This morning, I did something most people would never even consider doing. I put three inches of incredibly sharp, cold steel to my face and attempted my first shave with a straight razor. My wife thinks I’m nuts and I’m sure some of my friends are secretly thinking the same thing.
This new endeavour is probably not much of a surprise to most people that know me. I’m a bit different than most. You can usually find me in suspenders and some sort of gentleman’s cap (though I can’t remember the last time I wore a baseball cap). I wear blue glasses and write with fountain pens. I play jazz and operate a hundred-year-old piece of cast iron print ephemera.
Yeah. I’m not normal.
When I write a list like that, it’s easy to assume that I’m just nostalgic or of a different era (save for the blue glasses), but I don’t think that’s the point. See, I’m no technophobe and, while I do love jazz quite a bit, I’m rather fond of quite a bit of music that could never have been made even thirty years ago. I’m thankful for many modern conveniences, perfectly content to be alive in the 21st Century.
But I do think that modern life is missing something.
See, they call me a Millenial. I’ve been in denial about it for a while. I mean, I grew up with stonewashed denim and My So Called Life. How can I be a part of a generation that includes people who have never used a tapedeck? But, alas, my generation includes people between 12 and 33 years old.
So here we are, me rambling and you wondering what in the world all of this has to do with weddings.
Here it is: My parents’ generation and their parents’ generation spent a whole lot of time and money trying to eliminate ritual from their lives. They created fast food and TV dinners. Traded in their fountain pens and Blackwings for a rollerball and mechanical pencil. They invented cartridge razors that seem to add more blades with each passing year. It was an era of convenience that was supposed to free us from the bonds of mundane tasks and free us to be the me we wanted to be.
But it didn’t do any of that.
Instead, it impelled us to accept less flavor and lower quality. No one cared that McDonald’s was killing us and tasted mediocre – at least it was fast and consistent. We dealt with razor burn in exchange for a quick shave; disposable tools from the big box instead of things passed down from father to son, mother to daughter.
And we lost our rituals.
These things that I do are primarily about introducing ritual back into my life. The simple (slow) joy of filling a fountain pen or working up a hot lather. These are things that force me to slow down. Contemplate. It’s these rituals that help me discover more of who I am and who came before me.
I also love the artifacts that accompany these rituals. Artifacts that I can pass on to my children (how many items that originated from our parents’ generation will be worth handing down?) and share with them. Artifacts that have even more ritual associated with them (care and maintenance). Artifacts that may even have been used by my great grandparents and those before them.
And here it is:
These rituals and artifacts are sacred additions to the fast-paced, disposable world in which Millenials live. If they (we) are valuing them in daily life, how much more so during the most important moments of our lives?
That is why, I believe, we’ve seen an increased interest in letterpress invitations and greater groom involvement in the past years. These rituals and artifacts are connections to a past that somehow seems so much more meaningful than the trappings of today. Liene talks about how DIY is here to stay and about the fact that it’s not necessarily about saving money. I believe that we’ll continue to see more interesting and meaningful rituals added to wedding ceremonies and the things that surround them. It may feel like a free-for-all (think Unity Cocktail and this attendant arrangement), but I think it’s part of a new paradigm.
That’s what gets me excited about this industry. Every new project is a chance to help a planner and her couple tell a story incredibly and uniquely them. I’d love to be a part of your story. If you or your client are looking for invitations that help tell your story in new and interesting ways, get in touch.
And in case you were wondering…
Only one minor nick and a relatively close shave for my first go ’round. What an incredible feeling of accomplishment and connection. This new ritual is just another way for this Millenial to find meaning.