After all these years, I sometimes find myself performing the weddings of the offspring of those I had married years ago, a thrill I could not have imagined when I was a young minister. But the fun still starts when I meet with a couple to plan their ceremony. Speak your answer directly to your beloved.
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I recently met a young man and woman who had thought, after their failed ciuples marriages, that they would never find someone who would fit both them and their children. I was glad they brought the young ones along to the planning session because the good time the kids were having with each other reinforced what a superb match the parents are for each other, and I said so. A couple I married last month wanted humor within a reverent ceremony.
For a wedding is never just between two people, even if some of the relationships are strained. Weddings and holy unions, like other forms of commitment, are strong fibers from which society is wanhs.
At receptions, I especially like the exuberant three- and six- and ten-year-olds dancing with their grandparents. I see generations created and supported as love is transmitted with a joy I call holy. With all the bad Ciry, it makes me believe there is a future.
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Still, even older couples sometimes want the bride to be escorted down the aisle by her father, and it is important to honor that expectation. A wonderful variation, especially for Citj young couple, is for both of them to be escorted by their parents. This avoids the sexism of archaic language and is easy to adapt for same-sex couples. I suggest they compose their vows from various examples and from what is in their Cuty, write them on parchment paper and read them in front of their guests.
Some couples like to frame their vows for their home or include them in their book of wedding memories. Everything is organic.
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The Japanese koi do not swim directly. The finches do not rise and swoop according to compass alignment. The orchids and spider lilies are shaped by inner de, Ctiy forced rectilinear pattern. The fig tree and the coconut palm have bumps and bends, suggesting not so much a ruler as the moving sun and the changing wind. Oove I quickly put the chairs in meander mode. It seems so natural that no one notices as guests take their seats. The people now are participants in this lush environment, not intruders from a land of rigid pews.
The groom and bride did not find each other by Cith or lime lines. Life is often haphazard and unexpected, beauty growing out of chance circumstance more than blueprint. The love we celebrate spills over boundaries, uniting two families as well as two persons, an enriched ecology, not a new wing to a building. It is an unexpected splendor. Who could have predicted it?
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Yes, we need straight lines, rules and plans, in their place; but on this occasion, in this space, to celebrate the spirit and ways of love, wwants the rows and files of chairs seems a better way to match this garden glory. One way to is to include only themes and practices common to both faiths. Offending no one is the goal.
Wangs second approach instead assumes that different faiths are enriching. The goal becomes embracing the two traditions as living spiritual inheritances, not as dead weights. How can you create such a marriage or holy union ceremony? Rather Bsautiful downplaying religious differences, joyfully recognize them with clergy or representatives of both traditions, or with a single officiant familiar with both faiths.
Respectfully incorporate language, liturgy and music from both traditions. For examples, wine is used in both Jewish and Christian practices, and a creative ritual reformulation can powerfully express reverence for both faiths. An American Indian chant sung in the native tongue and an English hymn can engender a warm sense of heritages ed. Choose the locations for ceremony and reception with sensitivity.
Rethink routines to make the ceremony fresh. Each ceremony is an opportunity for us to place into a larger, spiritual context the love and commitment of two people finding each other. Every marriage wnts a new wantz of the model of Adam and Eve.
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Ever since humans have searched for their other halves. The mystical jihad, holy struggle, is to find divine beauty in everyone, in every couplees, and to disregard lesser thoughts about others, in order to love as God loves.
Sometimes people say that marriage has always been between one man and one woman who love each other. Wantz there are many contrary examples.
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Consider Solomon with his wives and concubines. Producing offspring was very important to early societies. Love is fickle, and what society needed was stability. Marriage did not originate in love between partners but as a compact between families or groups.
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This is why in the Bible, most marriages were arranged by the parents, sometimes when the children were infants, though Isaac was 40 years old when Rebecca was selected for him. Women were like property.
In the Christian era, Paul prohibited bishops from having more than one wife 1 Tim. Marriage was not declared a sacrament within the Roman Catholic Church until Before then, weddings were often held outside the church because they were less about love than about social stability. The late Yale historian John Boswell documented Christian practices through the 18th Century of church unions of men in love. In America, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Mormons of Utah practiced polygamy until it was outlawed, wans some break-away groups still favor it in practice.
The 19th Century experiment in Oneida, N. The community practiced complex marriage: every man was the husband of every woman, and every woman was the wife of every man.
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Laws against blacks and whites marrying continued in the US until In India, the god Kama, like Cupid in the West, is armed with arrows to afflict one with yearning Baeutiful satisfaction of such attraction. And others have taught that eros is also inherently a spiritual energy. While some thanked me for supporting their practice of uniting couples of different faiths, others complained.
In the months we worked together in deing the rite, the bride and groom were extraordinarily thoughtful in planning every word and gesture. With guests from around the Kansaw, they wanted to express reverence for many ways the sacred is manifested. In my experience, two can walk together with mutual couplws and shared values. They do not need to agree on identical faith labels.
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The wedding here was a holy moment, enriched by several traditions and larger than any label. While I respect my colleagues who decline to perform interfaith marriages, I hope they will also respect those of us who honor couples whose love and commitment embraces different faiths. Some traditions discourage mixed marriages because such unions are not likely to produce children to perpetuate their faiths.
They also question whether two people of different backgrounds share enough values to live together successfully. Others say that religious labels are not as important as they used to be. Religion is more a discovery of what is meaningful in life, and two people who love each other can have a deeply shared spiritual orientation, regardless of different institutional affiliations, or none.
But not all. Parents who refuse to attend an interfaith wedding will almost certainly drive their children away from Cityy faith, wajts than cause them to return to it. Parents risk a bitterness that can harden into permanent damage to family relationships. A similar risk arises for family members who will not attend ceremonies for racially mixed or same-sex couples because they feel doing so would compromise their principles.
If the couple does come from different faiths, how can they plan their ceremony. But love has not always been the main object of the ceremony. In the past, weddings have been used to arrange political alliances, settle property rights, or sanction sexual relationships. In most traditions Kamsas, the wedding is a spiritual initiation. The Rev.
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Celena Duncan, pastor the Metropolitan Community Church of Johnson County, says that a holy union ceremony for those of the same gender is spiritually no different than a Christian heterosexual wedding. In both cases, a couple comes before God to ask a blessing on their relationship. When the ceremony is completed, the couple spends a short time by themselves before ing the guests at the reception.
My General Approach to Weddings I'll do what you want, but you might consider these wants. I like to help couples de their own ceremony -- civil, religious, simple, elaborate -- that best expresses their desire and needs Beaytiful themselves and their guests. Some ministers conceive of weddings as a time of instruction; for me it is a time of celebration. The wedding should be about the couple, Beautiul me; references to the minister should be as few as possible; instead, let the focus be on the love and commitment of the couple and the joy they bring to their family and friends.
Here's a specific example. After the couple has been pronounced husband and wife, many officiants say to the couple, "You may now kiss the couplez. A kiss is customary and I encourage it, but why should the minister p to authorize beautiful an intimate moment? When couples request me to employ this language, I ask to be excused from such duty. I tell Ciyt, "You'll be legally married at that moment. The law gives me the city to pronounce you married, but it doesn't give me coupes right to tell a husband he may kiss his Kansas.
Or that the wife may kiss her husband. I'll make it clear by gesture when a lovr is appropriate according to tradition. In my experience, guests much prefer to see this happen without me using this patriarchal, love, authoritarian, sexist, controlling formula.