Here’s a scenario:
Two best friends decide to get married. They excitedly start planning their big event – making lists, setting dates and figuring out the myriad of who’s, whats, wheres, whys and hows. But then (in between date setting and location negotiating), they have an “Ah ha!” moment. While there are many particulars of a wedding celebration (or few, depending on the guest list), those details have nothing to do with what will truly make this couple’s special day meaningful. It’s the vows exchanged BEFORE the big party that count most, as well as having the right person standing alongside to help the best friends make their commitment.
This “scenario” couple was my husband Aidan and me in October 2012 when we realized that the individual we chose as our marriage celebrant needed to be a very special person. We wanted someone who would take the time to know us, believed in marriage as a sacred union, and would be honest and supportive to us on the journey toward matrimony.
Finding the person who fit our personalities (which are not exactly the same; okay – they’re pretty darned different) would be tricky. Aidan is playful but opinionated. I’m artistic yet too serious. We were both ready to commit and excited about this step, yet while Aidan was nervous about standing in front of a crowd, I was anxious with self judgement of being an “institutional” failure (having been married before). We both believe in God and are fairly spiritual, but we’re not religious church-goers, and though we briefly considered a small quiet gathering, we also wanted to create a memorable experience for my kids and our combined families and friends. Who would we ask to help us bring it all together?
Well, we were lucky. We already knew Scott Carter: our friend. We already knew this guy who is easy to talk to about everything from motorcycles to music, who is un-apologetically devoted to his wife and crazy about his kid, who is grounded and thoughtful, and can defuse a hot-tempered argument between soccer parents as easily as he can crack jokes at a dinner party. We had already shared some amazing back porch conversations with Scott about child rearing, his own 20+ years marriage and yes – even God. We were pretty positive that Scott was our guy.
So we asked if he would marry us, and after thoughtful consideration and a check in with his spiritual advisors, Scott accepted the duty.
Over the next nine months, Scott met with Aidan and me several times. We discussed ceremonial logistics as well as the landscape of our emotions. We talked over family dynamics (they tend to come out when a wedding is in the works) and reception-planning highs and woes. Scott continually helped us gain clarity as we all worked together creating the ritual foundation that would support a committed, lifelong and loving marriage.
Scott’s approach to the ceremony writing included focused but flexible conversations about the words and prayers we wanted combined with his wise counsel. He graciously allowed us to steer the spiritual course of the event and listened carefully and without judgement to our concerns about language and semantics. Scott also kept us on track with decision-making. He gently nudged us to have our vows, readings, and a schedule planned and (mostly) polished with enough time before the wedding date that we avoided undue stress. Finally, he advised us on marriage license procedure, managed the rehearsal and wore the vestments of his station (no pun intended) with unflappable professionalism.
Mostly, Scott was exactly who we needed next to us: a firm-hearted guide and intercessor of God’s love and blessing upon our marriage.
After hearing at least two dozen of our guests say “Your ceremony was the most beautiful and meaningful I have ever witnessed. I will never forget it” I’m convinced that I’m not simply suffering bride’s myopia. Plus, as a believer in both setting good intentions as well as taking care in what you wish for, I am now happily married and certain that Aidan and I were remarkably fortunate to have Scott Carter marry us. No one else would have made our amazing day as complete.
I highly recommend Scott as a marriage celebrant, a spiritual mentor, a relationship guide, and a mighty fine friend.