[SARA begins "Faithful Heart."
SHELDON enters and stands at front.
FAMILY enters: PATRICIA and MATTHEW (LEI BEARERS), then MOMS, and are seated.
JEFF and THOM enter.]
SHELDON: [to the guests] Aloha and welcome. We have been invited here today to witness and share with Jeff Tabaco and Thom Watson a very important moment in their lives as they pledge their love and lifelong commitment to one another.
Difficult for them as it may be, Jeff and Thom have agreed not to update their Twitter feeds or Facebook statuses during the ceremony. They welcome and encourage all of you, however, to tweet away.
[to JEFF and THOM] Jeff and Thom, today you are surrounded by your friends and family, gathered here to share in the joy of this occasion and to bear witness to the promises you are about to make.
EXCHANGE OF LEIS
SHELDON: From Hawaiian tradition comes the lei, a garland of flowers or leaves given as a symbol of affection and respect. Befitting our location here on the shore of the Pacific Ocean, looking west toward the Hawaiian islands, Jeff and Thom will exchange leis to honor each other and this joyous event.
Patricia, Jeff’s cousin, and Matthew, Thom’s nephew, will present the leis.
[LEI BEARERS come forward.]
SHELDON: There is a Hawaiian expression often used during the exchange of leis at a wedding: “E lei kau, e lei ho’oilo i ke aloha.” Roughly translated, it means, “Love is worn like a lei through both the dry seasons and the rainy seasons.” In other words, love is everlasting.
[PATRICIA hands lei to JEFF, and JEFF puts it on THOM.]
SHELDON: Just as the beauty of each individual flower is not lost when it becomes a part of the lei, but is enhanced because of the strength of its bond, neither are your unique qualities diminished when you commit to each other, but they are enhanced because of the strength of your partnership.
[MATTHEW hands lei to THOM, and THOM puts it on JEFF. LEI BEARERS return to seats.]
SHELDON: I first met Thom nearly 20 years ago now, at a little game shop in Pentagon City, Virginia. Outwardly, we couldn’t have appeared more different: one of us an ultra-liberal, Harvard-educated lobbyist for Public Television, and the other a college dropout, hard-living Air Force NCO. In fact, I’m sure the networks pitched us as a sitcom that year. I leave it to you to figure out which was which. Beyond the surface, however, it was immediately obvious that in addition to sharing many of the same hobbies and appreciation of such things as food and film, we shared an intellectual similarity, an outlook on life, and a great deal of philosophical ground. The hows may have shown themselves differently, but the whys meshed, and laid the foundation of a powerful bond that has lasted to this very day.
With our respective partners, we lived in the same house for a while until the demands of service took me around the world for the next ten years. Our communication was at times sporadic and at long intervals, but the bond never weakened. When I came back to the States and was stationed within three hours drive of his condo, we picked right up where we left off.
At nearly the same time, Jeff came into his life. Like all of us, Thom had had relationships, short and long, successful and not—but it was clear to me the first time I met Jeff that the two of them had a special something. They simply clicked. It was a while until I could put my finger on what it was, but as I finally got to know Jeff better, I could see that he had the same sharp mind, keen wit, and caustic sense of humor (not to mention appreciation of all things tiki). To me, even early on, they seemed like a perfect match.
Which, of course, is why we’re here today.
[CAROLINE comes forward during the following introduction.]
SHELDON: Caroline, a friend of Jeff’s since elementary school, will now read excerpts from a collection of essays entitled Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh.
CAROLINE: “A good relationship has a pattern like a dance, and is built on some of the same rules. The partners do not need to hold on tightly, because they move confidently in the same pattern, intricate but gay and swift and free, like a country dance of Mozart’s. . . .There is no place here for the possessive clutch, the clinging arm, the heavy hand, only the barest touch in passing. Now arm in arm, now face to face, now back to back—it does not matter which. Because they know they are partners moving to the same rhythm, creating a pattern together, and being invisibly nourished by it. . . .
“When the heart is flooded with love there is no room in it for fear, for doubt, for hesitation. And it is this lack of fear that makes for the dance. When each partner loves so completely that he has forgotten to ask himself whether or not he is loved in return; when he only knows that he loves and is moving to its music—then, and then only, are two people able to dance perfectly in tune to the same rhythm.
“When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. . . .We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity—in freedom, in the sense that the dancers are free, barely touching as they pass, but partners in the same pattern. The only real security is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping, even. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what was in nostalgia, nor forward to what it might be in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now. Relationships must be like islands, one must accept them for what they are here and now, within their limits—islands, surrounded and interrupted by the sea, and continually visited and abandoned by the tides. One must accept the security of the wingèd life, of ebb and flow. . . .
“Perhaps this is the most important thing for me to take back from beach-living: simply that the memory that each cycle of the tide is valid; each cycle of the wave is valid; each cycle of a relationship is valid.”
[CAROLINE returns to seat.]
MARRIAGE AND COMMITMENT
SHELDON: Regarding marriage, Anne Morrow Lindbergh went on to write: “Marriage, which is always spoken of as a bond, becomes actually, in this stage, many bonds, many strands, of different texture and strength, making up a web that is taut and firm. The web is fashioned of love. . . .romantic love first, then a slow-growing devotion and, playing through these, a constantly rippling companionship. It is made of loyalties, and interdependencies, and shared experiences. It is woven of memories of meetings and conflicts; of triumphs and disappointments. It is a web of communication, a common language, and the acceptance of lack of language, too; a knowledge of likes and dislikes, of habits and reactions, both physical and mental. It is a web of instincts and intuitions, and known and unknown exchanges. The web of marriage is made by propinquity, in the day to day living side by side, looking outward and working outward in the same direction.”
Jeff and Thom, it’s fitting that Lindbergh speaks of marriage and commitment as a web. After all, it was the World Wide Web that brought the two of you together in the first place through your blogs; the Web nurtured your early friendship, chronicled your burgeoning relationship, and even now continues to serve as a vital source of shared interests, activities and communication.
[to guests] Tweet away!
Make no mistake: This is a marriage, and it needs no other qualifiers. It is a marriage because Jeff and Thom have decided it so. Marriage is the joining of hearts and minds and spirits, and no nations, no peoples, no governments can prevent or undo the bond that is formed here today. What Jeff and Thom have joined together, let no one put asunder.
[to Jeff and Thom] I now invite you to dedicate yourselves to this marriage, through the exchanging of your vows.
EXCHANGE OF VOWS
[JEFF and THOM read from cards.]
JEFF: I, Jeff, take you, Thom, to be my spouse and partner. I promise to strive always to consider your needs in addition to my own; to be a source of strength for you, and to accept your strength for myself; to share freely my thoughts and feelings, and to listen fully when you share yours with me; to multiply your joys, and to divide your sorrows. I will keep these solemn promises through the dry seasons and through the rainy seasons, from this moment forward and to the end of our days.
THOM: I, Thom, take you, Jeff, to be my spouse and partner. I promise to strive always to consider your needs in addition to my own; to be a source of strength for you, and to accept your strength for myself; to share freely my thoughts and feelings, and to listen fully when you share yours with me; to multiply your joys, and to divide your sorrows. I will keep these solemn promises through the dry seasons and through the rainy seasons, from this moment forward and to the end of our days.
SHELDON: When Thom and Jeff began dating, there was one song that seemed to follow them wherever they went, especially at their favorite diner. Over time they began to think of it as their song, and its sunny lyrics capture exactly how they feel about each other.
That song is “Happy Together.” It will be performed today by a friend of Jeff’s since high school, Alan, and his wife Julie.
[While ALAN and JULIE set up, to guests...]
SHELDON: This would be a great time for a tweet break.
[ALAN and JULIE sing "Happy Together."]
[ESPIE and ROB come forward during the following introduction.]
SHELDON: Espie and Rob were two of Jeff and Thom’s first new friends when they moved back to Westlake in Daly City a few years ago, and Thom even officiated at their wedding at this very spot in 2007. They will now read excerpts from the Letters of Rainer Maria Rilke.
ESPIE: “Marriage is in many ways a simplification of life, and it naturally combines the strengths and wills of two people so that, together, they seem to reach farther into the future than they did before. Above all, marriage is a new task and a new seriousness—a new demand on the strength and generosity of each partner, and a great new danger for both.
“The point of marriage is not to create a quick commonality by tearing down all boundaries; on the contrary, a good marriage is one in which each partner appoints the other to be the guardian of their solitude, and thus they show each other the greatest possible trust. A merging of two people is an impossibility, and where it seems to exist, it is a hemming-in, a mutual consent that robs one party or both parties of their fullest freedom and development. But once the realization is accepted that even between the closest people infinite distances exist, a marvelous living side by side can grow up for them, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them, which gives them the possibility of always seeing each other as a whole and before an immense sky.”
ROB: “That is why this too must be the criterion for rejection or choice: whether you are willing to stand guard over someone else’s solitude, and whether you are able to set this same person at the gate of your own depths, which he learns of only through what steps forth, in holiday clothing, out of the great darkness.
“Life is self-transformation, and human relationships, which are an extract of life, are the most changeable of all, they rise and fall from minute to minute, and lovers are those for whom no moment is like any other. People between whom nothing habitual ever takes place, nothing that has already existed, but just what is new, unexpected, unprecedented. There are such connections, which must be a very great, an almost unbearable happiness, but they can occur only between very rich beings, between those who have become, each for his own sake, rich, calm, and concentrated; only if two worlds are wide and deep and individual can they be combined. . . .
“So those who love must try to act as if they had a great work to accomplish: they must be much alone and go into themselves and gather and concentrate themselves; they must work; they must become something. For the more we are, the richer everything we experience is. And those who want to have a deep love in their lives must collect and save for it, and gather honey.”
[ESPIE and ROB return to seats.]
EXCHANGE OF RINGS
SHELDON: [to JEFF and THOM] Your wedding rings are important symbols of your relationship together. Made of gold into endless circles, your rings represent the precious, enduring, and infinite quality of your love for each other.
THOM: [puts ring on JEFF's finger] Jeff, I give you this ring as a symbol of my love and commitment and as a token of the promises I have made today.
JEFF: [puts ring on THOM's finger] Thom, I give you this ring as a symbol of my love and commitment and as a token of the promises I have made today.
SHELDON: As a gift from their friend Peg Hall, a wedding certificate has been commissioned for Jeff and Thom to commemorate this occasion. Immediately following the ceremony, inside the reception room, they will sign the certificate and invite you to sign it as well.
Rooted in traditions such as the Hebrew ketubah and the Quaker wedding certificate, this document is important in that it not only signifies the formalization of Jeff and Thom’s commitment to each other, but stands witness to your support and blessing of their union, and to the fundamental right of all people to join in such unions.
And now, Jeff and Thom, by virtue of the vows you have made and the tokens you have exchanged in the presence of this community, I now pronounce you partners for life.
You may seal your commitment with a kiss.
[JEFF and THOM kiss, and turn to face guests.]
Ladies and gentlemen, it gives me a great deal of pleasure and unending pride to introduce to you Jeff and Thom, now a married couple.
Congratulations! And as they say in the Philippines, mabuhay!
[SARA begins "I'm Not Going Anywhere."
JEFF and THOM exit, and go inside to lead signing of document.
WEDDING PARTY stands and exits: MOMS, then PATRICIA and MATTHEW, then SHELDON.
Exeunt ALL, led by first row of wedding participants and partners.]