Congratulations Steve Van Kuiken and Jennifer Hackman on your wonderful wedding and reception yesterday. June 9, 2007. It was a magical evening and weekend and we were honored and pleased to be a part of it all! I personally want to thank you for asking Scott to be a groomsman, Steve. At first I was feeling slighted because I was the one who has "kept vigil" with you the past 10 years. But it turned out to be a better path. I just wanted you to know that and thank you for it as I didn't find the right time to tell you yesterday.
So what does a minister who has performed dozens of weddings over his 20+ years as a pastor and who was defrocked by the Presbyterians for performing weddings for same-sex couples and his bride (raised Catholic but now "spiritual") choose for their wedding ceremony? I hadn't spent any time trying to guess what the ceremony was going to be like.
I had wondered whether I'd see alot of the people he'd married at this wedding--but not so. And when you come to think about it why would they? These were people he married at another congregation some years back. A few of them followed him on to the new church he created. We met some of the 60 members from that congregation at the wedding. We decided against going to church there today to hear the woman who was filling in for Steve preach and instead opted to go back to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and Museum where we had spent a too short 2 hours the day before. This is one of the best museums we've ever visited. I would recommend it to anyone. It is smack dab between the Red's and the Bengal's stadiums on the riverfront.
Here's some of the other weekend highlights:
The rehersal started with a yoga class. Not all of the wedding party was "game", but all the groomsmen except the broom's son participated. All of the people except the bride, her two matrons of honor and the best man (who was a 60+ year old gay man) were totally new to yoga. I had taken 1 30 min. class at the YMCA two weeks ago so I only knew a little of what to expect. It was great!
During the rehersal (the church was not air conditioned) I went outside and had a nice long chat with the pastor of Salem United Church of Christ which was celebrating it's 150th year in existance--140 years in that church. Rev. Fred (forget his last name) was fun to chat with. He was about to go to the Boundry Waters on a canoe trip. (I cautioned him to check the website to see if any of his campsites were effected by the recent fire.)
The bride's parents had a bbq for the wedding party after the rehersal at their home in Batavia (suburban Cincy) and so we got to meet them. Her father is a retired 5th grade school teacher who hates No Child Left Behind with a passion.
The prelude music for the wedding was as follows: Where Love is Found by Aaron Miller; Andante Cantabile from Sonata Pathatique, Beethoven; Question by The Old 97s; All That is Gold by Williams. The processional for the bridesmaids/matrons was Handle's Watermusic and the Bride's Processional was Clarke's Prince of Denmark's March.
The officiating minister was Rev. Sharon Ditmar, a Unitarian Universalist pastor. She did a reading from Dark Night of the Soul by St. John of the Cross. The groom's stepmother who is JoHanna W.H. van Wijk-Boss read her translation (she's a renoun seminary professor) of Genesis 2: 18-23.
There was a song played for a moment of meditation after the vows were spoken and the rings were exchanged but before the declaration of marriage. The music played during this time was Drunkerd's Prayer by Over the Rhine.
The recessional was with trumpets and was Handle's The Rejoicing and Purcell's Trumpet Voluntary.
The couple chose two quotes for the back of their ceremony program. They are as follows:
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where, I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I don't know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep it is your eyes that close.
Out beyond ideas of right and wrong, there is a field. I'll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about. Ideas, language, even the phrase "each other" doesn't make any sense. Rumi
The reception was in and on the grounds of The Kennedy Heights Arts Center www.kennedyarts.org which was a great place for a wedding reception. The catering group was The Golden Rule Caterers. They were not only fitting for the wedding of a clergy, but their food was FABULOUS!
My husband was a groomsman and looked really good in his white tie and tux. He didn't sweat excessively nor did he faint. (We were all surprised and relieved.) Nor was he required to dance in public. (He was surprised and relieved and I was a bit disappointed. But woe to me because I didn't have the guts to ask my own husband to dance!)
My kids and I made favors for the wedding party that were the same as ones the groom's daughter had made when she was 10 years old and at our house for New Year's Eve. I brought the originals to give back to her that I'd saved since 1997 when she was about to turn 10.
During the middle of the reception when I asked the groom's son about his mom (groom's ex-wife), he whipped out his cell phone and dialed her number before I could do anything. It was a little akward, but I'd been stewing about whether to try to reconnect with her for weeks and had tried to e-mail her and googled her name. But I was afraid to call myself because we had not kept touch. It was good to talk to her.
Also apparently a newer tradition at weddings now is to create a CD to give to your guests. (My 27 year old cousin did this at her wedding last year and I play it all the time.) I asked Steve if he wouldn't send me his "liner notes" as to why they chose the songs they chose. They titled their song compilation "Make Love Not War" and it contained the following songs:
Show Me by Over the Rhine
California Stars by Wilco
Valencia by the Decemberists
The Story by Brandi Carlile
Happy Everafter in Your Eyes by Ben Harper
Help Save the Youth of America by Billy Bragg
Question by The Old 97s
Let's Never Stop Falling in Love by Pink Martini
Love and Hope by Ozomatli
Souls Meet Body by Death Cab for Cutie
Big Bug Shuffle by Jerry Douglas
Waiting for My Real Life to Begin by Colin Hay
See the World by Gomez
Fields of Gold by Eva Cassidy
I Won't Back Down by Tom Petty
Ah Mary by Grace Potter & the Nocturnals
It's A Hit by Kilo Riley
Drunkard's Prayer by Over the Rhine
Not Fade Away by The Grateful Dead
The Luckiest by Ben Folds
Oh...and the bride and groom gave out cute little tape measures to all the wedding guests at the reception to remind people that "love is immeasurable"!
We got to have great bonding time with 3 couples who were all members of the congregation that Steve pastored in Burnsville, MN (Presbyterian Church of the Apostles). We flew out on the same flight as Kay and Jerry Johnson, ran into Peter Mockridge on the elevator at 11 o'clock Friday night getting an extra pillow for his wife Eleanor. We then joined the 4 of them along with Sue and Dan Carlbloom for breakfast on both Saturday and Sunday mornings and had a great time visiting. We flew back on the same flight as Sue and Dan which delighted our kids because "Miss Sue" is their piano teacher.
During the comedy hour of trying to return Scott's rental tux (actually it was no laughing matter because Scott was very upset and nervous about getting to the airport on time) we spent over 15 minutes trying to get out of downtown Cincy. Not only was there a Reds game, but also a parade and street festival and so alot of streets were blocked off. Once we finally made it out of the downtown and across the Ohio River we spent 30 non-quality minutes at the "hip" new riverfront area called The Levee on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River. This included a long conversation with the manager of the store trying to give direction over the phone on where to park and where I should enter the building and find the store. During this process I dropped the cell phone under the car and I had to leave it there and let the rest of the family deal with that while I turned back the tux. (The manager saw me coming and ran out to get it from me.)
So that was our magical, mystical, whirlwind weekend in Cincinnati, OH. It was one to remember! Now I'm going to sleep the sleep of a very tired and happy person and hopefully get about 8 hours including some quality deep REM time with dreams!