Expect The Unexpected

I was about half way through a chilly, but sunny February wedding ceremony. The families being united were positioned around the table that held 6 vials of colored sand and the main keepsake container.  The bride and groom, 2 teenagers and 2 children, the youngest being 3 years old, eagerly waited for me to call their name along with the interpretation of the color they chose and then to pour their sand into the center container.

 

Three had poured, three to go. All of a sudden the 3 year old announces, “I have to go potty.” She calmly turns around and walks off into the house.  Her perceptive Grandmother bolts out of her chair to follow the little one to make sure all is well and that the child would return and not decide to stay inside and play a game or take a nap.

This was a push-me/pull-you moment.  We wanted to honor the child with her time in the spotlight yet not suffer frost bite.  (It wasn’t that cold, but it was chilly.)  While we waited, two more poured their sand. Finally the child returned. The guests broke into a spontaneous round of applause.

We continued as if nothing had happened and just before my lips turned blue. The relieved and happy child’s name was announced, color explained, sand poured on tippy toes into the family container and a cherished memory was born.

To me this is an example of the importance of going with the flow during the life changing experience of a wedding ceremony, especially when children are involved. The rule, “Always expect the unexpected” can definitely be counted on where children are concerned.

Writing Personal Vows

You should see the look on the faces sitting on my couch when I ask the question, “Are you planning on writing your own vows?” You would see everything from blank stares, to wide eye amazement and everything in between.

The bride says, “Oh, he doesn’t want to do that.” And the groom is nodding his head and saying, “I have been thinking about it.” What??

Step back a moment and let’s look at the issue. In the first place, this is your day, your wedding, your ceremony with your thoughts and sentiments. Besides that, it will be in front of your family and your friends. These people like you and support you or they would not be there.

 

A wedding vow is simply this – what you are bringing to this union, what you feel in your heart and how you feel about your mate. We’re not talking about a 5 minute story. You could say something as simple as “I love you. You are my best friend and I want to spend the rest of my life with you, no matter what.” If that does it for you then you have said it all.

There are no magic words. The words may feel magical (and probably will) but you don’t have to come up with the-all-time-absolutely-perfect-I-will-die-if-it-doesn’t-happen vow.

What makes it magic is the feeling in your heart that comes up over your face, that makes your eyes sparkle and your body tremble. You love this person standing in front of you so much that you would do everything in your power to have a magnificently, incredibly, loving life together.

You are not sacrificing, you are giving gifts. You are not denying yourself, you are becoming more. You are not tying down you are freeing up. Love is a blending, a sharing, a giving and receiving. Read that last part again. Giving AND receiving. You give because you want to give. You receive because you accept the gift given and appreciate the giver.

Being legally married is the commitment to live together because you want to, not have to or need to. You want this person in your life for as long as you are here on this earth. There is nothing wrong with living alone but you two want to live together. Why?

Think about that. Why do you want to live together? Why this person and not someone else? Write that down. Put those thoughts on paper. Don’t worry about how or what you are writing. You can reread it a hundred times, condense it and come up with two (2) sentences which express your feelings, which perfectly conveys your heartfelt message to your chosen partner.

Your vows are your vows. You each write your own. The finished product may sound similar but it will have its own feeling, its own message, your own twist to it when you speak it on your wedding day.

Be brave. You’ve gone this far, now go all the way and write your own personal vows.

Start Your Own Tradition

So many couples request a “traditional” ceremony. I often wonder to which tradition they refer. For instance, what is the “traditional” day on which to marry? Saturday you say?

 

Here is an example of changing traditions. Saturday takes its name from Saturn and was considered the most unlucky day of all. Nobody would marry on a Saturday. But, by the second half of the last century nearly everyone in the western world married on a Saturday.

Sunday, obviously named for the sun. In some blocks of time no one would or could marry on a Sunday. In England during Elizabethan times Sunday was THE day to marry. To quote from Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew: “We will have rings and things and fine array; and kiss me, Kate, we will be married o’ Sunday.”

Monday is the day of the Moon. Everyone knows that the moon is associated with love and lovers. This certainly suggests that Monday be an auspicious day for marriage. Yet how many people do you know that are married on Monday?

Tuesday, the day of Mars. Mars as the son of the Sun, epitomizes virility, granting health to men and women who marry on its day. I would say a Tuesday wedding on today’s calendar would be a short & sweet affair, maybe even an elopement.

Wednesday or Woden’s day, named for Mercury, the winged footed messenger of the gods. Being right in the middle of the week, Wednesday symbolizes balance. Communication and balance sounds like a good start to any relationship especially a committed one.

Thursday is named for Jupiter, the heavenly home of ascended masters. Jupiter connotes wisdom which gives birth to compassion. Your honeymoon of passion matures to a wedded life of compassion. Works for me!

Friday, given to Venus as Freya’s-day. Marrying on Venus’ day? Are you kidding? Venus is all about love. Besides, its right next to Saturday and it will give you an extra long weekend.

Traditionally, people would marry at the beginning of the weekdays. But the current tradition is to marry at the end of the week or the weekend.

In my research I’ve also found reasons not to marry on any of those days. As far as I’m concerned, the best day to get married is the day that suits you best.

So, really, tradition, any tradition, means that to which we have become accustomed. Be brave. Start your own tradition.

I Love Him Enough......

I was visiting a friend of mine who is a nut about putting things away but could care less about a few dust bunnies. On the other hand, his partner of 15 years doesn’t mind things out of place but is a clean freak. (The things you find out when you’re in someone’s home!)

And how did I find out this mole hill of information that could easily become Mt. Everest? Well, I’ll tell you. We had walked into the kitchen and right there on the floor was a stray sock. My friend picked it up, looked at me and said, “I love him enough to take care of this for him.”

That blew me away. In fact, it blew me back to the previous century. Two other friends of mine were in a business together. Businesses are so much like a marriage. Their business happened to be a boat yard which required someone to take charge of the office, handle orders and matters involving paper work, and someone to be outside to govern placement of boats in and out of the water and following through on work orders. One was great inside and one was great outside.

Perfect, you might say. Nope! The one who was outside would complain that his partner was always sitting down and talking on the phone. The inside man would complain that his partner was always walking around “shooting the breeze”.

I’ve seen that in marriages too especially when one is sloppy and the other neat. Like the famous Odd Couple. How do you deal with that?

How do YOU deal with that (or something similar)? Do you pick up after your mate, suffer and complain about it? Or do you pick up as an act of love? To pursue that point a little further, do you expect a favor in return or do you know, deep down inside, that you are taken care of too and loved for what you are?

I’ve listened to couples bickering, each one telling their story. The amazing part is that both are complaining about the same issue. “I do all the work.” “What do you ever do for me?”

Why am I writing about this and posting it on a site that advocates marriage? Marriage includes living together. Living together exposes differences. Differences need to be accepted and dealt with. Key word is accepted.

Marriage is all about Love. Love is accepting a person exactly the way they are. I repeat, exactly the way they are. Right here. Right now. To quote a line from one of my ceremonies, “Marriage is accepting the incompleteness, imperfections and hidden surprises of the other.”

You offer your whole self to your marriage partner. You take your partner in marriage in their entirety. You send out love you’ll get love back. You send out control and you’ll get rebuttal. You send out expectations you’ll get disappointments. You send out acceptance and you ACCEPT YOURSELF the way you are and you’ll be accepted.

I have a friend whom I have never heard say an arbitrary word about her husband. I asked her how she deals with day to day issues in their relationship, like picking up, taking out the garbage, cooking, etc. What arrangements did they make and what process was used to come to an agreement?

I wish you could have seen the look on her face. I was not speaking Russian or Greek. She had to mull over the question to figure out what I was asking. Her answer as to how and why the marriage worked so well was….. (are you ready for this?) “Simple. When either of us sees something that needs doing, we do it.”

They don’t keep score. They don’t make rules. They don’t have expectations. And there you have the best advice for a long, lived, happy marriage. When either of you sees something that needs doing, do it.

“I love him enough to __________ for him.” Fill in the blank.

Go Ahead.....Make Your Day

No, this is not a takeoff on Clint Eastwood. But wait a minute. If you think about Clint Eastwood, why is he so special? Even if you are not a huge fan of his, you have to admit that dude has lasted a long time in the movie business and is still going strong.

How does the C.E. concept relate to YOUR wedding and, more specifically, YOUR wedding ceremony? Clint Eastwood puts his own spin, his own brand of acting, of thinking, on everything he does on the screen. He considers all the details leaving nothing to chance verified by his directing expertise.

Put it this way. Mega time, effort and expense goes into the 4 hour time slot of Wedding Day but how much thought is put forth in creating the ceremony that produces the magic words to pronounce you wife and husband?

Did you notice how weird wife and husband sounded as opposed to husband and wife? My point exactly. It’s the details. I used the same words but had the audacity to switch their order. The details make the difference between blah and spectacular.

My goal is to see to it that you have a magnificently memorable perfect ceremony. One that is perfect for you. To achieve that masterpiece I ask questions.

There have been couples sitting on my comfy couch in my home office who were shocked at their mate’s response when I asked about including a particular component in the service. At the same time, one would answer “no” and the other would say, “Absolutely YES” producing stupefying looks all around.

For example, recently there have been a few brides who wanted the question “Who gives this woman to this man in marriage?” asked at the beginning of the ceremony. Usually the father desires that honor. Sometimes both parents answer. One woman had her 2 sons respond, “We do.” However, for the previous 10 years only a handful of brides requested the inclusion. Traditions come back around. Go figure!

That’s why I love my job. Its such fun! I revel in the pleasure of meeting new people with unique points of view. My focus is always, “What do YOU want in your wedding ceremony?” Sure, I have lots of ideas but that is all they are – my thoughts. Those ideas and thoughts do not get incorporated into the service unless the bride and groom totally agree that to do so would reflect their ideals and be a part of their vision.

You could be one of many that have no idea what so ever of what a ceremony is all about, why it is necessary in the first place, and who cares anyway.

That would be like going to a florist and saying, “Send over some flowers.” Well. How many flowers, what kind, what budget, when, where…..etc. Or, “Send me a dress to wear at my wedding.” What size, length, color, style, price…..etc.

The florist, the dressmaker and I ask questions to determine what is suitable, which is the best plan of action, and most importantly, how can I best serve this couple.

One more piece of advice – shop around. You shop for flowers, invitations, dresses, music and every item under heaven. Keep shopping. Interview Officiants and Ministers. Find the right one for you. And BTW, the consultation should be free. If it isn’t say, “Thank you very much” and hang up or leave if you’re already there.

Clint Eastwood and I go hand in hand in saying, “Make my day.” You make my day by allowing me to make your day, when I create for you your Perfect Ceremony.

Go ahead. Make Your Day.

I Pronounce You ......

When my husband, Tom and I married, I had no idea of how to make room for someone else’s way of being. When the priest said the magic words “I now pronounce you husband and wife” that was supposed to automatically lead you to “happily ever after”. My head was definitely in the clouds.

When I lived with my parents, life simply went on. Roles were assumed. If mother and father had a discussion we never knew about it. We were simply told what to do and were expected to follow the plan.

At the tender age of 19 I planned my escape route. I was going to run away to California. I would pack my bags for vacation the summer of my twentieth year and never come back. That almost worked.

Before that year was over I was out of the house – with my new husband. Saved face all around. But I went from the frying pan into the fire. 13 years later I took my 3 children and left that house forever too.

Do you know the 4 deadliest words in a relationship?  “We have to talk.” Those words are like a shotgun blast to the butt and get the same results.  First you are in shock then you are in pain. There must be another way.

Actually, there is. Why let issues pile up until you want to explode? A gentle rocking of the boat is easier to handle than a tidal wave.

When something is bothering you, take a time out.  Look at yourself first. What are you feeling? What are you feeling?  (not thinking) Where is that feeling located in your body? Sit with that for a few minutes. See what comes up.

Stay with the feeling and forget the story.  When did you feel that same feeling before?  And before that?  Keep tracing the feeling back in time to its birth. When did it first happen? Once you have the courage to look that deadly dragon in the face it shrinks. Big time.  Each time the dragon reappears it is much smaller until it finally disappears altogether.

When you have taken your time out and have done your inner work you may be ready to tell your mate the part that you played in the incident.  Try it.

If you need help with this process, contact me.  As a Spiritual Counselor and a Soul Coach I can help.

Wedding Trend: Ixnay the Receiving Line

Many couples are ditching the receiving line.  Instead, they are circulating throughout the reception so they can give undivided attention to all the guests.

This idea also helps with time management.  More and more venues are booking multiple weddings, so time is of the essence and to delay the departure could cost you!  

So, while mingling with cocktails, or dancing the night away, make this the perfect time to say thank you to each guest!
-Phran  

It's Wedding Expo Season

The next few weeks are sprinkled with wedding expos here in the Triangle and beyond.  Below are all of the events that I know of in the area.

 

LGBT Wedding Expo - Raleigh, NC  February 26th
Click Here for Information

The Big Fake Wedding - Charlotte, NC  April 20th
Click Here for Information


All of these events have been listed here for your convenience.  I have verified only that the information is available (from southern bride and groom website).  The links were working at time of publication.  Please verify yourself ahead of time if you will need to pre-register or if there is an entrance fee into these events.  As always, thank you and I look forward to serving you in the future.
-Phran

Wedding Trend: Friends Marrying Friends

The New York Times published a trend article about how more couples are asking friends and family to officiate their wedding. 

 

I really love the idea of having someone close to you officiate a wedding especially if you aren’t keen on having a religious official marry you. Friends and family tend to know you the best, make you feel comfortable and can add personalized stories to your ceremony.

HOWEVER -- Please be aware that this type of wedding may not be LEGAL.  You MUST be joined in matrimony by a licensed Officiant (such as myself).  Otherwise, it is nothing but a big show leaving you with nothing to show for it!