Matt and I had our ceremony and reception at Club 1000, a historic building in the Quality Hill neighborhood of downtown Kansas City. The 6th-floor penthouse event space features breathtaking views of KC with a panoramic horizon of the downtown skyline, plus huge picture windows, soaring 18-foot ceilings, and a fantastic skylight over the dance floor.
I awaited the ceremony in a private room in the back.
I carried a bouquet of…purple kale!
Matt and I both walked down the aisle “unassisted.”
First him, then me.
Matt’s friend Mat officiated for us. He’s not a minister or anything; we just went outside the ordinary and got legally married at the courthouse a couple weeks prior. That way, our ceremony could be purely- well, ceremonial!
Since so many people have asked, I’ve decided to share the near-full text of our ceremony (minus our vows, which we’ll keep private with our family and friends) with you all. Our ceremony, like our entire wedding, was very non-traditional, personalized, unique, and extraordinarily meaningful. We wrote a ceremony that we thought fit our personalities and our love perfectly. It was full of emotional moments, and there were very few dry eyes in the house. Enjoy.
Amber & Matt’s Wedding Ceremony, 9/8/2012
Officiate: “Welcome family and friends. We are gathered here today to celebrate the union of Matt and Amber. Marriage is the promise of hope between two people who love each other, who trust that love, who honor one another as individuals in that togetherness, and who wish to share the future together. It enables two people to share their desires, longings, dreams, and memories, their joys and laughter, and to help each other through their uncertainties. It provides the encouragement to risk more and thus to gain more. In marriage, Matt and Amber will provide mutual support, stability, comfort, and love to share for the rest of their lives.
Linguist and cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker has this to say about love:
“The thought of a loved one can turn our wits upside down, ratchet up our heart rate, impel us to slay dragons and write corny songs. We may become morose, obsessive, even violent. Lovesickness has been blamed on the moon, on the devil, but whatever is behind it, it doesn’t look like the behavior of a rational animal trying to survive and reproduce. But…nothing so primal could have been created out of thin air as a mere custom or product. To the contrary, romantic love is a human universal.
Don’t accept a partner who wanted you for rational reasons to begin with; look for a partner who is committed to staying with you because you are you. Committed by what? Committed by an emotion. An emotion that the person did not decide to have, and so cannot decide not to have. An emotion like romantic love.”
Writer and philosopher Ayn Rand once said:
“Love is the expression of one’s values, the greatest reward you can earn for the moral qualities you have achieved in your character and person, the emotional price paid by one man for the joy he receives from the virtues of another.”
Author and most genius of wordsmiths Vladimir Nabokov wrote:
“When that slow-motion, silent explosion of love takes place in me, unfolding its melting fringes and overwhelming me with the sense of something much vaster, much more enduring and powerful than the accumulation of matter or energy in any imaginable cosmos, then my mind cannot but pinch itself to see if it is really awake. I have to make a rapid inventory of the universe, just as a man in a dream tries to condone the absurdity of his position by making sure he is dreaming. I have to have all space and all time participate in my emotion, in my mortal love, so that the edge of its mortality is taken off, thus helping me to fight the utter degradation, ridicule, and horror of having developed an infinity of sensation and thought within a finite existence.”
Officiate: “Amber and Matt would like to share a pair of poems with you today. Amber will begin with e. e. cummings’s ‘Somewhere I have never traveled.’”
Amber: (turns toward audience and reads)
“somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near
your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully,mysteriously)her first rose
or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully ,suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;
nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility:whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing
(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands”
Officiate: “Matt will now read Pablo Neruda’s Sonnet number 17.”
Matt: (turns toward audience and reads)
“I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way
than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.”
Unity ceremony: PB&J
(Officiate moves PB&J table in between Matt & Amber)
Officiate: “Matt and Amber will now give a brief demonstration to symbolize their union. On one hand” (officiate gestures towards Amber, who is spreading PB onto a slice of bread) “we have peanut butter: sometimes smooth and sometimes crunchy, always pleasantly nutty. On the other hand” (officiate gestures towards Matt, who is spreading jam on another slice of bread) “we have jelly: sweet, colorful, and rather fruity. Two very different tastes, textures, and personalities. The bread symbolizes shared interests, goals, and dreams; common values, beliefs, and lifestyle choices. When anchored by these shared values and combined into one unit, Amber and Matt complement and balance each other like peanut butter and jelly: that is to say, each component is wonderful on its own, but the whole is even greater than the sum of its parts.”
(Amber & Matt put the sandwich together and take a simultaneous bite of the sandwich. Officiate applauds to encourage audience to applaud.)
Officiate: “Matt, do you take this woman to be your wife? Will you love her, comfort her, honor and protect her, forsaking all others to be faithful to her for as long as you both shall live?”
Matt: “I do.”
Officiate: “Amber, do you take this man to be your husband? Will you love him, comfort him, honor and protect him, forsaking all others to be faithful to him for as long as you both shall live?”
Amber: “I do.”
Officiate: “Matt, please recite your vows to Amber.”
Matt: (reads his vows)
Officiate: “Amber, please recite your vows to Matt.”
Amber: (reads her vows)
Rings & Kiss
Officiate: “Matt and Amber will now complete the ceremony by exchanging rings.”
(Matt gets the rings out, hands his ring to Amber)
Matt: (slides ring on Amber’s finger) “You’re the queen and I’m the king…”
Amber: (slides ring on Matt’s finger) “…Nothing else means anything.”
Officiate: (Looking at Matt) “You may kiss the bride.”
(Amber & Matt kiss as exit song begins)
(Amber & Matt exit)
(Remember, you can check out our wedding video for live-action glimpses of the ceremony.)
Prepping the peanut butter and jelly sandwich for our unity ceremony
Note the custom-framed his-and-hers bat art, handmade by my amazingly talented friend Emily! Bats were our theme, if you haven’t picked up on that.
Finishing the sandwich
Immediately after the ceremony, while the guests enjoyed cocktail hour, Club 1000 allowed me, Matt, and our photographer to have a private half-hour photo session on the roof of the building. It provided a beautiful backdrop for pictures and a comforting interlude between our ceremony and reception.
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