St. Louis Wedding Celebrant: Spring 2013

It’s been a busy Spring! I had four ceremonies in March, seven in April, and I’m preparing for eight in May. Add to that my work on Summer ceremonies and beginning some Fall ceremonies, I’ve not had a lot of time to stop and smell the flowers. Not that we’ve had many flowers to check out here with this unusually late St. Louis Spring.

Flowers or not, since 1970 this time of year brings us Earth Day, an annual opportunity to take a look at how each of us can make a contribution toward improving life on planet Earth. I am always looking for ways to improve in this area, and I hope to see the wedding industry become more genuinely “green” as time goes by.

This past year I became an “approved vendor” with The Green Bride Guide www.greenbrideguide.com .  The Green Bride Guide is a comprehensive and credible green wedding resource online. The Directory is like a Yellow Pages for green weddings that provides a centralized resource of green wedding vendors, searchable by geographic area.

According to the Green Bride Guide, almost 50% of couples are now looking to include green elements in their events, and 85% are concerned about “greenwashing,” the passing off of non-green companies as eco-friendly. To address these concerns, the Green Bride Guides screens all vendors in the directory and displays their green practices in their profiles.

I will soon be adding a “going green” page to my website to describe in more detail my ongoing efforts toward lessoning my carbon footprint, both in my personal and professional lives. So, stay tuned!

Marriage: “A Momentous Act of Self-Definition”

As the United States Supreme Court prepares to hear two cases next week involving same-sex marriage laws, it seems fitting to reprint an excerpt from Goodridge vs. Department of Health, the landmark Massachusetts case which found that same-sex couples have the right to marry in that state. I first became aware of this excerpt when a couple told me that they wanted to use it as a reading for their civil union ceremony. Since then, both same-sex and hetero couples have requested this reading. Some consider it a political statement, others simply a good definition of marriage. Take a look and see what you think. Me? I think it is both!

Marriage is a vital social institution. The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support; it brings stability to our society. For those who choose to marry, and for their children, marriage provides an abundance of legal, financial, and social benefits. In return it imposes weighty legal, financial, and social obligations….Without question, civil marriage enhances the “welfare of the community.” It is a “social institution of the highest importance.” Marriage also bestows enormous private and social advantages on those who choose to marry. Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family…. Because it fulfils yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution, and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life’s momentous acts of self-definition.

(Supreme Court Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall) 

St. Louis Wedding Celebrant: Winter 2013

So, I started January with a nasty cold, followed by a restful vacation in California with my husband. Once home and healthy again, I met with seven couples last month, and I am happy to report that all seven hired me! That’s a nice beginning for the new year, indeed! Now it’s all about more meetings and ceremony writing….

My first wedding of 2013 is scheduled for Valentine’s Day in the home of the couple, Stephanie and Jeff. I’m looking forward to celebrating an intimate ceremony with them and a few close family members and friends.

One of my goals for this winter includes finally mobilizing my website! The statistics on the soaring use of hand-held devices are too overwhelming to overlook, so I’m going to get to it in order to make it easier for people to find me and learn about my services.

Once again I am preparing for the only wedding show in which I participate: Off White Indie Wedding Show, March 9-10. This year it will be held at Mad Art Gallery in Soulard. If you want to connect with creative, eco-friendly, out-of-the-box, LGBT-friendly, handmade, small businesses from the St. Louis area to help you create the kind of wedding you really want to have, do yourself a favor and go to this show! The tickets are an incredibly reasonable price of $10 each. http://offwhiteweddingshow.com/

A Celebrant Wedding for Liz and Criss?

Last night on NBC’s 30 Rock, Tina Fey’s lead character Liz Lemon got married.  But this TV wedding had very little in common with most real weddings I’ve been to, and was unlike most TV weddings – period!  As I watched and laughed I couldn’t help but think, like the Celebrant that I am, “These people could use a Celebrant!”

As the episode began, Liz and her boyfriend Criss made a spontaneous decision to get married at the courthouse.  Liz is someone who abhors the whole wedding industry and she was determined to stay as far away from a traditional wedding as possible.  So they intentionally dressed down for the ceremony and grabbed a couple of homeless men to be their witnesses.  Yet, Liz could not escape the gnawing feeling that she did want their wedding day to be special, though definitely not traditional.  Finally, after lots of the craziness that 30 Rock does so well, Liz and Criss got married on their own terms: Liz wore her Princess Leia costume, while Criss gave her a wedding ring purchased at a police auction.  Tony Bennett sang “Just In Time” as the couple kissed, while the homeless men danced together.  A perfect 30 Rock wedding!

Besides the fact that I’m a 30 Rock fan, why mention this?  Well, if Liz and Criss were real people, and if they had contacted a Life-Cycle Celebrant® to officiate at their ceremony, then they would have been able to work with a ceremony expert who would have helped them plan their wedding in a way that was meaningful for them, but without all of the stress. And “drama.”  Or comedy.  Which is great for TV, but not nearly as much fun in real life!

So, congratulations to Liz and Criss!  And for you other, real life couples who want your own ceremony to be as unique as you are, check out your local Life-Cycle Celebrant® who will help you create your own memorable and meaningful ceremony!

Blessing for a Marriage

I have just finished my final drafts for this weekend’s ceremonies.  For Saturday’s ceremony, Madison and Steve chose one of my favorite blessings, written by poet and Unity Church minister, James Dillet Freeman.  He is sometimes referred to as the “poet laureate to the moon” because his poems were taken there on two different missions, Apollo 11 and Apollo 15.  This blessing is, however, both spiritual and very down to earth.  Enjoy!

 

Blessing for a Marriage, by James Dillet Freeman

May your marriage bring you all the exquisite excitements a marriage should bring, and may life grant you also patience, tolerance, and understanding.

May you always need one another — not so much to fill your emptiness as to help you to know your fullness. A mountain needs a valley to be complete. The valley does not make the mountain less, but more. And the valley is more a valley because it has a mountain towering over it. So let it be with you and you.

May you need one another, but not out of weakness. May you want one another, but not out of lack. May you entice one another, but not compel one another. May you embrace one another, but not out encircle one another. May you succeed in all-important ways with one another, and not fail in the little graces.

May you look for things to praise, often say, “I love you!” and take no notice of small faults. If you have quarrels that push you apart, may both of you hope to have good sense enough to take the first step back.

May you enter into the mystery that is the awareness of one another’s presence — no more physical than spiritual, warm and near when you are side by side, and warm and near when you are in separate rooms or even distant cities.

May you have happiness, and may you find it making one another happy. May you have love, and may you find it loving one another.

 

Illinois Civil Union: Joe and Gregg

When we met to discuss their ceremony, Joe and Gregg told me that they wanted a “simple, elegant ceremony with class!”  More than that, they wanted the ceremony to emphasize the importance of family in their lives.  Indeed, without their family’s encouragement to have a bigger celebration, it is likely they would have just gone to the court house for their civil union.  Instead, earlier this year, Gregg and Joe gathered at Tony’s in Alton with their closest family members for an enthusiastic celebration of their loving commitment to each other.  Congratulations!

 

Married in St. Louis: Tower Grove Park

In 1868, Henry Shaw gifted land to the city of St. Louis which eventually became the 289 acre park we know as Tower Grove Park. Located on the near south side, it is home to over one million visitors a year who meet there for picnics, to play sports, to walk pets, to listen to concerts, and to shop at the Saturday farmers’ market. Oh yeah, you can get married there, too!

The favorite sites for weddings are The Music Stand, Piper Palm House, Stupp Center, and the Pool Pavilion. Occasionally, couples will use a smaller pavilion to have an informal ceremony and picnic reception. If you are looking for charm, history, character, and a unique setting for your wedding, check out the possibilities at one of my favorites, Tower Grove Park.

Thanks to Donnell Probst Photography for the great shot!

Rachel and Chris, wed on The Music Stand during a rainstorm

Married in St. Louis: Forest Park

Covering  1,371 acres of prime city real estate,  Forest Park is known as the “heart of St. Louis.”   And how could it not be?  Opened in 1876 and host to both the 1904 World’s Fair and some 1904 Olympic events, this jewel of a park contains something for everyone, including  The Missouri History Museum, The St. Louis Art Museum, the world class St. Louis Zoo, the Muny Opera, the St. Louis Science Center, and so much more.  One could easily spend a week’s vacation there taking advantage of its many attractions.

Whitney & Scott, with World's Fair Pavilion in background
For couples getting married, the possibilities are limited only by your imagination.  Lots of St. Louis couples go to the park to pose for engagement and wedding photos.  But have you considered actually having your ceremony in the park?  It seems that every year since I began officiating at weddings in 2007, I hear from couples who have selected yet another exciting location at which to be married in Forest Park: The Jewel Box, the Zoo, the Muny, the Grand Basin, the World’s Fair Pavilion, the Visitors’ Center, Cabanne House, the Golf Course, etc.  So if you want the heart of your wedding day to take place in the heart of St. Louis, head on out to Forest Park!
 
(Thanks, AMKAR Photography, for the great shot!) 

 

Married in St. Louis: Carondelet Park

When it comes to performing wedding ceremonies, I will go almost anywhere in the St. Louis Metropolitan area. But I have to admit a certain ease with and even a preference for venues in the city. I suppose it has everything to do with the fact that, although I am not currently a resident of the city of St. Louis, I grew up in south city and I have spent most of my adult life as a resident. Today I want introduce you to Carondelet Park.
Located in the southernmost reaches of the city and containing nearly 180 acres, Carondelet Park is bound on the north by Holly Hills, south by Loughborough, east by I55, and west by Leona. The third largest park in the city of St. Louis, Carondelet Park has a long and rich history dating back to its founding in 1875. For those scouting for an outdoor wedding location, be sure to check out the Boathouse Pavilion overlooking Boat Lake. I have officiated at a number of ceremonies there and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the experience each time.

A Thanksgiving Wedding

Rock and I were married the day after Thanksgiving. It was a simple ceremony and church hall reception, but it was all that we needed it to be as we marked the official beginning of our marriage. This year we have the good fortune to be celebrating our 28th wedding anniversary. We are counting our blessings, for sure.May this Thanksgiving find you and your family with too many blessings to count!

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