Jumping the broom

Like many modern wedding traditions, jumping the broom has many stories about its origin and purpose, and it’s a ceremony that holds different meaning for different people who do it. The practice may have developed independently in Wales and the American South, and according to folklore the common element is that the broom was jumped by oppressed people who weren’t allowed a legal marriage: the Romani in Wales, and enslaved African Americans in the USA.

Drawing on those traditional understandings, jumping the broom is a way to honor ancestors and their struggles, or to express solidarity with others who have been oppressed.

There is also religious symbolism that can be seen in the broom. Some christians see the handle as representing their deity, and the bristles their families. In certain pagan traditions, the broom represents a blending of masculine and feminine energies. More broadly, jumping the broom is considered a blessing upon the marriage.

If you’re trying to bring together various ideas to create your wedding ceremony, you’re in the right place. Ceremony consultation is part of the officiant service at Weddings in the Gunks.

Officiating your naturist wedding

Officiating your naturist wedding

Not everyone stresses over what to wear to their own wedding.

sign in the sand, with text reading, "the national trust
naturists may be seen beyond this point"

Not everyone stresses over how to dress the wedding party.

Not everyone thinks about how the parents’ outfits will look together in wedding pictures.

There are some who feel that being clothed in the sky is the best way to dress for one’s wedding—that is to say that they want to get married naked. Nudity is how we come into this world, and there are those who want to mark this profound rite of passage dressed in the same way.

I officiate naturist and nudist weddings. It’s not my place to tell you how to dress for your own wedding, or to tell you what to ask your wedding party or guests to wear, either. I support the idea that not wearing clothing is natural and healthy, even though it’s not a lifestyle I practice.

Tips for planning a nudist wedding

  1. Communicate with your wedding party, vendors, and guests as early as possible. Make sure everyone who will be attending or participating understands who is expected not to be wearing clothing, and when. Be prepared to answer all questions, even if they seem silly: this can be a way that your loved ones process a new experience.
  2. Make plans without pockets:
    • rings, handfasting cords, and other items either need to be carried by hand, or placed up front ahead of time.
    • if you’re writing your own vows, make sure your attendant is ready with a copy for you to read—even if the plan is to memorize them. Memories can fail when you’re nervous.
    • make sure that there’s a pen available, for signing the marriage license
  3. Have sunscreen available if the ceremony or reception will be outside, especially if some of your guests don’t spend as much time in the sun as they may on your special day.

No matter how you wish to dress for your wedding, I will work with you to create the ceremony that roots you in the magic of this moment. Contact me for a quote.

Handfasting as part of your wedding

Handfasting as part of your wedding

One of the first weddings I performed included a handfasting, which brought my life in a full circle: my first serious romantic relationship was solemnized with a handfasting instead of marriage. Handfasting is a ceremony with deep Celtic roots that involves wrapping the hands of the couple together with a cord to show that they are united. There’s a special technique that’s used, which when done properly allows each of the couple to grasp and end of the cord and “tie the knot” as they pull their hands apart.

During the handfasting itself, I’ll say something along these lines:

As your hands are now bound together, so your lives are joined in a union of love and trust.
The eternity knot of this binding symbolizes the vows you have made.
Like the stars, your love should be a constant source of light, and like the earth, a fine foundation on which to grow.
May this knot of love remain forever tied, and may these hands be blessed.
May they always hold one another.
May they have the strength to hold on tightly during the storms of life.
May they remain tender and gentle as they nurture each other.

Handfasting seems to have very old roots as a tradition to join lives, perhaps older than the traditional American wedding. Some couples choose to replace an exchange of rings with a handfasting, while others want to include both of these unity ceremonies in their own custom wedding. During a workshop session, I help my clients decide what unity ceremonies are going to be the most meaningful for symbolize this commitment to one another.

This form of tying the knot can also be used as a commitment ceremony on its own; this is perfect for adults who want an open acknowledgement of their shared lives without necessarily making the legal commitment of marriage right now, such as for at the beginning of an engagement, or when the relationship involves more than two individuals.

Officiating your platonic wedding

Officiating your platonic wedding

When I officiate a wedding, part of what I want to do is tell a story, because stories are central to the human experience. Our brains are organized around stories, and your wedding guests are there because this is part of your story.

For many of my clients, that story is a love story, but that’s not the only option. A wedding does not require romantic love, and there are many benefits that are only available to legally married couples. Platonic weddings are a cromulent way to join two lives, and those are stories that are just as interesting to tell.

Thanks to the current legal landscape in the United States, gender is not a barrier; any two consenting adults can be married. Health benefits, tax breaks, real estate ownership schemes, and many other rights are available to married couples that wouldn’t be available to adults who just happen to share a home.

It’s true that some couples choose to downplay the platonic nature of their relationship; that’s a personal choice. Others do want a custom ceremony that celebrates their friendship, and their love. Many of the typical wedding vows might not feel right in these cases, but that’s the advantage of hiring an officiant with years of experience interviewing people and telling their stories.

Are you interested in a wedding ceremony that is built around your story? Contact me for more information.