Tower Grove Park Wedding: Katie & Jason

Theirs was a simple, lovely, and unique ceremony at the Bandstand in Tower Grove Park. With bamboo fans in hand, guests created a breeze while treated to Mark Twain’s “A Marriage,” a traditional Irish blessing, as well as the “Wooden Box Ceremony” for the unity ritual (see blog entry for September 12, 2009). The wedding was immediately followed by a reception picnic at the Turkish Pavilion. A good time was had by all.

Congratulations, Katie and Jason!

Jewel Box Wedding: Sanja & Michael

With an eye for detail and a profound awareness of the importance of ritual, Sanja and Michael carefully planned their wedding ceremony. It was a beautiful day both inside and outside of one of Forest Park’s greatest gems, the Jewel Box. The photo above shows a beaming bride and groom greeting guests following their lovely ceremony. Congratulations, Sanja and Michael!

Raelynn and Michael

It was a gorgeous sunny day with the temperature in the mid-80’s in New Haven, Missouri. An intimate group of immediate family members of the bride and groom gathered at the Kemp family farm for Raelynn and Mike’s wedding. After I offered a few introductory remarks and an opening prayer, Raelynn began by sharing a few thoughts on their journey as a couple. Then it was time for family to offer readings, reflections, and stories about marriage. What a delight! We laughed, shed a few tears, and marveled at the beauty of this moment in time. Finally, original vows were exchanged between Raelynn and Mike, then champagne and cake were shared by all. What a lovely way to begin a marriage!

Angela and Brian

Did you ever wonder what goes on at the St. Louis Zoo after hours? Well, I don’t know what happens most nights, but I do know one thing that happened on May 22, 2010: Angela and Brian were married in a lovely ceremony at the Lakeside Café.

Congratulations, Angela and Brian!

Valerie and Andrew

It was a sunny and gorgeous May 22 at the Missouri Botanical Gardens’ Boxwood Gazebo. An intimate gathering of their families witnessed Valerie and Andrew exchange vows in a simple and casual ceremony. This photo conveys both the radiance of the couple and the lush garden which was the setting for their wedding.


Sam & Rob

It was the first wedding at which I have officiated in which both Homer Simpson and William Shakespeare were quoted, and done so quite effectively, I might add!

I had a pretty good clue that this was going to be a fun wedding when at our first meeting Rob wanted to know at what point in the ceremony I would say the line about objections. I told him I had long ago dropped that line from my ceremony scripts. “Oh, I want it there,” he exclaimed, “because I want to be able to glare out at our guests with a look that says, ‘Don’t you dare!’” And so, this past Saturday when I asked their guests, “If any person here today can show just cause as to why this couple may not be joined together in marriage – speak now or forever hold your peace!” both the bride and groom swept the room with intense gazes, prompting everyone to laughter.

We had additional opportunities to laugh in this light yet serious ceremony at Graham Chapel on the campus of Washington University. Samantha and Robert declared their love for one another using original vows (that’s where Homer Simpson came in), making clear that, though done playfully, this bride and groom have very serious intentions toward building a life together. It was a ceremony created in true Celebrant style – clearly the bride and the groom were in charge – and everyone loved it!

Crystal & Dean

It was less than four weeks before their wedding day when Crystal and Dean were informed that their original wedding officiant would be unable to perform the ceremony. They were referred to me and, though a bit shaken by the transition, we were able to work together to create a simple, lovely ceremony at Glen Echo Country Club. It was a cold, clear, and crisp January 30 when we gathered in front of the huge fireplace, warmed by both the love of the bride and groom, and a pretty good fire, too! Von DeVore Photography caught the mood in this lovely shot.

“We were so happy with every part of your service. You gave us exactly what we had imagined for ourselves. We really appreciated how you kept us calm and walked us through every step of the process. Our wedding was beautiful and we are so happy that you were the one to marry us.” – Crystal & Dean Blaker

Valentine’s Day 2010

It was my first group wedding. I imagine that it was a first group wedding for the couples, too! We were at Windows Off Washington and a light snow was falling outside. There were seven couples standing in front of me. None of them knew the other couples present, but when the brides and grooms looked into each others’ eyes, it really didn’t matter. What did matter was that they had chosen to be there together, ready and willing to commit their lives to one another.

Shortly after noon, the ceremony began. Among other things, I shared the following thoughts with them:

This is not the first time St. Louis has seen a group wedding, and I would be willing to guess it will not be the last. By participating in this wedding ceremony, you join with a growing number of couples from all over the world getting married in large, public ceremonies: from Santa Ana, California to Baghdad, Iraq; from Gaza in Palestine to Beichuan in China; from 30 Navy and Marine couples this past June to a gathering in Soulard yesterday– mass weddings are becoming just one more way to say “I do!”
But no matter how you say it, where you say it, or what you spend on your wedding celebration, today is one of the most important days of your life. Yet we all know that, as important as this day is, what is most important is how you will choose to live out the vows you take today.

And so they said their vows, exchanged rings, and began married life with a kiss, a dance, and a glass of champagne. Families looked on from the sidelines, snapping photos and cheering the newlyweds.

Not a bad way to spend Valentine’s Day, eh?

Mi Espanol Es Primitivo

This week finds me working on my Spanish speaking skills. Are you surprised? Well, I am! Yes, I took ten hours of college credit Spanish as an undergrad oh so many years ago. But, like many of my peers, I took the courses but never practiced further than I needed in order to pass. And truly, in late ‘70’s St. Louis, there were not many opportunities to connect with people whose first language was Spanish.

But along comes a wedding between a native St. Louisan and a native of Columbia (the country, not Columbia, Missouri!). Upon learning that some members of the bride’s family are travelling here for the wedding, knowing little to no English, I decided to dust off my language skills in order to have some parts of the ceremony be bi-lingual. Thanks to the Microsoft Word program which offers translations and to the bride who made some adjustments, I will be speaking, for better and for worse, some Spanish at tomorrow night’s ceremony.

I’m glad that those ten hours of Spanish has finally paid off!

We’ve Come This Far By Faith

Tomorrow will be my 26th wedding anniversary. Wow. Since I had just turned 26 a few weeks before my wedding day, this means that I have now been married for half my lifetime. Wow, again.

Most of those who marry do so with the intention that the marriage will last for the rest of their lives. Sadly that is not always the case.

This year for Thanksgiving, I am delighted and grateful that we have made it this far and, “God willing and the creek don’t rise,” I look forward to many more years with the Rock-man!

Happy Thanksgiving, one and all!

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