Isn’t this how you’d like to feel on your wedding day? So much of this feeling comes from creating the day YOU want.
These two were planning a big autumn celebration with their friends and family in Texas, but what they really wanted was to exchange their wedding vows in a private springtime ceremony at the Smith College gardens.
We had the most magical time together, just the three of us. It was so intimate and so special... I really don’t know how anyone could think it was any less “valid” than a typical wedding ceremony.
I’m working with a couple now who’s planning a private wedding ceremony just before a reception with all their guests. Their families have been very vocal in sharing their disapproval...so much so that the bride recently said to me, “I’m sick of hating my wedding.” Ouch.
We can’t control our families. But we can not let them control us. You see, planning a wedding is also the beginning of a new set of boundaries: the limits and protections of your new union. Every couple will go through this process over time, but wedding planning is the accelerated course!
Whatever kind of wedding you’re planning, now is the time for the two of you—with clarity and kindness—to be you, do you and choose you. The wedding is the establishment of your marriage in more ways than one, so build it the way you want, and always always always choose each other.
Gotta love a cute little ring bearer...and gotta laugh when THIS happens! See? The groom’s response is perfect.
I’ve officiated weddings where the music and amplification didn’t work, where people did things out of order or forgot what they were supposed to say, where wedding rings didn’t fit and even where a bridesmaid fainted during the ceremony (that’s actually happened twice!)...to name a few memorable moments.
And at my own wedding? The zipper on my gown broke just minutes before the ceremony was supposed to start. I literally had to be sewn into my dress.
I know it’s hard to laugh when you’ve spent so much money and so much time planning for this day that’s supposed to be one of the biggest of your whole life... Believe me, I know.
But here’s the thing: it WILL be one of the biggest (and best) days of your life. AND it probably won’t go entirely as planned. Every moment will not be perfect. Those facts are not incompatible!
Let your wedding be a teacher and a mirror for how you live your life. Can you roll with things? Can you laugh at yourself? Can you plan and plan and plan and then let go?
I learned the hard way. I was not an easy bride. But ever since my own wedding, this lesson has been an important part of what I offer my couples...both in my coaching and in my attitude.
Let’s have fun! Let’s laugh when things go wrong! Let’s enjoy whatever comes! Most of all, let’s just be present...really, truly Here and Now.
Let’s not miss a thing.
Here it is...a shining moment, and also one of my favorite wedding pictures ever.
In this photo you can just see the bride’s forehead and the corner of one eye as I look on, but that’s all you need to tell you how much emotion was in that moment.
At my own wedding, after our kiss, my husband and I hugged...and hugged...and hugged. We didn’t plan it or talk about it; that long embrace was just where we needed to land together.
Since then, at rehearsals I’ve suggested to couples that they can also hug after their kiss: not as a directive, of course, but as encouragement to act on what feels right. Some couples do and some couples don’t, but what I love about a hug is the way an embrace seems to enfold them in a deeply quiet moment—a truly private experience in the midst of all their guests.
When a couple hugs, you can see and feel them turning in to their new union, toward their new togetherness, and know in that moment there resides such fullness of feeling...such joy and gratitude and love and fulfillment.
Whether your wedding day is approaching or you’ve been married 20 years, maybe today you will wrap your arms around your partner, remembering they are your beloved, and return to the connection only the two of you share.
One of my very favorite wedding ceremony moments is witnessing the processional.
I love to watch grandparents enter slowly, arm in arm, and parents process proudly, with tearful joy.
I love seeing the wedding party take their places in casual reverence, and grooms walk with sober anticipation.
I love beholding the couple, if they enter side by side, and especially the bride when they haven’t done a First Look, for couples shine on their wedding day with the unfiltered light of their full hearts.
There are few things in life like these moments...few times when you enter a place knowing you will leave it forever changed, and where in that transformation you are witnessed by cherished family and dearest friends.
I adore my view from the front, and with each ceremony I officiate, I never forget the utter magic of these moments.
Surrounded by love, ✨💛 ✨ that’s how I feel.
But no matter how pretty to look at, love isn’t sugar sweet. Love is back-breaking work sometimes; a long, slow slog through the mud.
Far from fantasy, love is an unflinching mirror. It calls you to your best self while conjuring up your darkest shadows.
In love you cannot hide, for hearts do not meet outside truth. To love you must go beyond your limits...again and again and again.
I know no greater teacher than love, nor have I ever been a more humble student.
For all those who share their love with me: I see you. I have learned from you. I am inspired by you. I believe in you. I am proud of you.
From the heights of soaring delight to the depths of agonizing struggle, love is a journey I wouldn’t trade for anything.
As from my own marriage and the couples who work with me, I’ve got one thing to say: I’m all in.
Poetry and Musings of an Interfaith Minister on the Journey of a Lifetime.