Thursday, July 5, 2012


Weddings are celebrations of monumental importance in our lives as human beings. We choose at these times to publicly announce our intent to join our lives - emotionally & economically - with another individual to whom we have chosen to commit. Whether we write our own vows & promises, or allow an officiant / celebrant / minister to read words of promise and commitment to which we agree with words such as, "Yes," and "I do," weddings mark a significant embarkment on a new, changed life path.

To some, these are all "just words," and having a justice of the peace sign the obligatory civil documents is perfectly acceptable, meaningful, and sufficient! But to others, planning a wedding offers an incredible opportunity to create memories that will last in the minds of the individuals as well as all those with whom they choose to share their day.

Marriage and ceremonies recognizing marriage have changed, developed, morphed, and varied throughout all of human history. Western European marriages were, historically, economic exchanges of property (women) from one man (the bride's father) to another (the groom). Dowries were also expected to be given in some cultures - by the bride's family to the family of the groom - to compensate for the economic loss of their hard-working son.

Many westerners today consider this "traditional" view of marriage as unfortunately sexist, patriarchal, and/or misogynistic. It is important, however, that we recognize from where our traditions historically extend. Today, our society still tends to view marriage as a social contract - one into which two individuals enter of their own free will, as opposed to at the discretion of their families - but still one in which the two individuals are given certain benefits and are expected to fulfill certain obligations. Generally, married couples are expected to pay joint taxes to the state and nation where they reside. They typically have social expectations to bear / adopt children, and to raise them to be contributing members of their society. Couples who are unable or unwilling to raise children of their own are still socially expected to contribute in positive ways as a couple to the society where they live. Many civil and legal benefits are returned to legally married couples in exchange for entering into this social contract. A full list of the 1,138 Federal benefits and responsibilities of legally married couples in the United States of America can be found here. And, if you are by chance wondering why marriage really even matters in our society, here is a list of 15 reasons why it does.

But enough of the jargon, right? You want to celebrate your wedding, your way! And I have been certified as a Humanist Minister by the Humanist Society, on behalf of the American Humanist Association, so that I could help you do just that. What I specialize in, that you will not find anywhere else in Utah, is a completely personalized approach to helping you celebrate your day in exactly the way you want. Most ministers / wedding officiants are tied to certain religious organizations, and are inclined to insert their own beliefs and views of what marriage is into your ceremony. What I guarantee is that you will be able to revise and draft with me during my entire writing process. I will never say words that you have not approved / chosen beforehand. Your celebration is in all honesty all about you!

Included in my event pricing are three pre-event meetings (four including the first free consultation) where I will ask a multitude of questions to you both. My goal in writing your ceremony is to get to know you very personally - to know your backgrounds and life histories as much as you are comfortable sharing - so that I can write you the most personalized service possible. I invite you to share with me your favorite music, literature, films, and activities so that I can write about your lives in a way that everyone present will always remember. I'll ask you to choose a tone for your ceremony - upbeat & humorous, quiet & calm, relaxed & celebratory, light & funny, reflective, grateful, excited, peaceful - you name it!

My job as a Humanist Minister is to continually read, watch, and listen to material that inspires people from all walks of life. Some of the Humanistic literature I pull from when writing ceremonies are The Philosophy of Humanism, Leaves of Grass, Walden, and the Essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson. And, some of the scientific literature from which I draw inspiration include Richard Dawkins' The Greatest Show on Earth, Carl Sagan's many novels and writings, and research by Lisa Diamond and Kathryn Bond Stockton. I hope that you will share with me what inspires you, so that we can collectively inspire your guests on your wedding day.

Contact me with any and all questions at :

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