Love and creativity within the wedding ceremony.
“I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate then when I fall asleep your eyes close.”
– Pablo Neruda, 100 Love Sonnets
“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”
– Dr. Seuss
“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”
– Maya Angelou
“A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.”
– Mignon McLaughlin
This weekend I had the sweet honor of officiating at my nephew Ian’s wedding down in Jupiter, Florida. My uncle Jeff performed the ceremony for Julia and I at our wedding. Both Ian and I penned our services with our partners, to better reflect our beliefs.
Julia and I based our service on a Jewish ceremony. We did our best to supplant entrenched patriarchal ritual and language with egalitarian and mystical inclusiveness that honored tradition while bridging the gap between our families and the Catholic-Judaic divide. (As a kid I used to say that Judaism and Catholicism were a synapse apart; both of them were motivated by guilt. ) We found the common thread was love.
My nephew Ian and his beautiful bride Claire are best friends happily growning and intertwining their lives together. Their ceremony did not have any religious overtones but recognized that their union allowed them to “understand, support and nurture eachother without sacrificing who they were.” They lifted the egalitarian spirit high, focusing on their love, which spilled over into splintered factions of the family and embued us all with tangible hope.
They didn’t promise anything in their ceremony as they don’t believe marriage is about permanence but adaptation. “People, emotions, relationships change.” So, they didn’t vow to always feel exactly the same as they did standing together before us, but they commited to choosing one other every day, moment to moment.
I got to ask Ian if he chose Claire “to be his partner through all of life’s adventures, valuing her being, her growing and her happiness alongside his own.”
Claire got to ponder if she choose Ian in the same way. Both of them responded with those two words, that when uttered in complete earnest ring out like bells: “I do.”
Claire walked down the aisle to music from Wes Anderson’s Royal Tannenbaum’s soundtrack. They led the procession away from the alter to something from A Life Aquatic. Their ceremony and the whole wedding had the colorful triumph of a Wes Anderson movie.
Ian proposed to Claire with our Shakespeare-inspired song “God’s Spies”. Julia and I were further honored by getting to sing it as they swirled just above the Loxahatchee river for their first dance.
The wedding coordinator said she had managed thousands of nuptuals but she hadn’t seen a couple who only had eyes for each other the way Ian and Claire had. As she said this it was hours later. Claire and Ian were both still dancing. They were reaching out for one another, connecting, twirling and the stars were laughing.
“We are telling different tales. Secrets falling from our lips. When our eyes are free from scales, we can see what was eclipsed.
… So we’ll ‘pray and sing and tell old tales and laugh at guilded butterflies and take upon us the mystery of things… as if we were God’s Spies.’ “
-Shakespeare/ The Levins
My parents celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary on Ground hog’s day but they also got to dance and have their own festive feast the next night with all their loved ones around them. A bunch of us sat around late that night sharing stories from our various wedding experiences.
Julia and I head back up to New York today, back to the cold of winter. We face the prospect with the strength of love renewed, choosing one another moment to moment.
May your connection eclipse the cold of tragic headlines and bring you to a place where all you hold dear dances with you in earnest delight.