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Nate and Justina's Wedding

In 2015 my best friends were getting married and they were trying to decide which side I would stand on for the wedding ceremony. Both Nate and Justina felt they had equal claim over me since I've known them for over ten years.

They came to the conclusion that it made most sense for me to be in the middle, just as I typically am in every aspect of their lives. In fact, still to this day, we live in the same building in LA. It reminds me of a 90's sitcom like Friends how frequently we go between our two apartments. But I digress.

I had never officiated a wedding before. I had given a best man speech and written music for a wedding processional before. This felt like I had to really step up for it.

Justina helped a lot by figuring out how she wanted the outline of the wedding to go. We skipped over some elements like a Unity Candle ceremony and had some readings by family and friends, but my favorite part might be how we opened:

Whoever you are,

wherever you're from,

whatever you believe,

and whomever you love,

you are welcome here.

This inclusive phrase was really important as the ceremony incorporated many non-traditional elements and we wanted to make sure the guests would be ready for it right out of the start. Standing on both sides of the wedding party were mixed genders, flannel shirts, and a lot of autumnal flair.

The wedding ring has so many symbols to remind you of the promises you just made to each other. These wedding rings you’ll be wearing today and forever after, are made of Sandalwood. It is an aromatic wood that has been whittled through hard work and meticulous care into the shape of a circle. A circle that symbolizes your love, with no end, and no beginning. From this day forward and as often as you look upon these rings, may you be reminded of this moment and the love you have promised to one another.

We concluded the ceremony after a brief reminder to pause, take it all in, and preserve the moment in their minds. A wedding day is fleeting, full of friends, family, cake or pies, and lots of dancing.

After Nate and Justina had their "Maine" wedding, back in LA we had a beach wedding for their friends that couldn't make it to across the country. We were in Venice Beach at sunset.

This part was extra special since all of our mutual friends were there too. Though a bit more casual, it was just as heartfelt, renewing their vows as it was the first time.

It was a life changing experience to be a part of both ceremonies and share their love with family and friends. Ultimately it has led me to continuing to officiate weddings to this day.

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