The hands-down worst part about when your friends get married is how often you have to go to events that are related to the wedding, but aren't the actual wedding. You have the engagement party, the bridal shower, the bachelorette party, and now, the Shadow Wedding.
Shadow Weddings are a new and totally real thing in which you and your betrothed talk about all of your flaws. According to the official site, it's "an intimate ritual held before a regular 'light' wedding in which all manner of difficult material between the couple is welcomed. It provides a consecrated place for partners to give voice to their darker sides." While in this tree of trust, each person shares whatever it is they're most ashamed of, embarrassed by, or otherwise terrified to admit. "Partners choose one another with eyes wide open, seeing ALL aspects of their beloved."
Shadow Weddings, then, are the life-milestone equivalent of throwing pasta against the wall. You hurl all your baggage at your partner, and see what — if anything — sticks. It's the faux fight of teenage girls in which you take turns saying, "No, I'm the worst."
Then, you get married (that'd be your "light" ceremony).
Jim Benson and Jessica Wolk Benson know this. As founders of the Shadow Wedding, not only did they have one of their own in 2010, but they're both certified coaches and licensed marriage and family therapists. So, you're in good hands.
Having an SW is quite simple, really. All you have to do is identify your shadow material (Who am I? What's wrong with me? Why haven't I been loved previously?), write your shadow vows out of that material (paraphrasing Robin Thicke is probably fine), and design your shadow ritual.
Though not an official step of the process, it's probably a good idea to also register at Shadow Bed, Bath & Beyond.