On a beautiful summer day some years ago, I officiated a vow renewal for a couple who had mentioned to me that they wanted this vow renewal as they had just gone through one of those “very rough patches” that almost ended their marriage. As part of their renewed vows and renewed deep contemplation on the meaning of their unique marriage, they asked me to read this. I do not know the author. It sure touched me and brought about further contemplation. It may also touch you!
“You can connect from all kinds of places – energetic harmony, sexual alchemy, intellectual alignment – but they won’t sustain love over a lifetime. You need a thread that goes deeper, that moves below and beyond the shifting sands of compatibility. That thread is fascination – a genuine fascination with someone’s inner world, the way they organize reality, the way they articulate their feelings, the unfathomable and bottomless depths of their being. To hear their beingness cry out to you again and again, and to never lose interest in what it is trying to convey. If there is that, then there will still be love when the body sickens, when the sexuality fades, when the perfection projection is long shattered. If there is that, you will swim in love’s waters until the very last breath.
Your wedding is just that….yours! Let it reflect who you are as a couple, honoring your beliefs, vision of marriage and cultural traditions.
I, as the wedding officiant, can’t help but smile and feel deeply honored to be a part of a couple’s special day when they express how precious each is to the other, just the two of them, or in the presence of all their wonderful loving family and friends.
In creating with each couple their ceremony, I find it important to express how individual and unique their wedding ceremony can be while still holding to much of the traditional ceremony style, or doing one’s “own thing” completely.
One of the first inquiries I offer is to reflect upon all the weddings they have witnessed. What have they liked, not liked. What have they inwardly or outwardly expressed, “Never at my wedding!”, or “Oh, I would want that too!”
Santa Fe is called the “city different”; so feel free when you get married here to have the “wedding different” in any degree that suits you. A nice blend of traditional and “different” is how we add the “personal” aspects in. I always offer ideas of what I have seen that to me works so well and is received well by the guests. Then we expand on this to honor your heartfelt wishes.
Another inquiry that I offer the couple is to think about and consider what, if anything, they also want to celebrate as part of their ceremony that we can include. Is family very important to honor, their parents, their children? Perhaps honoring and celebrating the joining of two families? If either or both have younger children, do they want to express, either themselves or through me, the ideal of the newly formed family and their “intentions” as the other being a new parent, guide, or the truly caring adult friend?
Most times at a larger wedding many guests do not truly know one of the “about to be married” partners. I offer suggestions of how to add into the ceremony personal sentiments of who each is – some wonderful images to get to know each individually and as a couple.
And, when just the two of you, a loving gesture is to include ways to express “well wishes” from family and friends not there, and yet, now here in spirit!
Many of us have imaged so much being brought into the presence of one who we can truly love, cherish and honor, and they us, and with whom we are willing to do the sincere creating of a loving and harmonious life together. And many have imagined so much the celebration of what we call “marriage”, expressing our joy of having the “other” in our life, and expressing in heartfelt sincere words our commitment and what this means to us. So, in my way of thinking and my witnessing over so many years now, it is lovingly beautiful and well worth all the contemplation and creative effort to personalize your wedding ceremony to be perfect for you both in meaning and belief. And a pure joy it is to serve in this way!
In Santa Fe we do have some lovely public parks that can be perfect for your intimate ceremony. All you need are two witnesses, and you may find them there. We just show up! We also have some galleries that will allow me to meet the couple for an intimate wedding. We still carefully create your personal ceremony, and I am happy to take photos for you with your camera or recommend a photographer who can also be a witness.
Hotel Santa Fe now offers this lovely venue where your wedding can have the luxury of the inside and outside. There is a fireplace and the iconic teepee on the other side of the lawn. This is a wonderful location for a medium size wedding. Their guest rooms are pleasant with Native American accents. This intimate hotel offers all you need for a lovely Santa Fe wedding and is close to the downtown plaza.
One of the newer and larger indoor wedding venues, here in Santa Fe NM, is the wedding chapel at the Eldorado Hotel, in downtown Santa Fe, on our historic San Francisco Street. With white marble floors, white seating and straight architectural lines, creating a contemporary feel, is this golden wooden carved altar bringing in a historical old antiquity feel. The recessed lighting can change in color to add any “hue” one desires. “Starkness” blended with “Ornateness” was my first impression and a good one! I have officiated weddings here at Christmas, with red poinsettias gracing the altar, and weddings, like the photo, where the white ambiance is accented with white lilies and a hint of lavender hue.
Next to the chapel is an elegant large dressing room with full length mirrors and makeup counters. You will really feel like a queen and king on your special day!
David Stone, one of Santa Fe’s “best” with wedding co-ordinating, is the sales and catering manager who will make sure your day is perfect! Having worked with him as the wedding officiant/minister for many years, I can promise you this.
I have also noticed, when officiating weddings in this lovely chapel, that the acoustics for myself, as the minister, and the music are very good. The lifted altar makes for perfect visibility of your “beautiful happy selves” and your wedding party for all your guests – no matter if seated far or near.
A beautiful contemporary ballroom is close by for your reception with cocktail hour in the adjacent newly decorated lobby.
This is one of the most profound excerpts on marriage that was given to me to speak at a wedding. I wish I knew who to credit as authorship.
The act of marriage has many consequences, both social and personal. Marriage requires “love”, a word we often use with vagueness and sentimentality. We may assume that love is some rare and mystical event, when in fact it is our natural state of being.
So what do we mean by love? When we love, we see things other people do not see. We see beneath the surface, to the qualities which make our beloved special and unique. To see with loving eyes, is to know inner beauty. And to be loved is to be seen, and known, as we are known to no other. One who loves us, gives us a unique gift; a piece of ourselves, but a piece that only they could give us.
The secret of love and marriage is similar to that of Spirituality itself. It is the emergence of the larger self. It is the finding of one’s life by losing it. Such is the privilege of husband and wife ; to be each himself, herself and yet another, to face the world strong, with the courage of two.
To make this relationship work, therefore, takes more than love. It takes trust, to know in your hearts that you want only the best for each other. It takes dedication, to stay open to one another, to learn and grow, even when it is difficult to do so. And it takes faith; to go forward together without knowing what the future holds for you both. While love is our natural state of being, these other qualities are not as easy to come by. They are not a destination, but a journey.
The true art of married life is in this; an inner journey. It is a mutual enrichment, a give and take between two personalities, a mingling of two endowments, which diminishes neither, but enhances both.