For every human being there rises a light that reaches straight to the heavens. When two souls who are destined for each other find one another, their streams of light flow together and a single, brighter light goes forth from their united being.
Ingrid and Elan were married at the Astoria World Manor in the beginning of December. I worked closely with them to incorporate many different rituals and traditions within their ceremony – as Ingrid put it, a mixture of the traditional and the new.
We included a unity candle ceremony, but with a twist – while a friend of the couple performed Shawn Colvin’s “When You Know,” I walked to the back of the chapel, and lit the candles of a guest on each side. The guests passed the light up to the front of the room, until it reached the mothers. The mothers came up and lit the individual tapers, that the bride and groom used those candles to light the central votive. It was a beautiful and very physical demonstration of the love and support that the room was literally filled with.
From our first correspondence, Ingrid and Elan were adamant about including a feet washing ritual in their ceremony. They told me they had both decided it was the one thing they wanted to include in the ceremony, independent of each other. I did a lot of research and prep to find a way to make this ritual egalitarian and about the ideals that Ingrid and Elan wanted to develop and keep important in their relationship. This foot washing ritual was placed at the end of their wedding ceremony, just before the final reading and closing remarks.
Our couple’s relationship has been built upon their friendship, their open discourse and trade of knowledge, and their respect for one another. To touch someone’s feet is a sign of respect – it is a way to say “I respect your knowledge, and look to you for guidance.”
Ingrid and Elan will now take part in a foot washing ritual. The root of this rite is an act of love – to physically and symbolically wash the feet of their partner. It is a purification, and cleansing of negative karma, obstructions, and the past – a way for our couple to have a new beginning with each other today. And it is also a sign of humility – a sign that they will serve each other, and be open to their partner’s kindness in return – a sign that they will care for each other, and be cared for by the other. Just like a marriage, it is a flowing give and take of love and respect.
After the explanation, I performed a reading while they gently removed their shoes, and showed their devotion and their commitment to each other and to a life of service and love and caring for each other by washing their feet with wet cloths, and then dried them.
We also had the traditional Jewish stepping on the glass at the end (but they both stepped on glasses, instead of just the groom!), and had some wonderful readings from the bridal party.
This was one of my final ceremonies for 2009, and was a wonderful way to end the year. The devotion and love and respect that Ingrid and Elan had for each other was really inspiring, and I did my best to capture it in their ceremony. Congratulations again!
Hello blog readers!
I just wanted to throw up a post to say hi, and let you know of some exciting blog posts, coming your way by the end of December:
- A beautiful at home wedding, including some fun Italian rituals, that the couple put together in two weeks!
- A wedding ceremony that included a candle lighting ceremony, a foot washing, and was grounded in light, service, and the couple’s open discourse and pursuit of knowledge.
- A breakdown of Eclectic Union’s first full year of weddings! And a sneak peek at what is going on for 2010!
- Delicious photos of the cake served at Dan and my engagement party last weekend 🙂
- Information on the charities I gave back to this year, thanks to my couples.
So you’ve got lots to look forward to! I’m taking a brief vacation this weekend, but should be back in action early next week. I hope your holidays and wedding plans are going well!
Nicole and Sinan were married at the Warwick, in Philadelphia, PA in mid-October. Nicole found me through Weddingbee, and I was more than happy to make the trip down to Philly for her wedding ceremony. Nicole is American and Jewish, and Sinan is Turkish and Muslim, so I worked with them to create a multi-cultural ceremony with a few elements that reflected each of their backgrounds – combined with their incredibly Love Story and lots of laughter.
A few days before the wedding, Nicole emailed me and said that there was a Turkish tradition they wanted to include – the bestowing of jewelry on the bride! Just after being declared husband and wife, the groom’s family were invited up to the chuppah, where they SHOWERED Nicole in beautiful jewelry (gold is traditional). Necklaces, rings, bracelets, and earrings were presented from her new in-laws. It was a wonderful way to show their happiness and excitement to welcome Nicole into their family!
Click to see bigger!
The couple was married under a chuppah, the Jewish wedding canopy, and this was the explanation I gave:
Our bride and groom stand under the Jewish marriage canopy, the chuppah. This represents the home that they will create and share in their married life. Just as Sinan and Nicole are opening their hearts to each other today, so are the sides of the chuppah open, to let in the love of their beloved guests today. So will their home always be open to all of you. The heart of every home is the family the resides within – today, our couple will become each other’s family.
We included two other Jewish elements – the breaking of the glass at the end, and bestowing the couple with (non-religious) seven blessings at the end of the ceremony. The Seven Blessings are a favorite of mine to include in an interfaith or non-religious wedding with Jewish elements, because, though the ones I have written capture the ideas of the original Seven Blessings, they are much more about seven ideals or thoughts that I hope my couples keep in their marriage together. They don’t mention God, or a higher diety, but are still a nice Jewish touchstone to include in the ceremony – and a wonderful way to conclude it as well!
Dan and I had so much fun with our mini-road trip down to Philadelphia, and I was so happy that I got to meet Nicole and Sinan (one of the rare times I don’t meet the bride and the groom prior to the wedding!) and be a part of their incredible day. Congratulations again!