Your “Dream” Ceremony

The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. Barbara Kingsolver Last summer a couple hired me for their wedding that took place last month.  We had a great first meeting – they wanted a ceremony that honored them as a couple and that included certain cultural traditions.  Because they booked me so far out, I suggested we get together again after the holidays, in mid-January. I left it up to the …

True Kindness

When the heart is truly open, there is a natural sense of appreciation for others, even while being aware of their imperfections. Don Rosenthal I recently reunited with a couple whose wedding I officiated fifteen years ago. They look older but their spirits are as I remember them. Open, inquisitive, yet clearly defined in their ongoing aspirations. “Jack Daniels” joined us at the table and story begat story. It was a magical night. As I was leaving, Ira suddenly asked …

How Well Do You Know Your Partner?

In a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything.  The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things—all of it, all of the time, every day.  You’re saying, ‘your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it.’  Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness.’  From the movie, Shall We Dance? It was six weeks before their wedding and Chad and Lisa still had not hired an officiant.  Towards the end …

Presume Nothing – While Planning Your Wedding!

We enter marriage offering the best of who we are: our deepest feelings, our best intentions, our greatest hopes, full of generosity and affection for our partner. But we fall in love and decide to live the rest of our loves together without realizing that loving each other and living our life together are different.                                                                         Susan Piver When Philip and Cora first met with me they were five months away from their wedding.  In their late twenties, they’d been …

What Do You Want Guests to Remember from Your Ceremony?

Last Saturday I officiated the wedding of Stephen & Monique (names changed), a couple who are friends of Steve & Katie, a couple whose wedding I officiated last year.  Stephen had been one of Steve’s groomsmen and now Steve was one of Stephen’s.  In fact, Stephen’s other three groomsmen had been groomsmen for Steve, as all the guys had been in the same fraternity at UCLA. I wanted to make sure that at Stephen and Monique’s ceremony I didn’t say …

7 Tips to Help You Listen to Yourself and to Your Partner

When we talked, I felt brilliant, fascinating; she brought out the version of myself I like most. Nadir Alsadir     true story Ashley and Dan invited me to have pizza as we finalized the ceremony details. It was going to be ninety degrees the afternoon of their outdoor ceremony and Dan reminded me he wanted it kept barebones short. As he droned on, I noticed Ashley was quiet and no longer smiling. Her family was Roman Catholic and not …

What Helping High School Seniors with Their College Application Essays Taught Me About Wedding Vows!

A human life is not a life until it is examined; it is not a life until it is truly remembered and appropriated; and such a remembrance is not something passive but active. . . the creative construction of one’s life. Oliver Sacks Occasionally, I like to offer a post that isn’t directly related to weddings BUT is kinda, sorta wedding themed and THIS is one of those “odd” postings! This past week I was an instructor at a three-day …

Marriage = One Long, Grand Conversation!

photo: jesse leake   A happy marriage is a long conversation that always seems too short. Andre Malroux    true story One night I grabbed dinner at my favorite local bistro. The staff knows me and brings me “the usual” without my having to ask. I was lost in a book when I happened to glance up and look across the room. Two tables lined the opposite wall.   At one sat a young couple in their twenties – laughing, …

“Spiritual” and not “Religious”

photo: kallima-photography I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep your eyes close. Pablo Neruda Most couples who tell me that they are “spiritual” and …