Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Hand-crafted Ceremony

We have been thinking about our ceremony recently. Out here in blogland we tend to get carried away with flowers and sparkles and tulle and feathers. But the ceremony and the promises that we make to our other is really the most important part of the day, correct?

In the beginning, we were all about the Quaker ceremony. My mother, on the other hand, was not a fan. She does not speak in public. And, honestly, neither do I. I break out in hives and usually black out half way through with no recollection of what was said or done. Why would I want to put other people through that? Did I really think people would be so overcome with joy and love for us that they would forget their insecurities and anxiety??? Would I speak at a friend's Quaker ceremony? Maybe but most likely not. So we have decided to look into other options and hand-craft every aspect of the event. I love that word - hand-craft - especially when I think about handcrafting something with my man.

I came across this reading on Wedding Cabaret and it really touched me. I was so reminded of all the conversations of "us" and "someday" that we have had throughout our relationship. It fits us so perfectly and I would love for our friend and officiant to read it at some point.

by Robert Fulghum

"You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making promises and agreements in an informal way. All those conversations that were held riding in a car or over a meal or during long walks - all those sentences that began with “When we’re married” and continued with “I will and you will and we will”- those late night talks that included “someday” and “somehow” and “maybe”- and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding. The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, “ You know all those things we’ve promised and hoped and dreamed- well, I meant it all, every word.” Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another- acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, and even teacher, for you have learned much from one another in these last few years. Now you shall say a few words that take you across a threshold of life, and things will never quite be the same between you. For after these vows, you shall say to the world, this- is my husband, this- is my wife "

And another I saw a moment ago on Ordinary Things. A sweet reading from one our lovelies, perhaps?

From Everything is Illuminated
by Jonathan Safran Foer

“This was the world in which she grew and he aged. They made for themselves a sanctuary from Trachimbrod, a habitat completely unlike the rest of the world. No hateful words were ever spoken, and no hands raised. More than that, no angry words were ever spoken, and nothing was denied. But more than that, no unloving words were ever spoken, and everything was held up as another small piece of proof that it can be this way, it doesn't have to be that way; if there is no love in the world, we will make a new world, and we will give it heavy walls, and we will furnish it with soft red interiors, from the inside out, and give it a knocker that resonates like a diamond falling to a jeweler's felt so that we should never hear it."

How have you hand-crafted your ceremony? What readings did you choose?


Anonymous said...

These are lovely! I'm going to bookmark this page and come back to it when it's time to make some ceremony decisions. Thank you for posting this!

Best Wishes!

MidwestElle @

Anonymous said...

I LOVE 'The Union', and it's definitely near the top of our list.

Another favorite is from The Irrational Season by Madeleine L'Engle:

But ultimately there comes a moment when a decision must be made. Ultimately two people who love each other must ask themselves how much they hope for as their love grows and deepens, and how much risk they are willing to take…It is indeed a fearful gamble…Because it is the nature of love to create, a marriage itself is something which has to be created, so that, together we become a new creature.

To marry is the biggest risk in human relations that a person can take…If we commit ourselves to one person for life this is not, as many people think, a rejection of freedom; rather it demands the courage to move into all the risks of freedom, and the risk of love which is permanent; into that love which is not possession, but participation…It takes a lifetime to learn another person…When love is not possession, but participation, then it is part of that co-creation which is our human calling, and which implies such risk that it is often rejected.

Meg said...

Yes! It's the most important thing we've done, I just can't bring myself to post about it. Too personal. We're having a Jewish ceremony, obviously, but we put readings and music we loved in and around it, and worked hard on Chorography. Almost all our readings ended up coming from the Words To Read When You Wed series Amanda did for me a while back, or from Psalms. It helped me to have a service structure to weave things around, instead of starting from scratch. That might be a helpful approach. Find a structure you like, and play with it/ within it.