Heartfelt #12

Sent to me from one of my honeymooning couples—this is the heart that helped me know I had made the right choice!

I love you
because the Earth turns round the sun
because the North wind blows north . . .
because only my love for you
despite the charms of gravity
keeps me from falling off this Earth
into another dimension
I love you
because it is the natural order of things

—-Nikki Giovanni

Heartfelt #11

And now I look for hearts at every wedding I officiate!

Translated, heart suggests a familiar, universal
device but internal chemistries vary—
though components be the same & not uncommon.

–Rangi McNeil

And I find them everywhere!


Heartfelt #10

My couples have generously embraced the heart!

Tonight I lingered over your name,
the delicate assembly of vowels
a voice inside my head.

—Naomi Shihab Nye

Heartfelt #9

A night of brainstorming with girlfriends birthed the name “Spoken Heart Ceremonies” —-I realized, I had to embrace the heart!

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though I have closed myself as fingers
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring comes
(touch skillfully, mysteriously)her first rose

–e.e. cummings

One of my friend’s helped me work it into my logo!

Heartfelt #8

A gift from my husband.

Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, And therefore is wing’d cupid painted blind.  –William Shakespeare

Heartfelt #7

From Oaxaca, Mexico—on a trip with my sister. By this point, I’ve accepted that however cliche, hearts are part of my life.

Love is the art of endless forgiveness, a tender look which becomes a habit.

—Peter Ustinov

Heartfelt #6

Love, it is said, is blind, but love is not blind. It is an extra eye which shows us what is most worthy of regard. —J.M. Barrie

I found this piece while traveling with my husband . . . and fell in love with it!

I think it was the first piece we bought together, but I had another heart on my own.  Once I had two….  the collection began!












Unique Wedding Ceremony Ritual

I tell my couples:  if you have an idea, we can work together to come up with something totally unique.  We often think of ritual as something that’s been done before, but ritual is more about connecting symbol and metaphor and meaning in our lives.  Ceremony is a way of telling a story about ourselves using symbol.

Here’s an example:  After exchanging vows & rings, this couple created a lasting memento of the day & of their love.


A&S are very fortunate to have a friend who has created an amazing gift for them.  It’s a brand with their initials intertwined together.  It’s been heating in the coals beside us and in a moment, A&S will be pressing the brand to a piece a of wood, to burn their initials into it.

This brand is a reminder of the commitment that they have made to one another.  The forging of this brand wasn’t a simple process; it took time and skill to create.  At some point, it was soft and malleable and shaped into their initials, but now having been cooled, it is strong and enduring.  It is solid and powerful.  It can take the heat.  And in the same way, A&S recognize that love isn’t simple; it takes skill and time to create, but once forged, it is strong and unshakeable.

A&S, you may now create your brand together.


Wedding Reading: Foundations Stones

A lovely selection suggested by one of my couples who met 20 years ago, drifted apart, and then re-connected in a serious way.

Foundations Stones

Here is my past–
what I’ve been proud of,
and what I’ve pushed away.
Today I see how each piece
was needed, not a single
step wasted on the way.

Like a stone wall,
every rock resting
on what came before-
no stone can be
suspended in mid-air.

Foundation laid by every
act and omission,
each decision, even
those the mind would
label “big mistake”.

These things I thought
were sins, these are as
necessary as successes,
each one resting on the
surface of the last, stone
upon stone, the fit
particular, complete,
the rough, uneven
face of these rocks
makes surprising,
satisfying patterns
in the sunlight.


Vows Based on Relationship Science

laughing vows jpgWriting vows can be a real challenge—after all, these are the promises that you are making to the one person whom you never want to hurt.  These are promises you want to keep forever.  No pressure!  I always encourage couples to consider and discuss the vows they want to make, regardless of whether they write their own or borrow from already beautifully written vows.  The important part is that you make promises you can keep and promises that will strengthen your relationship.

Here are 10 vows written by Samantha Joel, each one based on a aspect of relationship science.  If you want to read about the science, you can read the complete article here.

I promise to respect, admire, and appreciate you for who you are, as well as for the person you wish to become.
I promise to support and protect your freedom; because although our lives are intertwined, your choices are still yours alone.
I promise to seek a deep understanding of your wishes, your desires, your fears and your dreams.
I promise to always strive to meet your needs; not out of obligation, but because it delights me to see you happy.
I promise to be there for you when you need me, whenever you need me.
I promise to nurture your goals and ambitions; to support you through misfortune and celebrate your triumphs.
I promise to keep our lives exciting, adventurous, and full of passion.
I promise to persevere when times get tough, knowing that any challenges we might face, we will conquer them together.
I promise to treat you with compassion over fairness, because we are a team, now and for always.
I promise to show you, every day, that I know exactly how lucky I am to have you in my life.

Wedding Reading Wednesday: Marriage Equality

James & Jason's Wedding - 19Looking for a way to express your support for marriage equality?  Consider including Justice Anthony Kennedy’s beautiful words from the landmark Supreme Court decision Obergefell vs. Hodges:

Kennedy writes, “No union is more profound than marriage for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.”

But before this ruling, Judge Margaret Marshall from the State Supreme Judicial Court in Massachusetts wrote another beautiful passage:

“Marriage is a vital social institution. The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support; it brings stability to our society. For  those who choose to marry, and for their children, marriage provides an abundance of legal, financial, and social benefits. In return it imposes weighty legal, financial, and social obligations….Without question, civil marriage enhances the “welfare of the community.” It is a “social institution of the highest importance.” …
Marriage also bestows enormous private and social advantages on those who choose to marry. Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family…. Because it fulfils yearnings for security, safe haven, and  connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution, and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life’s momentous acts of self-definition.”

Deeply meaningful can also be seriously funny!

laughing vows jpgrobotCreating a personalized, deeply meaningful ceremony isn’t all about super serious, heavy poetry.  It’s connecting to what is actually important to you.  For this couple, a huge part of their life together is gaming—everything from board games to Pinballz, this couple loves to play games together.  And let’s face it, there’s not a much better way to bond than to share laughter and good times!  They didn’t want to take every moment of their wedding too seriously—and they wanted to share the laughter.

How’d they do it?  Well, first of all when I approached the venue, the first thing I noticed was the groom and groomsmen all out flying remote helicopters.  This definitely helped keep the nerves at bay!  Their cakes were these amazing cartoon creations that defy description!  But my favorite:  their choice of ring bearer: a robot.  Yes, an actual remote control robot whirred its way down the aisle getting a real laugh from all the family and friends who know this couple’s love of games so well.  This was captured beautifully by Tank Goodness Photography.  You can also see the couple moving from serious to laughing again in the ceremony.laughing groom

Wedding Reading Wednesday: “Love’s Philosophy” by Percy Shelley

By Svetlana Photography

By Svetlana Photography

The fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the ocean,
The winds of heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single,
All things by a law divine
In one another’s being mingle—
Why not I with thine?
See the mountains kiss high heaven,
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdain’d its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth,
And the moonbeams kiss the sea
What are all these kissings worth,
If thou kiss not me?

Wedding Reading Wednesday: I Have Found You

Erin Longfellow Photographer, Katrina Baecht Officiant

By Erin Longfellow

“Looking For Your Face”, by Rumi

“From the beginning of my life I have been looking for your face, but today I have seen it. Today I have seen the charm, the beauty, the unfathomable grace of the face that I was looking for. Today I have found you, and those who laughed and scorned me yesterday are sorry that they were not looking as I did. I am bewildered by the magnificence of your beauty, and wish to see you with a hundred eyes. My heart has burned with passion and has searched forever for this wondrous beauty that I now behold. I am ashamed to call this love human, and afraid of God to call it divine. Your fragrant breath, like the morning breeze, has come to the stillness of the garden. You have breathed new life into me. I have become your sunshine, and also your shadow. My soul is screaming in ecstasy. Every fiber of my being is in love with you. Your effulgence has lit a fire in my heart, and you have made radiant for me the earth and sky. My arrow of love has arrived at the target. I am in the house of mercy, and my heart is a place of prayer.”

Wedding Reading Wednesday: How Much Will You Risk for Love?

Dustin Finklestein Photographer, Katrina Baecht Officiant

By Dustin Finklestein Photography

From “The Irrational Season”, by Madeleine L’Engle

“Ultimately there comes a time when a decision must be made. Ultimately two people who love each other must ask themselves how much they hope for as their love grows and deepens, and how much risk they are willing to take. It is indeed a fearful gamble. Because it is the nature of love to create, a marriage itself is something which has to be created. To marry is the biggest risk in human relations that a person can take. If we commit ourselves to one person for life this is not, as many people think, a rejection of freedom; rather it demands the courage to move into all the risks of freedom, and the risk of love which is permanent; into that love which is not possession, but participation. It takes a lifetime to learn another person. When love is not possession, but participation, then it is part of that co-creation which is our human calling.”

Wedding Reading Wednesday: Gratitude & Joy

“i thank You God for most this amazing”
—by e.e. cummings

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

Wedding Reading Wednesday: The Power of Being There


By Dustin Finkelstein Photography

One of my couples choose a reading by Steven Curtis Chapman, a poem entitled “I will be here” —it reflects their idea that in life they will encounter times good and bad. They know life won’t be picture perfect but they are committed to being there for each other.

If in the morning when you wake,
If the sun does not appear,
I will be here.
If in the dark we lose sight of love,
Hold my hand and have no fear,
I will be here.
I will be here,
When you feel like being quiet,
When you need to speak your mind I will listen.
Through the winning, losing, and trying we’ll be together,
And I will be here.
If in the morning when you wake,
If the future is unclear,
I will be here.
As sure as seasons were made for change,
Our lifetimes were made for years,
I will be here.
I will be here,
And you can cry on my shoulder,
When the mirror tells us we’re older.
I will hold you, to watch you grow in beauty,
And tell you all the things you are to me.
We’ll be together and I will be here.
I will be true to the promises I’ve made,
To you and to the one who gave you to me.
I will be here.

Wedding Reading Wednesday: Inspired by Literature

Timeless love.

Timeless love.

If you are looking to give your wedding a timeless quality—romantic, enduring, thoughtful, finding that perfect passage from literature is a lovely way to do that. In an age where everything lives on the internet, I can’t promise that these aren’t out there, but here are few that are a bit off the beaten path:

From Adam Bede, by George Eliot

 “What greater thing is there for two human souls, than to feel that they are joined for life–to strengthen each other in all labor, to rest on each other in all sorrow, to minister to each other in all pain, to be one with each other in silent unspeakable memories at the moment of the last parting?”

From The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm

 “Love is a decision, it is a judgment, it is a promise. If love were only a feeling, there would be no basis for the promise to love each other forever. A feeling comes and it may go. How can I judge that it will stay forever, when my act does not involve judgment and decision.”

 From To Have or To Be by Erich Fromm 

“Can one have love? If we could, love would need to be a thing, a substance that one can have, own, possess. The truth is, there is no such thing as love. Love is an abstraction, perhaps a goddess or an alien being, although nobody has ever seen this goddess. In reality, there exists only the act of loving. To love is a productive activity. It implies caring, knowing, responding, affirming, enjoying: the person, the tree, the painting, the idea. It means bringing to life, increasing his/her/its aliveness. It is a process, self-renewing and self increasing. . .

To say ‘I have a great love for you’ is meaningless. Love is not a thing that one can have, but a process, an inner activity that one is the subject of, I can love, I can be in Love, but in love I have…. nothing. In fact, the less I have, the more I can love.”