the wedding ceremony
Katherine Guilbault and Chris Hass were
married at 5:30 PM, July 20th, 2002. Family and friends witnessed
and participated in the event. This ceremony took place outdoors
on a temperate summer day at the Warren Conference Center, Ashland,
The following is a transcript of the approximately
1/2 hour ceremony. Our deepest thanks to those whose thoughts inspired
us to write this ceremony, and to those who supported us throughout
our lives to make the wedding possible. Special thanks to Katherine's
Lynn Brodie for officiating and for her thoughtful
Upon arrival, guests were treated to guitarist
Cahen's acoustic performance of classical spanish
guitar and jazz.
Guests were seated in a circular formation around
a central space where the officiant, bride and groom would stand.
Approximately 80 guests were in attendance. Katherine and Chris
were especially pleased with the circular seating arrangement, as
it kept everyone they love close, and (hopefully) gave everyone
a good view and a chance to hear the proceedings.
Friends and family kindly served as ushers by
handing out programs, and directing guests to their seats. The ushers
Appearing from atop a nearby hill, the bridal
party processed to the site of the wedding ceremony. Once assembled,
Reverend Lynn Brodie began with a welcome.
minister: Welcome friends and
family. We are glad to have you here. Today we ask you to celebrate
and bless the marriage of Katherine and Chris, as these beloved
friends enter into the evolving partnership of husband and wife.
We ask you to celebrate yourselves, for over the time that you have
known them, you have been a vital and sustaining part of their success
and happiness. We celebrate as well those who could not be here
today, but who are present in our thoughts and hearts. We come joyfully
together in love and understanding. Shared love makes burdens lighter,
makes distances more acute, togetherness more precious. Understanding
tempers love, giving it the strength to grow and sustain. Understanding
comes from perpetual renewal: The courage to understand yourself,
and to meet each other anew each day. Together, love and understanding
move us to challenge life in ways we dare not risk alone. It is
Katherine and Chris's pledge today that in partnership they will
sustain their love, and seek to understand each other, and themselves.
minister: In addition to loved
ones, we seek guidance from those who inspire us through the written
word. Towards that end, Katherine and Chris have selected several
passages as readings. Their good friend Gretchen
Grozier will read the first passage.
gretchen: Katherine first encountered
this is a poem in a book of poetry given to her by her grandmother,
Memere Guilbault. It is called, "An Oath of Friendship," by an Anonymous
writer from China, 1st Century BC.
I want to be your friend
For ever and ever without break or decay.
When the hills are all flat
And the rivers are all dry
When it lightens and thunders in winter
When it rains and snows in summer
When Heaven and Earth mingle-
Not till then will I part from you.
minister: The next passage will
be read by Chris and Katherine's friend and Chris's college roommate,
Psalm I from The Book of Psalms.
Blessed are the man and the woman
Who have grown beyond themselves
And have seen through their separations.
They delight in the way things are
And keep their hearts open, day and night.
They are like trees planted near flowing rivers,
Which bear fruit when they are ready.
Their leaves will not fail or wither,
Everything they do will succeed.
minister: The third reading
will be read by Marc
Overcash, who have shared their playfulness and guidance with Chris
and Katherine since they met in college.
marc and frances: This is a selection
from Letters to a Poet, by Rainer Maria Rilke. Katherine and Chris
have selected this reading because it describes their feelings about
The point of marriage is not to create a
quick commonality by tearing down all boundaries; on the contrary,
a good marriage is one in which each partner appoints the other
to be the guardian of his solitude, and thus they show each other
the greatest possible trust. A merging of two people is an impossibility,
and where it seems to exist, it is a hemming-in, a mutual consent
that robs one party or both parties of their fullest freedom and
development. But once the realization is accepted that even between
the closest people infinite distances exist, a marvelous living
side-by-side can grow up for them, if they succeed in loving the
expanse between them, which gives them the possibility of always
seeing each other as a whole and before an immense sky.
That is why this too must be the criterion
for rejection or choice: whether you are willing to stand guard
over someone else's solitude, and whether you are able to set
this same person at the gate of your own depths. For the more
we are, the richer everything we experience is. And those who
want to have deep love in their lives, must collect and save for
it, and gather honey.
minister: Katherine and Chris
also seek inspiration through song. They have asked their sister-in-law
to sing for us. She will sing "Tis a gift to be Simple." David
Tweedie, will accompany her on the fiddle.
lavender blessing (top)
minister: Many wedding ceremonies
include a ritual of unity such as lighting of unity candles. Katherine
and Chris have been inspired to create a unique blessing using lavender.
They have been inspired by the kindness of their friend Trish
Dearing, who grew, picked, and prepared the lavender
you now hold during a year spent in South Africa.
Lavender is used in bouquets, potpourris, and
in some foods. It also has many medicinal purposes, and is believed
to relieve stress and fatigue, cure headaches and other muscle aches,
and repel insects. As Trish tended this lavender, she thought warm
thoughts about Katherine and Chris and their upcoming marriage.
As she and her companions prepared the lavender, Trish related her
fond stories and memories to each person so that they too would
add warm thoughts to the creation of this gift.
I invite each of you to hold these lavender flowers
in your hands as you reflect on your wishes for Katherine and Chris's
Katherine and Chris's Godparents, Paul
and Elaine Proulx and Linda
and Ken O'Bannon, please come forward.
(Bowls to collect lavender in are given to
minister: I invite everyone to
pour your lavender into the collection bowls as they are passed
by Katherine and Chris's Godparents. You may save some lavender
for yourself if you wish. The lavender will combine bit by bit just
as Katherine and Chris's relationship has brought together many
different people over the years. Lavender comes from the Latin word
lavare, meaning to wash. Today we will "wash" Katherine
and Chris in warm thoughts for their marriage.
(Bowls brought forward. Katherine and Chris
consolidate lavender into one container. Minister sprinkles lavender
on them, not in Katherine's hair.)
minister: May this community
of family and friends continue to support you in building and nurturing
a healthy and lasting marriage. May this lavender always remind
you of the many people who love you and care about you, those who
you can call on to support you in times of need and to celebrate
with you in times of joy. May the blessings of love and community
be with us all.
reflections: "side-by-side" by rev. lynn m. brodie
Choosing a unity ritual for Chris and Katherine's
wedding took some creativity because most unity rituals like the
lighting of a central candle emphasize a merging of two people's
lives. Katherine and Chris emphasize the wisdom of the poet Rainer
Maria Rilke, who says that the merging of two people is really impossible.
Instead the true goal of marriage should be to become "guardians
of each other's solitude."
The first image I had of this phrase involved
Chris standing outside Katherine's study door with arms crossed
and a stern expression on his face, blocking entrance to all living
creatures including himself.
But what is it truly to be "guardians of one
another's solitude"? I reflect back over Chris and Katherine's relationship.
They met, way back 14 years ago and began their relationship as
"just friends." That typical high school phrase can lead to so much
more. Truly friendship is the core of lasting lifelong long relationship.
Their friendship deepened into a dating relationship, and soon after
a pattern began when Chris left for college.
I remember the family talking about how sweet
their romance had been and how they would now likely go their separate
ways. In a sense they did: They lost communication over the course
of the next two school years as Chris pursued his college studies
and Katherine completed high school. And in a sense they did not
go their separate ways. They reconnected each summer and rekindled
the relationship. And then Katherine left for college. In the next
years Katherine and Chris both pursued their studies and careers
in different fields at different colleges and jobs, allowing each
other the time and space needed to develop their individual life
goals and dreams while finding ways to come together and share as
partners in relationship. It wasn't always easy. Through it they
encouraged each other in their life callings and remained friends
who are committed to each other. Living in separate cities for many
years and supporting each other's dreams was an important way to
guard each other's individuality and to help each other to become
fully who they are called to be. By helping each other to develop
their uniqueness as individuals they also allowed themselves to
be able to be more fully together.
For a time between these two "emotionally close"
individuals a quite literal "distance" separated them. Maybe that
has helped them to glimpse the reality of life which Rilke writes
Now that Katherine and Chris live together, these
distances take on a new meaning.
Katherine and Chris, the reading you chose proclaims
that two human beings who are emotionally close and live together
are still separated by "infinite distances". You have chosen to
reflect on the fact that no matter how close you manage to be (no
matter how well you communicate, nor how much you share, nor how
much you care for each other) still you ar ultimately on your own
life journey, which not even your soon to be spouse can travel for
you or understand completely. These are lonely, scary thoughts.
This acknowledgment of the separation between
even the most happily married couple asks you to accept the limitations
of human life. Marriage is full of realities and frustrations and
imperfections and limitations. Rilke calls you to accept this not
as a harsh reality, but as a comfort and a blessing, to embrace
those limitations, "loving the expanse between" you so that a "marvelous
living side-by-side can grow up." It is this which Rilke says "gives[you]
the possibility of always seeing each other as a whole and before
an immense sky." The lavender blessing symbolized this "marvelous
living side-by-side". Each flower of lavender is whole and complete
in itself. We brought those individual flowers together as separate
entities not to completely merge, but instead to stay individual
and yet create a new and beautiful whole. This is an image, not
just of marriage but of community, because marriage is not just
the partnership of two people, but also the creation of a new community
of family and friends, who will not only guide and support and celebrate
with you, Katherine and Chris, over the years, but also with each
In your marriage preparation work, you identified
values and ways of relating which will help you to create a healthy
and fulfilling marriage relationship, a living side-by-side in love.
You are committed to the freedom to be individuals while supporting
each other. You are committed to balancing your personal needs and
desires and schedules with the needs and desires of the family unit.
You have agreed to support and value each other's careers equally
regardless of the salary level. You value flexible and evolving
roles and a life full of playfulness, creativity, goals and growth.
The glue that holds all this together is good communication, open
dialogue about the good and bad things in your relationship as well
as a deep trust.
Sometimes you will achieve a beautiful, marvelous
living side by side and you will recognize it instantly and celebrate.
Sometimes that living side by side as partners in life and marriage
will feel uncomfortable and require taking risks. You have not chosen
the traditional "for better or for worse Œtil death do us part"
type of vows, but you have chosen vows which call on you to be all
you can be and to support each other on life's journey. You will
promise to encourage and inspire each other and help your partner
achieve life's dreams "even when neither of you are sure where that
may lead you" as an individual or as a couple. This love involves
a risk taking, a not knowing, And yet in many ways your approach
to life is not a risk at all because it ensures that each one of
you will strive to live up to the best of who you are and who you
are called to be, that you will support each other in being whole
and complete as individuals, even when that is difficult. For as
Rilke said, the more we are as individuals, the more we can be truly
ourselves in a marriage relationship and in the world, the more
we can support each other's wholeness, "the richer everything we
experience will be". The marriage you envision involves cultivating
a deep trust not only in each other and your relationship, but in
the callings and longings of your soul. It calls for trust in the
meaning of both your life and your life together, as well as trust
in the ultimate wisdom of the unfolding universe, in the spirit
of life and the spirit of love. May the vision of this day and the
vows you are about to share inspire you to live side by side in
a "marvelous" love all the days of your lives.
(Katherine and Chris change positions so that
those who may not have been able to see before could now see.)
questions of intent (top)
minister: Chris, do you promise
to love Katherine, remaining faithful to the joy and laughter you
feel today? Do you promise to encourage and inspire Katherine to
achieve her dreams, even when neither or you are sure where that
may lead you? Do you promise to strive to be your best, protecting
your own dreams and aspirations, so that you can be a better partner
with Katherine? Do you promise to continue to communicate openly
and honestly, as the foundation of your relationship together?
chris: I do.
minister: Katherine, do you promise
to love Chris, remaining faithful to the joy and laughter you feel
today? Do you promise to encourage and inspire Chris to achieve
his dreams, even when neither of you are sure where that may lead
you? Do you promise to strive to be your best, protecting your own
dreams and aspirations, so that you can be a better partner with
Chris? Do you promise to continue to communicate openly and honestly,
as the foundation of you relationship together?
katherine: I do.
minister: Katherine and Chris
used a selection by Elmo A. Robinson as inspiration for their shared
katherine: I love you. It is
my deepest desire that we spend our days and years together. Our
love shall unite us in a genuine union of hearts and lives, in which
I shall cherish and care for you.
chris: I love you unconditionally,
hoping for your love given freely in return. My love is not a demanding
love, nor does it find room for resentments and hostilities. I will
seek ever to understand you, to admire you for what you are, to
recognize your potentialities, and to help you to attain them. I
have faith in you and in our future together.
katherine: I love you. The togetherness
for which I hope is one in which the strength in each of us will
complement the weakness of the other. Already the two of us constitute
a family, united by an invisible bond, and providing soil in which
love can flourish, increase, and mature. To this bond, as well as
you, I pledge my devotion.
chris: I love you. I shall
become part of your family, and you shall become a part of mine.
Your responsibilities shall be my responsibilities. In the community
in which we live, we will seek companionship and fellowship of those
who will enhance our love rather than endanger it. As we live out
the full span of our years, may we look back over them and rejoice,
that our love has indeed bestowed upon us the blessings of a union,
which has led us out of the realm of convention and into the realm
of the extraordinary.
chris and katherine: This is
my vow to you.
exchange of rings (top)
minister: These rings are a symbol
of the unbroken circle of love. May they be a daily reminder to
Katherine and Chris of their vows to each other and their resolve
to live together in unity, love, and happiness. Katherine and Chris,
as a symbol of your love and respect for each other, will you now
(Best man provides rings.)
katherine: I give you this ring
as a symbol of our vows, and with all that I am, and all that I
have, I honor you. I will be true to you, respect you, and grow
with you throughout all the years.
chris: I, give you this
ring as a symbol of our vows, and with all that I am, and all that
I have, I honor you. I will be true to you, respect you, and grow
with you throughout all the years.
minister: May you be a blessing
and comfort to each other, sharers of each other's dreams, consolers
of each other's sorrows, helpers to each other in all life's vicissitudes.
May you encourage each other in whatever you set out to achieve.
May you trust each other, trust life, and be unafraid. May you love
each other and offer love and support to those around you.
minister: By exchanging vows
and rings you have pledged your friendship and commitment, each
of you in the presence of this company. By the power of your own
love, we are truly glad to recognize you as husband and wife.
closing words (top)
minister: Katherine and Chris,
may your life together be long, devoted, healthy, and full of peace.
May you be a source of comfort and inspiration for each other. (To
all) May your happiness reach out to others, and may your love
grow in joy. Amen.
kiss and presentation of husband and wife (top)
minister: The ceremony is ended.
We invite you to reach under you chairs for the little containers
of bubbles, and blow bubbles as we join in welcoming Chris and Katherine
Guilbault Hass among us this day as husband and wife. Let us celebrate
with them as they share the first kiss of married life.
(Big smackeroo here.)
minister: Please join Katherine
and Chris at the Warren House (the white building with the chimney
behind us) for light refreshment before dinner.
minister: Go now in peace.