It was set at a lovely summer cabin in the woods near a small river. The brides' parents made their entrances from the sides, and then the brides were escorted by their brothers (or, in Kira's case, her brother and her best friend from childhood). Each family member carried a flower, and as part of the ceremony, they announced what each one represented and put them together in a bouquet of blessings for the couple. Each set of parents shared a reading, one biblical and the other poetic ("I love you not for who you are but for who I am when I'm with you..."). Later, the brothers gave heartfelt and touching toasts.
The vows were simple and reasonably traditional, but the brides delivered the homily (Kira joked that how could they not, both being professors as they are, take the opportunity to pontificate to the one gathering of the most important people in their lives.) Catherine described the gathering as the meeting of the congregation of kindness, and the themes that both of them talked about were those of kindness, altruism, love and devotion. They talked about the blessings, support and gifts they've received from their family and friends. Every place they've lived was represented by those in attendance. Kira talked about a river of altruism, from which we all dip without expectation of return, and with the understanding that as long as people put into the river, there will be water when it comes time that we need to dip and drink.
Even the religious pieces, which you all won't be surprised to know I often take umbrage at, were respectful and inclusive and allowed me to fully participate with my warm wishes without feeling like I was signing onto something that made me uncomfortable or unhappy.
At the end of the ceremony, each guest was invited to take a stalk of lavender and toss it into the river, representing (the internet tells me) joy, devotion, love, loyalty, and/or peace (the internet is sometimes undecided.)
It was a truly beautiful and moving ceremony, and I'm delighted for the happy couple, and to have been here to help them celebrate their commitment.
Now, off to the post-wedding brunch!