It was only a moment before she appeared in the doorway and was walking down the aisle, beautiful as can be. She looked like a goddess in her red dress and her thick, curly hair piled up behind her sparkling tiara. She made it to the front, smiling at me the whole way, and I was so glad when she was finally standing in front of me because we both needed to look into each other's eyes and telepathicly remind each other to breathe. Steve, our minister (who uncannily resembles a Beach Boy), opened with a warm and funny greeting, just the personality to put everyone at ease and in the mood for a wedding. My sister B had agreed to co-officiate and she was next, with a special remembrance of our grandparents, which I had asked her to write since J and I both have a special relationship with a grandparent who has passed away. J's last living grandparent, her Nana, was listening to the service on her Mom's cell phone because she was too ill to fly from Oregon- we have a great picture of her Mom dialing her phone as the service was about to start. We thought it was fitting to have a prayer by Steve after our remembrance. Then it was time for sister B to read a little Rumi:
“This marriage be wine with halvah, honey dissolving in milk.
This marriage be the leaves and fruit of a date tree.
This marriage be women laughing together for days on end.
This marriage, a sign for us to study.
This marriage, beauty.
This marriage, a moon in a light-blue sky.
This marriage, this silence fully mixed with spirit.”
A few tears were being shed already, but nothing could prepare us for the amazing voice of our friend Kahlil, who sang "So High" by John Legend. He sang so beautifully and with such passion for this wedding that he was so happy for, most of us were pretty weepy by the end. J and I stood with arms around each other, and I could tell as J got choked up- it was a truly beautiful moment.
A Community Vow was especially meaningful to us, hearing from 60 of our nearest and dearest that they will be our supportive community in the long run, helping us to make and maintain a strong marriage. I didn't turn around to see if my folks agreed, but it was great to hear that resounding "We do."
Rev. Steve then gave his Charge to the Couple, a spiel he writes specific to each couple he marries, drawing on their story and their strengths to provide his clerical advice. Or, as he called it at the rehearsal, "his 39-year-old bachelor advice to the gay couple getting married." He had everybody laughing on the funny parts of our meeting and engagement, and nodding on the soulful advice on this marriage thing. Sister B read from a Hindu love poem:
“Let the earth of my body be mixed with the earth
my beloved walks on.
Let the fire of my body be the brightness
in the mirror that reflects her face.
Let the water of my body join the waters
of the lotus pool she bathes in.
Let the breath of my body be airlapping her tired limbs.”
From the tealights that each guest had lit upon entering the sanctuary, J and I each lit our own taper and used the light and love we've received from all these beloved people to light our Unity Candle. The picture here is from this part of the ceremony.
Having handed our flowers to our sisters before the Unity Candle, our hands were free to do our vows and rings. My vows were actually more like a Niagara-Falls-Cryfest. I could not stop crying. I barely made it through. I even had to screech a couple of words in order to get them out. Yeesh- embarrassing. Anyway, I think I did a pretty good job with the writing, at least. I think I'll post our vows together a bit later. Following our own vows, we made a little twist on traditional vows and said the following together:
“I will love you, hold you, and honor you.
I will respect you, encourage you, and cherish you.
In health and sickness,
Through sorrow and joy,
For all the days of my life.”
As "a symbol of our love and fidelity" we exchanged our rings- plain but wide bands of gold, cut to fit our engagement rings, and engraved with our wedding date.
Having signed on the proverbial dotted line, Rev. Steve pronounced us married, saying "Josianna, Kate- by the powers invested in me by the state of Massachusetts, I now pronounce you legally and sacramentally married- partners in life forever more. "
Sister B read one last excerpt from Rumi, inviting everyone to party!
“Come along! Today is a festival!
Clap your hands and say ‘This is a day of happiness!’
Who in the world is like this bridal pair?
The earth and the sky are full of sugar.
Sugar cane is sprouting all around!
We can hear the roar of the pearly ocean.
The whole world is full of waves!
The voices of Love are approaching from all sides.
We are on our way to heaven!
Once upon a time we played with angels. Let’s all go back up there again.”
Off we swept, returning down the aisle I had walked. Despite a little snafu with the timing, our recessional worked out quite perfectly: We recessed to the tune of "L-O-V-E" as sung by Natalie Cole, and four of our buddies hiding up in the balcony dropped a gorgeous satin banner of each letter.
Some of my favorite pictures come from after the wedding. The damn weather did, in fact, rain on our wedding. But the faboo pictures under our big, black umbrellas just as we left the church, made up for it a little bit. Our great gaggle of guests even downed their umbrellas for a five group shots on the steps, putting up with the raindrops just for us.