Valentine's Day began in our home with exchanges of candy, a table decorated in love with sparkly hearts and morning "I love you's" for my husband and son. And that was just the start! Two couples were married in Flagstaff on February 14, 2017! Well, maybe more than that, however, I participated in two! Generally, I only marry one couple in a day, unless it's a special occasion, and I can't think of a better one than Valentine's Day! The first couple was of Cherokee descent and traveled from California to be married at Buffalo Park in Flagstaff, Arizona. There were a number of family members present including a sweet flower girl and two adorable ring bearers. Due to all of the snow melt we've had, a spectacular pond had formed, complete with ducks and frogs. Their backdrop was stunning with the snow capped San Francisco Peaks (Sacred Name: Diichilí Dzil - Abalone Shell Mountain) and peaceful, glassy water. A gentle breeze blew and there was barely a cloud in the sky. The ceremony began with an ancient tradition of honoring the four directions and elements, Mother Earth and Great Spirit. It was such a privilege to smudge the bride and groom as well as several of the family members. The bride and groom brought their own sage and a sacred rattle that I was entrusted with to use for the ceremony. The couple of honor took part in drinking from a traditional Native American wedding vase and as they kissed to seal their commitment, all applauded!
As I was leaving Buffalo Park, a sweet young lady noticed me and asked if there had been a wedding. I explained how I had the privilege of marrying couples and she shared with me that her and her boyfriend were about to have a Valentine's Day walk at the park. I was wondering if he was going to propose! Once I was introduced to her boyfriend, she confessed that they had stood in front of the Buffalo and it was there that he first professed that he "liked her"! How adorable! I insisted on taking their picture in front of the Buffalo, so sweet!
The next ceremony was for a local Flagstaff couple and took place at Theatrikos in the Green Room! I had never been in there- so cool! This couple was so in the moment that they literally purchased their marriage license that morning, hired me by 10am, and were pronounced married by 2:30pm! Flagstaff locals have a way of pulling amazing gatherings together at the last minute. A number of their local friends gathered to celebrate with them, one of whom I actually knew. I'm looking forward to seeing the pictures as we all stood cascaded on the steps outside of Theatrikos, again, with the magnificent mountain in the background.
Afterwards, I received a phone call from a lovely bride to be who was touched by the bio on my website, felt a kinship with me and knew that she wanted me to marry her and her fiance. This was such a wonderful Valentine's gift of acknowledgement.
To end this magnificent Valentine's Day, my sweetie and I went out to Salsa Brava for an intimate dinner and exchanged gifts. I unwrapped a beautiful bracelet which reminds me of water, and I definitely felt like I was living in the flow on Valentine's Day! As I told my husband, Ron, I felt like I was the Minister of Love on Valentine's Day!
I feel so blessed to live in Flagstaff - such a breathtaking setting, and also to be doing this work - if you can call it that!
Jen Paul, Life Cycle Celebrant, Ordained Minister, Wedding Officiant, Life Coach, Death Doula