An client from the past recently reached out to me. She has a friend who was contemplating marriage, but was a bit put off by the idea of large traditional wedding, and all the pomp and circumstance that ensues. And believe me, I get it. I was turned off by the wedding industrial complex for a long time, and it was primarily my love of ceremony that brought me into officiating weddings. So I have been thinking about ceremony, even for those who might not want the bigness of a “wedding.” It’s important to know that you have choices, and sometimes, an elopement might be the perfect thing.

I think the opportunity to ceremonialize a commitment is enriching, beautiful, and transformational. Ceremony gives us an opportunity to slow down time, become present, and get clear about what we want to see come to fruition in our lives. It infuses our commitment to one another with integrity and honesty. Even if we have no one present at our marriage ceremony but ourselves (ie, the smallest of elopements) when we take a moment to honor our journey, to speak our love out loud, to create vows that inspire us day after day, and to feel that sense of crossing a threshold… well, that just seems like such an honest and essential way to live.

Although there is an aspect of ourselves that is unchanged as we grow and age, we also become completely different people at so many points throughout the journey of our lives. Imagine if all those transitional moments were always celebrated with ceremony — imagine how that would infuse our life journey with consciousness and awareness… special little celebratory markers of our brief time on planet earth.

Ceremony is beautiful — and let’s face it, more beauty in the world is never a bad thing. But for sure, I do hold the belief, (non-dogmatically, and perhaps completely made up) that honoring life’s milestones through ceremony enriches our connections to one another and to our communities. We get to experience the very essence of ourselves. And, perhaps most importantly — it is play. Sacred play, but play nonetheless.

A wedding ceremony can be done so many ways — just the two of you in your living room, a small elopement, or a larger community affair. Of course, having community present in our ceremonies enhances that feeling of being witnessed at the threshold. We get to honor where we’ve come from and the people who helped get us here, and they are the ones who will first see us as the new thing we have become. However, a couple can also provide that aspect of witnessing to each other, and this is the beauty and simplicity of an elopement.

Truly, I can’t imagine anyone would regret the choice to honor their commitment and love with a ceremony and with ritual, no matter what it looked like. It just feels so good. Deep presence feels like a revolutionary act this day and age.