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Somebody Got Married on a Beach

August 6th, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

And I had more to do with it than usual, probably more to do with anyone getting married than I’ve ever had before1.  For the beach wedding of Jon and Morgan in Akumal, Mexico I had the profound privilege of officiating the ceremony.  I’ve been excited about this since first asked by Morgan, by phone, while in the middle of the cornfields of Illinois en route to visit friends back in May–so tickled was I that I think I’ll always remember where I was when that invitation came my way.

And it was every bit the honor I thought then that it would be.  Tracy and I headed for Akumal in our rental car late Friday night, and got checked in to our swanky digs2 at around 9pm.  From there I went straight to the resort to pick up the bride and groom for a night-before jam session to polish up the ceremony and give it practice run.

It was fun.  The ceremony that Jon and Morgan created was very deliberately crafted.  They started with a blank ceremony, and added only what they wanted.  Everything in the ceremony was there because it was personally meaningful: there wasn’t an ounce of including bits in order to check things off of some (real or imagined) list of external expectations.  Bits that constituted the ceremony included the mutual welcoming of the new son- or daughter-in-law by the parent pairs, a remixed Celtic hand fasting ceremony (of which I am most certainly a fan), exchanging of rings, and a unique Water Ceremony to honor the parents, crafted by Jon and Morgan based on Chinese tea ceremonies.

For practice that night we had to improvise a little on props, and fortunately I had some local coinage on hand to fill in.  See if you can recognize this line with its impromptu edits:  “Jon and Morgan, you now exchange Mexican pesos with one another. When you give each other these Mexican pesos, you are giving and receiving a symbol of your eternal love.  A love that, like the circle formed by each of these Mexican pesos, has no beginning and no end.”  By midnight with a little practice, a medium amount of word smithing, and a lot of humorous non sequiturs, we were all ready for tomorrow’s ceremony.

9am yoga by Tracy marked the beginning of the big day.  I hadn’t been in one of Tracy’s classes in a long time, man it was good.  Her classes are as fitting a source of a slowly percolating nerd crush which ultimately culminates in marriage as I can imagine.

Anyway, personal nostalgia aside, it was a good class and a fine way to bond and connect with the wedding attendees.  After class we had an hour or two to scope out the ceremony site, make some logistical arrangements (a 3-ring binder and a print job were of unusually high importance to me that day), and hang a little with the gang.  Tracy and I then retreated to our place for a nap and to get into suitable officiant garb (khakis, sandals, and a nice white dress shirt from Cuba–Ron kindly lent the shirt to me: we are the same build, after all).

Back at the resort 4pm came quite quickly, it was go time.  I was referred to mistakenly as “the minister” once or twice, which gave me more of a kick than it probably should have.  With sunscreen and beach formal attire donned,  I strode confidently along the resort walkway towards the ceremony site, brandishing the binder and playing the role of authorized practitioner of the officiating arts as best my first-timer status would allow3.

I played the part, and had such a good time doing it.  My great joy was to watch Jon and Morgan both nearly lose it, with glassy eyes clearly moved by the words which they had created and I was delivering.  Seeing the parents in the front row similarly moved at the sight of their children’s nuptials was further assurance that I was getting my job done.

The only gaffe in my officiating was one of the last lines: Morgan and Jon had handed out beach-style woven hats and fans for everyone in attendance.  After their kiss my line was “In the interest of keeping this beautiful landscape in pristine condition, Morgan and Jon would like you to toss your hats in the air to celebrate.”  Now then, you may be familiar with the near-ubiquitous lyric “throw your hands in the air / like you just don’t care”.  I sure am, and so I accidentally/effortlessly subbed in the word “hands” for “hats”.  A few chuckles and seconds later I realized my mistake, corrected course, and presented for the first time Mr. and Mrs. Jon and Morgan Meredith.

I can’t think of a more delightful role to play as an attendee in a wedding, especially of such close friends.  My gratitude to them for trusting me with such a position on such a meaningful day.

Such is my gratitude and overall joy with the position that I say this to everyone else: if you want a destination wedding somewhere around the world this year, pick a place where Tracy and I are at and I will avail myself to officiate the heck out of that thing.  I will even waive my standard, not-yet-existent fee for officiating services.  Satisfaction guaranteed.

The rest of the wedding was a joy, with the great food, great toasts, and rollicking dance party that a summer full of weddings has me well attuned to reveling in.  We said our meaningful goodbyes to bride, groom and company around 1am, and headed back to our place having officially wrapped up our summer of wedding attendance.

For some quite pretty pictures of our surrounding in Akumal, see Tracy’s blog.


  1. Except for with Tracy: I had really quite a lot to do with that one.
  2. More swanky than we bargained for, actually.  We originally booked a more modest place just up the street, but our delightful hostess informed us two weeks prior that there was construction going on around that building, and so asked if it would be okay if she moved us to a nicer alternative.  Yes, please, and thank you!  People are awesome.
  3. In case you were wondering, I am not ordained by any particular authority.  Here all the paperwork was handled back in L.A. beforehand, which was good because I hadn’t packed my chemistry set, necessary for processing blood samples to prove the non-relatedness of bride and groom.
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  1. August 13th, 2012 at 13:31 | #1

    John, you did a WONDERFUL job. I throw my hands in the air in gratitude for your helping make our wedding the most epic day in modern history.

    We love you!

  2. Rick Meredith
    August 13th, 2012 at 13:36 | #2

    Yes! Hands in the air! And hats!

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