Why Zen Weddings?

Zen weddings reflect a love of simplicity and natural elements.  They’re bound to be peaceful celebrations in which you are able to live in the moment.  When you choose to have a Zen wedding, you are able to let go of the stress and embrace the philosophies of Zen Buddhism.  Not only will you feel more peaceful while you plan, but your wedding design will reflect a beautiful, modern, uncluttered look.

This couple served sushi on their wedding day.  Each guest received a rock inscribed with their name as a place card and a “gingko tree to be” party favor.

Planning a Zen Wedding:

While planning your Zen wedding, slow down.  Focus on one task at a time.  Consider what’s important and examine your commitments.  Leave space between tasks or appointments.  It’s all about figuring out what’s really important to you.  When you do less, you can do it well.

Check back tomorrow for a zen-inspired idea to pamper your bridal party.

Designing Zen Weddings:

In Zen philosophy, there are seven aesthetic principles for achieving Wabi (transient and stark beauty)-Sabi (the beauty of natural patina and aging).  In essence, they refer to a mindful approach to everyday life and the beauty of things imperfect, impermanent and incomplete.  Think of a bud, rather than a flower in full bloom.

The Seven Principles for Design:

Kanso (簡素) Simplicity or elimination of clutter. Things are expressed in a plain, simple, natural manner. Don’t think in terms of decoration but in terms of clarity achieved through omission of the non-essential.

Fukinsei (不均整) Asymmetry or irregularity. Nature itself is full of beauty and harmonious relationships that are asymmetrical yet balanced. This is a dynamic beauty that attracts and engages. Design in odds, not evens (i.e. 3 candles, not 4).

Shibui/Shibumi (渋味) Beautiful by being understated, or by being precisely what it was meant to be and not elaborated upon. Simple and elegant without being flashy.

Shizen (自然) Naturalness. Absence of pretense or artificiality, full creative intent unforced. It’s bare wood, unpolished stone and flowers from the backyard.

Yugen (幽玄) Suggestion rather than revelation. Imply more by not showing the whole. Show more by showing less.

Datsuzoku (脱俗) Freedom from habit or formula. Escape from daily routine or the ordinary. Unworldly. Transcending the conventional. Some say freedom from worldly attachments.

Seijaku (静寂) Tranquility or an energized calm, stillness, solitude.

Design Inspiration for Zen Weddings:

Finding the right location for your Zen-inspired wedding is important.  It could be anywhere, but the Lan Su Chinese Garden here in Portland is a popular location for wedding ceremonies and receptions.  This photo was taken by Portland photographer, Jessica Hill.

Very clean and simple.  Loving the natural look of stone and texture of unopened artichokes!

Wood and bamboo provide a simple, natural look to these wedding invitations and salad server wedding party favors.

Unfurling cherry blossoms and tea kettles filled with a few budding flower sprigs make great floral accents.

Hanging origami cranes make gorgeous seating cards.  You could also use take out boxes that do double-duty as place cards and party favors.  Just write guests’ names on the boxes and fill them with yummy treats for guests to take home.

Sand art is a fun idea for wedding centerpieces.  They’re simple and elegant.  If you wanted to provide your guests with a little entertainment, you could encourage them to draw their own designs during the reception.

On Wednesday, check back for a lesson on how to make your own bamboo party favors.

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