Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Modern Minister's Guide to Marriage - Part 2

I'm a big believer in love. As for the awesome parties that people call weddings, don't even get me started on how much I love those. These past three months, however, I've had a chance to experience love and the process of marriage through the weddings of six friends, all of whom decided to have a friend officiate their wedding. And in two of those weddings, that friend was me!

Part 2: Valerie & Colin - 14 June 2014

I met Colin and Val on the same day - Colin was the head of my intramural soccer team and Valerie was the  player on the opposing team that was giving us a headache. I think I remember losing that game. Since then, this travel-minded couple and I have shared adventures in Shenandoah Valley, the Anza-Borrego Desert, Spain, Morocco, and I expect many more as they'll be joining the Foreign Service family later this summer.

I was honored when they asked me to officiate their wedding and I took the job with the highest level of seriousness. I did a ton of research into the legal niceties of officiating a wedding in California, as well as worked with them to craft a meaningful and touching wedding ceremony. The two results are that I'm now ordained as a minister, and that I helped them pull off a really unforgettable wedding ceremony!

A snippet from my favorite part of their ceremony:

Love has gathered us here today.We are here to celebrate the love that Valerie and Colin have for one another, as well as the love that each of you has given them throughout their lives.

As families and friends, you are the ones who have taught Valerie and Colin how to love.You have shown them the blessings that come through loving one another. Having thus prepared them, we are now gathered to support them as they embark upon their voyage of discovery as husband and wife.

We are here to see them off on this journey. Let us also be there to see them through it.

To me, modern weddings aren't about uniting two people. Most couples have known each other for a while, often have lived together, and are for all intents and purposes married to each other before the ceremony is performed. To me, modern weddings are much more about uniting a couple into a greater community. Their closest friends and family gather together to witness as they publicly affirm their love and in turn the community signals its approval and support. I think that this interchange helps to strengthen and reinforce a marriage, in the way one thread by itself might snap, but wound together into a rope with many other threads helps to burnish its strength .

But enough with my weepy romanticism - Val and Colin also threw one mondo party!

A ridiculously impressive swing dance number for their first dance...

...lawn games like croquet, corn hole and oversize jenga during the cocktail hour...

... a photo booth organized by Yours Truly...

...and a beautifully decorated garden party-style reception, including 1000 individuallly folded paper cranes.

Thank you Valerie and Colin for inviting me to be a part of this really special day. I'm looking forward to seeing you around the world!