Images below were taken in the lovely “Secret Garden,” which is the English styled garden in gorgeous Conservatory Gardens. Remember that a permit is mandatory here!
Convocation:A+S, you kindly invited us within your protective “bubble” to memorialize the past four years and celebrate the possibilities of your future together. This ceremony will not create your marriage; it will not even create a bond; you are already best friends whose chats about philosophy and life could fill volumes. But it is an enduring symbol of your wish to continue a shared journey –and be recluses on vacations. As you grow in years, change will be inevitable. Yet your happiness will remain the constant variable; you will continue to enrich the lives of one another.
“Balance” and “agility” are particularly appropriate concepts to describe the mini world you inhabit. Tightly wound schedules define your careers. Fortunately, time restraints evaporate on travels, which come naturally and frequently. Last year, with hotel reservations for only two nights, you hopped on a plane to enjoy Italy for two weeks. Of course, life need not bring you extravagantly impromptu adventures for you to experience happiness together. Whether the music of the world be exciting or soothing, you find time to reconnect. Your witty intelligence infuses the everyday with quiet joy. Peaceful Sunday morning conversations over coffee allow you to relax. For all these reasons and many more, your bond is tenacious enough to withstand any difficulties that may come.
Quiet Contemplation: Let us now take a moment of quiet contemplation in honor of A’s father, who was her touchstone and protector, and S’s mother, who was a great inspiration to both.
Reading: You have requested I read a fabulous passage entitled “Song of the Open Road” by Walt Whitman, which best captures the underlying spirit of your union:
“Allons! the road is before us! It is safe–I have tried it–my own feet have tried it well–be not detain’d! Let the paper remain on the desk unwritten, and the book on the shelf unopen’d! Let the tools remain in the workshop! Let the money remain unearn’d! Let the school stand! mind not the cry of the teacher! Let the preacher preach in his pulpit! Let the lawyer plead in the court, and the judge expound the law. Camerado, I give you my hand! I give you my love more precious than money. I give you myself before preaching or law; Will you give me yourself? will you come travel with me? Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?”
Reflections: The preacher and the attorney both earn their living by capitalizing on conflict. If peace were ever pervasively procured, such career opportunities would dwindle. Although conflict has its benefits – we explore, learn, evolve, and progress by working through troubles – it is better, as Whitman proposes, to prioritize peace. The harmony of love is the prize we seek; we must never let the desire for love to waiver. A mutual giving of self is indeed more precious than money or work. At the end of the day or week, only reciprocal love offers true happiness.
Perhaps this poem entitled “To Life, To Us” by Lana Cartwright Tarter (S’s mother) most elegantly captures this sentiment:
“You are my love, my heart, my strength, my life…. I am separate from you, but part of you….We are strong ourselves, but draw strength from each other….. Our love has scars; testaments to its healing strength.
Wedding Vows: For some time now, you have waited for this moment. You know each other very well and trust that all adventures will bring you closer. When you hope, you hope for strength to become a better person to make your partner’s life more fulfilled. You help each other, listen to stories told, and care gently for the unspoken needs of one another’s heart. In short, you cannot imagine life without each other. And so today, in the company of the spirit of the divine, the the loving spirits of Matt, Caylor, and Kristen, and a few strangers, you will promise to build bright tomorrows together in loving faithfulness for as long as you both shall live.
Please repeat after me:
I take you to be my lawfully wedded spouse to love, admire, and comfort from this day forward in hardship or abundance and frailty or strength. All I have I share with you as long as time is ours. I offer you the adventurous fun of friendship. And I give you the patient care of love. I promise to work to increase your happiness. And I promise to work to decrease your burdens. I cherish what I know and do not yet know about you. We belong together, and I am yours in marriage.Whether times be good or bad, please accept me in marriage too.
Ring Exchange: Luck brought you together, but memories, trust, and love will hold you together. Any home created will be overflowing with affection, patience, kindness, and lots of humor. With these rings, you promise to continue to value each other in mind, word, and deed for all the days of your life.
Please repeat after me (line-by-line):
As the circle in this ring has neither beginning nor end, so will my loyal, loving care remain constant. In token of the vow between us made, I give you this ring. May it be a sign of our shared cycle of life. Please wear it everyday to remember our love.
Blessing: You are already erudite, so I only have one line to add: May you escape the office, court, and even your home many times over in the future to embrace the creative chaos of getting lost.
Pronouncement:A+S, I do not have the true authority to create this marriage; only you do. What you have joined by invoking hope, love, and wisdom may not be torn asunder by anyone. I am honored and delighted to introduce you as “husband and wife” for the very first time. Please feel free to celebrate with a few kisses.
Signing of License