Saturday, September 15, 2012

My Humanist Weddings

by Edd Doerr

In over 35 years as a Humanist Counselor (AHA) I have officiated at dozens of weddings in Maryland, Virginia, the District of Columbia and Colorado. They were  all humanistic but somewhat different. Several stand out.

Several years ago I performed the first wedding at the Hard Rock Cafe near the White House. The event was so unusual that it was covered by the Washington Post, with photos. AND, the bride was the daughter of a couple that I had married 25 years earlier.

Two of the weddings were high up in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. One, for my niece, was held 7,000 feet up in the mountains, right on the Continental Divide. The other was a Jewish Humanist wedding, complete with music, which I performed in Hebrew. That same weekend, which fell during the Jewish high holy days, I spoke on church-state issues at a Unitarian church in Denver and performed the appropriate music in Hebrew. After the service a woman came up to me and said that it was nice that they had a Jewish speaker that day, though my background is not Jewish. Which reminds me of when I was the speaker at a Humanistic Jewish congregation in Florida around the 500th anniversary of the expulsion of the Jews from Spain. The music was to be provided by a harpist. Since I had some Ladino [Jewish Spanish] music in my briefcase, she and I decided to perform spontaneously for the service some Sephardic music for  voice and  harp. It went well.)

About three years ago I got a phone call from a total stranger who wanted a humanist wedding in Bethesda, Maryland. He had a Spanish accent, so I asked if he and fiance wanted the wedding in Spanish. He was from Spain and his fiance from Colombia, so we arranged to celebrate the wedding in both English and Spanish, which worked out nicely because half of the 90 guests spoke only English and the other half only Spanish. What a coincidence. Am I the only humanist counselor who speaks Spanish?

Finally, a year or so earlier I had to officiate at a trilingual wedding in Maryland -- English, Spanish and German. -- at an estate on the shore of Chesapeake Bay.

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