August 2009


I knew when Mike, the groom, emailed me and told me that his fiance, Chris, was going to place a special bug smooshing clause into her vows that we would get along well.

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Chris and Mike had their wedding at the Ridgewood Women’s Club, in Ridgewood, NJ.  They were so much fun to work with.  Mike told me he wanted to have a lot of laughs in their ceremony, so I tried to be as light-hearted as possible, while still capturing the importance and reverence of their day (and to make the parents happy!).

There were a lot of fun details that went into creating their ceremony – let me share just a few with you:

I threw some Star Wars / Star Trek wording into my remarks.

  • Towards the end of my opening remarks: And now – we are here to witness the next step – marriage, the final frontier.
  • At the beginning of their love story: A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away – or, well, in 2004, in New York City, Chris and Mike had their first date.
  • When I declared them husband and wife: You are now joined, and by the power vested in me by the State of New Jersey, it is my honor to pronounce you husband and wife. Live long and prosper and may the force be with you.

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By using more well known quotes, and incorporating them into slightly more standard remarks, we got a great response of laughter, they didn’t feel inappropriate, weird, or contrived, and EVERYONE got them (even if you’ve never seen an episode of Star Trek, you probably got the Live Long & Prosper remark, right?)

I love the running gag in a lot of Mel Brooks movie weddings – a quick back and forth from the rabbi or officiant of “Do you? Do you? Ok, you’re married.”  So instead of doing a more typical version of the I Do’s, we did them quick!

Before our bride and groom as joined together in marriage, in my presence, and in the presence of these witnesses, I am bound to remind you of the serious and binding nature of the new relationship you are about to commit to today.

Mike, do you?

Mike: I do.

Chris, do you?

Chris: I do.

Great, thank you!

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They also wrote their own vows (including bug smooshing clause), which they read to each other – sweet, sentimental, and honest.

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Chris and Mike were really able to balance the humor of their wedding with some very beautiful emotional moments.  They wrote their own ring vows, which I just love:

Chris, this ring
is all I can do
to put how much I love you
into a material item.
It is precious,
it is unbroken,
and it is unique.
To me, you are infinitely more precious,
our bond will be just as unbroken,
and there is nobody else
I would want to share my life with –
nobody as unique as you.

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I did my best to capture their relationship and what I believe their marriage will be in their wedding – funny, sweet, humorous, and honest.  I had so much fun brainstorming ideas and quotes to incorporate into the ceremony (I even called on my own geeky fiance for his expertise), and I could tell that the bride and groom were happy with how the ceremony turned out.  I got the highest compliment I could get from some members of the bridal party – they thought the bride and groom had written it, because it was so them!

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Chris and Mike, thanks for sharing your wedding with me.  I’m so glad I got to be a part of it!

Follow Along Ceremony.
Part 1: Meet Sarah & John!
Part 2: First Meeting, First Outline
Part 3: Creating Rituals

Sarah and John had a lot of interesting ways to incorporate their family and friends into their wedding ceremony, but this had to be my favorite: their readers.

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The Lovely Couple enjoys hearing the first reading for the first time!

They asked six of their friends (three couples) to each choose a reading to present during the wedding ceremony.  I thought it was great that they were going to let their friends choose the readings, so they could pick something that they thought was very representative and appropriate for Sarah and John.  But here’s the big thing: they asked me to keep the readings a secret from that!

That’s right – the readers “reported” directly into me.  I placed the readings into the ceremony, based on their content, and had full veto power if something wasn’t quite right or a duplicate.  But the bride and groom had no idea what was going to be read at their wedding!

I sent the readers an email, with some of my favorite wedding reading resources, a deadline, and encouraged them to use me as a resource as well – to ask me any questions, have me offer suggestions, or simply point them in the right direction.  But all six friends did a fabulous job and picked perfect readings for the wedding!

The first reading was a selection of notes that Charles Darwin had written down in his sketchbook – the pros and cons of getting married.  It was a piece I had never seen before, and I love it!

Notes on Marriage
Made When Deciding Whether or Not to Marry

Charles Darwin

Not Marry?
Freedom to go where one liked
Choice of society and little of it.
Conversation of clever men at clubs.

Not forced to visit relatives, and to bend to every trifle…
To have the expense and anxiety of children – perhaps quarreling.
Loss of time – cannot read in the evenings.
Fatness and idleness.
Anxiety and responsibility.
Less money for books.
If many children, forced to gain one’s bread (but then it is very bad for one’s health to work too much).

Perhaps my wife won’t like London, then the sentence is banishment and degradation with indolent, idle fool.
Marry?
Children (if it please God)
Constant companion, who will feel interested in one (a friend in old age)
Object to be beloved and played with – better than a dog anyhow
Home, and someone to take care of house

Charms of music and female chit chat – these things good for ones health but terrible loss of time

My God, it is unthinkable to think of spending one’s whole life, like a neuter bee, working, working, and nothing after all.
No, no, won’t do.

Imagine living all one’s days solitary in smoky dirty London House.
Only picture to yourself a nice soft wife on a sofa with good fire, and books, and music perhaps – compare this vision with dingy reality.
Marry! Marry! Marry!

The second readers chose a selection from the Velveteen Rabbit, a dialogue between the Rabbit and the Skin Horse, discussing how love makes you real.  They each had a role, one reading the Rabbit’s lines and one the Skin Horses.  It was especially fun because there’s a line about how when you’re finally real, most of your hair has been loved off – appropriate for a bald groom!

The third reading were two love poems – a perfect way to close a ceremony.  They chose my favorite poem of all time, which I can’t even read without tearing up a bit:

Sonnet XVII from 100 Love Sonnets by Pablo Neruda

I don’t love you as if you were the salt-rose, topaz
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:
I love you as certain dark things are loved,
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom and carries
hidden within itself the light of those flowers,
and thanks to your love, darkly in my body
lives the dense fragrance that rises from the earth.

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 don’t 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 it is your eyes that close.

By letting their readers choose, Sarah and John’s friends felt even more included in the ceremony, as they got to share these pieces that especially touched them and spoke to them about the bride and groom.  It was a fabulous idea that really spoke to the bride and groom’s fun loving ways, and I’m so glad that it worked out in the end!

Love Sonnet

Dan X

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Jessie Blum

to Dan

show details 1/22/08
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Sonnet XVII from 100 Love Sonnets by Pablo Neruda

I don’t love you as if you were the salt-rose, topaz
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:
I love you as certain dark things are loved,
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom and carries
hidden within itself the light of those flowers,
and thanks to your love, darkly in my body
lives the dense fragrance that rises from the earth.

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 don’t 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 it is your eyes that close.


Jessie Blum
jessieblum@gmail.com
http://knit.jessieblum.com

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Daniel Gabriel

to me

show details 1/22/08
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that’s beautiful

– Show quoted text –
On Jan 22, 2008 11:25 AM, Jessie Blum <jessieblum@gmail.com> wrote:

Sonnet XVII from 100 Love Sonnets by Pablo Neruda

I don’t love you as if you were the salt-rose, topaz
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:
I love you as certain dark things are loved,
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom and carries
hidden within itself the light of those flowers,
and thanks to your love, darkly in my body
lives the dense fragrance that rises from the earth.

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 don’t 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 it is your eyes that close.


Jessie Blum
jessieblum@gmail.com
http://knit.jessieblum.com

Reply
Forward
Dan is not available to chat

As soon as September comes around, I start looking towards the trees, waiting for them to explode with color, and become bright and red and orange and yellow.  Fall is my favorite season – I love the slight chill in the air, the wonderful smells, PUMPKINS, apples, and that slightly soft and smoky scent you can catch in the air.

Now, take a wedding, and put it in the fall?  Totally my favorite!

So this week’s Esty Friday is inspired by my favorite season – August can’t end soon enough!  Autumn, I’m waiting for you!

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[White Pumpkin Basket via April Hiler Designs]

I LOVE these little white pumpkin baskets, perfect for the flower girl to scatter petals out of, or even to have your bridesmaids carry with a small floral arrangement inside.  Beautiful!

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[Garden Headpiece via Anca Pe’elma]

I love the whimsy of this delicate headpiece, the small pearls and soft creams and browns.  It would be beautiful with a champagne or ivory dress!

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[Fall Wedding Cake Top via Original Creations by Apryl]

I love this cake topper – it looks like it came straight out of a peak October!  I think it would be beautiful on top of a cake, or as decoration on a guest book table or even as a centerpiece.

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[Autumn Cake Knife Server via One Haute Hostess]

The colors are just awesome!  I love the wire wrapping, and the texture of the rocks against the silver of the cake cutter.  How cute would this be to cut a cake with that tree cake topper? Don’t they look like they belong together?

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[Willow – Natural Harvest Comb via Which.Goose]

I love the natural and subtle feel of this hair comb.  It really captures the feeling of autumn, and would be beautiful as a fascinator with an ivory veil!

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[Ring Bearer Pillow via I Do Take U!]

The bright colors, simple felt cut outs, and adorable little acorn would be fabulous carried down the aisle by your ring bearer!

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[Personal Stickers by Sticker Doodle]

How much fun and personality does this little tree have!  These would be great to seal envelopes, or to mark favors.

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[Enchanting Autumn Bout via Blue Flourish]

I love the combo of dried flowers, feathers, and silk eucalyptus leaves.  The purple is an unexpected but beautiful color choice!

What’s your favorite season?  Is your wedding drawing inspiration from it?

Jessica and Steve got married in the beautiful Kirkpatrick Chapel, on the grounds of Rutgers, in New Brunswick, NJ.  They wanted a secular interpretation of a traditional Christian ceremony, so I worked with them to personalize a few elements and really make the ceremony feel like them (like a few mentions of their cats and the story of their engagement).

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They used one of my suggested vows, which I just love, and did them “repeat after me style,” where I broke them into chunks, and they repeated them – no memorization, and no little piece of paper to hold – they could just look at each other.

I, Steve, take you, Jessica, to be my wife, my friend, my love, and my lifelong companion.  I promise to treat you with respect, love, and loyalty, through all the trials and tribulations of our lives together.  This commitment is made in love, kept in faith, lived in hope, and eternally made new.

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They also had a reading, a version of 1st Corinithians 13 that I particularly liked:

Love is patient and love is kind.  It is not jealous or conceited or proud.  Love is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable.  Love does not keep a record of wrongs.  Love is not happy with evil but is happy with the truth.  Love never gives up – and its faith, hope, and patience never fail.  Love is eternal.

Meanwhile, the three remain: faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is love.

We also included a brief ring blessing, as well as a final blessing, during the closing remarks.

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I loved that Jessica had her bridesmaids choose any blue dress to wear, and I think the results were beautiful!  The chapel is across the street from the train station, and Jessica was hoping a train would come by and toot their horn during the ceremony!  Alas, it was the only disappointment she had that day, as no train came by during the ceremony, so it was completely silent (which any other bride would have thought was fabulous)!

Jess and Steve, many thanks for sharing your wedding with me.  And congratulations again!

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(All pictures courtesy of Donald Yeager)

Blogging is going to be light through the end of August, but there are big changes going on over here at Eclectic Unions, and one of them is kicking my blogging into gear in September!  So please don’t mind the next few weeks light posting!

My wedding is slowly approaching (October 2010!), and while Dan and I were vacationing at the Jersey Shore last weekend, the awesome Sarah Schulte came down to take our engagement photos!  As I’ve mentioned, I contacted Sarah to discuss my wedding photography earlier this year… and then she asked me to officiate at her wedding, this past July!

She just posted some teaser photos on her blog, and I love them.  Who knew Dan and I were so cute?

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(Blumbriel is our made up last name combo – Blum + Gabriel)

This is Dyana & Vinnie last year, on August 8.

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And here are Dyana & Vinnie, this year, on August 8!

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I was lucky enough to perform the wedding of Dyana and Vinnie last August, literally on the sidewalks of Hoboken, at sunset.  It was an amazing, sweet, and intimate wedding, with only a few family and friends there to witness it.  We did a sand ceremony, with their son, a little more than a month old at the time of the wedding, symbolically pouring the final layer to show that he had completed their family.

And this year, a year to the day of their wedding, we gathered together again, this time with more family and friends, and celebrating Dyana & Vinnie’s commitment and marriage on the beach!

They brought the vessel of sand from their wedding last year, and we poured new layers, to symbolize their first year of marriage.  Their son, now a little more than a year old, symbolically poured the final layer, this time a mixture of white sand and sand from the beach!

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At the end of the ceremony, EVERYONE gathered retreated to the ocean, to throw a stone into the water, and make a wish for Dyana & Vinnie’s marriage and life together.  It was oddly easy to wrangle 140 people down to the water, and it was a beautiful moment!

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Since Dyana and Vinnie did not exchange rings in this ceremony, I read “The Blessings of the Hands,” which we had read last year and combined with the ring vows.  It provided a nice ritual to use the bride and groom’s hands since they were not exchanging rings, and was nice to include as an echo of the year before’s ceremony.

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Dyana and Vinnie, it was awesome to be a part of your wedding AGAIN!

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On their first date, Rachel and Stephen went on a short hike, in Jockey Hollow State Park in Morristown.  So it was only appropriate that they would take the walk together again, this time with a couple of friends and a Celebrant in tow, to make their wedding vows on a beautiful green overlook on a humid August day.

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It was a very simple wedding ceremony, with just two witnesses, the friends who had introduced them.  What stuck out for me most of all was their choice of ring vows:

I give to you my love, my friendship, my life. This ring is a symbol of our eternal love for one another.  I promise you that from this day forward you shall not walk alone.

As they had literally just walked the path to this moment together, it was incredibly appropriate and beautiful to include.

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So, barefoot in the woods, Rachel and Stephen made promises to each other, and share their first kiss as husband and wife (along with their dog, Bandit, who had also made an appearance on their first date!).

Congratulations, Rachel & Stephen!  Thank you for letting me share this amazing moment in your lives with you.  I know you will continue to walk your path, together.

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