Mike, Matt and Cindy share a laugh at words offered during their wedding in Salem. Photo: Margaret Singer Photography
and Matt’s brother searched and searched for the funny and perfect poem he adapted from “The Promise,” by Eileen Rafter, ending with: “’Do you think then, my love, we should marry - do you?’/’Yes, (he) said smiling, ‘I do.’’” The groundbreaking “Goodridge” decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Court is a favorite reading at same-sex weddings all over the country, but it took on even more significance at Becca and Teresa’s wedding when Becca’s grandmother opened the ceremony with it as an invocation. It was fantastic! There is so much honesty and integrity in this passage; for more focus and personalization, you can select the parts of it that speak to your own marriage and the journey to this big day for both of you. Simply have your reader introduce it as “excerpts from…” to be accurate.
Musical Choices When is a reading not a reading? When it’s a song! A vocal piece, classical or contemporary, can be an unforgettable part of your wedding. A beloved friend or family member with a beautiful voice would most likely be honored to perform for you. Do ask respectfully, rather than assume. Lyrics make wonderful spoken readings too – I have quoted Alicia Keyes, Nora Jones, Andrea Bocelli, and Hoagy Carmichael in ceremonies. It can be a nice connection to the processional song, or even a “teaser” for your first dance later!
And don’t overlook the possibility of doing a reading yourselves in the ceremony! One couple chose to offer “A Prayer for Friends” by Michael Leunig to their guests at the end of the ceremony, as their first words as husband and husband, thanking their friends and family for all their support.
Weave It All Together
There is a psychological order to ritual, which you and your officiant can use as a guide in placing your readings throughout your ceremony. Words about your history, passages that reflect your backgrounds, or poems read by your families all might come early in the ceremony, as they reference where you each have “come from.” As the focus shifts to your relationship together, more romantic readings about love and commitment help provide context for your own vows and promises. And blessings and wisdom about marriage are ideal at the end, sending you on your newly-married way! Favorite passages can also be woven throughout the ceremony, quoted in the words your officiant says for you, or incorporated into promise vows or ring vows, or be read as prayers or invocations. Your ceremony can be very much a reflection of your love, and your creative and thoughtful choice of passages that reflect your values will truly make your wedding your own. Cindy Matchett is a Celebrant licensed by the state of Massachusetts. She helps couples of all faiths and walks of life design personal and spiritual ceremonies to mark the major passages of their lives. For more information about Cindy and her ceremonies, visit her website at www.meaningfulweddings.com.
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