In getting to know couples, I often ask if there are parts of their lives—hobbies, interests, or influences—that they would like reflected in the wedding ceremony. Earlier this summer, a devout yoga practitioner mentioned that she would, somehow, like that integrated into the wedding. After chatting back and forth, we came up with several subtle aspects of the wedding that would pay tribute to that important part of her life.
Before we launched the ceremony, we started with a traditional Native smudging ritual. Using white sage, wrapped in flowers, we paid tribute to the Native ancestors of Manhattan, formerly known as Manna-hatta, meaning “a thicket where wood can be found to make bows.” The smudging clears the energy of the ceremony area, helping to create a sacred space. The proper ceremony started with striking signing bowls. This custom seeks to create a moment of mindfulness and centering before the vows are taken. I offered a particular reading that I cherish, Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s “A Gift from the Sea,” that describes the changing nature of life and the impermanence of relationships. Finally, following the wedding, the couple tossed roses and petals into the open water of Wagner Cove, letting go of life’s obstructions while offering up wishes for the future.
All, in all, it was a lovely ceremony that recognized the couple’s love and the bride’s commitment to mindfulness.