Wedding Traditions : Shadow Wedding



It’s the big day for the bride and groom. Everyone is smiling and ready to have a good time celebrating. Love, commitment, friends, family, but most of all the couples bright future together. But what is on the other side of the glamour and happiness of the two people walking down the aisle? A new tradition that’s developed as of 2010 called Shadow Weddings has resolved to answer that.

According to the official Shadow Wedding website it describes the ceremony as:

” …an intimate ritual held before a regular “light” wedding in which all manner of difficult material between the couple is welcomed. It provides a consecrated place for partners to give voice to their darker sides, along with any doubts and fears about committing to lifelong partnership. Through the process of creating and participating in a Shadow Wedding, partners choose one another with eyes wide open, seeing ALL aspects of their beloved.”

Shadow Wedding Website

What is a Shadow Wedding

So instead of pledging before god and witnesses love and commitment, the shadow wedding is a means to air out anything and everything wrong with the couple, while dressed in their worst attire. This may seem purely like an anti-wedding for the sake of an anti-wedding but it does have a strong purpose. The Shadow service works as a self-reflective tool for couples to realize what they may need to work on either together, or on their own, to improve their future relationships. When you get married you’re taking the good and you’re taking the bad, so it makes sense to see both sides of your soon-to-be life-partner.

How does it work?

Official Shadow weddings can be set up by its founders, Jim Benson and Jessica Wolk Benson, who are licensed marriage/family therapists. The set up for a shadow wedding is similar to the creation of a regular wedding, but with more focus on negative relationship observations.

Here’s how it works in a three step process…

  1. Figuring out what and how you want to say things in a respectful, honest way to your significant other. Basically, it’s not meant to be a roast of the other person, but more so a way to be constructive after all is said and done.
  2. Next, is condensing what you’ve decided on in step one into a speech that will be said during your Shadow wedding.
  3. Putting together the actual service, similar to the planning of an actual wedding service, only less extravagant.

When constructing your bridal shower, bachelor party, wedding, gift opening and the like, maybe consider adding one more gathering. Shadow weddings may seem scary and make you nervous, but you may feel the same on the big day too!