To ensure a marriage was actually consummated at early medieval weddings, some guests served as witnesses around the marriage bed. They took the garter from the bride as proof of the consummation. This act was later replaced by the groom simply removing the garter from his bride and tossing it to eligible bachelors. Glad you asked? 😉
We’ve all been at weddings where we’re handed a little baggie of something that we’re supposed to throw at the bride and groom as they’re leaving their reception and starting their new lives together. Most of us probably tossed the bag’s contents at the couple along with everyone else, while at the same time wondering why in the heck we were doing it.
Turns out, it’s a tradition that goes way back to a time when wedding guests would throw rice over the couple to “shower” them with good wishes for fertility, abundance and prosperity. Rice was chosen as a symbol that bigger things (like children) can eventually grow from even the tiniest seeds and grains.
A few decades ago, we were told that uncooked rice was harmful to birds, and we believed it, so we started finding other things to throw. (The bird thing turned out to be an urban legend; birds eat uncooked rice from the fields all the time.) But even though rice isn’t harmful to birds, it can certainly make a hard surface slippery for people, especially those in formal shoes, plus it’s hard to clean up, so most venues don’t allow it anymore anyway.
If you want to be showered with good wishes as you are leaving your reception, here are some creative ideas for things to throw that aren’t harmful to anyone (except maybe the person in charge of cleaning). Some venues don’t want anything thrown at all, so check with your coordinator first.
· Birdseed or sunflower seeds: Small, doesn’t hurt, and the birds will eventually clean it all up. (This, of course, only works outdoors.)
· Confetti: Tiny pieces of colorful paper. (Best used in an area where it can be easily swept or vacuumed up. Biodegradable confetti is also an option.)
· Fresh or dried flower petals: A romantic, beautifully scented sendoff.
· Lavender: Tiny little buds that smell amazing!
· Fake snow: If it’s easy to clean up.
· Leaves: Perfect for a fall wedding!
· Colorful candy sprinkles: To encourage a sweet marriage (but they’re a little messy).
· Beach balls: Ideal for an oceanside or other casual outdoor wedding.
· Paper airplanes: Kids love this idea!
Or, if you don’t want anything thrown at all, here are some things that guests can do instead:
· Wave sticks with colorful streamers or ribbons attached.
· Shake pom-poms.
· Toot kazoos!
· Blow bubbles.
· Ring tiny bells.
Next up: Wedding Legends #5: Why Do Bridesmaids Traditionally Wear Matching Dresses?
Okay, we admit that many brides these days choose not to wear a veil, especially at a more casual wedding, like on the beach in Hawaii. But we were curious about how the custom began, so we did a little research. There are lots of possible explanations, and we can’t be completely sure which one is true. In fact, the truth could be a combination of all of these reasons…
Brides wear veils to ward off evil spirits: Better cover up her beauty until she’s married, so that she isn’t abducted by the evil spirits lurking at the wedding—or by single friends of the groom! The evil-spirit theory dates all the way back to the ancient Romans and Greeks, but we’re not sure which bride-stealing best man is responsible for the other theory.
Brides wear veils to symbolize that they are pure: This is simply an extension of the theory that brides wear white dresses to signify that they are entering the marriage as pure women. If they’re going to cover their entire body with a pure white gown, then their head and face should be draped in white, too!
Brides wear veils to surprise their grooms: In traditional arranged marriages—maybe not today, but a long time ago—the parents arranged the marriage and the bride and groom didn’t meet until they were standing at the altar. This theory, however, implies that the bride had to keep her face covered so her looks wouldn’t scare her betrothed away. Another explanation is that wearing a veil is an extension of the custom that the groom shouldn’t see the bride at all before the wedding.
Brides wear veils to prove that they’re not just another pretty face: The groom loves all of her, not just her looks, and the veil symbolizes that his love is not just skin-deep.
Next up: Wedding Legends #4: Why Do Wedding Guests Throw Things at the Bride and Groom?
As with all traditions, there are multiple explanations that sound pretty plausible. So, you get to choose which one you like best!
Brides started carrying bouquets to ward off evil spirits: No one wants pesky evil spirits lurking about on their wedding day, poised to make off with the bride or somehow ruin the ceremony in another way. With the right combination of stinky herbs and flowers, or even pungent garlic cloves, a bride could ensure that no dastardly demons would dare to come near.
Brides started carrying bouquets to mask the smell: Hundreds of years ago, people didn’t bathe daily like we do now. Oh no, not them—they didn’t even think they should bathe weekly or monthly! Apparently they thought it was unhealthy to bathe more than once a year. So, unless their wedding was scheduled right after their yearly cleansing, they needed to employ some heavy-duty odor-masking techniques. Brides started carrying big bouquets of fragrant flowers and herbs to avoid scaring off their groom (who, for some reason, apparently wasn’t quite as smelly as she was).
Brides were expecting a little romance later: Brides wanted to ensure that their grooms would be amorous after the ceremony, so they started carrying bouquets of herbs and edible flowers with aphrodisiac qualities, like dill and marigolds. The plants from the bouquet would then be prepared at the wedding feast and consumed by all—which meant it probably wasn’t just the bride and groom who left feeling amorous!
Brides simply wanted to add some beauty, fragrance, and personal expression to the ceremony: Today, brides choose their bouquet flowers based on what they like, what goes with the theme of the wedding, what matches the season and/or location, and what smells pretty. So maybe, just maybe, that’s what brides way back then had in mind, too!
Next up: Wedding Legends #3: Why Do Brides Wear Veils?
Yes, we realize that brides today don’t always choose to wear white. Just about any color is acceptable for a wedding dress these days—even black, which used to be associated only with mourning but is now viewed as elegant, affluent, and stylish. But why have brides traditionally chosen white?
If you said that it’s because white is a symbol of purity, that is one of the most common theories, though many historians dispute that, since blue was actually considered more virtuous and innocent.
The tradition of wearing white doesn’t go back quite as far as you might think. In 1840, Queen Victoria of England was one of the first women in the public eye to wear an ostentatious, flowing white gown. As the story goes, she chose the color not to symbolize anything, necessarily, but simply because she wanted to incorporate a prized piece of antique lace, which just happened to be white. Before that, silver was a popular choice among royals, along with blue or yellow. And, back then, wearing white was also considered a symbol of affluence, because without our modern-day conveniences of washing machines and dry cleaners, their white dresses were often worn only once.
The custom of wearing white (or off-white, ivory, cream, etc.) didn’t spread entirely around the world. Brides in Eastern cultures, like China and India, continue to choose red most often, since it’s a symbol of good luck and of new beginnings. In the U.S., though, white has been the most popular choice of wedding dress color at least since Queen Victoria’s time. During the Depression, white (non-dyed) fabric was cheaper, so the tradition lived on. During WWII, it became popular to borrow or rent a white dress, rather than spend limited funds on a new one.
These days, it’s up to the bride. Many stick to tradition and wear white, but others feel free to choose a color that matches their unique style, the theme of the wedding, or the season of the year. If you’re planning a Christmas wedding, think rich, festive jewel tones. For a beach wedding, why not go for a bright, tropical color? Our advice is to just choose a color that makes you happy!
Next up: Wedding Legends #2: Why Do Brides Carry Bouquets?
Quick—name a Hawaiian musical instrument.
Chances are you said “’ukulele” (and of course the headline gave it away), and that’s a great answer, because of all the instruments native to Hawaii, or associated with it, the ‘ukulele is definitely the best known.
In the 1860s, a ship carrying Portuguese settlers landed in the Hawaiian Islands. Soon everyone was talking about the strange instrument, called a braguinha, that some of the men were playing. Hawaiians—most notably members of the royal family—were fascinated with how quickly the braguinha players were plucking their fingers across the strings. They thought it looked like jumping fleas! Soon Hawaiians had a new instrument of their own: the “’uku” (flea) “lele” (jumping).
Because the ‘ukulele was so loved by nobility, it soon became a popular part of Hawaii’s music culture, and it remains so today. Many couples getting married in the islands choose ‘ukulele music to add extra Hawaiian flavor to their ceremony and reception. Doug is often asked to play the ‘ukulele, and he loves it.
“The uke is a versatile and really fun instrument to play,” Doug says. “It’s great for driving the rhythm of an upbeat song, but it can also be very delicate and romantic, perfect for Hawaiian weddings.”
So one of you popped the question, the other one said yes, and now you’re getting hitched? Great! Here’s exactly what to do when the dust settles (a little) and it’s time to start planning:
1. Choose a date—or at least a month or season. No, you don’t have to settle on the final date yet, but when you start telling everyone the news (see #2), this will definitely be one of their first questions. You can be as vague as “next summer” or “September 2015,” but at least have something in mind.
2. Tell the people most important to you—in person. If you can’t tell them in person, an actual phone call will do. Just make sure that the key people in your lives hear the happy news from one or both of you, before they see it on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
3. Focus on the ring. Get it sized right away, if necessary, so it won’t fall off. Also, get it appraised and insured—very important! While you’re at it, treat yourself to a manicure… your hands will be getting lots of attention with your new bling!
4. Log on and sign up for wedding websites, which offer tips, tricks, budgeting advice, and approved wedding vendors. Try www.TheKnot.com, www.WeddingWire.com, or www.BorrowedandBlue.com. And don’t forget about good old-fashioned wedding magazines; it’s fun to curl up on a chair and leaf through them while you daydream about how perfect your wedding day will be.
5. Find your ideal wedding binder. This should have a calendar with spaces big enough to write lots of info, and folders or pockets for all the lists, magazine pages, and photos you’ll collect.
6. Start a sample guest list, and get your families involved. Again, this doesn’t have to be final, but you definitely want to get an idea of how many guests there might be, because when you start scouting venues and thinking about food, you’ll need an estimate of attendees to get the best, most accurate pricing.
7. Think about the big stuff first. If you have the ideal venue, ceremony/reception musician, or photographer in mind already, look into it right away. The very best vendors get snapped up quickly, so it’s never too early. Check out musicians’ websites for song samples and reviews from past weddings.
8. Relax! This is a very special time in your lives, so enjoy every moment!
If you live in (or are visiting) Hawai’i, you’re in for a very special treat—listening to slack-key guitarist Doug Fitch play LIVE, while you shop!
Doug recently signed on to place two of his popular CDs in all Hawai’i Walgreens stores. This unique arrangement also includes several intimate, acoustic, two-hour promo performances on Saturday afternoons. He’ll be playing selections from the two featured CDs, the Grammy Award–nominated “Believe in Love” (Best Regional Roots Music Album; Best American Roots Song for “All You Miners”), and “Kaponokaulike,” a 2013 Na Hoku Hanohano award nominee for Slack Key Album of the Year.
Doug’s CDs, which are sold at a special price during these free live appearances, make great holiday gifts, and he’ll even autograph them for you. This coming Saturday, Dec. 14, Doug will be at one of the Honolulu stores, 1121 S. Beretania St., from 11am-1pm. Watch Doug’s website, Facebook, and Twitter for other upcoming dates.
“I’m excited about this opportunity to have my CDs in all the Walgreens stores in Hawaii,” Doug says, “and I’m looking forward to seeing friends new and old come out and listen to me play.”
You’re planning your big day, and you want to make sure it’s special in every way. But that doesn’t mean you have to go broke in the process—there are smart ways to cut down on costs without cutting any corners. Here’s a list of common wedding expenses and whether you should “skimp” or “splurge.”
Photographer: SPLURGE. You want someone who can capture the beauty of your wedding day so that you and your family can relive the memories for years to come. Resist the urge to take a friend or family member up on their offer to bring their camera and handle the photo or video duties for you. Hire a true professional—after you’ve seen their work and checked their references. For destination weddings, take time to find a wedding photographer who has experience capturing the natural beauty of the setting, whether it’s a daytime ceremony on the beach or a nighttime ceremony in the mountains.
Limousine: SKIMP. It’s fine if you’d like to hire a driver to whisk the two of you away after the reception, but don’t feel as though you have to hire a limo to get your wedding party and family members to the ceremony or reception venue. They can figure out their own transportation, or even carpool. Better yet, help them find accommodations that are within walking distance.
Rings: SPLURGE. Ideally, you want rings that will last a lifetime, just like your love. Even if you hope to upgrade on a special anniversary in the future, start with high-quality basics that can stand up to everyday use.
Flowers: SKIMP. Well, not really skimp, just be smart. Save money by choosing flowers that are local and seasonal, not ones that have to be flown in from halfway around the world. For destination weddings, this is easy to do—almost any local flower will look lush and extravagant.
Cake Knife: SKIMP. This also goes for other one-time-use items like engraved champagne flutes, custom chair covers, and fancy ring pillows. They’re nice to have, but they’re not really going to enhance your wedding-day memories. Better to save the money and put it towards the “splurge” items. (A regular knife will cut the cake just fine.)
Music: SPLURGE. From the moment the processional begins at your ceremony, to the moment when the dance floor finally empties out at the end of the night, the right music sets the tone for the whole event, it reflects your style, and it helps create long-lasting memories for everyone in attendance. For destination weddings, find a musician who has experience playing music that truly reflects the beauty of the unique setting. Search wedding sites like TheKnot.com, WeddingWire.com, or EnGAYgedWeddings.com for musicians in the area. Listen to song samples, and get references.
One of my favorite parts about performing for weddings is talking with couples before their special day and finding out which songs are must-haves. I recently did an informal survey of some past brides and brides-to-be. I asked them, “How did you choose specific songs to be played for your wedding ceremony and reception?” I think their answers will be helpful to all brides and grooms as they work with their musicians to create the perfect play list, especially if they’re struggling a bit with their decisions.
1. Choose songs that are important to you as a couple, says Sherri: “We picked songs that we had been listening to on our dates, or during a drive. I even chose a song that was playing in a store one time while we were on a trip. Every time I hear it, I am transported back to that store and I can picture the way he looked at me and how I felt.”
2. Get the groom involved, says Tina: “I handled the music for our outside ceremony, and I went for very traditional pieces. My husband was responsible for choosing the reception music, and he didn’t really like any of the ‘normal’ songs that many couples seem to go for, so he chose some of his favorites as well as songs he knew I loved.”
3. Pick a few special songs, and let your musician to do the rest, says Christine: “We hand-picked the first dance, the father/daughter dance, and a few others, and they all happened to be on the song list on Doug’s website. The songs chosen by Doug were perfect, too!” (You can even listen to song samples on my website and YouTube channel.)
4. Be specific about what you DON’T want, says Andrea: “We went for a lot of variety, but we definitely made a ‘don’t-play-this-even-if-it’s-requested’ list.”
5. Trust your musician, says Lisa: “They’ve done this before, and they can help guide you to the perfect songs. And if you have a lesser-known favorite, just ask. We gave Doug a new song about a month before the wedding, and he learned it just for us, and it was perfect!”
6. Most of all, don’t stress too much about it, says Brigette: “We had fun with it and just chose songs we liked. We were young and in love, and everything sounded good!”
Photo courtesy L’Amour Photography.
1) Go surfing—online, that is. There are dozens of major wedding sites, and hundreds of smaller ones, that list available wedding musicians in your area. For starters, try The Knot, Wedding Wire, or My Wedding. When the site lists a website for the chosen musician, clink the link to visit that site as well.
2) Ask your friends. Maybe they’ve been to a wedding recently where they loved the music, or maybe they know of someone who has. Post a message on your Facebook page or Twitter account asking for ideas. Folks in the wedding biz—like your wedding planner, caterer, venue host, photographer, or florist—will probably be more than happy to offer some suggestions, too.
3) Read references. After spending months—or even years—planning their wedding, brides and grooms are going to be honest about whether or not their chosen musician helped make their day more special. Most wedding sites post references for the musicians listed, and many musicians have their own websites with even more references. If you don’t see enough references, just ask.
4) Don’t be swayed by cost. Uncle Henry would probably crank out a few tunes on his accordion for free, but is that really what you envision for your special day? Keep in mind that a musician in demand might cost a little bit more than one with a wide-open calendar. It’s fine to be budget-conscious, but music is probably not the area where you want to skimp. The right music really helps set the tone for the ceremony and all the fun at the reception afterwards, so choose the musician you really want, not the one that’s cheapest. Also keep in mind that true professionals will have a mutually binding contract and will require a deposit.
5) Listen carefully, any way you can. It’s not often possible to hear wedding musicians live—that would likely mean crashing someone else’s wedding! Find song samples online, like on YouTube, iTunes, Soundcloud, or the musician’s own website or Facebook page. Close your eyes and really concentrate as you imagine that particular music being played at your own wedding.
We’d love to hear more tips from brides and grooms about how to go about finding the right musicians. Post your responses on Doug’s Facebook page.
Aloha Colorado friends and fans! I’ll be back in town this weekend, joining my brother Cowboy Brad at his annual John Denver Tribute Concert in Estes Park. It’s my fourth year joining him and I’m so honored that he asked me to be a part of it again. My sister Melinda Morris and nephew Eamonn Morris will be on stage as well—it’s quite the family affair!
Cowboy Brad has been performing this concert for 10 years now. It’s an annual fundraiser for the Estes Park Lions Club and the many nonprofits they support, like arts and youth organizations in the Estes Valley. Hearing John Denver’s inspiring music, like “Rocky Mountain High” and “Thank God I’m a Country Boy,” with the mountains in the background is really an experience not to be missed. You can read more about it, and find out how to get tickets, at www.estesparklionsclub.org, and you can read more about my brother at www.cowboybrad.com.
Hope to see you there!
As a musician getting to do what I love in a place that’s so beautiful, I have had many experiences in my career that I would call highlights. Tomorrow night, August 21, is definitely going to be one of those times: I get to perform for three hours with a very special guest, my friend Beth Avedis, an amazing singer and Emmy-nominated songwriter.
I know I’m in good company: Beth has performed with Gladys Knight, The Temptations, Foreigner, Leon Russell, and Mitch Ryder, just to name a few, and she has received the coveted ProMax award for vocal excellence. Her entertainment style in live performances engages the audience and truly makes them feel part of the experience. Beth and I will be performing duets from my albums, and I think the two of us really blend well together in harmony.
I invite all of you living on Oahu to take the time to come down to The Grove, 33 Aulike Street in Kailua, sometime between 5:30 and 8:30 tomorrow night to hear this for yourself. We’ll be playing outside on the patio, which is also a great place to have cocktails and appetizers, or maybe even a leisurely dinner. You might want to come a little early; there are “Shady Hour” and “Early Bird” specials until 6. But even if it’s after 6, I know you’ll find something great on the menu. The Grove is known for using fresh, local ingredients, and I really love both the atmosphere and the food there. (Try the Shrimp Chips with Seafood Dip!)
Hope to see you there. Mahalo!
I’m so honored to be a part of a big music festival this Saturday called the Gabby Pahinui Waimanalo Kanikapila! If you happen to be on Oahu, I encourage you to join in the fun. It’s all day long, it’s free, and it features dozens and dozens of great musicians. You might be wondering, “Who was Gabby Pahinui anyway?” If you’d like to read more about the legend, here’s some great info from the event’s website:
WHAT: The 6th annual GABBY PAHINUI WAIMANALO KANIKAPILA is a gathering of musicians to celebrate and perpetuate Hawai‘i’s unique musical identity and to honor Gabby Pahinui’s contribution and acknowledges the musical heritage of the Waimanalo community. This free event featuring more than 150 of Hawai‘i’s best musicians and hula dancers also includes: community organizations that have educational and informational booths, music workshops, cultural demonstrations and displays, lomi lomi massage, food booths that support athletics and community groups, and some craft vendors. At: 41-741 kalanianaola Hwy Waimanalo, HI 96795
WHEN: Saturday, August 10, 2013, 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Slack Key and ukulele Workshop on August 9, at 1:00 at the Waimanalo Beach Park Pavilion
WHERE: The GABBY PAHINUI WAIMANALO KANIKAPILA is held at the Waimanalo Beach Park where Mayor Fasi dedicated the pavilion in Gabby Pahinui’s name the park is located near the Waimanalo Hawaiian Homestead community where Gabby lived with his family.
COST: The Gabby Pahinui Waimanalo Kanikapila is FREE and open to the public. The event is supported through T-shirt sales. T-shirts are available for purchase at the event or in advance online at gabbypahinui.com.
WHY: During Gabby Pahinui’s life, weekends at the Pahinui home in Waimanalo were a continuous jam session, hosting dozens of musicians, both young and old, who came by to jam with “the Master.” Memorable guests included slack key masters Leland “Atta” Isaacs, Sonny Chillingworth, and Ray Kane, along with David “Feet” Rogers, Joe Marshall, Aunty Jenoa Keawe, Jessie Kalima, Palani Vaughan, and Peter Moon to name only a few. With a welcoming pot of beef stew and rice always on the stove, his Waimanalo home became the perfect setting for a rejuvenation of Hawai‘i’s musical traditions. As Gabby’s fame grew, attendance at the weekend jam sessions mushroomed — sometimes hosting a hundred or more musicians and fans. The jam sessions would begin early on Friday morning and continue straight through to Monday morning.
During the early 80’s, Kanikapila sessions were again founded at “Pop’s” Gabby Pahinui’s namesake Waimanalo Park Pavilion to feature and perpetuate Gabby’s contribution and his Hawaiian style kiho‘alu-slack key music. It has long been the dream of the Pahinui Ohana to acknowledge Waimanalo as a focal point of Kihoalu and Hawaiian music by reestablishing these musical gatherings and their ability to perpetuate, and preserve the uniqueness of Hawai‘i’s musical identity. And most importantly to recognize Gabby’s contribution at the pavilion dedicated in honor of him and everything he stood for.
The Pahinui Ohana along with the Na‘alehu Theatre, and the Waimanalo community, feel that Gabby “Pops” Pahinui and everything that he has done for the State of Hawai‘i, the City and County of Honolulu and the renaissance of Hawaiian music, language and culture played an important role in our past and continues to play an important role in our present. We strongly believe that by presenting the Annual Gabby Pahinui Waimanalo Kanikapila we will preserve and support a thriving Hawaiian Culture, Hawai‘i’s continued music industry growth and our unique identity as a world-class destination while, at the same time, developing and strengthening community pride and partnerships among Ohana, Community Organizations, Businesses, and Government Agencies.
Doug was recently contacted by the amazing wedding website Borrowed and Blue -Destination Weddings and was invited to be a featured vendor. Borrowed and Blue is an wonderful wedding planning website that features real weddings in Hawaii and top notch vendors.
Doug is thrilled to be included on Borrowed and Blue with Hawaii’s leading wedding professionals on this inspiring Hawaii wedding planning site, click on the badge to the left to see Doug’s listing.
Doug discusses inspirations for songwriting and the songs on his new album “Believe in Love”
I’m excited to announce that my new CD “Believe in Love” will be released Thursday, June 13! I’m celebrating by holding a CD release party on Pakele Live that evening, with special guests Kawena Mechler (who joins me in duets on three of the album’s songs) and Beth Avedis.
Please join me from 6:30 – 8:30pm at the Willows (901 Hausten St., Honolulu) Thursday June 13 for an evening of fun, great food, and great music, and be among the first to buy my new CD – and get it autographed!
If you can’t be there in person, be sure to tune into the Pakele Live live stream – that’s 6:30pm Hawaiʻi time (9:30pm Pacific)!
(Hereʻs a video of me discussing my new CD “Believe in Love,” with a few song clips!)
It was a great turn out on Friday, mahalo to everyone who attended Doug’s performance at the Punahou Carnival.
The performance included songs from Doug’s 4th album which he is currently putting the finishing touches on.
After preforming at the carnival Doug was in the studio with renowned Engineers and Producers Milan Bertosa and Steve Avedis working on the newest album.
The album will be a compilation of all original songs that include fingerstyle guitar picking. Doug has some talented artists performing with him on this album.
Brad Fitch with vocals and mandolin, Chris Kennison on acoustic steel guitar, and Kawena Mechler who sings some beautiful duets on the album.
We will keep you updated on the album progress!
It’s that time of year again for the Punahou Carnival! What do you love about the carnival… The malasadas? The rides? The White Elephant Tent? So many great things to see and do!
One more thing to love about this year’s 2 day event, Doug Fitch has been invited to be a part of the wonderfully talented line up of live musicians scheduled to play at the carnival this year.
Come enjoy the music of Doug Fitch as he performs for this great cause. Doug will be performing on Friday February 1st from 12 – 1:00pm in Dole Hall.
Since 1932 the Punahou Carnival has served as fundraiser with proceeds supporting the more than 400 students at Punahou who benefit from its financial aid program.
See you there!