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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Eat, drink and be married

It will be nearly impossible for me to convey the amazing day that was our wedding.  It was perfect beyond all measure, so filled with love, emotion and utter joy that in some ways it feels like a dream now.  It was one of the top best days of my entire life, rivaled only by the days our girls were born.  Except without the pain and suffering and with the proper use of the ice chip for cooling all manner of cocktails and mocktails filled with mountains of maraschino cherries rather than to quell a panting, laboring mother.  

My entire goal for our wedding was to be relaxed, to be present and to enjoy it.  By some miracle, with the aid of wine throughout all the prep and work, yoga, meditation, scheduled runs for just Sandi and I, and kissing my future wife as much as possible,  I enjoyed it perhaps more fully than I have ever enjoyed anything.  Ever. 

We woke up so relaxed and happy on our wedding day.  It was a beautiful day by the sea with the promise of all the fun and celebration we had intended.   But naturally there was a lot to do!  (Starting with the mimosa that was lovingly placed in my hand.)

There was hair to be curled. 

Michaela and her beautiful smile

Ella and Skyler conferring about the wedding documentary they were making on her iPad

And cake to be decorated!  

(Short cake story: I made the cake 2 months before- a layer each of white, red velvet and chocolate Guinness- and had frozen it.  I then trimmed it and leveled it and brought it to to the house frozen until the big day when my girls could come and take it over.   They whipped and frothed and swirled it to perfection and then trimmed it with flowers.  Simply gorgeous.  And so was the cake.)

Necklaces to be given...

 and gently placed around tiny necks.

There was yet more ping pong to be played.  

And then we were dressed and the cameras were flashing.  

Kristi made us the most stunning bouquets.  

Elegant calla lilies for Sandi and soft, fluffy petals of all sorts for me.  

Kathryn, Brian, Michaela and Braeden
(who happened to have lost his tooth just before this photo was taken!)

Dwight and Patti

We were lucky enough to have the most amazing photographer, Mark McCall, and his pictures defy the limits of beauty.  We have a few of his gems but there will many to follow.

 I have no idea what Patti is telling us but I love this picture.  We are each holding our vows which our nephews carried for us.  

We got married on this grassy area covered in a blanket of wild orchids with just a handful of loved ones and ocean before us.  Ange and Matt married us together and they did so perfectly.  Here is the one picture we have (for now) of us during the ceremony, taken by Ange who I am so grateful took her iPhone out to snap it.   We are listening to Trish say a blessing and lead us in a moment of breath to center ourselves.

We planned our wedding with great intention.  It was our hope that it would be a celebration of love for everyone, not just us.  There was not a great focus for us on becoming "official", but to celebrate the love we are so blessed by each day and to honor before our families the deepest layers of our partnership with each other. 

Sandi and I don't really believe in the fairy tale promises of happily ever after or "because I love you everything will be easy breezy."  We believe more in the down and dirty of love, of love being the gateway to the greatest opportunity to grow and evolve as individuals and as a partnership.  When we read our vows to each other, which we had written and not shared ahead, I was amazed by the parallels between them, the references to walking together through light and dark, for loving all that is pretty and not so pretty in each other, for choosing to journey together in this life not with the promise of permanence or perfection, but with the promise of sharing our broken places, to work and grow together and to live a life of love.  This, to us, is the spiritual marriage we have already built, and the journey we wish to continue on from here.

These an excerpt from a piece Sandi heavily edited about spiritual marriage and Kristi read for us:

Spiritual marriage is based on unconditional love. I choose to love you no matter what. I choose to recognize and use the uncomfortable things that arise in us both to fuel the growth of our souls and reunite with the Beloved on a higher level. Spiritual marriage is a commitment to grow through the trials of relationship for the goal of awakening and development of each person’s true spiritual self. 

Physical marriage is meant to be the training wheels for the real spiritual marriage of the soul. Spiritual marriage is the crucible of transformative love that is able to transform each partner into the divine complete self.

Kathryn read "Rules for a Happy Marriage":

1. Never both be angry at the same time.

2. Never yell at each other unless the house is on fire.

3.  If one of you has the win an argument, let it be your mate.

4.  If you have to criticize, do it lovingly.

5.  Never bring up mistakes of the past.

6.  Neglect the whole world rather than each other.

7.  Never go to sleep with an argument unsettled.

8.  At least once everyday try to say one kind of complimentary thing to your life's partner.

9.  When you have done something wrong, be ready to admit it and ask for forgiveness.  

10.  It takes two to make a quarrel, and the one in the wrong is the one who does the most talking.  

(My favorite part was after Kathryn read this she turned to me and said, "Suzanne, you're gonna have to watch out for number 10.")

This is an excerpt of what Emilie wrote and read for us (Thank you Em.):

I know I speak for more than just myself when I say:  I am a better person and a better partner and a better mother and a better friend because of the light that has been shined upon me by the friendship of these two women, and by having them show us how to live and love deliberately. They are an example to all of us here, and to the world at large, about what love really does and should look like.  

Sandi and Suzanne, thank you for showing us that when you orient yourself toward a life of love, it surrounds you.  Today we bless you as you continue on down your path of commitment, that we can now call marriage, and as you navigate the many turns in the road ahead of you, know that we are right behind you.  

As we closed the ceremony the girls held up this scroll Sandi had made for them. 
I don't know that I have ever experienced such a string of blissful, beautiful moments before.

(I just couldn't help myself.)

After all the happy tears, hugs and kisses and other unforgettable moments, it was time to get the party started!  Luckily we have a fun bunch.

While we walked around the grounds with Mark trying to find the spots with the perfect light ("Head down that woods path a little, a little more, can you get closer to the water?  Yes a little further....Never mind the light doesn't work there."), our families were putting the party together.    They just took it all over for me, heating and plating and decorating, setting up the tables and doing it all with such joy.  These people I love make it so much easier for me to release the reins.

It is so hard to really describe the intangible something that was present during our wedding.  Sandi said it best when she said it was as though everyone was radiating love.  Each person whose eyes we looked in reflected back an abundance of love and joy that was unparalleled.   We had gathered to celebrate love, our love and love in general and everyone seemed to open their hearts like petals of a spring flower unfolding to welcome the first warm rays of sun.   It felt as though this group was now, forever, tied inextricably together.   Everyone was so beautiful and so happy at every turn.   It was an incredible bonus to an already blessed day. 

We set up the kids table with a roll of plain white paper as the table cloth and gave each child a bunch of crayons (and a candy necklace) to keep them happy.  Look at the wide variety of what they made!

There were flowers and peace and "We do"....

And then there were guns and I think maybe ping pong paddles (I hope...),

and naturally Star Wars.  Because no wedding is complete without Star Wars.  "May you live a long and happy life together and may the force be with you."

Thank you Kristi for the gorgeous flowers!

After dinner, it was time for Maya and I to do our "toast" to Sandi.  We had been practicing a duet of "Love is an Open door" from the movie Frozen with Maya singing the part of Anna and me singing the part of Hans.  We had moves and everything.  (Yes, in case you are wondering, we had invited Ella to perform with us but she had forcefully declined.)

Sometimes, I am just so grateful for Maya and how much her enthusiasm and love to perform matches my own.  

(This was the robot dance part to "mental synchronization" for all you Frozen lovers out there.)

Either Sandi really liked it or she pretends well.
Ange made us the most amazing red wine with these beautiful labels that had the same celtic tree of life that our wedding invitations (which she also made) had on them.  We felt so treasured. 

I didn't want the sun to set on this day but it was hard to be upset when it was this stunning. 

The s'mores station remained a huge hit among the 11 and younger set  everyone. 

Once the dancing started, it got really fun.  The boys started out with some serious moves of the break dancing variety.
And then Trish got a hold of the camera and there was no holding back.
The night that spun from such an amazing day was just so fun that I wondered if it was just me.  But then when I looked back through the pictures and saw all the smiles and laughter I knew it was real.  The magic was real.

I will say, some people got a little danced out.

The gifts of this wedding, these pictures, the deep sharing of love and joy makes me actually stand back and marvel:  is this actually our life?  Are we really living this beautiful existence?  How could we ever complain about anything ever again when life is this good to us?

I've had a few people ask me if I am calling Sandi my "wife" now.  I had to laugh because we had used that term in jest so much over the last few years.  And perhaps I've always thought of it as belonging more to heterosexual unions and to marriages that were legitimized by society (and, like by the IRS), that I never had a want to use that term.  Saying Sandi was my partner was a much more descriptive term, and in some ways more privileged term, than thinking of ever calling her my wife.


We got married in our state with an actual marriage license.  Our marriage is recognized by the federal government.  No longer do we require a two inch thick binder to keep ourselves, our children and our finances safe.   Our wedding was, at the core, a celebration of our love and our partnership and our family, but there is no denying that it also means something in the world at large now.  We had considered having a wedding years ago before Ella was born and I can recall the hollow feeling that filled me with, of having a wedding that would really only be for us and not have any rights associated with it.

For a long time now, despite having to work so hard for rights and to defend our love around more corners than we would have liked, we have said that we are grateful that loving each other was something that we had to "fight for."  It has always given us such a sense of intentionality about being together.  There has never been anything complacent or expected about our partnership and for that we are very grateful.  Our union is one that has had us pushing each other since day one: together we have built, torn down, reworked, restructured and built again.  

We have never regarded getting married as adding anything to the quality of our relationship, never having needed a government seal to legitimize our love.  Rather we viewed marriage is a way to add security to our family in a legal manner.  Perhaps that is what made our wedding so beautiful to me: it was simply an avenue for us to express and celebrate what we already have rather than to be the springboard from which a life is built.  

Yet, it was not lost on me what we were actually doing.  That we do, in fact, live in a time when our marriage is legal and valid.  It counts.  It matters.  People fought for this, gave their time, money and energy for this.   We fought.  We hurt.  We bled.  And now here we are, able to marry whether people "agree" or not with our love.  We never have to defend our love around any corner, ever again.  We no longer have to kiss with the shades drawn, be reticent about holding hands in public, or apologize for our love.  

That is not a small thing.  

I've also been asked if it feels different being married.   Only maybe in how much bigger my heart feels since that day, how much more deeply I love Sandi because of what we expressed to each other and honored in each other.  I guess I am like the Grinch and my heart grew 3 sizes that day.

Then I caught myself saying to someone I had just met, "My partner, Sandi..." and I thought, no, that doesn't feel right.  My WIFE...

And suddenly it fits.

Thank you to all who love us.  Thank you to those who were present in person or in spirit or after the fact, those who have blessed us, supported us, fought for us and for our children.  Thank you for all those who have touched and continued to touch our lives.  Thank you Universe for the transformative power of love and how it has changed me and connected me to so many.

Thank you for this love: enduring, evolving, blazing, unwavering, sacred.


Rita Temple said...

may your joy with your incredible day as time passes on always stay with the both of you and the girls, and thank you for sharing with us your joy,

Nicholas Goldman said...

Congrats to you two and I hope your marriage lasts long and happily!


Jeannine Hamlin said...

It is with a wealth of emotion that I read this, and virtually celebrate your most incredible day with you all! A toast to many more wonderful years together, and much love from our home to yours!!!!
Mrs & Mrs Hamlin

Anonymous said...

sounds like a dream come true. you two are blessed

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