What were the highlights of the ceremony?
As our legal marriage was conducted separate from the ceremony, the ceremony was well, entirely ceremonial. This meant that we had free rein to make the wedding uniquely ours.
Both agnostics, we were certain this would be a non-religious ceremony, and also sought to make it an inclusive and memorable one.Our groomsman then read a portion of Robert Fulghum’s ‘Union’, along with words we penned about how we found each other, and how our friends & families, by their own joys, sorrows, successes and failings, remind us of what love, and what marriage means. A poignant moment, for many have loved/lost, and had advice for us.
Before the bride walked in (alone, met by groom mid way), guests watched an 8 minute slideshow in 2 parts: The first, played to Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, was of our respective childhoods; and then the second part, set to ‘Lucky’, a duet by Jason Mraz & Colbie Caillat. The slideshow was done on the bride’s Mac, and drew gasps of admiration from our guests at the slick animation. Some people even thought it was a professionally-commissioned piece of work! Yaay Macs!
In selecting the pictures, we also made sure that all of the guests present were featured, reflective of the them being part of our lives. Many people were appreciative of this, and talked with us fondly about the chosen pictures and the accompanying memories.
Next, our best man, groomsman and bridesmaid were involved in the ceremony, which we wrote ourselves. Their religious views were – none, Christian Pastor, Muslim Pakistani, respectively. We loved the diversity, and were also honored that we had guests fly in from everywhere from California to Poland to Vietnam for the wedding.
For the ceremony, first, we had our rings passed around among the guests for a ‘ring warming’, a tradition where guests would hold the rings for a moment, to ‘warm’ the rings with their wishes & blessings for the couple. Instead of a ring pillow, we had the rings tied to a vintage copy of I Married Adventure, an autobiography of a woman who married a travel photograher (which Rob is!) in the 1920s. It was our way of having guests get involved, just as they have been an active part of our lives.
While the rings made their way around, one of our bridesmaids read an excerpt by Khalil Gibran, a Muslim author. The quotes from ‘The Prophet’ spoke about how marriage involves two people like separate strings of a lute, independent, yet playing the same tune. This reflect our belief that we are two unique individuals, and marriage represents a confluence of who we are, not negating our individualities for an obligatory, collective “we”.
We then exchanged our vows, which were highly personal. I started by speaking of our travels together, while he quoted the husband of Objectivist philosopher Ayn Rand – our common favorite author. We ended both our vows with the same words, where we emphasized that we exercised a conscious choice, to take each other as an equal and a partner, among other things.
Our bestman rounded things up by having us join hands, and also invited our guests to take the hands of someone who matters to them, and then read excerpts along the lines of ‘These are the hands…’ that would be here through the good & the bad.
We closed the ceremony, in lieu of a prayer, by signing a ‘marriage certificate’ fashioned upon the Quaker concept of a community putting down their signatures to state their support for the couple & their marriage. We’re pleased to report that all guests signed!
Robert and Felicia Married July 2009