One of the red threads in my parish ministry is calling attention to the way things are doing. The journey matters as much as the destination, maybe even more. There is a deep spirituality to how we go forward. That is why it is so important to meet face-to-face with couples getting married, or at the very least Zoom (I learned all about this during COVID-19).
So, I ask couples to come to Grafton, where my church is located. www.uusgu.org and I invite them to make a trip of it, visiting this quintessential New England town. Coming to Grafton and meeting with me is part of the journey of getting married. It’s slow and deliberate, it is somewhat out of the way (Grafton, MA), but it speaks to the intention to do this very big and important thing, get married deliberately, mindfully.
Coming to my church also gives couples a chance to meet me, and see what matters to me, and how I approach the wedding ceremony. I have an old-fashioned, conversational approach that draws on historical antecedents, but deploys them in an exciting and creative way. The wedding is a serious and a joyful experience, and the counseling session that couples and I have embodies that slow, refining process.
We start off with a moment of shared silence, to connect with the sacred, the spirit of life, our own breath and to invite ancestors to join us and bless this special undertaking. Then we launch into things by rehearsing the wedding ceremony, and as I go through the entire manuscript, (directions and all) I explain what each element is, a bit of historical background and why we do it. Each wedding ceremony is unique, in the same way that each couple is unique. And, I capture a high degree of personalization by getting to know each couple, and inviting them to share their full “love story” with me, in an open conversation centered around “Why are getting married?”
Again, my process is slow, intentional, deliberate, we get to the point, but we take the most scenic way possible to get there. It might cost a bit more to journey in this way, it might mean spending more time than would be expected, but the end result is a wedding ceremony with the power to transform (not just bride and groom, but entire families) and experience that binds a couple together, with a love that lasts a lifetime. By meeting with me you will go into the wedding ceremony more experienced and confident in yourself, and ready to dive into this exciting new chapter in your life as husband and wife, partners in life, as people - married.