A tale of Two Souls
It was a sunny winter’s day when we all gathered. Nothing could have cooled the enthusiasm or the mood for my couple; not even the threat of -8˚C, on Burnaby Mountain.
They were so hoping to get married out-doors. We talked about making arrangements for the rain but when the snow arrived, we were overtaken by the weather. News arrived that the restaurant would be pleased to accommodate our small wedding party and we were set to go.
With just a month to Wedding Day, my couple only knew a few of things for sure. They wanted a simple and intimate ceremony and because of their First Nations ancestry, Grandma wanted to include a Blanket Ceremony. I was thrilled. With little time to spare, we all stepped into gear.
“My family is first nations and my Kokum (Cree for “grandmother”) wants to do a blanket ceremony for us. I’ll have to ask her for the necessary details to pass along to you”.
With that information in mind, regular conversations began between us and the emails were flying. There are many fine details to work out:
- Where to go to get a Marriage License
- Would they both be exchanging Rings?
- Who will the witnesses be?
- Will there be a photographer?
- How would the two of them like to be addressed – Marriage Partners; Marriage Couple; Life Partners?
- Gathering all information for the marriage license from parents
- Getting a copy of the Blanket Ceremony from Kokum.
- Are they going to write your own vows? Did they need any help?
- Will there be music at the ceremony? If so, they would need something about 2 ½ minutes long for signing
I sent a link to my case study (Grandma’s coming to Visit – Let’s get married) just to give my client an idea of what could be possible for her wedding, at short notice. I just had to smile when I received this response:
“Reading the case study made me a little more nervous ha-ha! We are both feeling the sudden “Oh my god this is happening”, a lot”.
I wanted to do everything I could for this couple. It’s such a joy and pleasure to assist a couple who is over the moon with excitement and enthusiasm. I customized their ceremony by adding their own thank you to their guests and, equally as important, about the Moonstone rings they had chosen. After doing some research, this is what I wrote into their ceremony:
“As ancient as the moon itself, Moonstone holds the power of the mystery of the inward journey to the soul. Moonstone is the stone of Love and has traditionally been given as a wedding gift. It calms and encourages, and opens the heart to its nurturing qualities”.
It was 4:30 pm and everyone started to arrive at the restaurant. I was involved in some last minute decisions about where to stand and where the front was, where to put the signing table and the cake simply because the marriage partners were held in nervous anticipation.
Kokum gathered everyone together for a ceremonial Sage Smudge just before the ceremony. What a wonderful way to start a wedding – with a spiritual energy clearing!
The ceremony began. We moved smoothly between the address to the guests and asking them to support this couple’s marriage. We moved to the heart of the ceremony – the Vows, and then the ring exchange. My couple did beautifully. So much love and heartfelt sentiment.
It was time for the Blanket Ceremony. Kokum and I were ready. She conducted the physical aspects of the ceremony and I was given the privilege of speaking the words. I cannot think of a more powerful way to honour this couple, the marriage vows between them and the commitment they were about to keep. Here are some excerpts from this beautiful part of the ceremony:
“When babies are born their mothers wrap them in a blanket. The blanket will keep them warm and make them feel safe and secure. It is a symbol of caring and love to initiate the growth of the child.
The children will grow in the way they are meant to grow. They are not always boys or girls. They develop within the sexual framework they are meant to develop in, offered by the Creator.
When children develop two spirits it is seen as a blessing. Individuals with the male and female spirit inside them offer family and community special insights and perspectives. Within the Indigenous community, people with two spirits were often seen as attaining a special spiritual connection to the Creator.
During this union of marriage the mothers again wrap them in a blanket. This time together to develop their relationship and growth together as a couple. The Blanket Ceremony will show to others that they are now ONE”.
Their mothers wrapped the ceremonial blanket around my couple. Then the fathers joined them in a group embrace. Then the rest of the guests were invited to join in the embrace, all symbolizing the families and my couple, joining together in marriage. It was one of the most loving and beautiful things I’ve ever seen and witnessed. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
With that it was my privilege to pronounce them joined in marriage and to introduce them as a married couple. Cheers resounded throughout the restaurant as the happy couple began the celebrations.
Here’s what my couple had to say:
“When my partner and I decided to move up our wedding last minute we found ourselves out of our depth and unsure if we would be able to secure someone to officiate with only a month notice (and with a December date!). Jayne responded to us quickly and instantly we were comfortable and knew that she was the perfect fit for us.
Jayne was hands-on right away, helping us with planning not only the ceremony but also with ensuring we had a venue, photographer, music, and many things that had not occurred to us we would need! She checked in regularly to help us stay on task in our short time frame and had even arranged a back-up location for us in case of snow! Speaking to Jayne during this time felt like I was speaking with a long-lost aunt, instantly familiar and loving and a joy to work with.
On our wedding day Jayne was a solid rock in our haphazard last-minute wedding, helping direct our family and arrange chairs and ease our nerves. The ceremony itself was beautiful, Jayne’s words and calm loving energy was lovely. We were also able to incorporate our traditional first nation’s ceremonial rituals into it which Jayne weaved in respectfully and wonderfully. Jayne was a joy to have and I feel safe to say our wedding would not have been half as smooth and beautiful without her input and participation.
Thank you Jayne, for everything you did for us.” ~ D. Wilson