This past weekend, my husband of twenty years and myself renewed our wedding vows. Actually, we went a bit beyond renewal. This was always intended to be the wedding we didn’t feel like we got. The first time we got married, he was 19 and I was 18. I had essentially run away from home to live with him in another state, and both of our families were absolutely furious. Words were said, relationships were irretrievably damaged, and the upshot was that we had a last-minute wedding in Little Rock, where we were living, with very few people in attendance. One of the things that hurt me the most was my father’s refusal to attend, and I had hoped he would be coming to this one, as he was at least half my reason for having it. (He didn’t.) Beyond the family drama, though, we ended up getting married in a Presbyterian church using a standard ceremony. Neither of us attended that church. We only chose it because I had been baptized a Presbyterian, so we felt comfortable asking for that church. I had originally had in mind some kind of more special, customized ceremony, or at least writing our own vows. None of that happened.
So right from the start, we intended to have a do-over on one of our major anniversaries, and this year was it. We invited everybody we knew a full year in advance. We booked a hall, I got a dress together, my mom made a new wedding cake and cupcakes…and I wrote the ceremony. I had some help with the words here and there from my wonderful priests, but the structure, purpose, and refinement was mine. It ended up going wonderfully. We were surrounded by twice as many friends as before, we got to say the words we felt in our hearts, we did nothing that felt forced or masking or in any way false. It was absolutely the wedding we wished we’d had the first time. (And yes, I’ll post pictures as soon as I get finished sending thank-you cards and sorting the photos…one of those 42-odd things on my to-do list!)
Afterwards, I was surprised by how many people came up and told me they’d gotten all weepy during the ceremony. I didn’t expect that. I felt pretty self-conscious about writing the ritual up the way I did to begin with, and was a little nervous about showing it off, even though it came from the heart. It got me to thinking, though. I’ve written rituals off and on over the years. I’ve done sabbats and esbats for myself and for my family, and I’ve devised and cast spells for protection, warding, pregnancy and childbirth, all sorts of things. Out of the rituals and spellwork that I actually think through and plan out, I don’t think I’ve ever had one fall flat the way improvised things have done.
Maybe this is something I could actually be good at. It’s an idea, and one that will sit in the back of my head for now as I try to clear out my current to-do list of commitments and promises. It’s not something I ever really considered, though, and it’s kind of interesting to think I might have an unexplored skill budding. It’s also giving me a little more confidence to leave behind the scripts of others and do more writing of my own.