Exactly two years ago my friends Vince and Robyn told me, in the midst of my own anniversary party, that they had just become engaged! Before I had a chance to express my delight, they added, “And we’d like you to marry us.”
“Yes, we’d like you to be the one to do the ceremony.”
Well, in brief, when they thought of whose visage they’d like to see in front of them during their nuptials, my face came to mind, (still not sure exactly why, but I think it had something to do with the feelings I expressed about the spiritual life and quest in my book Havens in a Hectic World.) I was both flabbergasted and incredibly honoured by this unexpected request.
As it turned out, preparing what I wanted to say during the ceremony also became a chance for me to re-examine and in a way renew my own pledge to the depths and breadth of the marriage commitment. And to recognize it as again as something crucial. Thank you for that, Robyn and Vince.
So on June 26, I married Vince and Robyn in a backyard ceremony under the apple tree, with bubbles (blown by the enthusiastic kids at the party), floating in the air, a cool evening settling in, and friends and family smiling their approval. It was a joyful affair, as weddings are wont to be, and while I’ve attended many weddings, I’ve rarely seen such a glow exuding from the bride and groom. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that they are both in their 40s, and feel a powerful certainty that they have found their life mate and that marriage is the best way to live out their lives together. I think it also had something to do with wanting to make this public declaration in a custom-designed ceremony that felt comfortable and right to both of them.
How, you may ask, was this all legal? Well, in some places, you can actually buy a licence (or something equivalent) and become legally able to perform a wedding, but here in British Columbia, you can’t just decide to become a Marriage Commissioner….an opening has to come up in your area, and then you have to apply, be interviewed, and be chosen. Since I’m not a bona fide BC Marriage Commissioner, I could not legally pronounce Vince and Robyn husband and wife or oversee the signing of the registry. However, I could and did do everything else.
Thanks to the flexibility and understanding of a duly certified Marriage Commissioner (in this case the charming Michael Denton), I could conduct the entire ceremony, while Michael waited attentively nearby to listen for the specific words and phrases that are required to be stated by law, and at the proper moment, Michael stepped forward simply to “pronounce” the couple husband and wife, and later put his signature on the registry after witnessing the signing of it by the bride, groom, and two witnesses.
Simple as that. Thank you to Michael for easily adapting his role to allow my unusual and privileged participation,, and thank you to the now happily honeymooning bride and groom for giving me an opportunity I never expected to have in my lifetime.
Now that I’ve done it once, who knows what may lie ahead!
“Vince and Robin’s Wedding” courtesy of Star Weiss
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