As a trained and certified Life-Cycle Celebrant®, I love the opportunity to create a ceremony in collaboration with a couple, to tell their story well, and to celebrate their love in ways that are unique to them. Most of the time this takes place in a twenty-thirty minute ceremony with the couple surrounded by their families and various groups of friends. It is usually part of a longer day or even a weekend of events that often requires a tremendous amount of planning and more than a few dollars to pull off.
And then, at the other end of the spectrum, there are the “elopements.” These are wedding ceremonies which are short, on average five to ten minutes, and usually involve a very small number of people. There are many reasons why a couple may choose such a ceremony. Money is often, but not always, a contributing factor. Many of the couples I’ve worked with are planning to have a larger ceremony later on, months or sometimes even years down the road.
Meanwhile, life happens! There may be a need to get insurance coverage for an uninsured partner, one may be in a branch of the military and has received orders to deploy, a student visa is about to expire, or (surprise!) a baby is on the way. And so many more…
Whatever the reason, every couple deserves a good ceremony to celebrate their commitment to love each other for the rest of their lives! I start off with a short, basic ceremony, which I will adapt when I learn if they want their ceremony to be secular or spiritual. And then I encourage them to add their own vows and readings if they want. Some hire a photographer to document the occasion, while other times a family member or friend with a camera or good phone can capture the moment.
I have had the honor to officiate at elopements in homes, back yards, restaurants, city hall, and in our beautiful local parks. The Grand Basin in Forest Park seems to be most popular among couples I’ve known, but any place that feels special to the couple will do.
Whether large or small, what nearly every wedding ceremony has in common is the sincere desire of the couple to take this huge leap of faith in each other, in building a future together. It gets me every time.