Alisa + Emily at the end of the volleyball season circa 1994. Notice, much to our coach’s chagrin, that I am wearing lipstick!
When my childhood friend Emily asked me earlier this fall if I would officiate her holiday wedding to her girlfriend (now fiancé) of seven years, I felt really honored. Yes, I could do that–after all creating personalized wedding ceremonies is what I do.
But could I actually do that? This was going to be my first same-gender wedding ceremony, and I wondered if Emily thought I had access to some sort of magic formula or was she just used to trusting me as a teammate–like when we played basketball (soccer and volleyball too–okay, we went to a really small school) together.
Even though I was all suited up and ready for the tip off, behind my game face was the humbling knowledge that not only had I never officiated a wedding like this before, this was also going to be my first time attending a same-gender wedding too! Talk about having sweaty palms and feeling unprepared.
Over the last two weeks, I was inspired by IX Bishop of New Hampshire, Gene Robinson’s new book God Believes In Love: Straight talk about gay marriage in which he shares his own personal story of finding and marrying the love of his life. God Believes in Love contains a persuasive argument that the ability to wholly commit to another person and the desire to create a sacred bond with that person is not exclusive to opposite-gendered couples.
“Marriage calls us to be our best selves, for each other. Marriage is the very human attempt to make a place in one’s heart for another—a place so holy as to make it possible to have a love for another person at times greater than the love of one’s self.” (God Believes In Love pg. 15)
Creating Emily’s wedding ceremony, writing her love story, and incorporating a wedding tradition from Hawaii (where we grew up together) has been a really wonderful experience for me. Additionally, it’s been a way for me to express my best wishes for someone whom I genuinely care for and admire.
After I got over being intimidated by this new frontier and opportunity that Emily granted me access to, I was able to do what I do best –lead in the process of creating a truly authentic rite of passage for Emily and Amy. Just like I do with every other couple I work with, I asked questions and listened for the answers. And just like I felt when she first asked me to officiate their wedding, I feel even more honored today having been trusted with the preciousness of their story and their hopes for the future.
Stay tuned for my next post after their wedding next weekend.