celebrating erin + chris: a wedding ceremony

photo by geneva.

On Saturday I was honored to officiate the wedding ceremony of my dear friends Erin and Chris. The evening before the big event was fraught with torrential downpours and awful winds, New England’s worst stuff, but we awoke the day of to blue skies and fluffy clouds. Humidity and passing gray threatened us with rain all day, but as if God Herself was watching over our little bride and groom, not a drop came down.

the bride + bridesmaids bustling around waldingfield estate, ipswich, MA.

 Here is their ceremony, word for word. Congratulations again, Erin and Chris. You’re a lovely couple and we wish you many years and great happiness.

ERIN + CHRIS: SEPTEMBER 24, 2011

PROCESSIONAL

PRESENTATION OF THE BRIDE BY HER MOTHER:
Today we celebrate the marriage of Erin Kathleen and Christopher. This marriage marks a beginning, one of many for the couple, and for all of us here who’ve been asked to witness this moment. Erin has told me all about the people, many here today, who’ve helped support you, Beth, as Erin’s mother, throughout the years. Many of you here have fed Erin steak dinners, and French toast at sleepovers, and have opened your doors and homes to her generously, ever since “Moonbeams” was an infant. And yet, no one can do what a mother can do: your strength and courage have inspired Erin as a woman, and she wants to honor you in this marriage by asking you to officially “pass the torch.” So Beth, as you present Erin, your daughter, your child, (who REMAINS your daughter and child forever, by the way) to Chris, we ALL acknowledge your strength, your courage, and your blessings on this marriage.

WHAT LOVE IS ABOUT:
“The world has grown suspicious of anything that looks like a happily married life.” (Oscar Wilde said that). A happy marriage is kind of a rare thing these days, and not one that necessarily begins with a beautiful wedding (although that’s not a bad start). But we’re all here because we believe in this love and in this union. And we are happy because we love.

I’ve known Erin for ten years, we met in college and were roommates there, and friends beyond that. We’ve seen each other through a lot and have had some pretty deep, meaningful conversations about happiness. When Erin met Chris five years ago, I witnessed a quiet happiness grow in her, and then later, when I first met Chris, a vibrant happiness between the two of them. Erin and Chris share a deep love for each other, and that love is the vessel that cultivates this happiness. This is the vessel that we build to hold and cultivate our best selves.

Because of this love and this commitment they’re making to each other today, we’re fortunate enough to be present to some of love’s very best qualities: balance, humor, adventure, and seeing the spirit of yourself in your partner.

Love is about BALANCE. Chris, a champion golfer who understands stability and flexibility in perfecting his swing, and Erin, a devoted yogi who recognizes the power and grace required to practice challenging poses, these two know a lot about balance. Love is no different, and demands a delicate balance from those who are committed to it. That’s why when one person is weak, the other must be a strong support. When one person is frantic from some mess or another, the other must be calm, quiet, still. This balance will help see you through the ebb and flow of life. Our hope for you is that you’ll balance and support each other; this is one of the most beautiful rewards of a loving marriage.

Love is about HUMOR. Now, these two love to laugh, and to see them laugh together like little kids over a secret joke, to look at each other and smile and conspire, like they know something that we don’t…well, that makes me believe that we can all learn something just from observing them. Our hope is that you can keep your sense of humor, through good and bad. Without laughter, without lightness, without humor, marriage is just a lot of hard work.

Love is about ADVENTURE. Erin and Chris have adventure burned into their souls. They’ve traveled together, across the country, into canyons and to the tops of mountains, and they have big plans to make travel an important part of their relationship. How wonderful to have this sense of adventure and want to share those discoveries with your partner. Jawaharlal Nehru says this about adventure: “We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” Our hope is that you continue to have adventures together, starting with this marriage (surely the greatest of ALL adventures), with open eyes and open hearts. And, I would add, a sense of humor.

Love is SEEING YOUR SPIRIT IN THE OTHER. Like holding a mirror to your face, you see everything, your best qualities as well as your flaws. You create beauty from the inherent difficulties of loving the flaws and imperfections in each other. When you have the courage to look at yourselves honestly and have the willingness to hold each other accountable to your dreams and aspirations, you’ll give your relationship one of the biggest gifts. Our hope is that when you look at each other, you’ll see the wholeness of yourselves as individuals, with unique dreams and wishes, but also see the amazing union and wholeness of your souls, together.

BENEDICTION:
As the supporters and witnesses of this marriage, I’d ask you all to take this moment to think about something YOU hope and wish for the couple. It’s custom in many traditions to shower a new couple with gifts, and cheering, and rose petals, so I ask you now to shower them with prayers, and blessings, and good thoughts, whatever is speaking to your heart. Whatever small thing you know is true about love, send it to them now. Please close your eyes.

I laugh when I hear that the fish
in the water is thirsty.
You wander restlessly from forest
to forest while the Reality
is within your own dwelling.
The truth is here! Go where you will–
to Calcutta or to Tibet;
until you have found LOVE,
in your own soul, the whole world
will seem meaningless to you.
(Kabir)

VOWS & RING EXCHANGE:
I CHRIS, take you, ERIN, to be my wife.
Today my mind is clear and my heart is steady in our commitment.
I promise to be strong when you need strength.
I promise to make you laugh when you need laughter.
I promise to create great adventures with you.
I promise to support you in the pursuit of your dreams and happiness.
And I promise to respect you and honor you,
And strive for harmony in our marriage.

I ERIN, take you, CHRIS, to be my husband.
Today my mind is clear and my heart is steady in our commitment.
I promise to be strong when you need strength.
I promise to make you laugh when you need laughter.
I promise to create great adventures with you.
I promise to support you in the pursuit of your dreams and happiness.
And I promise to respect you and honor you,
And strive for harmony in our marriage.

You are now as your hearts have always known: husband and wife. You may kiss your bride.

DECLARATION OF MARRIAGE:
May you live in true happiness, through balance, humor, adventure, and spirit, the rest of your days together in marriage.

Ladies and gentleman may I present to you, in accordance with the laws of the State of Massachusetts, for the first time, Mr. and Mrs. Chris and Erin Brewer!

it's love.

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