When Anne and Laurie wrote love letters to each other in preparation for their vows, Laurie wrote, “Anne, you came into my life like a knock on the door announcing the arrival of a new epoch. Although you were only steps from my door, it felt like we had both travelled vast distances and through immense growth to finally find ourselves face to face and ready to embrace this love. I feel we are bound in a steady dance that will only grow richer and reward us with great happiness.”
When sitting down to update her vows recently, Anne reflected, “It’s been two years since we first wrote these. In that time, we’ve had a lot of fun together, and we’ve also been through some really tough challenges. Yet our relationship has only grown deeper and richer for the experience. Our bond has been thoroughly tested, and proven to be stronger than ever imagined.” And so, it is that we embrace Anne and Laurie with a tangible sense of love, care and a sense of belonging and rightness to this moment as they offer their vows to each other.
But I’m getting ahead of the story of my time away last week.
Staying on my friends, Steve and Margot’s equine assisted learning farm was the perfect way to start a week’s holiday in Victoria. The colours, light, landscape and the colder temperatures in Wooragee were a beautiful contrast to the lush, subtropical clime of northern NSW.
I relished in lying on the grass in the winter sun without fear of being bitten by ticks; the roaring fire at night, the crisp mornings. Talking with the horses, climbing Mt Pilot to watch sunrise and do yoga… I felt renewed as I continued my drive to Moora Moora Road for a long awaited celebration.
Anne and Laurie’s wedding had been cancelled two years ago due to Covid, then a second time when there were some health issues and now…. the time had come to celebrate. Sunday 23.4.23 4pm at their home on the Moora Moora Community, Mt Toolebewong in Wurundjeri Country.
We had blue skies, no wind and autumn leaves, my heart was singing. It was fresh up in the mountains but you could definitely tell the locals from those who had come down from up north… by the clothing. I was rugged up!
On Friday and Saturday night there were shared meals bringing family and friends together with impromptu introductions as we went around the large dining tables. Sunday morning Anne took us for a walk through the forest, (after she had donned her electrician hat, climbed the ladder and placed a few lights up high!). This was followed by a tour of the Moora Moora Co-operative, Mt Toolebewong: an inspiring intentional community. Walking through eucalypts, chestnut orchards, cultivated gardens and solar farms, was a great way to meet the land, the place, the atmosphere of this community.
One of the many highlights of the few days together occurred on Sunday lunchtime…a young couple organised ‘meet and greet’ games—I met the children, locals, friends and family discovering sailors, cake makers, teens who loved to do silk aerial dancing, birdwatchers. We danced, ran around, sat and laughed, chatted and connected in ways that don’t normally happen at dinner. By the time the celebration came around it was like being with old friends.
A few weeks before the celebration, Anne and Laurie decided to not formalise the ceremony with legal paperwork. I advised them to let their family and guests know beforehand so as to avoid any mystery. Their message was to the point and humorous:
We’d better warn you now that we’re actually planning to continue living in sin and not formally register the wedding. We’d love to celebrate our union with our nearest and dearest, and for us this is very much a real wedding, but we don’t see the need to invite the commonwealth government along too, and we’re very happy to be common-law husband and wife. Because our friend and celebrant Wendy is a registered celebrant, she’s obliged to say words to the effect of “this is not a legal wedding” or “this wedding is illegal” or “run, the cops are here!” during the ceremony.
What I said at the ceremony:
For Laurie and Anne, this celebration is an opportunity to express to everyone they hold dear just how much they mean to each other. For them it feels so incredible they want to shout it from the treetops… and within this beautiful bower (we were inside a circle of trees). This is the time for bringing our attention to this one point in time and acknowledge this gathering is about love – their love for each other and their love for you, their dearest family and friends.
They have been planning their wedding for a few years now and what with a pandemic and a few trips to the hospital… the wedding has been brewing in the background. Only recently, they decided that they didn’t wish to complete the legal paperwork… and so today, as a registered celebrant I have to let you know, that this will not be a legal marriage ceremony, no official stamp; and yet…. and, it’s a big YET…. this ceremony will still be rich and wholesome, as is their love.
So, let us uphold and honour all that is wonderful and beautiful about this couple and join the tribes and meet each other, in love, in joy, in honouring of friendship…. let’s unite the clans!
It is a delight for Anne and Laurie having you finally meet each other, intertwining their lives in a way that contributes to their sense of belonging, being held and supported. They also want to have lots of fun and party with people they haven’t seen for so long!
Laurie and Anne chose a reading written by the Buddhist teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh. Their friend, Lexie, read an abridged version of his writings on True Love. You can read it here.
After Anne and Laurie exchanged their personal vows (With no reference to husband, wife or marriage!) Laurie’s sister, Teresa shared the following reading:
Love is an Adventure by Pierre Tielhard de Chardin. Read by Laurie’s sister, Teresa
Love is an adventure and a conquest. It survives and develops like the universe itself only by perpetual discovery. The only right love is that between couples whose passion leads them both, one through the other, to a higher possession of their being.
Put your faith in the spirit which dwells between the two of you. You have each offered yourself to the other as a boundless field of understanding, of enrichment, of mutually increased sensibility.
You will meet above all by entering into and constantly sharing one another’s thoughts, affections, and dreams. There alone, as you know, in spirit, which is arrived through flesh, you will find no disappointments, no limits. There alone the skies are ever open for your love; there alone lies the great road ahead.
I closed the ceremony with:
This was a precious moment for the three of us prior to the ceremony starting. A quiet place to become grounded and connect with what was important for them about the ceremony: being present and to be engaged.
Photo Credits: Photographer, Glen Morris