September 12, 2017 Liz Grimes
They met 16 years ago at a Gold Wing Road Riders Association meeting. For the uninitiated, that is a motorcycle group of people who own Honda Gold Wings. Their life together over the past 16 years includes playing in Moravian bands together, scuba diving, sky diving, traveling together. While they continually claimed to be simple people, nothing about their story is simple! Their love and commitment over the past decade and half has been one that appears simple and easy to those on the outside. They have worked to put in place healthy coping skills, working to be sure they truly understand one another.
When they decided they wanted to make legal and celebrate the love and commitment they have known for all these years, they began searching for an officiant they knew would work with them. They wanted their non-traditional religious beliefs honored and celebrated. During our initial phone conversation, Emily let me know that she felt right at home.
We met at our home to talk about the unique ceremony they wanted and the non-traditional location where the ceremony would be held. We all became very excited by the possibilities of their ceremony.
During the writing of the ceremony, we exchanged multiple emails. Emily and Joe were very easy to work with, they knew what they wanted and didn’t want in their ceremony. They included a friend reading a special poem. They were open to suggestions to honor and celebrate their Celtic heritage and beliefs. Instead of a rehearsal, we held a follow up meeting to walk through the various elements of the ceremony.
Emily and Joe included many friends and family members in the details of their wedding. It was truly a community event. In addition to asking Paul to do a reading for them, they found other ways to use the talents and love of their community in the ceremony. Their handfasting cords were braided by different friends or family members, this brought their love and support to the ceremony. Emily’s hair was lovingly done by her friends. Her bouquet was made by a special friend. Music was provided by friends they perform with. Emily’s niece, Haley, closed the ceremony with a beautiful Irish blessing that she played on her guitar and sang to Emily and Joe.
When I arrived at her father’s home the morning of the ceremony, I was immediately put at ease and welcomed as if I were a part of the family. The porch was decorated with beautiful but simple florals. The early music quartet was set up on the porch ready to play the gathering music. The theme was Renn inspired peasant, simple and stunning. There was a beautiful special table, for the Handfasting Cords and the Oathing Stone, at the foot of the steps where the ceremony would be held. The table held special meaning in the family and was perfect to bring into the ceremony. The guests were gathering and everyone was dressed as Emily and Joe had asked, in Renn-Inspired clothing.
The preparation prior to the ceremony truly felt like a village coming together to support this wonderful couple! Each person doing something meaningful and important to the success of the day. When it was time for the ceremony to begin, family and friends gathered in a semi-circle at the base of the steps to the side porch. There were benches and chairs in place for those who would have difficulty standing for the 20 minute wedding ceremony.
Emily and Joe entered the circle together, holding hands. Instead of the traditional, who presents this woman question, each of them were asked if they were there of their own free will and accord. Their love and relationship were honored and recognized with a brief telling of their time together. Two poems chosen by Emily and Joe were shared, one by me and the other read by their friend Paul. The directions were called and blessings were asked for the couple. The hand-fasting followed. The cords were wrapped in such a way that when removed by the couple they are the ones who actually tied the knot! While their hands were bound, they placed their right hands on the Oathing Stone to set in stone the promises they were making to each other. Following the charge to the couple, they exchanged rings. After the ring exchange, Haley sang the Irish Blessing as a closing to the ceremony. They were pronounced legally married, sealed their vows with a kiss and began the celebration!
The reception was held in the side yard of the family home. Entertainment for the gusts consisted of many different games, including a tabor toss (pool noodles), and jousting with hula hoops hung from the trees!
The entire day was truly a celebration of this couple’s life and love by a village of family and friends.