Holding hands, they came into the living room and stood before their friends and family and declared their love and faithfulness. A few weeks before, I was ordained in the Universal Life Church; with that ordination accepted by the state of Iowa, I was able to perform the ceremony for them. It was a thoughtful service with readings that offered love and advice and love again. Michael's sister, Beth who is an ordained Lutheran pastor, couldn't be there for the wedding but sent a message by email. Her message was read by Michael's niece, Caitlin. A friend of the couple, Falcon, offered his blessing. Doug (my husband) read an Apache wedding prayer.
Instead of the usual unity candle, the family performed a sand ceremony. In a sand ceremony, white sand is poured into a glass container to represent whatever greater power is trusted to watch over this couple. The groom then pours in sand to show individuality (Michael used green), then the bride (Susan chose orange) and then they pour in sand at the same time which shows the new faith and unity. Then Kandiss (black) and Lily (purple) each separately. Then the whole family pours their individual colors together. It leaves a touching image that shows the individuality of each of the participants but the new blending as family.
The cake was something to behold. The entire thing was edible with all of the decorations made of either buttercream icing or edible chocolate (otherwise known as modeling clay). Doug & I contributed the cake as part of our wedding present. On the same table as the cake we had a memory corner where pictures of those who left too soon were placed - Michael's dad, Susan's mother, and Michael's maternal grandparents.
Since we had to be inside, we did a very quick clean-up of our garage and set up the karaoke system out there for the reception. Thirty pumpkins we had spent Friday night decorating were scattered around the garage. Lawn furniture was moved inside and tablecovered. Some bouquets of dried leaves and corn shocks around the support posts. The new family fed their guests red beans chili and white horse chili with corn bread and fruit on the side. Susan and her sister sang beautifully together - such a toiuching blend of harmonies.
In spite of our best laid plans to be outdoors, we were sent inside by the wind and cold. Maybe that was the "plan" all along.