Ellen + Col, Calgary Wedding Photography

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing E+C for many years now and I can honestly say they are two of THE kindest, most beautiful-inside-and-out type folk a guy could ever meet. They’re brilliant Calgary artists deeply committed in creating thoughtful and engaging works of theatre; their ceremony and reception at  Capitol Hill Community Centre was no different: it was all decorated by their friends and family, a dozen pies were all homemade, AND Ellen + Col had NO IDEA what was going to happen for their  ceremony…at all ;) So they left it up to chance, they trusted in the universe, and let their besties, Braden + Georgina (also super cool theatre artists) guide them through their version of  a wedding ceremony. Here’s the freakin’ amazing little script [the abridged version]:

Braden: Hello and welcome. Today we have come together to celebrate the love of two people. Many of us here today are strangers to one another, we exist as part of separate communities; we have different dreams and hopes and paths…

…But everyone in this room shares a love of these two people that stand before us.

Georgina: We come together as a community to celebrate Col and Ellen; the depth of their beauty; the vastness of the love they share and the awesome fact that these two perpetually selfless, generous, funny, intelligent, inimitable people have found one another and have decided to share their lives together in love.

B: We witness today a symbiosis of dreams, a great enabling of each other through partnership. We here today will galvanize the love that they share with our friendship, our admiration, our support and our completely unbureaucratic love of these two people.

G: This will not be a religious ceremony, but none-the-less we do stand in front of an altar of sorts…Our altar is this Little Free Library. For Ellen and Col built and curate this library themselves, in fact, in the week preceding the wedding there were more photos of people visiting their lawn library than nuptial anxieties. It is a microcosm of the way they operate in the world.

B: They seek that which will challenge their assumptions. They get excited about the world being revealed in a new way and generously share that excitement. The library brings together different communities, as these two people bring us together today. So before this altar of expansive thought, expansive love, we find our two humble heroes.

G: Being no great expert on marriage myself, I found myself asking what is marriage? In a pessimistic sense it’s a societal construct that isn’t a requirement of modern life. And yet Ellen and Col’s love has grown organically, or always been at a place, where the only possible and suitable response is a life together, and that demands a celebration, and there is no better word for it than marriage.

B: Speaking form experience, to make this transition will take great bravery. Today you make a commitment to many nights of bananagrams and scotch, bold plans and dreams which have inherent mountains built into them, to every day make the choice to choose each other. And therefore to test your bravery, to test your mettle as a couple, we have a series of 10 Herculean tasks to prepare you for the road of ahead.

G: Marriage is a dangerous game my friends, filled with feelings and emotions pull out the Thesaurus. It is also one of the most profound promises that you will make in your lives, and therefore these tasks shall be both profound and at times dangerous.

B: Ah yes, the horse and the owl, not usually animals that co-habitate, but love is a strange and mysterious force that can bring together even the most disparate creatures: such as monkeys and pigeons; tigers and pigs; giraffes and ostriches; why not horses and owls. Love is everywhere in nature, it is all around us and it stands in front of us today. Col loves outer space.

Georgina are you ready with the second challenge?

G: To prepare you for the vicious competition of marriage, play a game of bananagrams while ingesting the majesty of this quote by Carl Sagan.

B: “Fireflies out on a warm summer’s night, seeing the urgent, flashing, yellow-white phosphorescence below them, go crazy with desire; moths cast to the winds an enchantment potion that draws the opposite sex, wings beating hurriedly, from kilometers away; peacocks display a devastating corona of blue and green and the peahens are all aflutter; competing pollen grains extrude tiny tubes that race each other down the female flower’s orifice to the waiting egg below; luminescent squid present rhapsodic light shows, altering the pattern, brightness and colour radiated from their heads, tentacles, and eyeballs; a tapeworm diligently lays a hundred thousand fertilized eggs in a single day; a great whale rumbles through the ocean depths uttering plaintive cries that are understood hundreds of thousands of kilometers away, where another lonely behemoth is attentively listening; bacteria sidle up to one another and merge; cicadas chorus in a collective serenade of love; honeybee couples soar on matrimonial flights from which only one partner returns; dogs, out cruising, sniff each other’s nether parts, seeking erotic stimuli; flowers exude sultry perfumes and decorate their petals with garish ultraviolet advertisements for passing insects, birds, and bats; and men and women sing, dance, dress, adorn, paint, posture, self-mutilate, demand, coerce, dissemble, plead, succumb, and risk their lives. To say that love makes the world go around is to go too far. The Earth spins because it did so as it was formed and there has been nothing to stop it since. But the nearly maniacal devotion to sex and love by most of the plants, animals, and microbes with which we are familiar is a pervasive and striking aspect of life on Earth…

…Who won?

G: Who cares? You’re getting married!

{Remember, I’m A-bridging :) }

Everyone in the audience we would ask now that you close your eyes. This next minute is for Col and Ellen. A moment for them to look around and be with each other surrounded by us. No peeking, your minute starts now.

B: Thank you. For this next part of the ceremony, we didn’t how to choose who went first. “Ladies first” feels cliché, however, letting the man go first, feels misogynistic somehow, therefore we have decided to implement your seventh task to decide who shall proceed first into this next mysterious happening.

G: Seeing as you won, you will be the first to speak the vows that you have written.

G: Now we know that the government of Alberta thinks you’re married but we take our officiating job seriously, just so it feels like we’re really legitimizing something have a certificate of marriage for you to sign, with the signatures of everyone here as witnesses. For a couple for whom words matter, an unofficial official document. Task 9: Please sign here.

B: Now if everyone could say these words on the count of 3: We now pronounce you Husband and Wife. May you love as you are loved and have a remarkable life together.

Ellen’s hair + makeup: The Ginger Group; Ellen’s dress: Whitney Deal, Col’s suit: Indochino Ceremony + Reception: Capitol Hill Community Centre, Calgary, AB; Wedding ‘stage manager’: Emma Brager; Officiants: Braden Griffiths + Georgina Beaty; Home Before Midnight Pies: Friends :) Band: Anton de Groot + Ethan Cole; Food Truck: Farm Girls

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