When Mina and John shared their love letters with me, I was delightfully surprised. I love co-creating ceremonies with couples and families because you never know what will come forth given the space for creativity. They had gone off the ‘love letter’ script that I offer all my wedding couples. Mina and John had included songs, credo’s, readings and poems they had written. It was a joy for me to feel into what might unfold as I came to write the wedding ceremony. When I visited John and Mina at their hinterland forest retreat to complete the Notice of Intended Marriage and discuss their wedding plans, their love for each other, their children and their home and garden was palpable. I have known Mina and her family since she was a teenager so it was lovely to reconnect and meet her young family.
One of the songs John sent was Wendy Grace singing, Eyes of Love. He wrote, Mina, I can find no other song that better describes how I see you to be than “Eyes of Love” and I dedicate this to you.
There s a garden over there,
where trees and flowers seem to shine.
Place of beauty full of life
you weave your magic, inspired.
there’s a family over there, with souls wild and free
You’re a mother, a lover, a friend
No matter what you be
You see with eyes of love, eyes of love.
You love to give your time
those with troubled hearts and troubled minds
listening and caring. So wise, a guiding light
you see with eyes of love, eyes of love.
Queen of Hearts
Sees with eyes of love.
I think I must have done something right, sometime then,
for you now to be my friend
Truly you are a guiding light
like some kind of angel
because you see with eyes of love
Eyes of love, Queen of Hearts
Sees with eyes of love
I knew I had to find a way to include some of these lyrics. This following excerpt from their ceremony includes wonderful edits from John and Mina.
May our eyes and hearts see and feel the love that upholds and nourishes not only John and Mina but also their family… and all of us as their community. We are honored to celebrate John and Mina’s love, here, on Ngarkpul Country, an ancient place of beauty, and of growth. We are embraced by forests and rugged landscapes, humbled by old trees, and uplifted by inviting gardens, fragrant flowers and an abundance of life. Let us take a moment to feel the land beneath our feet, the vast skies above, the fresh clean air, the quiet sounds of the forest ….and feel the nurturing calm of this land.
In their love letters, Mina and John answered the question: What does getting married mean for you?
For Mina and John, getting married is another step in their life together, which is already full of love and happiness—they want to celebrate their ‘us’, their we’ness, their union, for always and ever. They’ve shared death, loss, suffering, pain…joy, peace, bliss, hope, faith and yes…love!
They had included a reading and a poem that Mina had written. I asked if they would like to read these at the ceremony. They were printed on card that I passed to them.
John: ‘The words written by Jesus’ disciple Paul to the Corinthians some 2000 years ago perhaps best describes this word “Love”: Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous of the good fortune of others nor boastful nor proud nor rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Three things are eternal —faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. The truth as spoken of by Jesus, the prophets and the masters is indeed the truth that sets us free. The truth that is love…love everlasting. For what is true freedom but the absence of fear and the peace and joy that is to love.
Your depth of eyes fathoms more than can be seen
You see my soul and hold my heart
You listen to more than can be heard
For you know the wisdom of experience. Be wise. Be true. Be loved.
Your heart knows more than your head will ever understand
Follow it always and have peace. Together.
Your mouth speaks more wisdom when it is silent
For no words are needed in love
The depth of our emotions is only surpassed by our love
When Mina read her poem, guests laughed at the line, ‘Your mouth speaks more wisdom when it is silent’ as they had not yet heard the line, for no words are needed in love. I picked this ‘quirky moment’ up after Mina finished speaking. While I’m sure the guests understood, I felt to highlight the truth of what Mina spoke, honouring that while it sounded funny, there is great wisdom and companionship in silence, in love. I felt that settled the feeling of these beautiful words being misunderstood. In hindsight, I may have suggested an edit: There is wisdom in the silence we share, for no words are needed in love. However, it was also perfect, as it added a light and humorous moment!
Mina and John’s vows were authentic, real and very moving. Two of their children brought the rings forward which was very special. After the vows and a kiss… we signed the certificates and I closed the ceremony with:
John recalled a few pearls of wisdom Mina shared with him at various times in the formative stages of their relationship, that John feels embodies Mina’s inner knowing:
John and Mina, may you always be true to your love, your vision, your beauty… and to the freedom to love wholeheartedly. On behalf of your family and friends, and with the fullest of hearts, eyes of love and great joy, we congratulate you!
I felt honoured to stay on with dear family and friends for a wonderful afternoon of conversation, delicious food and good company. Congratulations to John and Mina*!
*While permission was granted to share their ceremony with you, the couple’s names have been changed for privacy.