1. My partner and I are of different faiths. Neither one of us is converting but we'd like to celebrate our ceremony with elements of both faiths. Our families are a bit unhappy about our mixed marriage and we'd like the wedding ceremony to reassure them that we honor where we came from. Are we asking too much?
Absolutely not! I get positively gleeful when a clergy person tells me they don't perform ceremonies for mixed marriages. All the more for me -- They don't know what they're missing! The world today is a very complex place. People move all over the world and meet and love people who don't look or sound or worship like they do. And that's a beautiful thing. There is nothing richer than working to integrate the ritual elements of your faiths to reflect the way you've integrated your lives.
Many times, if we do it right, you can walk away from your
wedding with a blueprint for celebrating ritual holidays
with your families that will have everyone clamoring to
show up and celebrate together. I've lived in different
cultures, lived in families and made friends in different
faiths and ethnicities, and spent a lot of time studying
the wedding customs around the world. You can use your
wedding to gently woo your parents past tolerance to
celebration. It doesn't always work, but it works a
lot better than I dreamed possible in the beginning. Your
parents want to know you honor who they are and what they
taught you. This is an opportunity to show them that you
take them and your family very seriously. I'll be delighted
to help you find ways to express the beliefs and the rituals
you find most meaningful.
Of course! There is no reason not to have a fabulous
wedding ceremony. So many of my clients define
themselves as "spiritual, not religious" and are not
affiliated with any particular faith or religious
denomination. Your wedding ceremony can and should
reflect your beliefs and values -- whatever they are --
and enable you to make promises worth keeping.
Weddings should not be stuffy. They should be beautiful
reflections of you and your relationship. One of the
reasons I work with an outline is so we cover every
important element that needs to be in a wedding. Getting
married is a serious event in your life. But we can treat
it seriously without being heavy handed! Getting married
is also a wonderful joyous event. I was flabbergasted
the other day when someone told me they'd never seen a
minister smile at a wedding, let alone laugh. Your
ability to take things lightly in marriage cannot be
overwhelmed by your willingness to take things seriously.
Both of those elements should be evident at your wedding.
My goal as celebrant is for you to enjoy your wedding as
the wonderful people you are.
Most people don't. Why should you? Rituals marking huge
life events aren't everyday occurrences in our lives.
To get what you want, work with a celebrant whose expertise
and resources will support and shape your ceremony to reflect
your relationship, your values and your community. I probably
can't do your job either -- but I have had over 20 years of
experience designing and performing ritual and I'll enjoy
gently guiding you to the wedding of your dreams.
Please do. There is so much beautiful poetry and music out there.
Why not make it a part of what and how you celebrate. There are
wonderful traditional words and there are words from poems and
songs that are favorites of yours that are perfectly appropriate
in a wedding celebration. Why not use the words of someone who
expresses themselves elegantly? After 20 years of doing this work,
I have a large collection of wedding poems to offer you and lots
of helpful hints about where things work and where they don't in
Most certainly! The more of yourself you include,
the more meaning your ceremony will have for you and
the people who love you. I have worked with many cultures
and faith traditions and there are many great resources out
there now to get information about wedding customs. It is
exactly those inclusions which allow people to walk away from
your wedding saying "Wasn't that ceremony a perfect representation
of the people we love?" I'll help you find an elegant solution
to integrating your significant rituals into your ceremony.
I have worked with many clients who have friends and family
members who will perform their ceremony. Some of these
clients are here in the Bay Area, some of them are spread
around the world. Sometimes I will write the whole ceremony,
sometimes I will work with the celebrant to guide the
ceremony's development, sometimes people just want to
buy my book, Promises to Keep. I will work with you in
whatever capacity you choose and at whatever level of
involvement you wish.
Thank goodness for technology. Many of my weddings have been
developed for clients who live somewhere else. I've had conference
calls with Palo Alto and Australia, e-mail with Hong Kong and just
plain ol' three-way conversations with couples in Vermont or Washington, D.C.
Some couples I haven't even seen face to face until their wedding day --
and what a lovely "reunion" we've had as we scramble to put a face on our voices.
I always thought we had to at least hear voices, but, you know, when
I finally met my bride and groom from Hong Kong, right before the wedding,
we all just wept and giggled with joy. So, pick up the phone, send a fax or
send me an e-mail, and together we'll create a ceremony to remember!
It's important to know that for the most part people are on their best behavior at weddings (or any large public occasion). But there are some things you can do to prepare beforehand so you don't feel sandbagged on your wedding day. First and foremost, it helps to deal with your feelings up front. Get clear what you want from your families. Find out what your parents expect of you -- but don't make promises until you know what you're comfortable giving up.
I came home after one particularly horrible wedding declaring I would
never let parents ruin one of my couples weddings again, if I could
possibly help it. I've put together a questionnaire for divorced
parents (although it's sort of fun for still married parents to take!).
I'll help you do careful and painstaking planning to help you clarify
what you want, what you think you can and can't get and who's going
to help you deal with the fallout while you're busy being the fabulous
bride and groom. You're not the first person to deal with this -- and
this won't be the first time that I've helped people allow their
wedding ceremony to stay the center of the day. Unbelievably, people
have told me that parents have worked out their problems and figured
out divorce settlements at their children's weddings. My job, in
addition to helping you plan your ceremony around the life you lead
with your partner is to be another voice of reason and calm in the
midst of wedding chaos.
Legally that's so. But spiritually and emotionally, I doubt it. And in the long run, it's the spiritual and emotional ties which will last. The wedding license is a piece of paper required by the government. Your marriage covenant, taken before your community, is written in your souls and in the hearts of those who love you. When you and your partner tell the people you love about your relationship, in a ceremony especially tailored to you, your community will be able to support you in achieving your dreams for living happily ever after. Someone who has only met you once can't do that for you.
You won't believe what it means to have all the people you love gathered in one place. I've had clients rave about how they really never even thought what it would mean to see all those people they'd loved throughout their lives gathered in one place. If you do it right, your families and friends will get to know one another and form friendships of their own. This creates a very powerful alliance around your commitment. Very few traditions focus on this aspect of your wedding ceremony.
I'll help you design a wedding ceremony that reflects your relationship and your values, and I'll help you prepare so that you're calm and relaxed. On your wedding day, I'll help everyone focus on what this marriage means to you and how your love can lead us all to more joyous and meaningful lives. You can elope -- or you can stay home and have it all. Call me and let's set up a meeting for your consultation. (and, if I say so myself, I look pretty fabulous in a black velvet cape and a pompadour!)