Real Weddings: Zoë and Tyler

Wow! Working with Zoë and Tyler was an incredible privilege.  They were totally into the reflective process that I mindfully guide couples through before I write their ceremony. Zoë and Tyler, like all the the couples I work with, BELIEVE in the transformative power of ceremony. They found the time spent reflecting on the deeper meaning of the life transition that is marriage to be immensely valuable.

Zoë and Tyler made a strong commitment to this process… in fact the strongest I’ve ever experienced with a couple.  They journalled and thought deeply about the questions I asked.  And thus they gave me FANTASTIC material to weave the storytelling tapestry of their wedding ceremony from.

Far too many wedding ceremonies these days feel like some sort of hoop to jump through. Zoë and Tyler couldn’t imagine having a ceremony like that. This couple wanted their wedding ceremony to sing with their intentions and their feelings. They wanted it to be an authentic reflection of their innermost selves.

When a ceremony is alive with this much meaning, it is a transformational and very collective experience. We don’t have many of those anymore, do we?

The ceremony was held at the Rose Garden in New Westminister on the one brilliantly sunny day in a week of rain.  My powers as a keeper-away of rain seem to be developing well!  The couple’s guests sat in a semicircle facing them, so they could see every smile and tear on Zoë and Tyler’s faces.

Everyone seemed to enjoy the ring warming and the Handfasting ritual… fielded lots of enthusiastic comments and questions afterwards. People loved hearing all the things that Zoë and Tyler respect and admire about each other… and about the things that they do to bring laughter and kindness into their days.

Family is VIP to both, and I loved that they held Japanese prayer beads belonging to Zoe’s parents, who had them at their own wedding.  Here is a photo.  All the photos here were taken by the lovely Jenny of Jenny Photography.  She really cares!

Real Weddings: Christine and Derek

I’m eagerly awaiting the photos from Christine and Derek’s fun and meaning filled wedding ceremony on the cedar deck at the Capilano Suspension Bridge. Until then their spectacular cupcake ‘wedding cake’ will do just perfectly.  Can you see the two wee cakes with the couple’s names written into a heart?

Christine found me after watching me on the documentary “Thoroughly Modern Marriage” on CBC. You can see it for yourself by clicking HERE. We hit it off straight away and when I met Derek, I knew they were a great match… and that I was the right ‘match’ to guide and officiate their ceremony.

Before the couple entered the ceremonial space, I warmed up their guests and got them all feeling the power of connection.  Though many people present knew hardly anyone, we quickly established a whole bunch of commonalities that made folks laugh and get revved for the ceremony.  They could tell that this one was going to be way better than the standard boring-same-old.

Bride and Groom happily beside me facing their guests, I embarked on a journey of storytelling about Derek and Christine.  To me it is the personal narrative that rocks the ceremony.  Personal narrative takes a universal human rite and makes it relatable, important, and powerful.  This couple’s story was full of the twists and turns of real life. To honour their rock climbing spirits, I spoke of the trust and bond that comes from Belaying ones partner.  What a fantastic metaphor for the relationship Christine and Derek have already cultivated and for the marriage they have now stepped into.

We even used a rock climbing rope for the Handfasting!  Derek planned it well.  His bestman brought out THE WHOLE THING, all 50 metres of it!  Family and friends loved the surprise. And no, I only wrapped their hands with a portion of it!

Though there was tons of warm laughter and light-hearted moments in Christine and Derek’s wedding ceremony, it was imbued with meaning throughout.  Moments where the couple saw only each other… moments where guests remembered the force of love in their own lives…  moments of sheer beauty and grace.  I loved every second!

Christine said later that, “We had so many comments from people saying, ‘That was the nicest ceremony I have ever witnessed – including my OWN!”

That makes me happy!

Michele Davidson for Modern Celebrant

 

Mother Blessings: a meaningful alternative to baby showers

From time to time I perform Mother Blessing Ceremonies.  Most people are unfamiliar with these.  Wondering what it’s all about?

Here’s my take.

Becoming a mother is the greatest life transition of all for a woman. Many women today chose to walk the time of their pregnancy and birthing with great intention and mindful awareness.  Pregnancy is not something that just happened to them and they’re merely waiting.

The way a woman chooses to inhabit her pregnancy and walk through the gateway into motherhood is often reflective of how she tries to live her entire life.

And so it is that I am called upon to work with women to create a ceremony rich in personal and collective meaning, well beyond the more typical baby shower type of event.

So what exactly is it?

Well, it’s just what it sounds. The focus is on the mother, and not the baby. It’s a loving, touching, and supportive gathering. Surrounded by the women who love her, the mother-to-be is free to honestly and openly express her innermost intentions, fears, hopes, and dreams around motherhood. She is honoured, revered, and tended to with the greatest love and respect.

The women in attendance share their wisdom, and their own thoughts about the strengths they see in the mother-to-be. These heartfelt wishes foster confidence for the coming birth and emergence into motherhood. It is very much a harvesting of the collective wisdom of women.

I may open with something like this:

“We are here to surround Jane with the company of women, to nurture and support her as she grows through into a new beginning in her life. We are here to offer her our blessings as she nears the birth of her child.

Together we will mark this major transition in her life, encourage her, and give her strength to draw upon for her labour and delivery. Today, each of us will offer our heartfelt blessings to Jane, along with a tangible symbol of our wishes. Together we will focus on giving her emotional support.

We will give our commitment to be a community for this new family. And we will offer our appreciation for the profound life change that accompanies the birth of a child.”

If the woman and her partner wish, we can include the father for first moments of the Mother Blessing Ceremony. After which he will take his leave.

A Mother Blessing Ceremony may be for you if:

  • you are pregnant and long for something more than gifts of diapers and sleep sets,
  • a traditional baby shower is not enough
  • you are a woman who wants to honour her journey into motherhood
  • you are a friend who wants to give a meaningful gift
  • if you are a man who wants to honour your partner with something that is just for her.

With joy,

Celebrant Michele Davidson

Real Weddings: Michelle and Dave

Michelle and Dave’s wedding ceremony and celebration was truly a reflection of THEM… in every detail.  I truly admire this couple for the mindful spirit they brought to literally everything about the day, and their planning for it. The transformative energy of their first steps into their marriage was palpable to everyone present.  And don’t you just love the lighting and tonal quality of these photographs by the brilliant Rafael Ferri of Match Studio!

Michelle and Dave wanted to be married on the first day of Spring… a day of new beginnings and fresh starts.  How wonderful to come together as a community to honour the sacred human ritual of marriage making, on a day also rich with universal symbolism.

We did the ceremony outside in a local park, near the water in beautiful Port Moody.  Life in all its glorious forms was evident all around our merry gathering of 20 or so nearest and dearest.  The cherry blossoms were just out, kids were wheeling nearby on their scooters, and families were enjoying the incredible day.  I loved the swirl of energy all around us.

Speaking of cherry blossoms… Dave is a talented painter and he hand painted the wedding invitations.  I have mine on my desk, beside me as I write this. It is soon to be framed!  It’s a vignette of cherry trees in blossom with a couple seated on a bench under the canopy of blossoms.  We can’t see their faces, but we know it is Michelle and Dave… seated on ‘their’ bench in the park where they chose to be married.  This is the kind of intention and thought that Michelle and Dave brought to everything about their wedding day.

The couple are avid members of the mountain biking community, indeed they met on a ride, and so I had a lot of fun weaving the story of their meeting for their guests during the ceremony.  Also the tale of how they knew they were a perfect match very soon after they met.

Though it was a sunny but nippy day, everyone enjoyed themselves immensely and folks were fascinated with the Handfasting I performed.  Such a tangible joining ritual, and one that is centuries old though rarely seen today.  We romped on the boardwalk for photos in the growing twilight afterwards and then Michelle and Dave treated everyone to a lovely dinner at the restaurant where they had their first dinner together.  Love it love it love it!

Here are some more of Rafael’s snaps… is it my imagination or are the colours remarkably fine? 

And I can’t resist sharing a note from Michelle that followed in the days after the ceremony.

“Michele…. Dave and I can’t thank you enough for making our wedding day a remarkable one. We both are so honoured to have had you there. You are a special gift to all who come in contact with you. Some friends who weren’t even there, just read the ceremony and were brought to tears by your beautiful words. Those who were there felt what Dave and I felt in the air. There aren’t enough Thank Yous to express our feelings. You will be a part of our lives always.

Love, Michelle and Dave”    BACK AT YA!

 

A Peak 2 Peak Elopement Ceremony

This is a wedding story. This is a baby story. It is a story about the power of Transformation.

Sarah and Ryan were definitely the most creative and adventurous Bride and Groom I’ve collaborated with.  Avid skiers, they wanted to be married on the Peak-to-Peak Gondola at Whistler Blackcomb, so that afterwards they could ski down the mountain in their wedding finery.  The Peak-to-Peak Gondola isn’t just any gondola. It covers a record-breaking 4.4-kilometer distance between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains.

The physical space of the Peak-to-Peak Gondola, this carriage, was the outward catalyst for Sarah and Ryan’s inner transformation. Let me explain what I mean by that. Read More >