Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Eric and Melanie Do It Their Way at Snipes Farm

I couldn't complete the summer without telling you of this marvelous couple and their truly unique and loving ceremony.  Eric and Melanie approached me to work with them to create a ceremony that fit them.  They very much wanted to honor their commitment to be life partners but didn't want to follow the path of marriage because so many of their lesbian and gay friends did not have this right.  I really respect this and was happy to work with them.

They were full of questions and ideas and over the months as we emailed between Boston and NC  I learned more about them as a couple, and in the learning, my respect for them and my joy in their ceremony grew.  The wonderful pictures of Carolyn Scott of Carolyn Scott Photography tell it all.

In these pictures you'll also see Snipes Farm out 54 West from Chapel Hill, at it's best.

And inside.....

Their flowers were from Bluebird Meadows.

We all walked together to their ceremony site under a huge Oak (?) tree that is near the pond.

We stood in front of their hand made chuppah.  And Melanie's dress was hand made, too.

In fact, each touch was considered by them to represent their love and sense of stewardship of the planet and of all it's peoples.  Melanie wore this small succulent plant in her hair as her flowers.

Their vows were unique, just like the couple. They not only represented their vows to each other in their marriage but their intention and promise to serve a larger integrity and justice in their lives.  At the same time, their vows were playful and warm.  Just like them.

We passed around their rings in this small glass jar so that everyone could add their own silent blessing before Eric and Melanie exchanged their rings and placed them on their hands.

Then we engaged in a playful act of spiritual symbolism.  Melanie's sister made a model volcano for them.  We spoke of how their marriage was creating a new territory in their lives.  Sometimes their lives would be calm and peaceful and at other times it would be full of upheaval.  Sometimes it would hand them rubble and ash that they must integrate into new ways of being in the world.  Then I invited them to engage in this act of symbolically creating the new territory of their commitment.

Here's the uncovering moment so that everyone saw it first at the same time.  It was greeted with much applause.

Here's a closeup, complete with cut out dinosaurs and a cut out of their cat (not in this picture.)

In the picture below they are pouring vinegar and baking soda into the volcano.

And VOILA!  It worked and bubbled forth froth aplenty!  The crowds went wild!  :-)

In the ceremony text  I had noted, 'show of affection' because Mel and Eric felt shy about kissing in front of everyone, but they decided to just go for it.  I'm glad they did.

At the reception, first food made by Vimala of Curry Blossom Cafe, then pie made by Phoebe Lawless of Scratch Bakery in Durham, then.....

Then games and fun...... see more about this part of their celebration on Carolyn Scott's blog entry

Then, when the sun went down, they lit lanterns and released them into the sky.  Look at Carolyn Scott's blog for more pictures of this.  They created a lovely spectacle.

Mel and Eric create joy around them by their willingness to celebrate all of who they are.  They witness to the fact that life holds so much more possibility if we but let ourselves receive it.  They remind me of my favorite quote by Henri Nouwen, 'Life is not a goal to be achieved.  It's a gift to be received.'

It's good to know people like Eric and Mel.  They will keep you young.  I know that they were an incredible blessing in my life this year.  I wish them much joy.

They sent me a wonderful card after their ceremony.  It too was a Snapfish card that they had had made with a wedding picture on the front  with Melanie holding a hand written blackboard that said 'Thank' and Eric holding the partner one that said, 'You.'  In it they said,

'Thank you so much for your helping making our commitment ceremony a reality. When we first contacted you we knew that we wanted to make a statement of our love, but you were instrumental in helping us to craft that statement - ensuring that it had a sense of ritual ceremonial importance, while also being a natural reflection of who we are.  We really enjoyed the process you lead us through, and it really did help us to thin k more deeply and honestly about our life together.  That was a wonderful gift.  Thank you, Eric and Melanie.'

I couldn't ask for anything more!

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