Choosing to live your life by your own choice is the greatest freedom you will ever have.
– Shad Helmstetter.
About six months ago (post-Passover/Easter observance), I was sitting at the beach talking to my stepdaughter Kyla and her fiancé Sarah about their wedding. We had a good laugh looking at bizarre wedding cakes and thinking about some of the crazier things that people do at their weddings. While it was clear what Kyla and Sarah didn’t like, it was also clear what they wanted their “party” to be like. But what was a lot less clear was what they were expecting (if anything) of their ceremony.
They knew they wanted it to be special, but they weren’t sure how to begin. So we researched wedding ceremonies. My own ceremony was unusual. Robert and I were married on the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s death, and because of our commitment to social justice and equality we had a dear friend read Dr King’s inspirational “I Have a Dream” speech. Another friend read the “Apache Wedding Prayer” – just because we liked it. Oh, and I had 17 attendants—but I let them all wear whatever outfit they wanted as long as it was black. We’re New Yorkers.
My mom thought the ceremony should be as brief as possible—the party, especially the flowers, may have been more important to her. So I gave her full flower approval while Robert and I planned the ceremony. It was important to us that we share a meaningful, public ritual in front of and with the community of family and friends who would be by our sides in the blessings and trials to come in a long marriage. We would rely on their counsel and love to see us through, as we believed that the witnesses to a marriage are as responsible as the couple to do whatever they can to ensure the marriage thrives. This makes the guest list really important.