What Started It All

I’ve been to a dozen or so weddings as an adult. Each of them were religious ceremonies, and I found each one of them lackluster and offensive to various degrees. The offensive content was usually tied to some dreadfully antiquated religious concepts – among them, that the man was the de facto “leader” in the marriage and the wife was to be subservient to his demands, and that the couples’ individuality was extinguished upon marrying. My wife and I were just as appalled at what was said at our own wedding ceremony. It seemed that no one could get it right.

At one wedding in particular that I attended, the minister presiding over the ceremony was hammering these points (among others) home in an unusually insulting manner. As I sat there in the pews, disgusted at hearing these passé beliefs being spouted yet again – and with such vigor – I thought to myself, “I can do a better job than this guy.” And so, in the following weeks, I took the steps necessary to become registered to legally solemnize marriages in Ohio. I performed my first ceremony just over two months later.

To some, a marriage is a religious institution, steeped in ancient – and to some, outmoded – beliefs and traditions. To others, a marriage is no more than a civil arrangement sanctioned by the state. To me, a marriage – and by extension, the wedding – is something much simpler and more beautiful than either of these. It is a celebration of the love shared by two people, and a solemn promise that their affections will be shared only with each other. This is the central theme to each of the wedding ceremonies I perform, and I incorporate spiritual (but not religious) overtones when the couple indicates that this fits in with their personal beliefs.

To learn more about my views on spirituality and marriage as they relate to the wedding ceremony, click here.