This is the stamp they chose
The brides arrived at my house late in the afternoon, having picked up their Santa Clara county marriage license the day before. They were already weary after a long, hard drive from Oregon.
We sat at my kitchen table with bottles of cold water. My daughter sat with us. We scrutinized the marriage license, which was in order.
I cleared my throat. “Do you, D, take M to be your lawfully wedded wife?”
“And do you, M, take D to be your lawfully wedded wife?”
“Then, by the power vested in me by the State of California, I now pronounce you to be a legally married couple.”
We cheered and my daughter signed the certificate as a witness. I made copies and slipped the original license into its envelope.
Then we had dinner.
Before you call this wedding completely prosaic and boring, let me continue: I had been with these women six days before, at a late morning wedding under a lace canopy in one of Portland’s botanical gardens. As four closest friends held the poles of the chuppah steady, the brides washed their hands in clear water and fed each other tastes of honey. A framed and witnessed ketubah, a visual reminder of their vows to one another, stood on an easel nearby. The ceremony lasted twenty minutes, and guests beamed with joy and even wept. Vows and rings were exchanged, and that day I said, “By exchanging your private affirmations, you have pronounced yourselves to be married.”
But that wedding is not yet legal in Oregon.
Later, the mother of one of the brides remarked on the fragile hydrangea blossoms that shone like bits of lace among the dark green bushes surrounding our ceremony. There had been no sign of blooms the day before.
Here are some thoughts about weddings, writing, and the world. Enjoy.