From A to Zoe: I do, I mean, I did!


From left: Tamar Berg, “The Rev.,” Rhonda Shapiro. (Photo:  Don Isbell)


Regular readers of this blog may recall I became an ordained minister after Prop 8 bit the dust. I thought it would be fun to perform a wedding service and had a sense I might be good at it. A few years ago, I spoke with a friend of mine who performed weddings and she encouraged me to go for it. Back then, I didn’t have a compelling reason. It was the excitement of marriage equality in California that induced me to act.

My timing was good because shortly after my ordination, two women I had recently met, Tamar and Rhonda, announced their engagement, and to my delight, asked me to officiate at their wedding. They knew I was a writer and thought I could help them with their service. I interviewed them over coffee and took notes about what they wanted, how spiritual the service would be as opposed to religious or Jewish, what rituals, if any, would be included, and so forth. I tried to think of everything that might come up from logistics of who would hold the wine during the blessing to coordinating our outfits so we wouldn’t clash.

To keep the ceremony fresh, I refrained from Internet research until the end when I looked up traditional vows for reference. Of course I changed them to suit the couple. None of this “obey” nonsense, “nurture” works better for two women, and “man and wife” became “wife and wife.” I sent them the script and they loved it! They said it was perfect and didn’t change a thing.

The ceremony was held on a private patio where supportive family members gathered in celebration. At the appointed time, we took our places and I read the service. I had practiced several times in the days leading up to the event. I didn’t want to miss a line and wanted to be sure I made eye contact with the couple and those present as a form of acknowledgment and inclusion.

As I read, I wasn’t expecting to see the attendees dab the corners of their eyes, though everyone knows people cry at weddings. And I wasn’t expecting the family to recite the blessing of the wine with me in Hebrew. And when it was over, we all said “Mazel Tov!” Congratulations! They were right — it was perfect.

In some Jewish ceremonies, another certificate is signed, a ketubah. The couple unrolled the document that looked more like a fine art painting with a prayer very much like their ceremony printed on it. One sister filled in names and dates, Tamar and Rhonda signed, and then I signed in the area marked “officiant.” It was a beautiful addition to the standard legal documents, and while the latter made it official, I felt spiritually connected.

We continued our celebration at a restaurant where we sat outside and had a marvelous time over lunch. We clinked our forks against the champagne glasses prompting the couple to kiss. It was a joyous day with perfect weather, in perfect company, and the couple got hitched without a hitch.

Zoe Amos brings her lesbian point of view to articles and stories on diverse topics. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter. “Superior” a novella, coming soon! Read her stories on Kindle and Nook. Check out her other life at:

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