Unfortunately the wedding is happening within 2 weeks of Tiny's due date... and while I'm a multi-tasker (and while I really, really, really wanted to say yes), I had to say no.
It strikes me as funny that I am so genuinely interested in helping someone craft a wedding ceremony in 2012 when my feelings about a ceremony in 2011 were so complex. I've written before about the challenge of not having a particular religious home and wanting to participate in something that felt traditional, holy and yet not specifically Christian. After much soul searching and minister-interviewing, we found a fantastic woman to marry us (who happened to be Presbyterian). She helped us craft the perfect ceremony, taking elements of a traditional religious ceremony and inventing a few of our own pieces along the way.
Here are some of the ways we made the ceremony our own:
We faced our guests.
Pastor Thompson suggested this and we were both game. Looking out across the guests who were all there for us added a meaningful and emotional dimension to the ceremony.
We asked two friends to read poems during the wedding. Dana read "Union" by Robert Fulghum and Skersh read "i carry your heart" by e.e. cummings. It was so special to have these meaningful texts read out loud that day.
Blessings by the families and friends
Pastor Thompson started by asking our parents to stand if they supported our union and agreed to receive a new son or daughter into their family. We watched as our parents rose. The she asked our families to stand if they agreed to the same thing. More people stood. And finally she asked our friends to stand if they agreed to receive the marriage as a blessing.
The entire congregation stood before us. I still get goosebumps just thinking about it.
The silver bell
After each piece of the ceremony, Pastor Thompson invited the reader to ring a silver bell. (She also rang it a few times). Then at the end she explained that the bell was a symbol of the beauty of the day... and a useful tool. If someone rings the bell, it means that they're blessing us. We brought the bell to the reception and put it on our table... throughout the night, many, many guests stopped by to ring the bell. Just hearing it added a fantastic happiness to the evening.