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Posts tagged ‘JW Marriott Starr Pass’

Stories + humor + honesty = Heartfelt Wedding

Sometimes I work with couples whose connection and their families become particularly well-etched into my heart. This couple, Jill and Eric, are a beaming example of this heartfelt etching. Their ceremony happened all the way back at the end of August (okay, somebody please tell me where the autumn went?) and I’m happy to share a few pieces of it with you today.

unnamed-1We worked over the course of six months or so to co-create their wedding long distance. They live abroad and for many reasons, chose to have a destination wedding in Tucson. We met via Skype and felt instantly at ease with each other and enjoyed our conversations. When we finally met in person over the summer, it felt like we’d known each other for a long time. What did I enjoy so much about working them? Their love of stories, their humor and their intrepid honesty. These three ingredients, in my humble opinion, are the natural forces that made their ceremony shine. All I did was reflect their adventurous hearts back to them during the narrative of their wedding. And this is how their guests felt so close to the experience, too. Every word we spoke was honest and true – to who they are as a couple – and to who they love in the world.

It was mighty important to both Jill and Eric that their families and closest friends, almost all of whom travelled from afar to be at this event, would feel involved, connected and uplifted by the experience. Turns out, according to their guests, we achieved that multi-faceted goal. Nothing could make me happier than for everybody present to feel more connected and in love with life after a ceremony I guide! As Jill shared, she had never seen all of her friends and family so attentive as in this photo below . . .

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I loved gathering pieces of story from their Couple Reflections and weaving them together into a coherent and meaningful experience. They shared their experiences openly, even the tough stuff. And I’m always grateful when this happens. Here is a passage from the body of the ceremony:

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“You both understand that marriage takes work and you do not enter this commitment lightly. You both know you’ve received many gifts in your first 31 years of life and having a partner to share your life with is one of the greatest gifts of all. You trust that belief in God, in something bigger than you both combined, will help you get through the tough times. You both acknowledge there will exist opportunities for you to grow individually and as a couple.

You know that when you are truly trusting and living in your wholehearted connection, your bond will strengthen. You will be able to get through anything while you grow older together, as long as you are present for each other. As you say Jill, “Our marriage will strengthen so long as we learn together, grow together and experience life’s gifts together.”

And here is a reading that the Groom’s Sister shared; lyrics from a John Lennon song called ‘Grow Old with Me’ (proof that wedding readings can be more than the tired worn out stuff you hear all too often!):

Grow old along with me

The best is yet to be

When our time has come

We will be as one

God bless our love


Grow old along with me

Two branches of one tree

Face the setting sun

When the day is done

God bless our love


Grow old along with me

Whatever fate decrees

We will see it through

For our love is true

God bless our love

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Thank you, Jill & Eric! May God bless your love, always.

All beautiful photos are courtesy of Krista Rae Photography. Thank you, Krista Rae!

Floral design by the awesomely talented crew at La Fleur Plantscapes in Tucson. (I heart these women.)

Venue of course, the scenic JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort . One-of-a-kind Tucson Mountain gem.

Unity Ritual for Couples & Families

One of the most fun endeavors in my work as a Life-Cycle Celebrant© is revisiting and reinventing rituals to make them relevant today. I often witness couples desiring a Unity Ritual in their ceremony, yet not one they’ve seen too many times. Here is an example of a fresh idea: Love Padlocks. (Well, perhaps it’s an oldie resurfacing again!) The stories and derivations vary widely – from an old Chinese custom to present day love-locks occurring at special sites around the world – all combining to make this ritual reinvention pretty fun! You can fit the ritual to reflect who you are as a couple or a blended family upon entering marriage.

The essence of the idea is simple: you feel so safe and committed to each other as a couple or family, that your love is joining your hearts and souls together forever. You need not ever undo this joining of your hearts and the lock symbolizes this. Once the locks are joined, releasing the keys to the elements represents no need to undo the bond. The keys may fly up into the air while tied to a bunch of helium balloons, thrown into a body of water, buried in the earth at a special place after the ceremony; or to complete the element possibilities, I can imagine keys being tossed into a bonfire where the setting is safe and appropriate.

On Saturday, I led a romantic red and black wedding at the scenic JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort, wherein we included the Love Padlock ritual. The Bride and Groom ordered their customized locks from Lock-itz, an online provider with great resources for many occasions. This photo gives you an idea of how customized the locks can be:

You can see the keys tied with ribbons before the ceremony, ready to be tied into a bunch of helium balloons by the Bride and Groom after closing the locks together. My Celebrant colleagues in Australia have been practicing this ritual for awhile, as you can see in a video here. The most critical piece of releasing the keys to the sky is ensuring the keys are tied to a loop of ribbon holding the whole bunch of balloons. This way physics can do the work necessary to carry both keys up into the sky, with a dramatic release! I’ll admit we had a minor snafu during this ritual, albeit with a great outcome. The theme of the couple’s love story was ‘adventures in everyday patience’ and was it ever relevant right then and there! One balloon didn’t travel into the sky. I hid it under the ceremony table for the adorable ring bearer to have later. He was aching for one of these balloons before the ceremony. The parents happily tied the balloon to his wrist, so they could see where he went during the reception. And was he ever overjoyed to get his own balloon! The errant key is gone forever. I’m not telling what I did with it! 🙂

Stay tuned, I’ll share another story soon about an October wedding with love padlocks for a blended family . . . and hopefully have more photos to share.