Having grown up with a devoutly religious mother, the wedding scenes I imagined as a child were all inside the church I visited every Sunday. As my identity developed in my 20s, my relationship with that church evolved and I no longer felt compelled to get married in it. I moved away and was exposed to more belief systems as a result. I remember taking the “Belief-o-matic” quiz and reading a lot on ReligiousTolerance.org during that period and was surprised by some of what I learned. Meanwhile, Mr. Mink grew up going to church occasionally, but didn’t feel a connection to a particular sect as an adult.
When we started to talk about finding an officiant for our wedding, Mr. Mink suggested a friend of his who got ordained online a while back. At the time, I didn’t know the friend very well and the idea wasn’t all that appealing. I was much more hopeful that a wonderful neighbor who was serving as an interim pastor for a church in town would be part of our day.
We met Patricia and her husband at our little neighborhood’s dog park, where Junior Mink and their dogs liked to romp a little bit after work and on weekend mornings. We became Facebook friends and I realized that we had similar feelings about many issues, from the spiritual to the philosophical, through articles she shared.
When I asked Patricia if she’d be our officiant, I felt that same “I like you, do you like me, too?” moment that I had when I asked my bridesmaids to be in our wedding party.
Over breakfast at our favorite diner a few weeks later, we told Patricia more about our relationship than had been conveyed during our dog park meetings. She told us that she’s open to deeply religious vows, secular vows, or vows that fell somewhere in between. She also brought us pre-marriage inventory booklets that were meant for couples who have lived together for a period before marriage. I assumed that meant some of the very basic questions that are found on some other assessments weren’t included and they weren’t.
That afternoon, we took our quizzes and compared answers. We were in agreement on virtually every question in the inventory. When we didn’t agree, we often interpreted the questions differently. As is the intention of these tools, taking the quiz facilitated some deeper discussions around issues where we were in agreement. When we were done, Mr. Mink said “this was fun!” I think the people who created the inventory would be proud.
Now we have to go through the two books of vows that Patricia gave us and make some decisions about ceremony length and content. Do we want readings? How many? What sources should we use? Should we write our own vows or use some that are traditional? I think I have a lot of reading to do!
How did you decide on the details of your ceremony, assuming you had some say in its content?