Treasure Chests and Time Capsules for Wedding Ceremonies

Meaningful rituals and ceremonies can offer support and a sense of belonging in both the positive and challenging times. I am reminded of the family who created a treasure chest when their mother/grandmother died. Each of the family members collected an item that reminded them of their mother/grandmother to place in the treasure chest. As each item was placed in the chest the person told a story about their chosen item. It was an opportunity to honour all the precious gifts and memories the deceased had brought into their lives. They laughed and cried and connected as a family in what was a very difficult time.

I have been giving the idea of ‘treasure chests’ for ceremonies some further thought and also reading about time capsules in The Dead Good Time Capsule Book, edited by G P Gill (published by Engineers of the Imagination).

The online information website, Wikipedia, defines a time capsule as ‘a historic cache of goods and/or information, usually intended as a method of communication with future people…’, even if the future person turns out to be yourself or one of your family!

Imagine creating a time capsule or treasure chest at a wedding ceremony that the couple could open on their tenth wedding anniversary or for a child’s naming ceremony that they could open on their 18th birthday!

A treasure chest could be filled with a collection of goodies that could be added to over time and viewed periodically whereas I see the time capsule as being collected at the time of the ceremony and sealed securely only to be opened at a specified time later down the track. Whatever you choose you could be flexible on your approach to this creative ceremony gift.

I was talking with some friends about what items could be included in a time capsule or treasure chest. Here are some ideas from our brainstorming session:

Wedding Ceremony

  • Wishes, written on small pieces of card, from the guests (that could be read out at the ceremony and then placed in the container)
  • A love letter to each other (which could be part of the exercise for writing their wedding vows which I discuss in my book, Create your own inspiring wedding ceremony)
  • A copy of their wedding ceremony and vows
  • A book about the couple which could include a description of what they are doing in their lives before they are married, a list of what is important to them at this present time, a ‘vision map’ as to where they think they will be – both in terms of their physical setting and also in their relationship. Written insights from the wedding guests as to strengths they witness in the couple. A fun sketch of the neighbourhood where they are living (similar to a child’s drawing locating the couple’s favourite restaurant, café, hairdresser, park where they walk the dog etc).
  • A photograph of the home the couple are living in
  • Wedding photographs
  • Informal photographs from the wedding that the couple have not yet seen
  • Garter
  • Dried flower bouquet
  • Old movie tickets or concerts that were special to the couple
  • Newspaper clipping about what was happening on the day (weather maps, news stories, wedding notice etc)
  • Piece of the wedding cake (rich fruit cake preserved with alcohol!)
  • A DVD or PowerPoint presentation from their ceremony
  • A tenth wedding anniversary gift (tin and aluminum are the traditional gifts –  e.g. pewter or tin jewellery or kitchenware)
  • A CD of the songs that were recorded in the year of the marriage or songs  played at the wedding
  • A fun novel or a special poem
  • A shell or stone from the wedding venue
  • Special commemorative coin or stamp from the year of the ceremony
  • A favourite recipe
  • Suggestions for a renewal of vows ceremony!

Think about what would be exciting to find in a capsule or treasure chest in say ten or twenty years time. With the pace of change that we are currently experiencing around us things that may seem ordinary now will be outdated in the not too distant future! Remember that if you are storing a time capsule ensure the contents are not perishable and the container is well sealed. You can buy moisture absorbers/silica gel from art shops which will help to keep the contents dry. Place items in bags (especially newspaper clippings as they have a high acid content). Write any notes or letters in black ink – apparently it doesn’t fade as quickly!

Most of all have fun, enjoy the making of the gift and if it is a true time capsule see if you can keep it closed until the specified date and create a ceremony for the opening!