Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Non-Cheesy, Non-Trite Wedding Poems

My friend, Brent, left a message on my voicemail this morning, pontificating about the name-changing dilemma. Apparently he doesn't read this blog, or else he would not have recapped the same dilemmas I already delineated. That's really okay; I don't think any of us should read wedding blogs on a daily basis!

Anyway, his rambling about two people coming together to start a life together, reminded me of the amazing Alice Walker poem my friend, Laura, read at our wedding:

Beyond What
Alice Walker


We reach for destinies beyond
what we have come to know
and in the romantic hush
of promises
perceive each
the other's life
as known mystery.
Shared. But inviolate.
No melting. No squeezing
into One.
We swing our eyes around
as well as side to side
to see the world.

To choose, renounce,
this, or that --
call it a council between equals
call it love.


She went on to say:

"I love this poem for the way it departs from one convention of weddings. There is a moment in most ceremonies that leaves me a little mournful: the one when it's pronounced that two amazing individuals, each of whom I love separately, have become One. It makes it seem as if love's ultimate effect is to reduce by half the number of wonderful people in the world, and I'm pretty sure that we can't spare them. I prefer to think of it as a pooling of resources; a collaboration that will allow each of you to better reach for destinies beyond what we have come to know.

Today, in my mind, rather than melting, rather than squeezing into one, your vow is to forever amplify one another's unique capacity to live well, to engender beauty, to nurture justice, to generate love. Thinking of it this way allows me to celebrate without reserve this most inspiring and joyful council between equals. My wish is that the destinies for which you together reach will enrich your own lives and spirits and immensely as they already do ours, you beautiful two."
-----------------------
Ah, I get teary-eyed re-reading her words. What a powerful message. The most amazing part is that Matt and I had no idea what she was going to say (or what any of our five speakers were going to say, for that matter). Here's what we told them:

"We were wondering if you would be willing to speak for two minutes during our wedding ceremony. Matt and I want to have five of our favorite friends and family members say something (it's kind of like a Quaker wedding, except that we're limiting the number of people and we're asking you in advance).

There are very few parameters involved. You could read a poem or a book excerpt, tell a story about Matt and me, give wedding advice, talk metaphorically, pontificate about love..kind of like a toast.

You could even go under two minutes if you want (and perhaps a little over two minutes if someone else wants to go under; we'll have to see how it goes).

I want you to feel free to say no if you'd rather not speak. If it makes you anxious, you'll dread the wedding, and that would not be a good thing.

Let me know what you think (and if the answer is yes, let me know if you want less than two minutes).

Hoping you feel more honored than annoyed,

s."





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3 comments:

Meg said...

"It makes it seem as if love's ultimate effect is to reduce by half the number of wonderful people in the world, and I'm pretty sure that we can't spare them. I prefer to think of it as a pooling of resources; a collaboration that will allow each of you to better reach for destinies beyond what we have come to know."

Mmmmmm hummmmm. Exactly why I dislike the unity candle so much. I'm with you all the way.

Michele said...

In a much less literary way, this is why we chose the Indigo Girls song Power of Two as our wedding dance. Multiply life by the power of two- you not only keep your oneness but you experience more life (and hopefully contribute more to it) than you would have otherwise.

kerstin said...

that is absolutely beautiful! i love the poem, as well as your friend's words. lovely idea.

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