I have recently been to three uniquely different, absolutely gorgeously beautiful wedding celebrations. Three wedding ceremonies like I have never experienced before, that have changed my life and the way I am in the world.
I have been married twice: the first time was a large traditional formal white wedding, then some years later a small casual wedding on a beach in a faraway place – both later ending in divorce. Both of my past wedding celebrations were costly, stressful to organise, and centred around myself as the bride, and the groom – with no focus on a celebration of the guests, friends and family.
My two weddings and other wedding celebrations I have attended in the past felt ‘commercial’ at times, a bit like Christmas commerciality, like there was only a certain ‘script’ that was to be followed. Looking back, they felt lacking in love, there was an emptiness and there wasn’t a warmth or a sense of joy, though back then I didn’t consider this much as I assumed this was the only way wedding ceremonies were conducted.
Weddings can be big business. A quick search on the internet found:
- There was one marriage every 2 minutes in England and Wales in 2012 (1)
- Civil ceremonies = 70%, religious ceremonies = 30% (1)
- UK weddings are worth over £10 billion each year, with an average cost per wedding of £36k (2).
However, I have recently attended three very beautiful wedding celebrations that were certainly full of love and warmth and could not be considered as ‘big business productions’.
The organisational arrangements leading up to these events were super simple, with an e-invite, and for two of the weddings an invitation to ‘bring a dish’ of nourishing food for all to share – with a special request as to what type food to bring so that there was a balanced platter.
On the day, from the moment we arrived, we were treated with tender care, love, and the kind of attention I might have expected if I were the bride – not one of the guests.
And there was no whiff of commerciality or standard wedding ‘script’ in sight, people simply felt relaxed and jolly which was unlike other weddings I had been to, including my own.
Friends and family were taking photos and videos of the events, and many of the guests had helped to set up and decorate the venues which were variously held in the family home, garden or grounds of a hotel. Some organised flowers, or table plans with many unique small loving touches to the chairs, the décor, and the ceremony itself. Others helped serve the food, wash up, tidy up, and generally worked together throughout the entire wedding celebration.
It was a very inclusive feeling to be part of this loving family group. The wedding ceremonies weren’t just about the bride and groom – they were about all of us, they were celebrations of us all!
All three of the celebrations involved a religious blessing / commitment ceremony** founded in The Way of The Livingness and were led by one of the most amazing women I have been blessed to know for the last decade, Natalie Benhayon. Each celebration was conducted with such tenderness, care, love and divinity. The ceremony of these touched me deeply and felt as though the ripple effect of the words spoken by Natalie Benhayon, and those spoken by the bride and groom in each case, had a far greater purpose than their union – one that was a union of us all who were there, and beyond – and what was significant about this was the way I felt during and after these celebrations…
It felt like we had all been married that day – and we were all connected to a deeper purpose and commitment to each other as one big family.
I felt I had been touched by velvet, graced by the absolute beauty and divinity of all who were there, held, and honoured by the bride and groom, and by Natalie. I felt that something deep inside me had dissolved: a hard block of ice that had always been there, particularly at traditional wedding ceremonies in the past, had melted in the beauty and absolute care that each of these ceremonies was held in.
In the days that followed I felt more confident in myself and more accepting of those around me in the world; I felt part of a greater whole, a bigger family, and that feeling has continued to bless me ever since.
I also realised there is a greater purpose, another way for wedding celebrations, where we can make each wedding about humanity as a whole.
Opening up to the greater intention of a wedding ceremony, to the integrity and simplicity it is organised in, to the feeling of everyone working together before, during and after, confirms there is another way.
If the ripple effects these recent wedding celebrations have had on me are anything to go by, then the ripple effects for us all in future wedding ceremonies could be far reaching.
Thank you Universal Medicine, Serge Benhayon, Natalie Benhayon and the many Universal Medicine Students who have shown me there is another way: I am constantly inspired knowing there is far more to life than meets the eye – and that traditional ways are not always the best.
** These celebrations were conducted after a legal civil ceremony and were a celebration for the bride and groom and their whole community of their marriage within their chosen religion, The Way of The Livingness.
By Jane Keep, UK