I love it when brides like Sarah know what the exact appropriate footwear is for getting married in Vermont!
Spiritual (but not religious) weddings in Vermont
I was driving into Burlington with my husband Mark when I got a call from Bridget and Kiefer. They were in town and wanting, for numerous reasons, to get married right away. They’d already picked up their license at City Hall and were just looking for someone who could hitch ‘em up ASAP in City Hall Park (despite the frigid temperatures).
I told them I was already on my way in, and that I could meet them in 20 minutes. Always a fan of Love, Mark hit the gas, and we made it to town in 18 minutes and change.
Bridget and Kiefer were so sweet – like a couple of punky pierced puppies. They’d met when Kiefer rescued Bridget from his roommate who was hitting on her, he said, “Like a jackhammer on a small animal.” And they’d been inseparable every since.
I asked if they wanted an actual ceremony or to have me do a “Poof! You’re married!” sort of thing. They preferred short and sweet, so I asked them if they were sure they wanted to get married – and married to each other. They said absolutely yes. I asked them if they were prepared to stick it out through the hard times, and they said they’d already had plenty of those and yes, they were ready. So I said, “Ok, I pronounce you united in marriage!” They smooched, and the deed was done!
They definitely win my all-time Contact-To-Kiss speed record! I’d have to be hanging out right at City Hall and trolling for couples for a ceremony to happen any faster. I wish I’d had a trophy or t-shirts for them or something…
Meet Mala and Colin. Could they be any cuter? No, there is no possible way they could be. Along with being a totally connected and copaesthetic couple, they are also a spicy transcontinental blend of Indian and Irish, and as such, had themselves a beautiful Indian Fusion wedding.
As a yoga teacher and someone who has admired Indian culture from afar for years, this was a fun opportunity for me to get to participate a little more closely in a (albeit highly condensed) slice of Indian ceremonial life.
The way the ceremony worked is that I started out by welcoming everyone to the event – especially those far-flung relatives of Mala’s who’d travelled all the way from India to be there. Then, Mala’s Aunt, Rajani Singhal, managed to condense what would normally be a 3-day experience down to about 15 minutes. There was fire, there was rice, and there was a significant quantity of cloth binding these two together.
Rajani found a way to preserve the fundamental essence of the ceremony – an honoring of the alchemical blend of love and duty, commitment and bonding, friendship and love which make up any good and successful marriage.
Then I stepped back in and concluded with the traditional Western ring-and-vow portion of the program.
Amy and Bill got married at Grand Summit at Mount Snow in West Dover, VT. I frequently do small gatherings in demure locations, and it was a remarkble contrast. Grand Summit is, well, grand! And impressive! See for yourself:
But the whole thing was hardly stuffy. It was lovely, and Amy and Bill included some remarkably whimsical touches. They had flower petals lining the walkway:
The UVM TopCats singing Kiss The Girl from The Little Mermaid:
Signs indicating Amy’s special status:
And a great deal of jumping and smooching:
Unfortunately, what I can’t show you was the end of the ceremony (I was a little busy). When I originally met with Amy and Bill to talk with them about the ceremony, Amy declared that even though she isn’t Jewish, and it’s hardly usual for a woman, she wanted to stomp on a glass and have everyone shout “Mazel Tov!” just because she thinks it’s a great tradition. I told her that as long as she wore hard-soled shoes, she could stomp on anything she liked. And so she did.
The crowd went wild.
I first met Ellie and Ben back in December when I married them in a small kitchen wedding at their house. Ellie’s mom, sister, and son Keane were there, and Ben’s parents watched on Skype. The ceremony was brief, and mercifully so, as Ellie was not only 9 months pregnant, but actually in labor, and getting her vows out between contractions. Seriously. Check her out:
That smile says, “I’m blissfully happy AND in serious pain.” Her right hand says, “Stay in there, honey, just a little while longer!” They left for the hospital half and hour later and their daughter Aspen was born that night.
They’d always planned on having a more traditional wedding with their friends and family, and yesterday, on a gloriously crisp October day, they did just that.
Sweet wee Miss Aspen was on the outside this time, and charming everyone with her tiny little Suzy Wong dress and big batty eyes. Her brothers, Keane and Griffin, were as mini-manly as two little dudes can be. Ellie and Ben laughed and cried their way through the ceremony as any grateful, loving couple would. Not to mention that Ellie, for all the world, looked like a Greek Goddess.
The other entertaining part of the ceremony was that after Ben did the traditional stomping on the glass, there was so much smooching and cheering and general joyous mayhem, that I couldn’t get a word in edgewise to officially pronounce them. So I just waited, and when there was a momentary lull in the chaos, I shouted out, “By the way, you’re married!”
Bountiful blessings on the whole bunch of them.
Greg and Ricky – cute as can be! They moved to Burlington last year from Atlanta searching for a better life and they are nothing but pleased with the results.
They’ve been together for years, bought property, relocated a great distance, so you wouldn’t think that getting married would be such a big deal. But, of course, it is. There’s something about combining a ceremony uniting two souls with a giant heap of social justice that just makes a moment both intense and grand.
And which sometimes makes the Marrying Folk a little spazzy-in-the-brain.
In this case, we were doing fine until we got to the ring exchange. Ricky went first, and when it was time to place the ring on Greg’s finger, he totally stalled out. Brain Freeze of Epic Proportions.
We waited. I asked if everything was ok. And this grown man, a financial manager of Great Responsibility, shook and said, “I don’t know right from left.”
Greg proffered the correct hand, and we moved forward to the end without incident.
That’s all to say that if you’re feeling at all nervous about your upcoming nuptials, and have a Mean Voice in your head telling you that you shouldn’t feel nervous, go ahead and tell that voice to leap quickly out the nearest window because you have every right in the world to be nervous.
And you can tell Mean Voice that I said so.
This article originally appeared at The Gathering Guide. Hey Mom, I’m a real Blogger now!
While scientists tell us that Nature abhors a vacuum, what they’re less likely to reveal is that Nature loves Love. I perform a large number of outdoor weddings, and even in a place as climatically dynamic as Vermont, the weather almost always cooperates in support of a wedding ceremony. Hot days cool off a bit. Bad weather restrains itself while vows are being vowed. Even chilly mid-winter weddings seem to bite with a softer set of teeth.
Nowhere, though, is this more evident than in the supportive response of the animal kingdom. While I’ve seen rambunctious pet dogs quiet down as couples walk down the aisle, and highly picturesque flocks of geese soar overhead just as a couple says, “I do,” my favorite instances of “nonhuman participation” have come when animals insert themselves directly into the ceremony.
Michael and Robert had come all the way from Michigan to get married at Comstock House, a little B&B in rural Plainfield, Vermont. They’d already constructed a moving ceremony in which they scattered flowers and planted seeds, honoring their love, their ancestors, and the beauty of their surroundings.
But then Robert was in the middle of saying his vows to Michael, and talking about how kind and gentle and giving Michael is, when a giant, iridescent green dragonfly circled around them and landed on Michael’s arm. They both smiled at it briefly, then continued on with the ceremony.
Apparently not content with the amount of Attention Paid, the dragonfly took off, circled them again, and then landed right on the tip of Michael’s nose. Michael took a long, cross-eyed look at this gorgeous insect, and said to Robert, “It’s busy eating a fly. I don’t want to bother it. You can just keep going.” Thereby proving Robert’s point about his sweet and generous personality.
Just a couple weeks later, I joined Heather and Robin for their ceremony at Fielder Farm in Huntington, Vermont. Of all the stunningly beautiful places I’ve performed ceremonies, Fielder Farm, with its long, sloping hills and foot-of-the-mountain views of Camel’s Hump, has got to take the proverbial cake.
Heather and Robin had decided to climb to the top of a long meadow, and have their ceremony on a gorgeous little plateau overlooking the valley. As it happened, that meadow was more than just a spot with a nice view; it was the stomping ground of a small herd of Jersey cows. With caramel-colored coats, giant eyes, and big batty eyelashes, Jerseys are sort of the porn stars of the Bovine World–not to mention being highly attentive wedding guests!
As we laid out the handmade quilt where the gals would stand for the ceremony, the entire herd strolled over and gathered around the brides in a perfect semi-circle, getting as close as they could without being rude or disruptive–or evacuating anything unpleasant. Jerseys, apparently, have a well-developed sense of decorum.
They stuck around for the full ceremony, joined Robin and Heather for the bulk of their photo shoot, and then, just as things were wrapping up, took their cue and nonchalantly strolled away. They couldn’t have been better guests if they’d been hired!
The Vermont Tourism Bureau doesn’t guarantee the appearance of such dramatically accommodating creatures, but if you’re getting married in the Green Mountain State, it’s worth preparing to be pleasantly surprised!
I just got an update on Ellie and Ben! Turns out they left for the hospital 30 minutes after the ceremony, and 11 hours later, welcomed Miss Aspen Rebecca Hayes into the world.
She is, I’m told, “Cute as a button.” But don’t take my word for it. See for yourself:
I’ll add the photo from the actual wedding when Ellie’s sister sends it along. But this was just so funny I wanted to write about it right away.
So, yesterday afternoon, I went over to the little hamlet of St. George, VT to perform a kitchen wedding for Ellie and Ben.
They’d met while working at Burton Snowboards, are madly in love, and Ben has a beautiful relationship with Ellie’s 7 year old son Keane.
They were very excited to get married – and a little pressed for time, as Ellie is about 11 months pregnant. Just kidding. But she is really, really, really pregnant. In fact, as of this writing, she might not be pregnant anymore!
Yup, as Ellie and Ben moved to the spot in the kitchen where he’d proposed, Keane perched on a stool, Ellie’s mom and sister gathered round, and Ben’s parents joined in on Skype, Ellie announced that she was having serious contractions, and wasn’t going to be able to stand up for much longer, so we better get on with it!
This might explain why there was so much crying…
But what a post-post-modern wedding! From the rapid bridal dilation to the parental techno-participation, to the fact that Ben read his vows off his iPhone, this was definitely a ceremony to remember.
They’ll be re-hitching up in October with a big, fancy party-style wedding, but it’s hard to imagine anything topping this!
Generally I tend to focus on the part of a wedding where I’m doing a lot of the talking and the couple is busy getting wed to each other. But sometimes, other bits of enchantment catch my attention, and this photo is a beautiful illustration of just such a moment.
We were at Mills Riverside Park in Jericho, Vermont waiting for Ethan and Alicia to arrive. Well, actually, Ethan was already there. We were really waiting for Alicia to arrive. But I never like to blame the bride.
Anyway, the band played for a while before things got rolling, with a lovely set that included some of my favorite Sing-along-ables, including One Love, One Heart and Here Comes the Sun.
Much as I was enjoying the concert, this little guy was utterly into it. He stood there, as documented in this photo, staring at the musicians, for a good 20 minutes until his mom had to pick him up because Alicia was about to walk down the aisle.
I would give a serious chunk of change to be able to travel into the future and see whether or not this micro-dude becomes a rock star.