Wine Box or First Fight Box?

by Jennifer Cram (20/09/2018) |  Categories: | Wedding Ceremony | Wedding Rituals |
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TWine Box Ritualhere is a rather lovely ritual that has been around for quite a while, now. It involves a box, and a bottle of wine. The idea is that, during their wedding ceremony, a couple will put a bottle of wine into a prepared box and lock it, ready to open on a milestone anniversary - sometimes the first, sometimes the fifth, sometimes the tenth. The box may or may not include the couple each placing a love letter to the other in the box, to be read when the box is next opened. It can also include placing of letters by parents, grandparents, or witnesses. The ritual is always accompanied by an explanation by the celebrant.

[Click on the picture for instructions on building your own box]

The way I like to do it is as an anniversary box, to invite the couple to open the box on their first anniversary, drink the wine, and read the letters. And then replace the bottle of wine, put the letters back, and add new letters. And do this every year for the rest of their lives. Do it this way, and as the years go on, you build up a growing record of your love, their relationship, the things you value about one another. It is a gift that keeps on giving, because you also have the fun of choosing the wine, which in itself can refresh memories of why you chose it, the anticipation of looking forward to this annual, celebratory ritual, and the opportunity to reflect on your relationship, the joys the years just past has brought, and your maturing love, as you write that year's love letter to add to the box. Unlocking the box can be fun, but using a claw hammer to lever off the lid and then, later on, working together to hammer the nails in to close it again, can be hilarious.

Initially, it was up to couples to organise their own box. Some were homemade, some had proper locks, others had a hasp and staple and a padlock. And some were just tied up with ribbon. Either way, a very visual part of the ritual is when the couple locks, fastens or seals the box in some way.  Which harks back to a German custom, where the couple is challenged to  to perform a team task to demonstrate their capacity and willingness to work together. So I especially like it when the couple uses a rough wooden box with a lid that they close by hammering in nails.

Nowadays you can buy highly polished boxes as part of a whole kit - lockable box with a two glasses and either a bottle of wine, or space for one. And these make for beautiful visuals.

But. And there are some serious buts. Because, somewhere along the line, the Wine Box, or First Anniversary Box, has morphed into something negative, a First Fight Box. The "instructions" from the celebrant being that, when you have your first fight you should open it, drink the wine and read the letters to remind yourselves of your love for each other. Seriously? Why would you want to focus on something negative? Yes, it may be realistic that eventually you will have a fight. But your wedding day, your wedding ceremony, is primarily an occasion on which the predominant mood should be Love and Hope. And maybe fueling a fight with wine is not the brightest idea anyone has ever had!

Thanks for reading!

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