity candle lighting ceremony is becoming more and more common in today’s weddings. The ceremony symbolizes the pledge of unity between the bride and groom and the merging of two families. It usually occurs after the exchanging of rings and before the couple is pronounced husband and wife. Usually the mothers light their tapers before taking their seats, usually to a special piece of music. When the bride and groom light the center candle, a song is sung or played. They either take a few minutes up by the altar to exchange a few words or they can take a flower that was placed by the candle and present it to their mothers.
If you are creating a new family you may want to include the children in the lighting of the Unity Candle. Often this is done by having the bride and groom light the taper for the children and then everyone lighting the center candle together. This is a good way to involve children from a previous marriage.
Unity Sand Ceremony
If you choose not to use a Unity Candle during your ceremony, the sand ceremony can be a beautiful and meaningful addition to your vows. Simply find three containers, one for you and your fiancé to pour the sand into, two for each of you to pour the sand from. You can find colored sand at most craft stores.
The Rose Ceremony is simple yet profoundly moving. The bride and groom exchange two red roses, symbolizing the giving and receiving of their love for each other throughout their entire married life. The Rose Ceremony also conveys how to use the rose and its symbolism in difficult times in order to forgive each other. Your mothers may also be included as a sign of respect and gratitude.
Blessing Cup/Wine Ceremony/Unity Cup
Similar in concept to a Unity Candle in the Christian Tradition, or the Kiddush Cup in the Jewish Tradition, the Wine Ceremony is common to many faiths and traditions and will be customized according to your wishes. In general: The Wine Ceremony can be divided into two parts. The presenting of the two individual carafes filled with red and white wine to be placed on the table near the larger empty carafe during the processional. Then part two the pouring of the two separate wines into the empty carafe and drinking the combined wine by the wedding couple. Part two follows the exchange of vows. The ceremony can be one part with the wine already sitting on the table and the couple just combining the wines before drinking them.
Part One can take place during the Wedding Processional with one of the attendants on both sides carrying the red or white carafe and placing it on the table. Or a bit earlier the parents of the couples come forward with a bottle of wine and fill the smaller carafes already on the table just before they are seated and then the wedding processional starts.
Breaking of Glass/ plate
A ceremony incorporating the stepping on a goblet at the end of the ceremony and breaking it. The guests all shout “Mozel Tov” which mean “Good Luck”, when the groom breaks the glass. Traditionally a Jewish practice.
This wreath symbolizes the vows of marriage that Bride and Groom have taken. It will decorate their home and remind them of the love shared by all of us here today. The wreath is made from ivy, a traditional symbol of Matrimony and Friendship. I will explain all the symbolism of the wreath and the various flowers that can be used to incorporate into the wreath, which would be brought up by various members of the family or friends. A great way to include many people in the ceremony, as well as including nature.
Vow Renewals for Couples in the Congregation
This is a nice way to include those who are married who are attending your wedding and have them share in a deeper way in your joy.