Shadow Weddings: Ceremonies Where Couples Confess Their Flaws

Shadow Weddings: Ceremonies Where Couples Confess Their Flaws
Fri 18-07-2014

According to Anna Hart's article on The Independent, there is a new wedding trend, but we must admit it is only for the daring and brave couples out there!

Shadow Weddings are a new wedding trend where instead of the traditional wedding ceremony, couples get to reveal each other's flaws, as an aim to keep their relationship as real as possible!

Here is what Anna had to say:

In the run-up to Jim Benson and Jessica Wolk's wedding in October 2010, they realised that something was missing: a reality check. It was to be a big white-dress affair for 120 people in Northern California, and amid all the lacy dress fittings and fuss about flowers and favours, the couple – a 50-year-old life coach and 36-year-old counsellor – felt that their big day was increasingly removed from the realities of their life together. 

So one night a few weeks before their wedding, they invited 10 close friends to the back garden of their home just north of San Francisco, wore their sloppiest around-the-house clothes and conducted what they called a "shadow wedding", voicing their worst neuroses, acknowledging their most irritating traits and generally being the opposite of a blushing bride and a Prince Charming. Sample shadow vow from Jessica: "I vow to compare you to the fantasy man who only exists in my mind, and tell you about how you fall short of his greatness!" 

They consummated the shadow marriage by wrestling on a foam pad bought specially for the occasion.

"We wanted to have an outlet for all our fears and trepidation, before we got to the big dress part," explains Jessica, and the couple were so convinced of the benefits that they now offer a service of premarital counselling and officiating shadow wedding ceremonies, with prices varying from $2,500 to $7,500, depending not on how dirty your dirty laundry is, but how much counselling, travelling and planning is necessary.

Critics will say "dark" ceremonies are just another barmy, new-agey addition to a wedding industry that is currently worth $53.4bn in the US.

Today, the average first-time bride is 32 and most couples have lived together for years before they say "I do"; by now she knows she's not marrying Mr Perfect, and her groom doesn't expect Miss World. 

"For us, the best bit of our shadow wedding came after we'd admitted all the ugly stuff about ourselves," explains Jessica. "To hear the words 'I know all this, and I still choose you, you are still my person' is a lot more powerful than most conventional wedding vows".

Andrew Hinman, 36, from California, a scientist who had a shadow wedding courtesy of Jim and Jessica in 2011, describes the ritual as "a psychological insurance policy".

"I was able to address parts of me that were not on board with getting married," he says. "It was helpful for me to have a structure, a framework for all the back-and-forth inside me. I felt totally solid about our coming together, knowing that the negative side had now been acknowledged."