August 01, 2012

"Touch of Tradition" wedding ceremonies

Flagstaff entrepreneur incorporates Native American traditions in wedding ceremonies

Event planner focuses on Navajo Wedding Basket design to create memories of a lifetime for that special day

By David Yankus
Brides and grooms from all around northern Arizona and the Navajo Nation looking to add a "Touch of Tradition" to their wedding ceremonies don't have to go far. Yvonne Chavez plans weddings, designs clothing, and creates elaborately detailed Native American accessories all out of her downtown Flagstaff studio.

Chavez's business first came to fruition in 2003 based around her traditional Navajo Wedding Basket design, which she would incorporate into the weddings she would plan through her company, Northern Arizona Wedding Planner. Two years later she would open a store featuring all her wedding gowns, tuxedos, jewelry, flowers, wedding baskets, engravable gifts, other various designs, and a plethora of accessories to go along with all these items.
And:Chavez spoke about her Touch of Tradition wedding line being important to interracial couples she has worked with where only the bride or only the groom may be Native American and the non-Native spouse wants to honor and respect their new partner's culture and create a wedding ceremony all-inclusive, so to speak. She also mentioned her experience with couples that even had two ceremonies, one traditional ceremony, perhaps even on the reservation, and one contemporary ceremony, perhaps in a church or another venue.

"It's a whole new generation of brides that we're dealing with," she said.

Chavez said she feels her compelling designs honor the traditions thoroughly and progressively, and when elders and Native family members come to these weddings, they can see their traditions still being an integral part of the new generation's ceremonies.

"I've had people all the way from New York call me, that just wanted a southwest design because they may be a fraction of Cherokee and they want a Native flute player, or they want to get married in Sedona on the red rocks," Chavez added. "They want a touch of tradition."
Comment:  As you may know, I often complain about things like this. But I think this particular endeavor is fine. Chavez doesn't pretend that she's giving people "authentic Native American weddings." As the name suggests, she's adding a "touch of tradition," not turning the wedding into something phony and stereotype-laden.

For the kind of wedding that deserves our scorn, see British Couple Married as "Indians."

Below:  "Yvonne Chavez works on her Touch of Tradition wedding line in her downtown Flagstaff studio." (David Yankus/NHO)

1 comment:

dmarks said...

Yes, it seems supportable, as she mentions the importance of one of the couple being Native.

This distinguishes it from wannabes who want something like a Klingon or Elvish wedding, but with Native trappings.