John got the Proposal post, so I get the wedding post.
We have amazing friends and family, that much is clear. Which is really why we decided to throw a wedding in the first place–we talked about eloping, but we knew that there are people in our lives who really felt invested in our relationship, and rightly so. It seemed like the thing to do would be to throw a party. So we did. In Reno. During Worldcon. We held it in the morning, so as to only minimally interfere with Worldcon programming, and had a brunch reception. And it was awesome.
We went with our hearts and our senses of humor in this, so my hair remained its usual pink and red, and my dress was blue. John and his best man, Rob Bland, wore Converse with their suits. Our parents were seated to symphonic Metallica, and we walked to the theme from Friday Night Lights. I didn’t have a florist–I made flowers out of a 1940s book of quotations (carefully removing the pages with quotes from Hitler and Stalin) and little planets for the centerpieces for the reception, and the bouquets and boutonnieres. The table assignments were printed on bookmarks designed by my oldest daughter, Danni, which we set out in vintage SFF mags for the guests to take home. We decided against a cake, and had donuts instead. My kids were my bridesmaids, my oldest dressed in her usual Lolita garb.
We hired wedding planner Melody Holland, who we found through our friend Erin Stocks–she made everything so much easier! She found the venue (The Grove at South Creek) and the photographer (Zinser Photography) and really it couldn’t have been more perfect.
Our friend John Remy acted as officiant–he and I had both got our ordinations from Universal Life late one night last year, and when John proposed I knew I wanted Remy to officiate. He graciously did all of the legwork (there is quite a bit involved in getting legal in NV if you don’t already live there.) When it came to a ceremony, we got a little bit stuck. Nothing we found online was really speaking to us. We were talking about it in the car one day, and one of us commented that we wished we could find something like Vylar Kaftan‘s short story from the first issue of Lightspeed, “I’m Alive, I Love You, I’ll See You in Reno.” She used the language of science so beautifully in that story to explain love and relationships. And we had bonded over that story when we first started dating. The natural solution to the problem of a ceremony came to us: ask Vylar to write it for us! John emailed her, and she enthusiastically agreed. We tweaked it a little bit, adding some humor and our personalities to it, and in the end it was exactly what we wanted.
Morgan Dempsey put together our playlist when I was just too overwhelmed to think about it, mostly instrumental metal. And then the capper–there were several people who weren’t going to be able to make it, and Jaym Gates suggested that we stream the wedding for them. She arranged it all, and I was so happy and grateful to know that my brother was “there,” along with our friends Adam, Robyn, Molly, Paula, Genevieve, and more. (I actually haven’t seen the recording yet, so I don’t know for sure who all tuned in!)
The best part, we agreed later, was walking to the dais together and seeing our friends and family there, all smiling, all so happy for us, all glad to be there. For me it was a powerful reminder of how much my life has changed since I met John–how happy my family is, how close my friends are, how supportive our community is, and how very lucky we are to be a part of it.
During the ceremony John’s friend Dave Kirtley read a passage from Chapter 18 of So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish by Douglas Adams–I had completely forgotten about that passage, and it was really perfect–and my dear friend Wendy Wagner read a wedding poem by Neil Gaiman, at which point she cried, and then we cried, and everyone who had been holding it together so well up to that point–well, they cried. John and I spoke our vows, Remy proclaimed us (in very egalitarian terms) husband and wife…and we high-fived, Tweeted our status, and THEN kissed.
When it was over we took pictures (omg the pictures) and ate brunch. John thanked everyone for coming, and thanked individuals who had helped–somehow we neglected to mention John Remy specifically, which I’ve felt terrible about ever since, so Remy, THANK YOU. Rob gave a toast in which he very accurately described John as a man of transformation–I know how much Rob loves John, and vice-versa, and I’m positive that now everyone who was there does too.
And then, in lieu of a first dance, it was time for the First Family Rock Band Session. We had practiced as a family ahead of time, and I’ll tell you, Grace can sing a mean (and adorable) GLaDOS.
The rest of it was mingling and chatting and Rock Band. By all accounts people had a great time, which was of course the point. Pablo Defendini did an excellent job of live-tweeting the proceedings (#worldconwedding, #yantadams, #adamsyant if you’d like see.)
I won’t get the professional pictures back for a month, but in the meantime we did ask Vylar if we could post the ceremony.
We’re so grateful to everyone who came all the way to Reno, and thanks to everyone for your congratulations and good wishes.
And thus begins the collaboration of a lifetime.
Wedding Ceremony, by Vylar Kaftan
Welcome, everyone–friends, family, and members of our community. Thank you for coming to celebrate the wedding of John and Christie. They will start their married life together in the presence–and tele-presence–of the people they care most about. The ceremony will take only a few minutes, and Christie and John are truly delighted and grateful that you could join them today to celebrate their commitment to each other.
There is a trend these days toward turning electronics off during weddings–but this is not that wedding. Please feel free to live-Tweet the proceedings. As we all know, John and Christie wouldn’t have it any other way. That said, please do silence your phones.
Definition of marriage
I’ll start with a definition of marriage.
Our vast universe consists mostly of empty space, with a few particles scattered throughout like lonely specks. In a few places–like the scattered galaxies, and deep bellies of stars, and the far-flung planets in distant star systems–these particles gather, and form celestial bodies.
All the matter in the universe, all the stars and their afterbirth that fuels the life in all of us–this matter is in each of us. We are all born of stardust, and we spend a few glorious years thinking and breathing until returning to our origins. Every part of our beings was born lightyears away, in a galaxy we most likely have not named, nor even imagined.
These atoms that form us–once stars, they became elements, and then the far-flung planets of distant solar systems. They became water and rocks and clouds, and countless miniscule life forms. And these atoms became us. The sheer improbability that humans would exist here, on this planet, thinking and breathing and loving each other, is one of the great mysteries of the universe.
We don’t know entirely how it happened, but only that it has.
And that is the marvel of marriage: that of all these atoms, around fourteen octillion of them combined to form Christie and John, and that the two hundred billion neurons in their minds brought them together here today. John and Christie, and all that they are, join their lives today with a bond science will not break. They commit to a lifetime as partners in love.
That is the marvel, and we are here today to witness it, and share the joy and amazement of life and love and everything we hold dear.
David Barr Kirtley – from “So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish” by Douglas Adams
Wendy Wagner – a wedding poem, by Neil Gaiman
Now I’d like to ask the community that Christie and John are so much a part of, and so cherish, to support them in their commitment to each other.
All of us gathered here today–we are a part of this same universe, these same shared elements that are John and Christie. As members of the human race, born of the same stardust, we share in their joys and their heartbreaks. We provide the constellations in which their stars shine. We are part of their universe. I’d like to ask everyone gathered here to support John and Christie–to care for them, to respect them, to honor them as they build their lives together as a couple. Will you who are present here give Christie and John the gift of your friendship and love? Please say “we will.”
Audience: We will.
And now we come to the vows. Both John and Christie are choosing each other, and their vows. While they did not crowd-source their vows, they did store them in the cloud. John… [John pulls iPhones from pockets.]
Christie: John, I promise to love, honor, and cherish you as we move through our lives. I vow to spend my life with you. I am so humbled and grateful that you have chosen me. I will always be your partner, your ally, your collaborator, and your friend. I look forward to many years together. The best is yet to come.
[Christie gives John a ring]
John: Christie, I promise to love, honor, and cherish you as we move through our lives. I feel like my life truly began when I met you, and I never thought I could be this happy. But even so, I know the best is still to come, and in the presence of our family and friends,with these words I pledge to share my life and my self with you.
[John gives Christie a ring]
JR: Christie, do you take John as your husband?
Christie: I do.
JR: John, do you take Christie as your wife?
John: I do.
JR: With the exchanges of these rings and vows, they declare their marriage. We have all witnessed John and Christie as husband and wife, partners for life. Christie and John, you may now high five.
[John and Christie high-five]
JR: And Tweet your status.
[Rob returns iPhones, John and Christie tweet]