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!