At some point, Mama Wallaby became a little critical that Mr. W and I hadn’t planned out our ceremony. Fair enough—we’d spent plenty of time talking escort cards, ice cream trucks, and reception playlists, but we hadn’t put onto paper any concrete ideas about how our ceremony would be conducted. So while Mama Wallaby was in town for a quick surprise visit in September, Mr. W and I sat down with her and his parents to discuss the ceremony deets.
Most of our ceremony would follow Protestant wedding tradition, but we planned to add a few Persian twists. Here’s the order we agreed to and presented to our officiant for his review:
The hardest part was choosing meaningful passages and poems for a few of our loved ones to read during the ceremony. We decided to ask our officiant for some ideas of appropriate Biblical passages. Here were some of my favorite non-religious readings:
I don’t love you as if you were the salt-rose, topaz or arrow of carnations that propagate fire: I love you as certain dark things are loved, secretly, between the shadow and the soul. I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom, and carries hidden within itself the light of those flowers, and thanks to your love, darkly in my body lives the dense fragrance that rises from the earth. I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where, I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I know no other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you; so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep it is your eyes that close.
- Pablo Neruda, Sonnet XVII
I am your moon
and your moonlight too
I am your flower garden
and your water too
I have come all this way
eager for you
without shoes or shawl
I want you to laugh
to dispel all your worries
to love you
to nourish you
Oh sweet bitterness
I will soothe you and heal you
I will bring you roses
I too have been covered with thorns.
The springtime of Lovers has come,
that this dust bowl may become a garden;
the proclamation of heaven has come,
that the bird of the soul may rise in flight.
The sea becomes full of pearls,
the salt marsh becomes sweet as spring rain,
the stone becomes a diamond from the mine,
the body becomes wholly soul.
How long will you keep pounding on an open door
Begging for someone to open it
In Love no longer “thou” and “I” exist,
For Self has passed away in the Beloved.
Your hope in my heart is the rarest treasure
Your Name on my tongue is the sweetest word
My choicest hours Are the hours I spend with You
…One autumn night, five years before, they had been walking down the street when the leaves were falling, and they came to a place where there were no trees and the sidewalk was white with moonlight. They stopped here and turned toward each other. Now it was a cool night with that mysterious excitement in it which comes at the two changes of the year. The quiet lights in the houses were humming out into the darkness and there was a stir and bustle among the stars. Out of the corner of his eye Gatsby saw that the blocks of the sidewalks really formed a ladder and mounted to a secret place above the trees—he could climb to it, if he climbed alone, and once there he could suck on the pap of life, gulp down the incomparable milk of wonder.
His heart beat faster and faster as Daisy’s white face came up to his own. He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God. So he waited, listening for a moment longer to the tuning-fork that had been struck upon a star. Then he kissed her. At his lips’ touch she blossomed for him like a flower and the incarnation was complete.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
Have you planned out your ceremony? How did you and your significant other choose readings?