Wednesday, February 1, 2012

How Love and Marriage are like the Tiny Dangerous Fun Variety Show

I am in a monthly variety show (I do the sound in a cute low-tech way) called Tiny Dangerous Fun. It takes place in the basement of the Sycamore Bar and Flower Shop in Brooklyn. The ceiling is low, the stage is smaller than you think, and the audience is warm and welcoming. Performers try things out for the first time. They take risks: juggling big things, dancing with knives, brave new story telling, burlesque, a silly string fight (there's still some on the ceiling). It's a safe space, and the wilder the better. I'm in charge of instigating 11 second spontaneous dance parties. No one knows when they are coming, not even the hosts. (Go! Dance now in your living room or office ~ no one or everyone is watching! 11 seconds!)

Is your wedding Tiny Dangerous and Fun? Are you eloping? Are there family issues that are complicating your wedding wishes? Do you want to forgo tradition and your conservative roots? Or embrace tradition and not your modern-hippie-arty-avant-garde roots?

Let's look...

Little Kisses. Big Hearts.
photo by Crystal Leigh Shearin
Tiny: A tiny wedding gives you another intimacy. You have opportunities to do sweet rituals, like pass your rings around to your guests, with each giving a wish for you out loud. (Or silently ~ I always say both are equal.) A tiny wedding has freedom of location. Get married in an antique train car, in a helicopter, in an ornate elevator, in a gorgeous flower show or shop. A tiny wedding can let you spend bigger money on your honeymoon, on a far-out or up-scale reception, or simply on travel costs if you're on a budget. You can always choose to have a big party later; a trend I see more and more. You also can choose to have all the privacy you want, and keep the moment as sacred just between you two (and me ;).

Dangerous: Are you confidently marrying someone that others raise eyebrows over, perhaps outside your community, faith or country. Does your choice of partner surprise even you and fulfill you at once? I work with a lot of interfaith, same-sex, and international couples. So, while I see a lot of joyful boundary crossing among my wedding clients, I know that these leaps also can be loaded and brave. Jester of the Peace is a devoted safe-haven for your love.

Or, is dangerous just in your own mind?  A few of my lesbian couples were wary to kiss in front of their conservative relatives. Rest assured, I say. All weddings have kissing. Anyone coming to your wedding expects kissing. Kissing also affirms marriage equality in the eyes of all your guests ~ so lock your lips and stand for love. They always kiss, and usually get asked to kiss again for pictures!

Richard and Vicky's Halloween Wedding 2011

Fun!: Well, I could go on and on... weddings are fun. Even super-serious weddings are fun. I find that ceremonies which reflect a range of emotions we feel in relationship ~ dear, funny, surprising, deep, cute, accountable, sappy, serious ~ feel especially true. Live your love together in your ceremony via sharing the feelings of partnership. Honor your similarities and differences and how you balance each other, make each other laugh, make each other roll your eyes. And, fyi, those quirks are your hallmarks and are some of what your partner misses when you are not around. Who will make the yogurt in the container perfectly flat on top for me? Where is that quiet clicking of the electric piano keys (thanks to headphones) at 6am that gently wakes me? Who will need me to read the map... again? Celebrating your quirks in your wedding is beautiful.

Love and marriage are a journey, and even more, they are akin to aTiny Dangerous Fun ride. Your marriage will evolve you in ways you don't expect. I had one loving couple marry, nearly divorce within a year, then both experience deep, profound awakenings about how they want to live in the world and with each other. We renewed their vows; they felt the promises anew. We invented rituals to honor the new qualities now at the center of their union. They are overjoyed. Yet, the groom felt bad at first that it had taken him so many years to "wake up." I congratulated him from my been-around-the-block heart. I said, "It only took a year for your marriage to give you a gift of your truer self... you're a lucky man." Now, kiss your wife or husband, and just be glad.

Tiny Dangerous Fun takes place the last Tuesday of every month at 8pm. See you there!