My husband and I had two weddings. The first one was 7 years ago on the Summer Solstice at a wonderful Victorian hotel in Saratoga Springs.
It was a Buddhist ceremony- the center of which is the reciting of poems that are written- at most- only a few days before.
Here's mine which was written the night before:
At dawn, I surrender,
Hearing the birds sing
Somehow breaks my
I am reminded,
Infused with an unspeakable joy-
You are in the sky, the birdsong,
The touching of my bare feet
Against the wooden floor-
In my heart as it sings
Grinning from ear to ear,
I sit and write a love
Poem to you.
The altar had fragrant and lush white peonies spilling out of two orange, blue and white oriental vases. The altar itself had a Buddha along with a Byzantine icon of Jesus, a incense burner and a gong with which our officiant- a lesbian Buddhist nun in full regalia- lightly marked the prayers. A dear friend- a wonderful actor- gave two readings by Gibran- on Love and Marriage.
We exchanged rings. Mine somehow ended up on the wrong hand.
We repaired to a walled garden where a harpist played Rogers and Hart, Geshwin, and other Standards. Our 30 guests had instant cameras and happily captured the merriment. Champagne flowed along with light food and the most wonderful strawberry shortcake I've ever had.
It was 90 degrees and the most intense and joyous day of my life.
Marriage number two took place at Toronto City Hall on June 28th- the day- serindipitously- that Canada extended gay marriage to two provinces and one territory. (We went to Canada to obtain a legal docuement that would be honored by my place of employment and my husband would be accorded health benefits.) A camera crew from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation asked to film the wedding which resulted in us being part of a piece on gay marriage which was shown that evening- footage was later picked up by American stations the next day.
I felt changes with each ceremony- the bond between us was strengthened and clarified- it made a difference. I believe ceremonies are necessary for the simple reason that- when done with intentionality- they have the capacity to reveal us to ourselves and to each other.
Be the love you seek.