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Nature’s Glorious Cathedrals

lizBy Elizabeth River

A few weeks ago, I had the honor of marrying two brides from Indiana who traveled to our beloved California for their wedding. I learned later that it came about because it fit in with a wonderful opportunity: One of them was invited to a writer’s retreat, at a lovely cottage on the Point Reyes Mesa, to work on her book. They wisely took advantage of this by having their wedding nearby.

Their plan was to get married on one of our gorgeous beaches just at sunset—an excellent choice, I thought. However, the week they were here, the whole country was subjected to the ridiculous experience of the closing of our government, which meant the beaches were closed. Now I ask you, who has the right to close the beaches?! They belong to everyone! They belong to God! It’s like trying to close the sky. Well, that’s my opinion anyway.

I found out from my friends in Point Reyes Station that there were very few rangers ‘guarding’ the beaches from sneaky people like me trying to go onto them. And so I talked these two respectful, out-of-state ladies into walking onto McClure’s beach. In the next issue of this paper, you can see a photo of them, just as the sun sank into the Pacific. They were thrilled, and so was I. It was a perfect moment for them.

In my next article for the Bay Times, I will talk more about these two women and their wedding, their marriage. Today, though, I want to focus on considerations regarding the location of weddings, or the venues, as we say.

Somehow, without my consciously planning it, I mainly officiate outdoor weddings. In one sense, though, I shouldn’t be surprised to discover this. I am an outdoor person. I find my spirituality is most nourished and stimulated in nature. I see the Divine in all that is wild, natural and not tampered with (at least not too much) by man. When I am spiritually bruised or shaken, I get outside as fast as I can, and go somewhere off the pavements—on the beach, in the woods, near the creeks, over the pastures. At the very least, I go out of whatever building I’m in and look up, allowing the sky to pour its immensity and spaciousness down over me until I feel sane and whole again. At these times, I also pay attention to my breathing, which is a conscious reminder of living in the moment.

So it’s not a mystery that most the couples that find me want outdoor weddings. I see outdoor settings as a glorious cathedral in which couples pledge themselves to one another. In fact, sometimes I use that very description during the ceremonies, and especially the ones that are right next to the ocean. Most of the important elements are present: Earth, air, and water. Such a setting seems to lift the couple, and everyone attending the wedding as well, out of their busy, stress-filled and overpopulated lives.

I highly recommend an outdoor venue for your wedding, renewal of vows, and any important ritual. You will be lifted to a greater plane. The soul-satisfying experience of this natural high will stay with you forever.

Rev. Elizabeth River is an ordained Interfaith Minister based in the North Bay. For more information, please visit www.marincoastweddings.com.

 

A few weeks ago, I had the honor of marrying two brides from Indiana who traveled to our beloved California for their wedding. I learned later that it came about because it fit in with a wonderful opportunity: One of them was invited to a writer’s retreat, at a lovely cottage on the Point Reyes Mesa, to work on her book. They wisely took advantage of this by having their wedding nearby.

Their plan was to get married on one of our gorgeous beaches just at sunset—an excellent choice, I thought. However, the week they were here, the whole country was subjected to the ridiculous experience of the closing of our government, which meant the beaches were closed. Now I ask you, who has the right to close the beaches?! They belong to everyone! They belong to God! It’s like trying to close the sky. Well, that’s my opinion anyway.

I found out from my friends in Point Reyes Station that there were very few rangers ‘guarding’ the beaches from sneaky people like me trying to go onto them. And so I talked these two respectful, out-of-state ladies into walking onto McClure’s beach. In the next issue of this paper, you can see a photo of them, just as the sun sank into the Pacific. They were thrilled, and so was I. It was a perfect moment for them.

In my next article for the Bay Times, I will talk more about these two women and their wedding, their marriage. Today, though, I want to focus on considerations regarding the location of weddings, or the venues, as we say.

Somehow, without my consciously planning it, I mainly officiate outdoor weddings. In one sense, though, I shouldn’t be surprised to discover this. I am an outdoor person. I find my spirituality is most nourished and stimulated in nature. I see the Divine in all that is wild, natural and not tampered with (at least not too much) by man. When I am spiritually bruised or shaken, I get outside as fast as I can, and go somewhere off the pavements—on the beach, in the woods, near the creeks, over the pastures. At the very least, I go out of whatever building I’m in and look up, allowing the sky to pour its immensity and spaciousness down over me until I feel sane and whole again. At these times, I also pay attention to my breathing, which is a conscious reminder of living in the moment.

So it’s not a mystery that most the couples that find me want outdoor weddings. I see outdoor settings as a glorious cathedral in which couples pledge themselves to one another. In fact, sometimes I use that very description during the ceremonies, and especially the ones that are right next to the ocean. Most of the important elements are present: Earth, air, and water. Such a setting seems to lift the couple, and everyone attending the wedding as well, out of their busy, stress-filled and overpopulated lives.

I highly recommend an outdoor venue for your wedding, renewal of vows, and any important ritual. You will be lifted to a greater plane. The soul-satisfying experience of this natural high will stay with you forever.

Rev. Elizabeth River is an ordained Interfaith Minister based in the North Bay. For more information, please visit www.marincoastweddings.com.