Alternative Weddings: No Need to Get Hung up on Tradition

Nearly a decade ago, Wade and I got engaged while on holiday in Croatia. He presented me with a rock — and I do mean an actual stone, one he’d chosen from an Adriatic beach (swoon; seriously) — and, charmingly and ridiculously, proposed in Croatian using a pocket phrase book. I was incredulous — though I knew what he was asking, I didn’t understand a word of the language. It was the final day of our trip and we were mere hours away from our flight time. At that point, Wade and I owned a business (Pyrrha) and a house, and had been living together for more than 15 years; my ‘yes’ was certain. Still, I’ll never forget how touchingly shy he was in the asking. 

The marvellous thing about contemporary celebratory rituals around love —nuptials, rings, parties, gifts, all of it — is that there’s no script. Every wedding I hear about, often from our customers, introduces me to a new level of idiosyncrasy — beautiful, fun, creative personal meaning trumping tradition-for-tradition’s-sake. I love that. Gone are the days when a three-months-salary diamond solitaire was the only acceptable path to a loved one’s heart.

At Pyrrha, we’ve created a collection of jewelry we feel is worthy of symbolizing devotion and affection with depth, character and strong, simple beauty that improves with age and wear. We strive to inspire couples to break rules that don’t hold personal meaning. For instance, our handcrafted version of the classic solitaire, set with a rustic grey diamond, holds its own as both engagement and wedding ring (Wade and I each wear a single band that we hand-shaped ourselves in wax and cast in gold). Stacked rings or a wide textured band engraved with a Latin phrase can add layers of meaning. Pearls, charms and our Signature Talismans are rich expressions of gratitude for special friends and members of the wedding party.

Wade and I got married in a forest where we’d hiked many times. Guests weren’t privy to the location but were asked to wait at the beach for a bus to shuttle them to the opening in the trees. It was a very informal gathering — we even arrived together. A friend’s daughter played violin as we walked down our wooded aisle into a small clearing where our friends and family awaited. I had no bridesmaids, Wade no groomsmen, and nobody ‘gave me away.’ I wore a floral cocktail dress I bought at a shop I love in Vancouver and Wade wore a pink suit and Converse high tops. We said our vows (mostly ad libbed) and popped bottles of Prosecco. We had a noisy party afterwards at our favorite restaurant where we bypassed a head table in favor of mingling with everyone we loved. We went in for the traditional first dance (to Tom Waits’ pointedly inappropriate, “Innocent When You Dream”) but gave formal toasts a miss in favor of hours of dancing and spirited karaoke. 

It was perfect, because it was us. I wish you the same clarity and courage to uphold what brings you joy in love and marriage.

—Danielle