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Posts tagged ‘Tucson Arizona’

A Vision of Your Wedding

Phew, April! What a creatively full month. I shared enormous happiness working with nine couples to compose and lead their weddings. Through my attentive process as a Life-Cycle Celebrant®, we brought their uniquely personal ceremony visions into reality. These couples chose spaces ranging from a sweet living room with pooches and babies (plus east coast folks joining via ichat!) to a 100+ celebration perched at the Skyline Country Club lower terrace to an internationally live-streamed ceremony held at Tohono Chul Park, to an exquisitely intimate ceremony at the historic Arizona Inn.

I’m excited to receive photos and post more details soon! For now, I’m putting my creative energy into May and June weddings. Plus, meeting with couples about their upcoming fall and winter weddings. (Summer slows down just a tad here in Tucson, with our crispy-hot summer temps!)

Throughout the joy of this work, I assist couples in making authentic and fun expressions about themselves during a wedding celebration. This definitely keeps me on my toes! (Just as no two couples are the same, no two of my ceremonies are ever the same, either.)  Choosing just the right venue and sense of place play a role in expression. Creating a real and relevant ceremony takes it a step further and amplifies the power of collective experience between a couple and their guests. To create a timelessly memorable experience, a ceremony you and your guests cannot stop talking about because you LOVED it so much, it helps to set intentions at the outset.

It is in this ‘setting intentions’ realm where I’ve noticed something interesting lately. During an initial meeting with a couple, if I say “What is your vision for your ceremony?” — some “ums” likely ensue, followed by explanation of small familiar elements or “well, we haven’t gotten concrete about that yet.” Sometimes, descriptions of what they don’t want arise. (Read: boring, too long, overly religious, or wrong names. Yikes!)

Instead, when I ask, “What four words best describe your ceremony?” — light bulbs seem to flash on!  This is a fun exchange I’ve borrowed from my savvy Celebrant colleague based in Canada. (Thank you, Barbara Densmore!) I’ve noticed how this brainstorm helps clear through cobwebs amidst the clutter, you know? Couples seem to cut through the overload of ideas, familial ‘shoulds’ or mass wedding media. I witness them revealing what really matters – for them as individuals and a couple. The folks with whom I work often offer up these clues:

Arizona Inn garden, Tucson

Arizona Inn garden, Tucson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Warm and celebratory
  • Lighthearted (not too casual though)
  • Meaningful and intimate
  • Real
  • Grateful
  • Playful
  • Authentic
  • Fun!

Words readily jump out onto a fairly blank canvas. And those four simple words become helpful guideposts for me and a couple when we co-create their ceremony. The four words turn into a ‘vision snapshot’, if you will. To take it a step further, into setting a foundational vision for a whole wedding celebration, this article is super helpful. I love the author’s formula for ‘seven words’. How easy is that to remember and carry with you everywhere as you plan your special day?!

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A Romantic Winter Wedding

In Tucson, we are fortunate to hold outdoor winter weddings. And as a Celebrant writing custom ceremonies, I am blessed to work with couples who really know themselves, completely dig each other and fearlessly express themselves during their ceremony. This peek into a romantic wedding I led last month involves a hearty combination of all these happinesses!

Meet Colin and Stephanie: a couple so totally in love as you can see, they positively glow. We had a fabulous time co-creating their ceremony. Plus, we shared the great surprise of a snowy-mountain morning and a gentle rain the day of their wedding. (Rare in the desert!) They both have a playful sense of humor and ease about them, so nobody seemed concerned about the unanticipated chilly temps. (Not even Colin and his groomsmen, as they sported kilts!) It was a magical day.

What I completely enjoyed about writing this ceremony was how passionately Colin and Stephanie responded to my Couple Reflections. (As a Life-Cycle Celebrant®, the way I craft ceremony is based upon a couple’s stories, beliefs and values.) The love, playfulness and humor they shared nearly jumped off the screen when I read through their thoughts and feelings about each other. So, how could I not be inspired to write a fun and meaningful ceremony? And what made it even better, was the Bride offering a poem she hoped to include, which she wrote. It is titled Thoughts on Growing Old with You. I wove it throughout the ceremony and her words became the soul of the whole experience.

As the author of the poem, Stephanie naturally knew the words from her heart. So as a result, a spontaneous surprise happened during the ceremony. She was saying the words along with me as I read the prose — while looking directly into her Groom’s eyes, just beaming him love. I absolutely loved it!

After they repeated their custom vows to each other, and then shared pledges of love and support with their adult children who stood beside them, they exchanged rings. It was a heartfelt and giddy romanticism I could feel! (We say boo to the stuffy or hollow romantic material out there!) To complete the ceremony, I shared a blessing on behalf of everyone present, based on Colin and Stephanie’s hopes for their shared future:


Happy Newlyweds after the Ceremony!

“May every second count. May you not take a single moment for granted. May your love be a journey of discovery that never becomes dull. May you have all the time in the world to discover each other and always share laughter at bedtime. May you value and validate each other, sharing in the small joys as well as the BIG ones! And may you find great contentment in growing old and loving life side-by-side.”

After the pronouncement and kiss, they danced to Louis Armstrong singing ‘We Have All the Time in the World“. (Yes, I got choked up!) And I think maybe the intimate circle of family and friends surrounding them did, too.

Congratulations to you, Mr. and Mrs. Conlee. I wish you many many years of happiness and laughter together!

Spring Wedding at Stillwell House

Sometimes a wedding floods my heart with so much joy, I wish the whole world could feel it. This was one of those times. I do think everyone present had a fabulous time and surely did ‘feel the JOY!

Jen and Tyler held their wedding at the Stillwell House in downtown Tucson, last April. I was fortunate to be a part of their celebration and lead their ceremony. As you can see, they are quite a radiant couple. And their beauty goes much further than skin deep. When I work with young couples in love, often they are quite mature and have faced some hardships together. They appreciate their families beyond words. They savor life together. They frequently share a pretty wicked sense of humor, too. And naturally, they want me to impart their gratitude and love of laughter to their guests. With Jen and Tyler, I had the opportunity to do all of this. And man, did we ever have fun!

All Photos Generously from Amanda Rockafellow

Before we even walked into the ceremonial space, I had spent 20+ hours working with Jen and Tyler to create their wedding. So when I say we had fun, I am referencing our experience throughout the whole co-creative process. The ceremony itself is a big exclamation point, culminating our creative time together. After they completed their responses to my Sweetgrass Couple Reflections, the theme of their ceremony became clear: two hearts | one love. I opened their Love Story like this:

You may know this timeless saying from the I-Ching: “When two people are one in their innermost hearts, they shatter even the strength of iron or bronze.” And for this couple, they live with two hearts, one love. They are one in their deepest of hearts.

Jen & Tyler speak their hearts during their vows

After a good deal of laughter and some tears about their story, I concluded by saying, “May you surprise each other and grow together. And may you always be one in your innermost hearts, able to shatter any challenge that comes your way!”

Next, during their vows, we three stood closer for these most intimate of words to be spoken. As you can see, Jen has a bigger-than-life smile on her face, and Tyler has full-on adoration-beaming from his. For their last pledge they answered “We will” to my question, “Will you live together as one?”

After speaking their vows, they symbolized their joining with a Handfasting Ritual. With my guidance, Jen even made a beautiful handfasting-braid by way of her own creativity!

To introduce this portion of the ceremony I said, “To quote our groom, “Marriage is entering into a life with the one that has touched my soul. The one that I see myself with for the rest of my life.” Before I wrapped their hands and offered a blessing, I went on to say:

As this is a very transformational moment in your lives, Jennifer and Tyler, we will express your joining through a Unity Ritual, too. Together, you will bind your hands in a handfasting ritual. This is an ancient practice beginning in Celtic times and spans belief systems across many centuries. The cords you have made here are symbolic of how something within you, yet something greater than yourselves has joined you together.

Handfasting Ritual

After the Handfasting, the Ring Exchange was the final symbolic act of two hearts becoming one love. Next a closing blessing, a pronouncement as husband and wife – then HOORAY! – the moment everyone awaited: the Kiss. During the joyous celebration that is a recessional, everyone stood and cheered as “It’s a Beautiful Day” by U2 streamed into the air. Excellent choice on the music, Jen and Tyler. Because wow, was it ever!

Congratulations to a very Happy Couple!

P.S. My heartfelt thanks goes to Amanda Rockafellow, for contributing her gorgeous photos. I’ll soon be highlighting her here as a Tucson Wedding Gem. And my thanks also goes to Marc Summersett, Owner of CE Entertainment, who expertly managed the sound and music for this celebration.

Wedding Blog Intentions for 2012

Yes! I’m sharing my intentions for posts in the year ahead. Why? Because I’d love to hear your feedback: would these topics be useful and inspiring to you? What else would you like to hear and read about?

Admittedly, I’ve gotten a slow blogging start on the year. (Hey – it’s still January though, right?) Due to a big-fun-flurry of client meetings the past few weeks, I’m already sensing this will be a most fulfilling year, serving couples and families who want a ceremony beyond the ordinary.

Here is some of the good stuff I aim to bring you in the months ahead:

  • Meg & Joe's Arizona Botanical Garden Ceremony ~ Fabulous!

    Tucson’s Wedding Talent Interviews: hearing from super creative wedding professionals in the wide network of folks working in Tucson (eg: florists, musicians, DJs or Directors of Entertainent, etc).

  •  Tips for Ceremonies ‘Beyond the Ordinary’: ideas that enliven your stories and beliefs, plus invite your guests into the experience.
  • Ideas for Vow Renewals and Commitment: while working with couples celebrating anniversaries and various commitment celebrations beyond weddings, I’ll be sure to share examples and resources.

 

  • Windows into Real Sweetgrass Weddings: whenever couples are willing to share photos and ceremony excerpts, I’ll give you a peek into what we experience during heart-crafted ceremonies!
  • Southern Arizona Venue Highlights: seeing into unique venues and meeting the on-site coordinators.

So many resources, contacts and ideas to share . . .

I’m excited to be doing what I love and look forward to posting good materials you can share or really put to use for your own ceremony!

 

Eloping in Tucson

Sabino Canyon, Tucson
Image by miheco via Flickr

Couples who elope to Tucson for saying their “I dos” have so many choices, it can be overwhelming! If you want something beyond the courthouse steps, being creative and seeking adventure helps. And that’s where I usually come in.

Just a few weeks ago, for example, I led a very easy-going, poignant and adventuresome wedding in Sabino Canyon. And when I say in the Canyon, I mean we literally stood barefoot in the creek, shaded by a huge old sycamore tree! It was so refreshing in the desert heat.

The experience felt pretty magical. The Bride and Groom couldn’t have been happier.

They were visiting from back east and knew just what they wanted for their ceremony: simple, stress-free, meaningful and scenic. A great elopement recipe that I can deliver as a relaxed Wedding Celebrant!

Celebrating love in Tucson

A wedding can be really simple.

As a Wedding Celebrant who helps couples create just the ceremony they want, I am certain that simple really can quite powerfully = meaningful.

Here is a great example:

Taking Vows and Celebrating Love in Sabino Canyon

I married Hayley and Michael on a calm August weekday morning. We took the tram up to one of his favorite spots in Sabino Canyon. We waded into the creek and had a very simple, poignant and peaceful ceremony to honor their joining.

The witnesses, one triathlete in training and one elderly gentleman walking by, came to stand for endurance and longevity for the couple.

How fabulous is this???!

I am so thankful to be celebrating love in Tucson.

Looking toward Sabino Canyon, Arizona, on Febr...

Sabino Canyon ~ Image via Wikipedia