If you’re looking for a deep, meaningful, moving ritual experience that reminds you just how much you love and are loved, a wedding can be the perfect place to find it. At leaset, that was the case at the wedding I had the honor of officiating this fall.
It was a small, intimate wedding set right on the Columbia River. The weather was absolutely perfect. Decorations trasnformed the covered porch where the ceremony took place from a nice enough spot to sit, have a glass of wine, and visit into a playful, romantic venue where the deepest of vows could be exchanged. Even the locals came out to be a part of it. We saw several small flocks of geese and ducks fly by, shouting blessings and wishes for fertility and abundance as they passed. Heron, too, stopped to wish the couple the best for a long and joyful life together…and to remind us all to let the river carry excess emotional energies away.
It’s a good thing Heron offered that advice. We had a lot of emotion that day, some of it anger, frustration, and anxiety, but most of it overwhelm from the bounty and depth of love the couple felt as the day went on. By the time the ritual was complete, just about everyone had shed tears. I can tell you for certain that a simple black tea compress does wonders for red, pufffy eyes in a most expedient manner; Orange Pekoe was our tea of choice.
For me, the best part of the experience, apart from working with the couple and getting to know them and their loved ones better, was creating the ceremony. I consulted with them and their Wedding Decorators to get a feel for the kind of wedding they wanted and what they wanted in their ceremony about six weeks before the Wedding date. That gave me plenty of time to mull it over and then writte what was needed plus make the Handfasting Cord. Three weeks before the wedding, we met again to go over the ceremony and iron out any wrinkles we found. I enjoyed the work of taking their intentions and emotional energies and shaping them into a ceremony that felt authentic and powerful.
One of the intregal parts to making a ritual truly authentic is to include all the participant’s energies. This wedding was in part about community. We all worked together to create a beautiful space in which the couple would be wed, and we participated in the ceremony, too. We included a beginning portion where the wedding party created a momento for the couple to remind them of their community’s love and support as they work through the joys and struggles ahead. We also included Warming of the Rings, in which the wedding party and intimate family have a chance to warm the couple’s wedding rings in their hands and offer their blessings to the couple before the Ring Exchange. That opportunity to engage in the ritual deepened the experience for everyone in a beautiful way.
By day’s end, the newly weds were relaxed and glowing with joy. They’d created a beautiful experience for everyone involved filled with many memories they’ll fondly share with friends and family in years to come. They’d made it through the challenges of planning and preparing for the ritual together, stronger now than they had been. As if to affirm the successes, the party was filled with laughter and dancing, cheerful conversation, and a generally joyous and grateful harmony. How could they not radiate joy on such a day?
I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of their Big Day. It was a wonderful, transformative experience that showed me a whole new facet of Ritual Work, a side I hope to explore further in the future. For now, I’m resting in the after-party glow, thankful for the memories and deeper relationships I’ve won in the bargain.