Van Blankenwedding

Brother Rock Star

Pat, me and my step-dad Mark

Pat, me and my step-dad Mark

Ceremony was about where I took the picture (to the left)

Ceremony was about where I took the picture (to the left)

My Brother and Cindy with LA in the background

My Brother and Cindy with LA in the background

Josh and Cindy

Head table

Wedding Flowers

These are filled with See's Candy Scotchmallows = best candy in the whole world

These are filled with See’s Candy Scotchmallows = best candy in the whole world

Wedding date

Koi Yamashiro

So my brother’s hitched! This year our families got a wedding and a baby (baby to come), but I’d say we’re growing up, yeah?
The wedding was May 3 in Los Angeles at Yamashiro restaurant, a small ceremony at the beautiful Japanese-inspired palace built by two German brothers, go figure, overlooking the Hollywood hills and all of greater LA. I, being the honorary sister of the groom, knocked-up, unwed and really the only choice as far as siblings go (his wife, Cindy is an only child) did a miss-mash reading from Carl Sagan and Mark Twain. This was the first wedding since I was 12 where I couldn’t drink anything and went home at 10 pm (the same time as my 90 year old Grandma, but she’s a bad ass). The food was amazing, the ceremony was amazing. My brother is a rock star and quite possibly the coolest guy on the planet and sang a bunch of Pearl Jam and Smashing Pumpkins songs with the band (made up entirely of his high school friends). We saw people we hadn’t seen in 12 years – old neighbors, old friends. I realized how strange it was to be among my brother’s friends, the ones that were so much cooler than me, the ones I wasn’t allowed to talk to for more than 5 seconds being the younger sister, and now suddenly, we gave each other hugs and congrats on babies and marriages and life. It was nice, that aspect of adulthood.
My brother, Josh and his wife, Cindy are off in Croatia then Venice. One week down, one week to go. It’s nice to see him happy. He, his wife and their 4 house cats: Robot, Taco, Trixie and Mucho or Maize or damn, I can’t remember…

I’m posting the ceremony below. Please read =) You won’t regret it. They are by far the best wedding vows I’ve ever heard. (Sidenote: I used to really like Amy Grant.)

Friends… we have been invited here today to share with Cindy and Josh an important moment in their lives. It was on this spot, XX years ago, that they first met. Since that time they have grown together, and their love and understanding for one another has deepened and matured. Now it is to this beautiful garden that they have returned, having chosen from this moment forward to live their lives together as husband and wife.

A poet once said:

“Every good relationship, especially marriage, is based on respect. If it’s not based on respect, nothing that appears to be good will last very long.”

…ok, I said poet, what I meant was the inimitable, iconic, singer-songwriter Amy Grant. And come to think of it, she did allegedly leave her husband for country superstar Vince Gill. But anyway, on the former point, I believe Ms. Grant is correct: Respect is the cornerstone of a healthy marriage. Not only respect for your partner and their obvious excellence in human selection. Not just respect for yourself – strengths, faults, and OCD hair-twirling. But for your ultimate daily re-gift: a lifetime companion. What you have found, miraculously, among the nearly infinite number of forks in the road, is the one person who’s chosen to plunk down their fleeting lot in this brilliant world with yours.

So when life turns beautiful, brutal and indifferent, remember, you are very lucky, for you have respect and are respected, come what may

Now, poet that she is, Ms. Grant, also advises us to “stop for a minute…” and at this time I’m honored to do just that and ask Josh’s sister Rachel to do a brief reading from XXX.

“The size and age of the Cosmos are beyond ordinary human understanding. Lost somewhere between immensity and eternity is our tiny planetary home. And yet our species is young and curious and brave and shows much promise. In the last few millennia we have made the most astonishing and unexpected discoveries. They remind us that humans have evolved to wonder, that understanding is a joy, that knowledge is prerequisite to survival. Our little planet floats like a mote of dust in the morning sky. All that you see, all that we can see, exploded out of a star billions of years ago, and the particles slowly arranged themselves into living things, including all of us. We are made of star stuff. We are the mechanism by which the universe can comprehend itself. The world is so exquisite with so much love and moral depth. We should remain grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides. The sum of all our evolution, our thinking and our accomplishments is love. A marriage makes two fractional lives a whole. It gives to two questioning natures a renewed reason for living. It brings a new gladness to the sunshine, a new fragrance to the flowers, a new beauty to the earth, and a new mystery to life.”

Today Cindy and Josh begin a new chapter, they create a new family tree– and at the same time the families that have loved and nurtured each of them are gaining a new member, not to mention a whole new wierd trunk. So it’s to the families now that I ask: Do you support their decision, and will you promise to welcome this newcomer into your hearts and homes – adhering to all familial morays for at least 8-federally recognized holidays per year on a rotating A/B A/B calendar basis?

(We will)

Then I see no reason not to ask you both to face each other, holding hand and cue cards, to exchange your vows entitled Scientific Romance, as originally penned by Tim Pratt:

If starship travel from our

Earth to some far

star and back again

at velocities approaching the speed

of light made you younger than me

due to the relativistic effects

of time dilation,

I’d show up on your doorstep hoping

you’d developed a thing for older men,

and I’d ask you to show me everything you

learned to pass the time

out there in the endless void

of night.

If we were the sole survivors

of a zombie apocalypse

and you were bitten and transformed

into a walking corpse

I wouldn’t even pick up my

assault shotgun,

I’d just let you take a bite

out of me, because I’d rather be

undead forever

with you

than alive alone

without you.

If I had a time machine, I’d go back

to the days of your youth

to see how you became the someone

I love so much today, and then

I’d return to the moment we first met

just so I could see my own face

when I saw your face

for the first time,

and okay,

I’d probably travel to 5 years ago

when we were a young couple

and try to get a three-way

going. I never understood

why more time travelers don’t do

that sort of thing.

If the alien invaders come

and hover in stern judgment

over our cities, trying to decide

whether to invite us to the Galactic

Federation of Confederated

Galaxies or if instead

a little genocide is called for,

I think our love could be a powerful

argument for the continued preservation

of humanity in general, or at least,

of you and me

in particular.

If I became lost in

the multiverse, exploring

infinite parallel dimensions, my

only criterion for settling

down somewhere would be

whether or not I could find you:

and once I did, I’d stay there even

if it was a world ruled by giant spider-

priests, or one where killer

robots won the Civil War, or even

a world where sandwiches

were never invented, because

you’d make it the best

of all possible worlds anyway,

and plus

we could get rich

off inventing sandwiches.

If the Singularity comes

and we upload our minds into a vast

computer simulation of near-infinite

complexity and perfect resolution,

and become capable of experiencing any

fantasy, exploring worlds bound only

by our enhanced imaginations,

I’d still spend at least 10^21 processing

cycles a month just sitting

on a virtual couch with you,

watching virtual TV,

eating virtual fajitas,

holding virtual hands,

and wishing

for the real thing.

Josh, Cindy, I ask that you always treat yourself and each other with Amy Grant, meaning, Respect, and remember what brought you together here today – my birthday in 2007, and some hard-won seed-planting drunk by my lovely wife.

Marriage, like life, is a tremendous gift. It’s fun. It’s a place for you to grow and explore together without fear, but it also requires work. Give the highest priority to the tenderness, kindness, and understanding that your marriage deserves, and when frustration and difficulty challenge you, focus on what still seems right between you, not only the part that seems wrong.

Because once the realization is accepted that even between the closest people infinite intimacy and distances exist, a marvelous living side-by-side can grow up for you, and if you succeed in loving both the proximity and expanse between you, you are always capable of seeing each other as a whole and before an immense sky.

Do you Josh take Cindy to be your lawfully wedded wife, promising to love and honor her, forsaking all others and holding only unto her?

(I do)

Do you Cindy take Josh to be your lawfully wedded husband, promising to love and honor him, forsaking all others and holding only unto him?

(I do)

May I have the rings?

Josh please place the ring on Cindy’s finger and repeat after me:

With this ring I give you my heart.

I have no greater gift to give.

I take you as my wife and offer all that I am in return.

Cindy please place the ring on Josh’s finger and repeat after me:

With this ring I give you my heart.

I have no greater gift to give.

I take you as my husband and offer all that I am in return.

Now you are two persons,

but there is only one life before you.

May your happiness and beauty be companions

and your days together be good and long upon the earth.

Josh, Cindy… having witnessed your space-vows, along with all assembled here, and with great satisfaction… by the power vested in me by the state of California, I now pronounce you husband and wife.

You may kiss the bride.


Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present Mr. and Mrs. VanBlankenship!

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