Curiously, despite officiating 500 weddings or so at this point, I had yet to be one of those celebrants who presided over a ceremony with an enormous wedding party with lots and lots of attendants. My very sweet and warm gay couple last night, though, forever altered that record. Nineteen of their closest family and friends linked arms to walk up the aisle to K.D. Lang’s rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallellujah” with lyrics best grasped by the non-hetero pair. The walk? Breathtakingly heartfelt. As 100+ guests watched, a group of true individuals who couldn’t have loved this pair more –dressed in black and white clothes of their own choice– encircled the grooms as they promised to take each other as husband and husband.
Side-note: I really do love wedding ceremonies in hotels: they feel to provide a private, romantic haven. In this case, the hotel plays host to a lounge with a private room — “Opia Lounge.” The staff for both are friendly, and I highly recommend the site.
Here are a few segments from their ceremony:
Greeting: Welcome Family and Friends…….Willa Cathar argued that “where there is great love, there are miracles.” Of course, love is not exactly a miracle itself. It is natural and organic to human nature. But love is indeed miraculous. It is uplifting. It inspires us to be brave enough to take risks. It inspires us to perform miracles in spite of craziness. It was love that warmed the hearts enough New Yorkers to transform those pesky “bride” and “groom” only markers into “partners A and B” on the marriage license. And it is love that brings us here.
Readings: In honor of the importance of their Mothers, Blair and Patrick would like to invite them to share reflections about life and love……….
Officiant’s Address:……….Blair and Patrick, you are lucky: this same love flows between you. Whether identified as a “chance” or “pre-destined” encounter, it was your connection that caused your lives to intertwine. Since you met, you have become devoted to one another. When you are apart, it feels to be a sort of “jail sentence.” Your mutual affection welds you together more strongly and deeply than either ever felt before.
…….You do not feel mystified or overwhelmed or endangered by your bond. Your love is “honest, available, decent, and attentive” because you are ready to marry. As individuals, you are each already caring, sweet, and whole. As a couple, you are even more sympathetic, bolder, and gentler.
Therefore, this is a mature relationship; it is built by two, genuinely good people who each feel thankful to have found his equal. The elation of this day – the profound thrill of getting married – is a cozy kind. Each has found a spiritual sanctuary in the other from which neither shall never part.
Statement of Intent: And, so, I am confidant you will feel a bit relieved that it is finally time to say “I do.”……….traditional vows…….
Exchange of Wedding Vows: Blair / Patrick, please repeat after me (line-by-line): Patrick / Blair, no matter what life brings, I take you as my friend and love, beside me and apart from me, in laughter and tears, and in conflict and peace. I ask that you be no other than yourself, as I love what I know of you and trust what I do not.
Interlude: Patrick and Blair, you have chosen to marry because you long to love one another in heart, soul, mind, and body. In each other, you have discovered a “forever friend” — a person to whom you may entrust your secrets and who will try not to use your eccentricities against you. When one is unlikeable, the other still loves him. When one needs to cuddle, the other hugs him. Neither expects the other to be perfectly attuned. But you see the divine potential in one another. You both view this marriage as an opportunity to become more self-disciplined so you may appreciate your partner more fully.(adapted from a reading by Nichols)
Exchange of Rings: As a sign of these promises to be kind, kindred companions for life, you will now exchange rings…..May we have the rings, please?……Blair / Patrick, please repeat after me: Patrick / Blair, I give you this token as a symbol of my devotion, support, love, and fidelity. With this ring, I pledge to you all that I am.
Closing Remarks:……..When this ceremony and evening of partying ends, the “arduous drama of staying in love” will begin. Marriage is messy, because people are messy. No marriage service requires the couple to refrain from bickering or surrender their selves. Independence is not lost with wedding vows.
Instead, Blair and Patrick, you will continue to cultivate your separate personalities. By enriching yourselves, you will enrich your character as a couple. In marriage, then, you shall gain the joys of sharing. Experiences will metamorphose into memories recounted fondly and with more animation.
May you need one another –not from lack, but because you feel so much happier together. May you embrace the greatness and strangeness in each other. Should quarrels come, may you remember to remain graciously tolerant of your partner’s perspective. In little and big ways, may you show gratitude for each other. May your bond bring many adventures and contentment; may it be a channel for excitement and healing. And may your marriage be a harmonious refuge from the world.
Signing of License…..
Thanks very much for sending this on, and thanks for officiating such a beautiful ceremony! We received wonderful feedback all evening long, and we really appreciate the time, energy and effort that went into your service. It was exactly what we wanted-
Patrick and Blair
Thank you for such a wonderful ceremony.. You far exceeded everything I could have imagined my wedding ceremony being and I am still getting emails from people asking for copies of the Readings and Vows you read cause they were so honestly true and “grasped” the entire point of marriage..
You will always be a part of our lives, thoughts and memories, thank you again from the bottom of our hearts.
Blair & Pat