November may not seem like the most romantic month, but it is a great time of the year to plan your joyous wedding or commitment ceremony. Thanksgiving is all about being grateful for our abundant blessings, and a perfect time to honor your love for each other with ceremony and wedding rituals such as a Hand Blessing with Water or a Nature Exchange. December holidays are around the corner – a magical time of the year for candlelight rituals including lighting a Unity Candle, integrating the various spiritual traditions that are celebrated and bringing more love-light to your lives and those who love you. The New Year can be a symbolic new beginning for your relationship and a fun time to make your commitment legal and permanent or to create a Vow Renewal ceremony. Your ritual can be deep and spiritual, to fit the season, or simple, light and magical. There are many venues here in northern Vermont and New Hampshire including, but not limited to, the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont, The Inn at Mountain View Farm in East Burke, Vermont and the Omni Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire that offer that cozy, golden glow of a warm fireplace as well as a more majestic view of snow-covered mountains. I would love to share your Holiday wedding with you!
Brew me a cup for a winter’s night.
For the wind howls loud, and the furies fight;
Spice it with love and stir it with care,
And I’ll toast your bright eyes,
my sweetheart fair.
~Minna Thomas Antrim, “A Night Cap,” A Book of Toasts, 1902
What a fabulous weekend for me and the couples that I was privileged to serve!
For starters, I was hired by a man looking to celebrate his 5th Wedding Anniversary with a surprise Vow Renewal ceremony for his wife. After careful consideration of what to call the ceremony, he changed the “title” to a Re-dedication Ceremony, He wanted a private ritual for just he and his wife and was hoping to not offend any relatives that were not going to be invited in the process. He was hoping that the new term would ease any reaction when word got out what had transpired. During the closing days of the week before the ritual, he disclosed his plan to his wife because they are not in the habit of keeping secrets from each other… How Sweet!
I researched a park that I had been in about four years ago for a photo shoot and found several “perfect” spots in Wellness Park in Palm Springs. Several areas in the small desert-scaped park located near Desert Regional Hospital are quite beautiful including rock formations, plantings, a labyrinth and a small fountain. We choose the fountain and gathered there Friday at dusk. Heartfelt exchanges by husband and wife I their own words and acknowledgement by me for the many things that grace their lives together. I included a poem by Rabindranath Tagore, a prose poem reading from The Prophet about marriage and closed with a John Lennon song, “Grow Old Along with Me”.
And then, on Saturday morning, under a splendid blue sky and at the same park, I meet a male couple that were celebrating their 32nd Anniversary together that day and joined them in marriage. We met at the entrance to the park and proceeded to the same fountain area. The men were joined by six friends and relatives. The two grooms promised “to continue” to honor and love one another. They exchanged rings as well. They had a Breaking of Glasses Jewish Ritual at the end of the short ceremony. “Breaking the glasses” signifies, among other things, that life is fragile and requires a great amount of care if a relationship is to succeed. Family, friends and I concluded the ritual with a traditional “Mazel Tov” ! [“Congratulations And Good Luck!”]
I concluded the ceremony by addressing the power of the agreement they had just made, their love for each other, and the seriousness with which they made this continued commitment. I pronounced them husband and husband which, of course, was followed by kisses!
Rev. Ron King
Palm Springs, CA