Since the beginning of our engagement I’ve always known that I would like to have a reading from The Little Prince at our wedding ceremony. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a children’s book written by French author and pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupery. I was first introduced to the book as a child when my dad read it to me. I always loved the simple tale about the world of adults and the world of children.
One of my bridesmaids recently gave me the Little Prince popup book, which is so beautiful! I love it so much that I actually bought one for my dad to give him as a thank you gift before the wedding.
Our reader is a dear friend and coworker, the English department chair at our school. She actually played a large role in hiring me at the school where we work, which in turn played a role in me meeting and falling in love with Mr. C! So we actually owe her a pretty large debt of gratitude, and we thought she would be the perfect person to be a reader at our ceremony, especially when she reads in her gentle, eloquent teacher-reader voice.
So remember when I mentioned that sending out the invites last week was a major “it’s gettin’ real” moment? Well, we recently had another one, a MAJOR one, when we edited our ceremony outline. Last summer on our second wedding-planning trip to Montreal, we met with (and ultimately chose) an awesome officiant for our wedding. He spent 40 years traveling all over the world as a Franciscan monk (how cool is that?) and has used that experience to officiate tons of weddings. What we absolutely love about him is that he is very knowledgeable in all faiths and is such a sweet and gentle person.
Image via InspiredBride.net
Both of us are Christian (I’m Catholic, FH is Lutheran) but aren’t practicing, so we didn’t feel the need for an overly religious ceremony. We did, however, want a ceremony that was both spiritual and personal, which is exactly what our officiant offered. When we visited with him for the first time, he walked us through the type of ceremony he typically does—literally walked us through. We left our meeting with a warm and fuzzy feeling—we felt as if he had actually married us!
We met with our first potential JOP earlier this week, and we had a great conversation with him. He was very funny and relaxed, and I really liked him. His fees were a little on the high side, but not that unreasonably so. And I really believe that he would do a great job. I’m just not sure I can justify the cost, especially when we haven’t looked at any other JOPs.
But what I realized very early on in the conversation was how I knew very little about how I wanted the ceremony to go. What should be the most important part of the day is the part that I haven’t really thought it through yet.
Things I know I want to include:
I’m at a total loss. I have no idea what readings I should include in our ceremony and I’ve searched the web one too many times. It’s time to ask for help.
Here’s the goal: two readings, one religious (could be from the Bible or not) and one more unique and atypical. The religious one is proving difficult because a lot of the traditional readings from the Bible do not fit our values (I’m not interested in submissive wife or hetero-focused readings), and the unique reading? Well, that’s proving difficult because I’m being super picky!
I have scoured Offbeat Bride and A Practical Wedding as well as kept up to date with what my fellow bees have included in their ceremonies! I’ve considered the cutesy and simple readings from childhood books, I’ve Googled “unique wedding readings” but seem to find the same things over and over again, and I’ve looked at the classics waiting to get inspired. I guess I’m hoping for that “A-HA” moment, like when I found my dress, but what if it never comes? As a lover of words, poems, and quotes, I really want to be invested in my readings and I want them to be just perfect for Mr. Sword and me. Wow, nothing like putting the pressure on, huh?
I love when couples have readings that are personal to them, like a reading from Dungeons and Dragons…
My plea is this—if you have any readings or poems or whatever and you would be so kind as to pass them on, I would greatly appreciate it! I’m open to reading anything, and I think this is such a diverse group that I’m hoping someone has something I haven’t seen before!
There was no question that Mr. Ball Cap and I would have a traditional Catholic ceremony. We were both raised in the Catholic Church, attended private Catholic grade school, and are active members in our church community.
Father began Mass with the opening prayer:
hear our prayers for Sunhat and Ball Cap
who have come here today
to be united in the sacrament of marriage.
Increase their faith in you and in each other,
and through them bless your Church.
We ask you this through our Lord…Amen
We asked Bridesmaid K’s son (MOB’s godson) to read the Old Testament reading.
I stumbled on this adorable Ogden Nash poem while browsing for ceremony readings:
“I Do, I Will, I Have” – Ogden Nash
How wise I am to have instructed the butler to instruct the first footman
to instruct the second footman to instruct the doorman to order my
I am about to volunteer a definition of marriage.
Mr. Dragon and I settled on each of us picking a reader and a reading for the wedding ceremony. I had a really hard time thinking of someone to choose, though—most of the people I wanted to honour in my life were already going to be standing up in the bridal party and I wanted to share the wealth, but a lot of “my” people at the wedding aren’t big on public speaking. Mr. Dragon has the majority of the guest list, so there weren’t that many of my peeps to choose from, and I wanted to make sure I did a good job of it!
It dawned on me one evening that our buddy Bob would be an excellent choice. He and his girlfriend are probably our closest non-family friends here in town, and he has been jonesing to be a part of the wedding in some way.
Personal photo / Mr. D and Bob geocaching last fall
Bob and I teamed up and tried to get Mr. Dragon to agree to install him as an honourary ring bearer, but he just ignored us so that was a no. If he couldn’t be a “ring bear” as he called it, then maybe he’d be a reader!
Of course he said yes, so I had my reader in place…but there was still the matter of finding a reading. The only “traditional” reading I really like are those verses from Corinthians, and that’s because they’re really sweet without being schmaltzy or overly religious. Still, that didn’t really seem like a Bob kind of thing.
Bob is more of a rock ‘n’ rolling, motorcycle-riding, mountain-hiking kind of dude and I couldn’t really picture him comfortably reading flowery, sugary words. My sister already used two of the better nontraditional readings out there, “I Like You” and “Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog,” so I had to do a bit of digging.
I actually found a response to “Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog,” which I thought was awesome:
Love looks at you with innocent eyes,
And purrs when you pick it up & care for it.
But love can be lazy & eats your lasagna,
Like a certain orange figure with black stripes
And can hurt you if you don’t leave it alone once in a while.
Caring for it, earning its trust takes time and effort.
It’s not going to be like a walk in the park.
Love needs its nails trimmed; to be fed, cared for, and cleaned
(But don’t use a bunch of water or else love will retaliate and that isn’t a pretty sight.)
Love will always be at your side,
No matter what the cause may be,
Love will do everything in its power to serve you in any way possible.
At the end of the day,
Love jumps onto the couch, comforts you, and gives you a sense of peace and stability in a chaotic, uncertain world.
Aren’t you glad that love can do so much for you?
I also loved “The Promise” by Eileen Rafter, though I’m not really into rhyming things.
The sun danced on the snow with a sparkling smile;
As two lovers sat quietly, alone for a while.
Then he turned and said, with a casual air
(though he blushed from his chin to the tips of his hair),
“I think I might like to get married to you.”
“Well then,” she said, “there’s a thought.
But what if we can’t promise to be all that we ought?
Can you promise me, say, that you won’t rage and shout,
If I’m late yet again, when we plan to go out,
For I know I can’t promise I’ll learn to ignore
Dirty socks or damp towels strewn all over the floor.
So if we can’t vow to be all that we should
I’m not sure what to do though the idea’s quite good.”
But he gently smiled and tilted his head
Till his lips met her ear and softly he said
“I promise to weave my dreams into your own,
that wherever you breathe will be my heart’s home.
I promise that, whether with rags or with gold I am blessed,
Your smile is the jewel I will treasure the best.
Do you think then, my love, we should marry—do you?”
“Yes,” she said smiling, “I do.”
I also loved “The Book of Love” by the Magnetic Fields, and I thought Bob would be psyched to say “damn” during a wedding.
The book of love is long and boring
No one can lift the damn thing
It’s full of charts and facts and figures
and instructions for dancing
But I, I love it when you read to me
And you, you can read me anything
The book of love has music in it
In fact that’s where music comes from
Some of it is just transcendental
Some of it is just really dumb
But I, I love it when you sing to me
And you you can sing me anything
The book of love is long and boring
And written very long ago
It’s full of flowers and heart-shaped boxes
And things we’re all too young to know
But I, I love it when you give me things
And you, you ought to give me wedding rings
I, I love it when you give me things
And you, you ought to give me wedding rings
There was an excerpt from Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh that spoke to me.
When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity—in freedom, in the sense that the dancers are free, barely touching as they pass, but partners in the same pattern.
The only real security is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping, even. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what was in nostalgia, nor forward to what it might be in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now. Relationships must be like islands, one must accept them for what they are here and now, within their limits—islands, surrounded and interrupted by the sea, and continually visited and abandoned by the tides.
Then there was “Scientific Romance” by Tim Pratt, which is so far up Mr. Dragon’s alley it’s crazy (though the part about a three-way is probably not wedding appropriate):
If starship travel from our
Earth to some far
star and back again
at velocities approaching the speed
of light made you younger than me
due to the relativistic effects
of time dilation,
I’d show up on your doorstep hoping
you’d developed a thing for older men,
and I’d ask you to show me everything you
learned to pass the time
out there in the endless void
If we were the sole survivors
of a zombie apocalypse
and you were bitten and transformed
into a walking corpse
I wouldn’t even pick up my
I’d just let you take a bite
out of me, because I’d rather be
than alive alone
If I had a time machine, I’d go back
to the days of your youth
to see how you became the someone
I love so much today, and then
I’d return to the moment we first met
just so I could see my own face
when I saw your face
for the first time,
I’d probably travel to the time
when we were a young couple
and try to get a three-way
going. I never understood
why more time travelers don’t do
that sort of thing.
If the alien invaders come
and hover in stern judgment
over our cities, trying to decide
whether to invite us to the Galactic
Federation of Confederated
Galaxies or if instead
a little genocide is called for,
I think our love could be a powerful
argument for the continued preservation
of humanity in general, or at least,
of you and me
If we were captives together
in an alien zoo, I’d try to make
the best of it, cultivate a streak
waggle my eyebrows, and make jokes
about breeding in captivity.
If I became lost in
the multiverse, exploring
infinite parallel dimensions, my
only criterion for settling
down somewhere would be
whether or not I could find you:
and once I did, I’d stay there even
if it was a world ruled by giant spider-
priests, or one where killer
robots won the Civil War, or even
a world where sandwiches
were never invented, because
you’d make it the best
of all possible worlds anyway,
we could get rich
off inventing sandwiches.
If the Singularity comes
and we upload our minds into a vast
computer simulation of near-infinite
complexity and perfect resolution,
and become capable of experiencing any
fantasy, exploring worlds bound only
by our enhanced imaginations,
I’d still spend at least 1021 processing
cycles a month just sitting
on a virtual couch with you,
watching virtual TV,
eating virtual fajitas,
holding virtual hands,
for the real thing.
All of the readings I liked were kind of all over the map, so I decided to let Bob decide—I sent him copies of everything and left the final choice up to him. He has, so far, crossed off “The Promise” because it’s too cutesy, and “Scientific Romance” because it’s too long (even though he really liked it and wanted to say the word three-way). He’s leaning toward “Falling in Love is Like Owning a Cat” or “The Book of Love.” I won’t know, probably, until I finish up our programs and HAVE to know, but I’m happy with any choice!
If someone uses “Scientific Romance” please let me know so I can live vicariously through you!
Did you have readings at your wedding? How did you choose the readers, and what did they read?
Having a self-uniting ceremony means that we have a completely blank slate as far as what we want to include in the ceremony. The only legal requirements for it is that we say the words “I take you as my husband” and “I take you as my wife” to each other in front of two witnesses—our ceremony could literally be those two lines, nothing else, and we’d be married. However, we want something a little more, um, interesting than that.
When starting to shape our ceremony, there was one big glaring problem: self-uniting meant that we didn’t have an officiant. But without an officiant, it would just be me and Mr. Wizard, standing up there all awkward, with readers filtering in and out, also being all awkward. We were afraid that the ceremony would lose its thread and fall apart because there was no one overarching person to pull it all together and keep it moving. I discussed this problem one night with Wizard Aunt, and being the awesome aunt that she is, she said that she’d love to be our master of ceremonies—act as an officiant would, but not actually have any legal part in marrying us. I checked with Mr. Wiz, he agreed, and that was that. Not only is she a good speaker (she does readings at her church all the time and she speaks very clearly and comfortably), but it’s another great way to personalize the ceremony and include our families in the day. Wizard Aunt is my mom’s sister and the closest thing I have to my mom, and she and Mr. Wiz really get along, so having her emcee is perfect.
One night I was chatting with my good friend Z about same-sex marriage. Z is gay. Our conversation got me thinking about my and Mr. Wizard’s upcoming nuptials and how we could best recognize the fact that we, as two people entering into a “privileged” heterosexual marriage, are able to take this very important and life-changing step in our relationship while some of our closest friends and family cannot do the same.
Between Mr. Wizard and me, we have a lot of friends who are gay. Many of those friends will be guests at our wedding. We simply cannot in good faith stand in front of those people we love and say our vows and parade our so-called privilege in front of them, when inside we are asking ourselves, “What ‘privilege’? What have we done that makes us more ‘worthy’ of marriage than them?” We knew that we had to recognize this disgusting disparity in equality in a public way at the wedding, but without causing undue drama and tension on a day that is supposed to be filled with happiness. We want to be respectful to those with different opinions, but we also want to make it known that we respectfully (well, maybe not so respectfully, but that is neither here nor there) disagree.
There have been many, many recent blog posts, articles, and forum threads about different ways that heterosexual couples are recognizing this issue within their ceremonies and/or receptions. Our very own Mrs. Star wrote about it back in the day. Offbeat Bride has a really great post listing 10 ways to show your support for marriage equality at your wedding. It shares many popular ideas like the white knots for marriage equality:
Recognize this guy?
All images and quoted text via Home.Pacific.Net
Back in the somewhat early days of our relationship I had a surgical procedure performed. This procedure took me out of commission for a few days, as I spent most of my time eating pudding and lying on the couch in a painkiller-induced haze. Lucky me, I had the best nurse in the world around to help me recuperate—Mr. Marmalade! One day while in this haze I asked Mr. M to read me a story, and not just any story—I asked him to read my favorite children’s book, The Little Prince. For the record I blame those crazy pain pills for that amazing request. Although I am really happy the “hazy-me” decided to share that story with him, because now there is a book that I pick up from time to time and it reminds me of that sweet moment in our history.
And why am I telling you this? Because our pastor allowed us to include a secular (non-religious) reading in our ceremony, and I know just which one it would be!
After we put down a deposit with our awesome officiant, Robyn Posson, she sent us a ton of sample ceremonies and told us to get to it! OK, so she was much nicer than that and told us to contact her if we had any questions or needed her guidance as we put together our ceremony. Did I mention she is super awesome?
In my excitement, I immediately dove into the samples she sent us. There was a ton of info—and by a ton I’m talking ten Microsoft Word documents that averaged anywhere from 5 to 30 pages. Each document was labeled according to its category. Want to read opening prayers? Or readings? Or maybe ring exchanges? It was all there.
Image via Catherine College
Disclaimer: It was all electronic copies, so no trees were killed in the making of this ceremony. It felt a little like this, though!
The dude was instantly overwhelmed by all of the material, so I did the first sweep and pulled out a few pieces in each category that I thought would reflect us (and more importantly that we would both like).