Wedding, Part 9: Ceremony

Benedictio May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing views. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles and poets’ towers into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkeys howl, through miasmal and mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottoes of endless stone, and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs, where deer walk across white sand beaches, where storms come and go as lightning clangs upon the high crags, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you—beyond that next turning of the canyon walls. -Ed Abbey

F and I wrote our ceremony and vows together. We used traditional Christian wedding ceremonies (specifically the one from The Common Book of Prayer) as a basis for writing the ceremony but made it completely our own. We decided to ask Jason to be our officiant. This ended up being a great choice. Jason played the role well not only during the ceremony but in the lead up to the wedding as we spoke on the phone a couple of times about the ceremony and when he would call to jokingly ask us if we were nervous yet. F and I both felt really great that we had someone who knew us and what we wanted (and didn’t want) from our ceremony.

I love my puppy watching me intently (Amanda Summerlin)

After we finished with our portraits, it was ceremony time. We walked into the house and   directed people out to the ceremony site. The last person we found in the house was Chris who helpfully handed us his full can of Johnny’s American IPA*. We shared the beer and joked with Jason as we waited for everyone to settle in. This quiet moment, with some awesome levity added by the addition of the beer, was really very nice.

Once it was time to start, Jason walked in, followed by F. To the opening strains of Zac Brown’s Free I started my walk down the aisle. I remember looking at everyone looking at me the moment I walked out the door, but after that? I was just looking at F and grinning. I hardly remember getting down the aisle.

It’s hard work being so handsome. (Amanda Summerlin)

I hardly remember the start of the ceremony. Things started to slow down a bit for me when Stacia stepped forward to read Benedictio from Ed Abbey’s Earth Apples; I tried to hold onto each phrase and savor it but as she read the final phrase, “where something more strange and beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams awaits you—beyond that next turn of the canyon walls” I felt the first tears prick at my eyes. Next, Sandi, F cousin, read Walt Whitman’s “Song of the Open Road.” The poem states so much so perfectly for F and I.

Jason spoke briefly about how he met F and how he’d watched F and I grow together.

Then it was time for our vows. Although teary, I mostly made it through the vows with a fairly steady voice. When I got to the last phrase (the one I could never read at home without tearing up) my voice broke. I’m not sure how much anyone could understand me, but F’s reading of it was nice and clear.

Vows. (Amanda Summerlin)

After we finished our vows, Jason tried to jump right to pronouncing us man and wife while F was still trying to get my ring out of his pocket. I’m pretty sure I interjected, “Hey!” and I remember at least a few other people (probably F and my mom) jumping in as well. We all laughed and moved back in to the ceremony.

(Amanda Summerlin)
(Amanda Summerlin)

After Jason (finally) got to pronounce us husband and wife and our kiss, rather than recessing, we invited everyone to the front to take a group shot. Following the group shot, we asked everyone to take their chairs over to the dinner table (just around the corner of the house), and broke out the wine, champagne, and beer.

(Amanda Summerlin)

Song of The Open Road by Walt Whitman

Allons! the road is before us!
It is safe—I have tried it—my own feet have tried it well—be not detain’d!
Let the paper remain on the desk unwritten, and the book on the shelf unopen’d!Let the tools remain in the workshop! let the money remain unearn’d!
Let the school stand! mind not the cry of the teacher!
Let the preacher preach in his pulpit! let the lawyer plead in the court, and the judge expound the law.

Camerado, I give you my hand!
I give you my love more precious than money,
I give you myself before preaching or law;
Will you give me yourself? will you come travel with me?
Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?




*Turns out, the Moab brewery unexpectedly has developed a pretty yummy session IPA.


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