Alaska native Allie and New Jersey native Vilas married on Sunday, May 23, 2010 only a few minutes before the sun cast brilliantly colorful rays across the Tribecca Rooftop and throughout the loft area where about 150 guests relaxed and mingled after the ceremony. Like many intercultural couples today, so-called cultural barriers are essentially non-existent for this Irish-Indian couple. Most intercultural or multifaith couples (myself included) think very little about differences that may have seemed nearly insurmountable only a few decades ago. In fact, last Spring, I married a couple whose separate heritages prevented them from marrying for over twenty years!
When I met Allie and Vilas, the very earthy, beautiful Allie reported with delight that she would have a legitimate opportunity to adorn henna on her wedding day. Her elegant bridesmaids apparently did too: lovely designs swept across their hands.
The ceremony itself was unique to them as well. At about twenty minutes long, it was sweet and simple. Yet, we integrated various personal touches, such as two passages — excerpts by Mr. Rogers and Petersen — which two friends read, as well as a poem by Mark Twain — that felt very Irish to me — that I read. After they exchanged traditional vows, their mothers lit individual taper candles mirroring Allie and Vilas’ two familial roots. From these two roots, they lit a larger pillar candle representing the even stronger tree they will create together: with this tree’s loving shade as an umbrella, they will walk together on one pathway as a new family from their wedding day onwards. And indeed they began this journey with seven steps as I read seven blessings, which reflected Vilas’ Hindu background.
Even without an appeal to a common divine force, the ceremony was as amazingly wholistic as the couple’s union.