I'm a wedding officiant. I marry just about anyone just about any way they want to be married. It's not my place to judge. You want to get married? You need someone to do it? Here I am!
There are two ways of looking at this. I reach out to those who think - hmmm....most people get married in a church and that's just not going to work for me. It may be their second or third or fourth wedding. They may not have a religion. There may be more then one religion involved and one church is not going to cut it. Once upon a time, those people would have a Justice of the Peace wedding. They would just go and "make it legal." Now, with freedom of religion and churches like Universal Life Church Monastery people like me can legally marry couples. At least we can in Indiana and that's where I live and that's all the matters to me. Yes, someone like me can help you create and perform any wedding of your choosing and I can sign your marriage license and make it legal too. You can have religion or not or a little of each.
That is one way of looking at it. The other way? I'm still waiting to marry someone at a football game, in a hot air balloon, jumping out of a plane, in costume, you know, something totally different and KEWL. I want to do a Unity Cocktail Ceremony. I want to make up totally different ceremonies. I want to be part of something different!
Then, I get the call - from Samantha. My gurl!!! Yeah, I like Samantha and Kyle. I had a great weekend at their wedding! I like their mom's and dads, their families, the farm. All of it. What's so KEWL about Sam? She wants her wedding featured on offbeatbrides.com. It's a blog featuring weddings where brides do it "their way." Not only does Sam want to be featured on the blog but she wants to outdo her sister who did make it on to offbeatbrides.com.
So what exactly made Samantha and Kyle's wedding offbeat? Let me think about that...
The peacock colors. Very different bridesmaid dresses. I painted my nails to match. That was about as offbeat as I could get as the officiant. We had one very religious family and one very not religious bride. Like, the groom's brother and best man is in seminary religious.
The wedding was on a farm. An AMAZING farm really. Her dad's farm is filled with antiques. Tractors, signs, pumps. Her step mom has created a beautiful garden. I mean, it's perfect y'all! The red barn. The mean dog. The wedding was performed in the presence of all the chickens and the alpaca among other animals.
The bride? Beautiful. She had Blue ringlets interspersed in her perfect hair. The dress - amazing. (yeah right, like I'd say otherwise huh? ;-) She had a switchblade in her garter. A pistol was also an option. She was barefoot with some amazing foot bling too. I'll post pictures.
The groomsmen and bridesmaids were so perfectly matching in a totally casual way. Somehow, I managed to keep in the peacock feather theme too. But, the KEWL thing was as I looked around...literally, everyone matched! It seemed like all the colors everyone was wearing blended in together. Ahhhhh.....Harmony.
Alright. That's just cosmetics. As KEWL as they are, I'm a wedding officiant and let's get real, a wedding is about the ceremony. If two people were not committing themselves to love each other for life and to live in marriage there would be no wedding!
Have I ever mentioned that I love love? Or that I love my job? Oh, at least 10K times, if not more.
I love the romance of all of it. The meaning behind the words. How some can write and exchange the most perfect vows or somehow gather the courage to repeat after me with traditional vows or just get lost in being asked the question "Do you take..." and then saying "I will" or "I do." The readings, the poetry, the prayers. sigh....
Samantha had her ceremony kind of planned. When I first met her, she did have certain things she definitely wanted and it sounded like she was going to write the whole thing herself. She is a fabulous writer. But, when I got to the rehearsal expecting to be given a printed ceremony I got this "I wanted to talk to you about that....I sat down to write and nothing came." She trusted me to write it. WHOO HOOO!!!! The bride and the groom wrote their own vows. They were doing a beer box ceremony and wanted "Everything I need to know I learned in Kindergarten" by Robert Fulgham She also wanted a surprise opening from me. Insert- religion for the non-religious. I LOVE a good writing challenge. I'm a channel and sometimes the neatest things come out when I write.
After the rehearsal and the dinner I had a bit of a drive home from Lafayette to Fishers and I was formulating in my head. Coming up with ideas. It took a little while but it really came out well! Click here to check out the ceremony.
I used Beetles euphemisms and excellent bible quotes and verses.
But what made it offbeat?
This ceremony lasted a little longer then most. Most weddings I perform in about 15 minutes from procession to recession. This one was closer to a half an hour. Yeah, I can be long winded - but I was witty!
Well, most ceremonies are that short because the bride and groom don't want to annoy people. They compare it to going to a large church wedding with a whole mass or communion for 250 people. Endless boring sermons or blah readings or painful soloists. My weddings are not this. Weddings do not have to be like this. Guests can be engaged in what's going on in your wedding. They do listen and laugh or are truly touched by what is said and done.
Yeah, you heard me! It's YOUR WEDDING CEREMONY! Make it memorable, make it yours. Make it this one day, one hour or 5 minutes of truly memorable bliss! I always try to remind couples that the way in which they exchange vows is important. It's wonderful the day you do it. It's romantic, it's surreal. But, you are making vows for a lifetime of marriage. I've been married 21 years so far. My parents, over 50. That's a long time and it's not all fun and games. Its a journey, for sure. Some parts of it are rocky and some up hill and some covered in very slippery ice. Some days are spring-like and some are the dead of winter and the power is out. Some day. when facing problems you may want to look back at your wedding day and how you exchanged vows. How you exchange vows may be the way you need to solve your problems. Was it funny? Maybe you need to find humor in the current situation. Were your families important? Or your friends? Then they will be with you now to help you work through your problems. Did you trust in God on your wedding day? Then maybe God is where you should turn to help you work through your problem. You know what I mean?
Think about it. Personalize it.
Samantha chose a traditional song for the parents to walk in to. Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring. Very appropriate. Then, she mixed it up with The Beetles - only the songs done acoustic and sung by a woman. The attendants walked into "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" And, the offbeat part was, once the attendants were in their place, the music didn't stop. It kept going to the end. The lyrics were part of the ceremony. The sentiment behind the words. Friends hold your hand when you need it. You attendants are your friends holding your hand. There is meaning and 2 extra minutes to listen to a song is what the bride wanted to experience as she waited with her dad for her moment. And then, her song? "Here comes the Sun" Same artist. I wish I knew who - she's great! And, the entire song played. She wanted to walk down the aisle to the song. The whole song had meaning. It was her moment! Good for her! Some of the guests seemed confused but - well, who cares huh? It was their moment! The bride and the groom.
The first reading was Everything I needed to Know I learned in Kindergarten. I made it funny. When they met, they talked about that poem. The second reading was hmmm.... somewhat... erotic maybe? Hey, I opened the ceremony with 2 verses from the Song of Songs. It is a wedding you know. Their vows - fabulous. So heartfelt.
Offbeat? The Beer Box! Yep, the Beer Box Ceremony. Kyle brews his own. That adds personality to you ceremony! This particular brew was a 5 year stout. It will take 5 years for it to be ready to drink. They also added love letters, their vows and I put in a copy of the ceremony. Traditionally, the box has wine or whiskey or something alcoholic. You decide to open the box in the future - in this case on their 5th anniversary to celebrate with the beer and to remember their vows. This is usually often referred to an an emergency box too. If for some reason your marriage has reached the point of peril you open the box, relax a bit with a drink and then go into separate rooms and read what your spouse wrote to you on your wedding day. I asked Sam what do you do with beer that's not ready? Her reply was "if you have to open the box you deserve bad beer!" So, my advice to them was if they have to open it before 5 years to read, re-evaluate, re-write and close the box back up.
I try to remember take a moment to have the bride and groom center and enjoy the moment because it goes by so fast. At the end of this ceremony it felt like an actual experience had taken place. That Samantha and Kyle were in it together. That was my intention and I hope it worked. Of course, at the end of the ceremony its over, all the nerves and stress are gone, your moment is gone. Deep breath! At the end of this ceremony it felt like not only was the moment experienced but they were also moving on together in marriage.
The kiss was great. The recession was great. The pictures were taken. Everyone was - happy and relaxed.
Why does that seem offbeat? Not sure. But, it was definitely offbeat in a good way!