I believe that I mentioned how much  I love being a wedding officiant, especially in New Jersey, where we have gorgeous beaches to provide the perfect backdrop for memorable ceremonies.   The beach is a perfect metaphor for marriage; shifting sands,  rolling waves, the ebb and flow of the tides…..ahhh…..it’s almost too easy to write about but it’s even more fun when I have a couple as cool as Jenn and Joe!

They are beach lovers and  animal lovers to the core, two of the many things that they  have in common, and their wedding reflected their passions in every detail that was so lovingly crafted. From their adorable  Starfish table cards  (this is mine, with a poodle!) to their shell-trimmed wedding cake  to the leis the presented to their parents during the ceremony, each touch was carefully planned.  And I know for a fact that they spent quite a few months covered with glue and glitter!

And what a ceremony it was! We talked about Jenn and Joe’s story, which included both comedy and tragedy. Theirs is a story of true soulmates, of two people who absolutely found the perfect partner.  We started with a great reading about dogs;

If a dog were your teacher, you would learn stuff like…

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.

Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.

When it’s in your best interest, practice obedience.

Let others know when they’ve invaded your territory.

Take naps, and stretch before rising.

Run, romp, and play daily.

Thrive on attention, and let people touch you.

Avoid biting when a simple growl will suffice.

On warm days, stop to lay on your back on the grass.

On truly hot days, drink lots of water and lay under a shady tree.

When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

No matter how often you’re scolded, don’t buy into the guilt thing and pout; run right back and make friends.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

Eat with gusto and enthusiasm. Stop when you have had enough.

Be loyal.

Never pretend to be something you’re not.

If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently. (author unknown)

and we ended with “The Legend of the Starfish”.

A man was walking along a beach when he saw a young boy. Along the shore were many starfish that had been washed up by the tide and were sure to die before the tide returned. The boy was walked slowly along the shore and occasionally reached down and tossed the beached starfish back into the ocean. The man, hoping to teach the boy a little lesson in common sense, walked up to the boy and said, “I have been watching what you are doing, son. You have a good heart, and I know you mean well, but do you realize how many beaches there are around here and how many starfish are dying on every beach every day. Do you really think that what you are doing is going to make a difference?” The boy looked up at the man, and then he looked down at a starfish by his feet. He picked up the starfish, and as he gently tossed it back into the ocean, he said, “It makes a difference to that one.”

“According to legend, starfish are ocean borne reflections of stars in the sky Symbolizing rebirth, starfish have a remarkable ability for regeneration. If a starfish is cut in half, two starfish will grow. What a sweet illustration of  equality and teamwork!  As  each of the limbs of the starfish work together for the benefit of the whole, so does each partner in a marriage thrive with the love and support of the whole.

And then, their guests raced to the edge of the surf and threw starfishes infused with their wishes for the couple  into the ocean, insuring many, many years of love and luck to Jenn and Joe!  It was an amazing celebration for a terrific couple!!