When I walked into the ballroom where I was to be married, I walked into a crowd of 120 people all standing in honor of me and the ceremony that was about to happen. Their standing gave a sense of gravity to the moment. It felt real and deep. This was important!

The crowd seemed to tower over me, they were so many. I felt small by comparison, but safe and held by their attention and their care. The tears of my vulnerability and my hope for love welled up in my chest and pushed their way forcefully to my eyes.

I was trying to let it all in–their attention, their very presence, the reality of the marriage about to occur–without totally losing it and being lost in weeping. I did the best I could, crying a little, but pushing the tears back down as I processed to the front of the room.

After that my bride came in singing the refrain from All My Life, by K-Ci and Jojo:

All my life I’ve prayed for someone like you
And I thank God that I, that I finally found you
All my life I’ve prayed for someone like you
And I know that you feel the same way too
Yes, I know that you do love me too.

I had no idea she was going to do this! Again my tears came with the feeling of magnitude and love, while my Maid of Honor’s jaw dropped to the floor.

As everyone was seated, we got down to the business of becoming married. To be married in front of 120 witnesses who also gave a verbal pledge to support us in our marriage was transformative. It changed the tenor of our relationship in a fundamental way, strengthening it and validating our intention to make this a lifetime relationship. Our vows took on the authority of the gathered community who affirmed that these vows were worthy and powerful.

The community made it’s own pledge by saying “We Do!” when asked, “All of you who witness this covenant being made between Andrea and Nanette, do you promise to do everything in your power to support and sustain them in their marriage, nurturing them with your friendship and care?”

One couple came up to us later and said that our vows made them love each other morhappy couplee. Another friend said, “these are not the vows of a 19 year old,” by which she acknowledged the life experience reflected in our vows. We don’t expect this to be simple or easy. But we do expect it to be worth it.

I closed my vows with this: “You are my chosen family, my most intimate friend, in and among all the beautiful relationships in my life. I choose you, now and forever, to be my wife, to be my partner in all the joys and sorrows of this life. I devote myself to you, to me, and to this journey.”

My devotion is not only to Andrea, but also to the process of becoming family, which I know will be a journey. The ceremony was just a marker as we enter a new phase of creating family.

And my devotion has to be to myself as well. Andrea is counting on me knowing myself and being honest with her about who I am and what I need and hope for.

I’m counting on her to do the same. It’s a huge act of trust and commitment. And it means so much to have the community support us on this journey of life.


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