June 20th 2009 – Cathedral of the Pines, Rindge, NH, USA
What a great ceremony! I’ve worked with this couple for over a year planning this day, I was almost as excited as they were. Cathedral of the Pines is a stunning location in Rindge NH, which has opened it’s grounds to wedding parties. There is an outdoor altar for which the backdrop is Mount Monadnock. It’s open to the public until 5pm in season and they rope off the path to the wedding circle while the wedding is in progress. They have gardens and a fountain of life dedicated to Nursing staff which features a sculpted tree bearing fruit in the centre. The staff are extremely professional and run everything like clockwork, so you get the feel of a park wedding with the benefits of a venue.
This ceremony was a handfasting wherin I bound the couple with 6 cords, each cord had a specific intent/vow associated with it. I had one of the wedding party carry the cords for me and hand them one at a time as I needed them. As the entire wedding party was made up of the happy couple and their three sons, it was very intimate. The young man in charge of the cords was very solemn and undertook his duties with great aplomb.
The hand tying done, I removed the cords, still knotted and placed them on the marble altar. There was an exchange of rings which was handled by the remaining two sons, they carried and handed over the rings to each parent, and one young man gave us quite the chuckle by teasing Mom with an “uhoh!” then laughed and took out the ring.
The pronouncement made, The Cathedral bells rang 3 times and then we performed a blended family Sand Ceremony. Each member of the family had chosen a quality that they celebrated within their home.
After each family member had stepped up and given their vow, the vase was sealed and the family blessed. The sand ceremony was thus concluded and the family was joined.
After the wedding party left for photos, I then completed the wedding ceremony by braiding both ends of the handfasting cords. This leaves the wedding knot in the middle of a braid. that now cannot now be undone without intent. I recommend that the couple attach a small bell to the bottom of the cord and hang it on the back of their bedroom door. If the door is slammed in anger, the bell will sound. This has a dual purpose; the sound of the bell will alert the spouse to the anger and the sound will remind the person who is angry of what brought them to that place as a married couple. The vows are in the cords and serve as a constant reminder of the intent and work needed to honour that intent.
As for the sand, the vase once sealed takes a place of honour in the household and is a daily symbol of the joining of unique individuals into a cohesive group who have chosen to share their lives with each other.
Congratulations Lewis, Marci, Brandon, Bailey and Cooper!