Wedding Ceremony Matt & Gretchen's Wedding 10/2/04

We gave up on the outdoor wedding thanks to the weather and moved into the Washburn Room of the Highland Center. Not the most romantic place, but the walls are graced with large black and white mountain photography prints by Bradford Washburn. Around 1 in the afternoon the power went out, which was entertaining, but not a problem until the lack of vent fans in the kitchen tripped the fire alarm as well. We were all shooed outside to shiver. Some regulation required us all to remain outside until the fire department showed up to confirm that, indeed, the building had not gone up in smoke. The fire department being about 10 miles away, this took a fair bit of time, meanwhile, everyone was getting a bit antsy to shower and get ready for the event. But eventually it was time for the ceremony. There are relatively few pictures of the cremony itself, partly because people were paying attention, and partly because we asked for no flash photos. This limited photos to Spence, who could bump up the ASA on his digital SLR.

Faith and Jeffery provided music as a Cello duet

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Matt's Uncle Peter was the Officiator and Gretchen's Uncle Ron was the confirmer

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Our friends Joan and Andi both read selections, as did Matt's brother Chris and Gretchen's brother Andrew

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Ceremony Text

Gretchen and i put together pretty much the entire ceremony. We borrowed from Hindu, Buddhist, Taoism, the Apache Indians, the Velveteen Rabbit, and Nitzche!  The only part we actually wrote ourselves were the vows, but those are darn tough to write.    Here's the most of it:


We are gathered here to join Gretchen and Matthew in marriage. Fittingly, we share this time of happiness with them that they may receive our blessings and that they may extend to us the joy which they feel today. To them we extend our deepest good wishes. May theirs be a life that is rich with serenity as well as adventure. May their love grow greater, not only through the laughter of the years but through the tears as well. May they know more and more that mutual devotion and trust are the unshakeable stones on which a healthy and rewarding marriage is built.

Matt- to audience

We would like to thank all of you who have come to share in this moment. We would most like to thank our parents, Nancy, Burt, Judy and Bill for their unwavering love and support.

Gretchen- to audience

Our lives have also been enriched by those who can not be here today. Let us take a moment to silently think about those who have influenced us and who's presence we miss today.

First reading: Andrew

For one human being to love another being: that is perhaps the most difficult task that has been entrusted to us, the ultimate task, the final test and proof, the work for which all other work is merely preparation. Loving does not at first mean merging, surrendering and uniting with another person- it is a high inducement for the individual to ripen, to become something in oneself, to become world, to become world in oneself for the sake of another person; it is a great, demanding claim on him, something that chooses him and calls him to vast distances.

-Letters to a young poet, Rainer Maria Rilke

Second reading: Joan

What is real?” asked the Rabbit one day. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”

Real isn't how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

Does it hurt?”

Sometimes.” For he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don't mind being hurt.”

Dose it happen all at once, like being wound up, or bit by bit?”

It doesn't happen all at once. You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't often happen to people who break easily, or who have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.”

-The Velveteen Rabbit, Margery Williams

Third reading: Peter

True, we love life, not because we are used to living, but because we are used to loving. There is always some madness in love, but there is also always some reason in madness.

-Friedrich Nietzsche, 19th century German philosopher, from Thus Spake Zarathustra

Exchange of Vows

Peter- to couple

Understanding that just as we are a mystery to ourselves, each other person is also a mystery to us. Do you pledge to seek to understand yourselves, each other and all living beings, to examine your own minds continually and to regard all the mysteries of life with curiosity and joy?

Gretchen and Matt -we do

Ron- to audience

Marriage is a commitment that two people make to each other. Marriage is also a commitment that the community makes to two people. I will ask you all to show your commitment to these two: the appropriate response is, “we do”. Do you commit yourselves to Gretchen and Matthew, to love them, support them, guide them, listen to them, and speak to them in love?

Audience - we do

Peter- small vow introduction

Matt speaks his vow

Gretchen speaks her vow

Music for reflection – Faith and Jeffrey

Exchange of rings

Ron- to couple

A circle is the symbol of the sun and the earth and the universe. It is a symbol of holiness and of perfection and of peace. In these rings it is the symbol of unity, in which your lives are now joined in one unbroken circle in which, wherever you go, you will always return to one another and to your togetherness.

Fourth reading: Andi

Act without contriving;
work naturally, and taste the tasteless;
magnify the small; increase the few,
and reward bitterness with care.
Seek the simple in the complex,
and achieve greatness in small things.
It is the way of nature
that even difficult things are done with ease,
and great acts made up of smaller deeds.
The sage achieves greatness by small deeds multiplied.
Promises easily made are most easily broken,
and acting with insufficient care
causes subsequent trouble.
The sage confronts problems as they arise,
so that they do not trouble him.
-Tao te Ching 63

Fifth reading: Andi

When all under heaven know beauty as beauty,
already there is ugliness;
When everyone knows goodness,
this accounts for badness.
Being and nonbeing give birth to each other,difficult and easy complete each other,
long and short form each other,
high and low fulfill each other,
tone and voice harmonize with each other,
front and back follow each other
it is ever thus.
-Tao te ching 46


Peter- to couple

Matthew and Gretchen, you have made your vows to each other, your family and friends have promised you their love and support. We now declare that you are husband and wife, partners in life.


Closing reading: Chris

Now you will feel no rain,
For each of you will be a shelter to the other.
Now you will feel no cold,
For each of you will be warmth to the other.
Now there is no loneliness for you;
Now there is no more loneliness.
Now you are two bodies,
But there is only one life before you.
Go now to your dwelling place,
To enter into your days together.
And may your days be good
And long on the earth.
-Into the garden, Apace song

Closing music – Faith and Jeffrey

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