Monday, April 11, 2016

When You Don't Say "I Do..."

We all know the magic words that clinch the marriage vows. It's those lovely two syllables--"I do." (Of course, my dad always warned that you should be very sure before you say "I do," because you surely will!)

But I learned that not all wedding ceremonies are the same. In fact, the right word to seal the deal in a Polynesian wedding is "no!" Let me explain.

In the Tahiti village at the Polynesian Cultural Center, my DH and I got to attend a traditional Tahitian wedding. First, this lovely couple performed a beautiful stylized courtship dance.

Then the bride's mother chased the groom away with a broom! After that, the priest called the wedding party to enter the sacred space. Those shiny circles on his headdress and pectoral are abalone shells with the mother of pearl side out to reflect light.

Instead of asking "Do you take this woman/man to be your wedded wife/husband?" a Tahitian priest asks "Will you ever leave your husband/wife?" And the newly weds answer, "No." After the vows, the couple is wrapped in a single colorful blanket to symbolize that they two are now one.

As they went through the ceremony, all the married observers were invited to renew their vows. So the DH and I promised each other a happy, tearful "no" along with the newlyweds. Since we're celebrating our upcoming 40th anniversary, it was a precious moment indeed.


More pics from the wedding...

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