I love weddings in the desert, and heading there for Kanima and Johnathan was a pleasure! They reached out to me a little over a year in advance, via WeddingWire, and then we were able to meet in person when I was in Palm Springs shortly after for another wedding.
We talked about what was important to them, especially more egalitarian wording, as they see each other as true partners, how so many of the friends that would be there are like family, and how they wanted it to be something different and fun and really them. They were not religious at all, but wanted a slight nod to honor their parents. They wanted to include a handfasting, and was happy to have come across some videos online of me doing handfastings with my couples, and particularly appreciate how "real" the vows are that typically go in there. And they wanted to keep it light-hearted, with some choking up moments - as they love to laugh together. Yes! I was clearly their right fit for an officiant, just as they were the right fit for me!
So, what did we create together? We had a family blessing, asking their parents for their support and encouragement and welcoming of this new family member into their family, and then we broadened it and asked everyone there for the same. Since we did it for each of them separately, first asking those who consider themselves to be Kanima's family or close friend, and then to Johnathan's side, you can bet that there was a little bit of a contest as to which side could be louder with their support and encouragement! ;) We included a handfasting, with orange and red and yellow and white cords, bringing in the meanings of each of those colors too. They blended two wines together, drinking from one glass the combination that only these two would have created together, since every combination of wines must be unique, like every relationship is. And they wrote their own beautiful vows to read, not shared before that moment, plus Johnathan wrote vows to make to Kanima's daughter - after which, there wasn't a single dry eye in the place (even mine!). Plus, as we talked about when we met, we used egalitarian verbiage throughout the ceremony, including when I pronounced them and before they kissed. And, as I always do, I happily included stories from their homework, done separately, weaving together the words to properly celebrate their story, their path, and their connection.
Thank you again, Kanima and Johnathan, for trusting me to make this yours and worthy of what you two share! So much more laughter and love is ahead, I know!
P.S. Do you follow me on Instagram (@bethelnathan) and hence see my #officiantselfie collection like the one above? One of my favorite parts of the day now!