Part of me cringes at this very New-Age-y attempt to re-define things.
Another part of me is loath to enter into what is popularly known as marriage.
I have many problems with the concept of marriage, some of which have to deal with antiquated ideals of “to serve and obey”1, some of which have to do with lack of participation in a formalized religion, some of which involves insubordination towards the conflict between state and church regarding marriage versus civil unions (especially with regards to alternately gendered persons), and mostly because: “it’s my life, why am I using a cookie cutter ceremony to deal with it?”.
I also really don’t want to deal with the connotations inherent in the use of “marriage”. In my eyes, it would be a ceremony within which I would affirm, in front of witnesses, both metaphysical and real0, my intent.
Namely, to honor and to cherish, to support and to succor, through thick and thin, till life2 do us part.
My ideal ceremony might run something along these lines:
Setting: Within a grove of trees
The officiator (O) stands in front of an altar. There are four witnesses, standing two to the right and two to the left of the altar. I and my betrothed walk together to the altar.
We light incense and stand them in a basin of sand. I pour a glass of wine out on the ground whilst my betrothed scatters seed/bread crumbs.
Officiator asks some version of: “Kyr, do you take X as your husband, to love and to cherish…etc etc”
Officiator asks the same of Y.
–*– we might or might not exchange self-written vows here –*–
Officiator: I pronounce you man and wife.
Witnesses sign, we sign the documents, etc.
We walk to where the celebration held as either a potluck or catered affair in the park begins.
I really don’t want to consider if there must be more people watching. In my opinion, the actual ceremony with all its trappings is my business and the only people who really have a right to be there would be me, my betrothed, our witnesses and the officiators. If the witnesses happens to not be my parents and his, then the parents would also be there. But I really do draw the line at (at most!) 20 people for each of us. Hopefully enough of our friends overlap that we only have at most 35 people watching.
To be honest, I don’t necessarily want spouses of friends watching, unless we know them very well also. If they want to be hurt, then that’s their prerogative. Considering that I’m not going to be inviting anyone except for my most immediate family to view the ceremony — if they want to be hurt, they can just suck it up. The idea of having something like 250+ people watching just gives me the heebie jeebies, to be honest. Sure, it’s nice to have that many friends — if you really do have that many friends. However, psychology says that you really can’t have deep, meaningful relationships with more than a certain number of people because at a certain point, your brain just can’t keep up.
I think what is most likely to happen is that there will be a ceremony proper somewhere secluded with lots of trees, and then multiple large parties over the course of the next few months to let people know.
Ultimately, I want something formal to affirm our intent, but the bulk of the celebrations would be something to share with friends. I would love to get blessings from my parents and friends and share with them my affirmation. I would also love to share the magic and joy that can come from such a ceremony.
When I went to my first wedding this past summer, I was incredibly touched; both because she invited us to share in her joy and that I was given the chance to give her my good wishes. I want nothing less for my own.
0. I have some ideas regarding intent and magic and spirituality that affects how my ceremony would likely pan out. That would mostly be for another post though.
1. This mostly shows up in religion-based ceremonies, according to preliminary Google-Fu. However, it’s not a “necessary” part to any vow.
2. No, that was not a typo. I do not believe in shackling myself down to “till death do us part” because sometimes life happens to you and you might fall out of love or into a variation of love or something else. This is not to imply that the vows are any less sacred or serious.