Thursday, October 15, 2009

Richard and Caroline at The Old Well at UNC

At 7:45 am on the drizzly Tuesday morning of September 22nd, Richard, and their friends and I gathered at the Old Well on UNC campus to await Caroline's arrival at 8 am when we would begin their wedding ceremony. The sun kept moving in and out of the clouds so we were hoping hard for no rain. Everyone was generous of spirit as we waited and I felt lucky to be their officiant.

Caroline is studying at the School of Pharmacy at UNC, having just arrived a few months before from Singapore. With her came Richard, her fiancé, a chef hoping to find a position in one of the wonderful restaurants in Chapel Hill. Our timing was critical. The next day Richard would be flying back to Singapore to get his visa renewed.

At this gathering were their friends from the School of Pharmacy and from the small UNC contingent of Singaporeans. It was a small and very close group. This was to be their American wedding and when they return home to Singapore, they would have another wedding with their families and friends there.

They wrote their own vows and exchanged rings with the words, 'I give you this ring as a token of the loving covenant made this day between us." They had memorized their vows and the words of the exchange of rings. I was simply holding my book up in case they needed it. And they didn't!

Their local reception would be held that night at the Top of the Hill restaurant in Chapel Hill so we wanted their ceremony and short time after the ceremony (folks had to get to class by 9:30) to include their wedding cake and a toast. To accomplish this I created a special symbolic ceremony within the wedding ceremony to include the cutting of the cake, and them feeding each other cake, with these words:

"A tradition in this country is for the couple to share wedding cake at their wedding celebration. We bring that tradition into the ceremony today. The cake represents the sweetness of your days together. It represents that from this moment on you will be called to nurture each other, in body and spirit, often in unexpected and spontaneous ways. You will sit at the same table and eat and drink together. So eat now. And may your lives be sweet with love, romance, and adventure. And from this time forward may you find life's joys doubly gladdening, its bitterness sweetened, and all things made more delightful by the sweetness of your love for each other."

After the ceremony, the signing of the license, and many pictures, .....

The whole group accompanied Caroline and Richard to the car their friends were lending them for the day. It was decorated Singapore style. I congratulated them that this custom was more attractive that most of the ways we decorate cars in this country.

We were all hoping that Richard could get back to NC and his new wife quickly. And he's on his way as I write this blog. Welcome back, Richard. And Congratulations again to you both!

And may your first autumn in NC bring wonderful new experiences for you to relish and share!

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