Last week I experienced a deeply moving wedding ceremony. The festivities were spread out over three days, including a welcome dinner at the stylish rental house where the Alder Family were ensconced and a Korean BBQ in Joshua Tree National Park, but the absolute highlight was the marriage ceremony itself. It was breath-takingly open and vulnerable. I am still reverberating from all the emotion we released that evening.
The officiant was Grace LLwellyn, the founder of Not-Back-To-School Camp and longtime friend of both the Lester and Alder families (every one of the combined nine kids has either attended or worked at NBTSC). Besides being an unnervingly loving and present human being, Grace had also recently completed her training as a teacher of Ecstatic Dance – and lead the congregation on an emotional journey wherein we were invited to support and love Nathen and Reanna for the rest of their lives. We poured out our hearts to them and they drunk it all in. We even spontaneously sang Amazing Grace, because, as one guest put it, she’d never encountered a more perfect or fitting moment to sing this song.
The wedding was not easy. I would even say that it was physically challenging, with the sunny heat and lengthy distances between sites, but in the end we bonded together as a larger family tribe more for the trials. The ceremony took place on the third day of celebration, so most of us knew eachother. We were all at the Aerie (Eric Mueller’s house) in Pioneertown in the early evening. The views in the golden light were spectacular.
We stood or sat and watched Reanna approach with her mother and father at either side. That seemed so right for both parents to be by Reanna.
There was no ring bearer; instead when Reanna asked for the ring, her parents and three brothers passed it down to her. Likewise, when Nathen needed his ring, his parents and five brothers passed it hand to hand. This was the nature of the ceremony, and no doubt reflects the future of their lives together: inclusive.
The ceremony was so beautiful, in fact, that it was a privilege to be there. As my father-in-law put it, ” Grace made a living experiece of an age old ritual.” What a gift to have you both joined together in our community.
Nathen and Reanna, Many blessings on your new family.
Note: There are many more pictures on Facebook and at other blogs. Darlene posted a few here.