I've written about wedding music before - check out my "All You Need is ... a New Song" and
"Rachel Getting Married" posts for some examples. I think that music can lend so much to a ceremony if done right. What do I mean by that? Select songs that resonate with YOU, not just songs you expect to hear at weddings. My husband and I have made a game of suggesting what we'll play at our imaginary vow renewal (we've been married for 15 years). Yesterday's suggestion, after a particularly frustrating experience, was The Pretender's version of "Thin Line Between Love and Hate" (it's a joke). But, we usually go for something like Van Morrison's "Crazy Love" (another joke - that's how you get through 15 years. Lots of jokes!) or Stevie Wonder's "I Believe" (not a joke! Finally!)
I performed a wedding on Sunday that was definitely not a joke. It was, instead, a sweet love letter from the bride and groom to each other, created by very intentional music selections, a really great reading, and some heartfelt personal vows.
When reading the program, I was amused that the music selections were in ALL CAPS while everything else was upper and lower case. Point made. The music is important. The couple, Whitney and Will, met at Jazz Fest and then, again, at several Bonnaroo Festivals, and finally connected at a Paul McCartney concert. They continue their love of music to this day.
Some ceremony details: The wedding party processed to Cat Power's "Sea of Love". The bride walked next, accompanied by "Lakehouse" by Of Monsters and Men. We then started things off with a greeting and couple story, and followed with a fantastic reading from Paulo Coelho's "The Alchemist" (see below for text). After this, we had a welcome change of pace with a live guitarist playing and singing "Dead Sea" by the Lumineers. It was lovely: simple, meaningful to the couple, and enjoyable for the guests. I could feel the breeze coming off the creek behind me while I listened. It was "a moment". The couple exchanged some thoughtful vows and we finished out the ceremony. I thought to myself, "well, how do you top the 'Dead Sea' performance?". Two words: The Stones. Whitney and Will recessed to "She's a Rainbow" by the Rolling Stones. It was a perfect recessional song, which I actually hadn't heard done before. Mic drop.
When thinking about this blog post, I was reminded of a book I read a few years ago called "Love is a Mix Tape" by Rob Sheffield. It's a memoir of a relationship, broken down into time fragments, and defined by what the couple was listening to at that point in time. Genius. For music fans like me, this system of defining time and relationships works. I can tell you exactly what grade I was in when I was sitting in my closet (pre-cell phone days this was the only way to have privacy!), gabbing on the phone with Mark Jurdjevic, while he played "Rebel Rebel" by David Bowie for me. (9th grade.) One summer, 1993, is permanently etched in my head as the summer that Missy Chimovitz and I danced in our Tribeca loft (before Tribeca was fancy!) to "A Good Idea" by Sugar. Like every day.
I digress into my own nostalgia... It's easy to do, particularly once you go down the music rabbit hole. But, to sum it up, Whitney and Will started off their marriage with one hell of a mix tape! And, I look forward to hearing the rest. Congrats!
From Paulo Coelho’s, “The Alchemist”:
"When he looked into her eyes, and saw that her lips were poised between a laugh and silence, he learned the most important part of the language that all the world spoke -- the language that everyone on earth was capable of understanding in their heart. It was love. Something older than humanity, more ancient than the desert. Something that exerted the same force whenever two pairs of eyes met, as had theirs here at the well. She smiled, and that was certainly an omen -- the omen he had been awaiting, without even knowing he was, for all his life. The omen he had sought to find with his sheep and in his books, in the crystals and in the silence of the desert.
It was the pure Language of the World. It required no explanation, just as the universe needs none as it travels through endless time. What the boy felt at that moment was that he was in the presence of the only woman in his life, and that, with no need for words, she recognized the same thing. He was more certain of it than of anything in the world. He had been told by his parents and grandparents that he must fall in love and really know a person before becoming committed. But maybe people who felt that way had never learned the universal language. Because, when you know that language, it’s easy to understand that someone in the world awaits you, whether it’s in the middle of the desert or in some great city. And when two such people encounter each other, and their eyes meet, the past and the future become unimportant. There is only that moment, and the incredible certainty that everything under the sun has been written by one hand only. It is the hand that evokes love, and creates a twin soul for every person in the world. Without such love, one’s dreams would have no meaning."
Contact Sarah and "Let's Do It" Vows for more information about her officiant / celebrant services for opposite and same-sex weddings, commitment ceremonies, and vow renewals in Austin, Central Texas, and West Texas.