We had a blessing ceremony instead of a wedding, and it was perfect

My husband and I got engaged in the fall of 2019 and planned our wedding for April 2020. Then Covid struck. Like so many couples during that time, we decided to postpone our wedding but got married in very small ceremony over Zoom with our parents, best man and maid of honor and officiant. We planned to have our wedding the following April, but I was pregnant with our first child and Covid was still a threat, so we postponed again to April 2022. A year rolled around, and April found me pregnant again with our second child. We postponed a third time 🙂

In January 2023, we decided that it was now or never. We contacted our venue, Cavallo Point in Sausalito, CA, to let them know. We looked back at our 2020 wedding plans with the intention of keeping them the same, but so much time had passed and our lives were so different that the former ceremony just didn’t reflect us as a couple.

I spent a lot of time looking online for ideas, but the only alternatives to traditional wedding ceremonies that I found were vow renewals, which also didn’t feel right. In the end, I started from scratch and came up with a new format: a blessing ceremony.

Our ceremony began at 10 am. We had a traditional processional. My parents walked down the aisle with our oldest daughter. My in-laws carried our youngest daughter, followed by our best man and maid of honor. My husband and I walked down the aisle together, arm in arm. (After all, we’ve been married for three years…it really didn’t make sense for my father to “give me away.”)

My husband’s best friend was our officiant. He gave a few opening remarks and recapped how my husband and I met, our courtship and the past few years of building our family. My friend Sarah (who flew from her home in Italy to join us!) read A Lovely Love Story, a beautiful story about two quirky dinosaurs who fall in love. By the last line, everyone was crying.

After the reading, my friend Abbey and our officiant shared blessings that our guests had written down for us ahead of time. I love that we have each blessing written in our loved ones’ handwriting to keep forever.

Rather than exchanging our original vows all over again, we decided to replace them with a “blessing response”:

“Lindsey and Ashkan, will you receive the blessings shared here today and all of the blessings that life has to offer, with openness, gratitude and joy? Will you live mindfully and treasure one another every day? Will you celebrate life’s simple pleasures and appreciate the beauty of the world around you? Will you embrace a mindset of fullness and abundance, and teach your children to do the same?” Our response was: “We will.”

My cousin Amy then read A Cherokee Prayer to continue with the theme of blessings:

“God in heaven above please protect the ones we love. We honor all you created as we pledge our hearts and lives together. We honor Mother Earth and ask for our marriage to be abundant and grow stronger through the seasons. We honor fire and ask that our union be warm and glowing with love in our hearts. We honor wind and ask that we sail through life safe and calm as in our father’s arms. We honor water to clean and soothe our relationship—that it may never thirst for love. With all the forces of the universe you created, we pray for harmony as we grow forever young together. Amen.”

Then our officiant shared a call-and-response with our guests:

“When you married, you united two families and two sets of friends. I ask them now to promise that they will continue to support your relationship with joy, love and optimism. All those who wish to pledge their support say, “I do!”

I should note that during our planning process, I really struggled with the “ta-da” moment to close the ceremony to replace the traditional “I now pronounce you husband and wife” line. I left it up to the officiant, and he nailed it. He shared his own blessing for us and then closed with:

“It gives me great joy to present, for the first time live and in-person, Lindsey and Ashkan Seyedi!”

During the planning process, I told our wedding planner that my goal was to create a sacred bubble around our family of four during the ceremony, receiving love and blessings from our guests. We achieved that goal 100 times over. Our ceremony felt so loving, warm, joyful and celebratory. At one point during the ceremony, our oldest daughter came to stand with us and hold hands; that wasn’t planned, but it was perfect. Our kids presence was the best blessing I could hope for. The morning light through the trees was glorious. The famous Bay Area fog rolling in over the Golden Gate Bridge was spectacular. I felt present for every second, and I will cherish the memories of our loved ones there with us, smiling and tearful and happy, for as long as I live.

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