Blossoming Expressions of Life & Love

As a matter of course, I practice a ceremony so that I know the order and wording for the couple. More importantly, I rehearse the ceremony so that I can get my tearing up over with. With this wedding ceremony, I found that it was so beautiful that I still ended up choking up during the event.

Early on in their relationship, as Joel was preparing to leave on an extended trip to India, he wanted to show how his feelings for Jen were developing. He sent Jen two dozen, long stemmed roses to her at work. The delivery sent all her 8th grade students buzzing. Joel flew out and Jen returned home that evening, roses in tow, to greet her mother and father, who had arrived for a visit.  As the days passed, the roses slowly shriveled and the petals began to drop. Jen returned home one day to find them gone. Sensing her disappointment, her father pulled her aside and produced a single rose bud that he had kept. “I saved this one for you”, he said, “just in case – he is THE ONE.” Call it a father’s intuition, but Joel WAS the One! Jen still has that single, preserved rose, and here we were preparing to marry them.

The wedding ceremony was held at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier, where the French provincial décor lends itself to a romantic and stately event.


Ottawa’s Fairmont Chateau Laurier, Adam Room, Photo: Alan Viau

With all the guests assembled, the bridal party entered the room and joined Joel, the groomsmen and myself on the platform. The flower girl deposited rose petals on the aisle runner as Jen processed in. Jen had a lovely bouquet that was comprised of white and red roses and family brooches.


Family brooch bouquet, Photo Alan Viau

Two friends of the bride provided some readings. One was by Wendell Berry called “The Wild Rose,” which speaks of the nature of long-term intimacy. In a touching Rose Ceremony to the parents, Joel and Jen gave their parents white roses. They wanted to recognize the love that their parents had expressed for them in countless ways over the years, and in being there to celebrate with them.

After the expression of their personal vows, Joel and Jen exchanged a red rose bud with each other. The rose buds symbolized for them their future life together. If given proper loving care, the potential for an even more beautiful expression of life and love in the form of the mature flower would emerge. So they felt at this point in their marriage that they are like the rose buds – ready, with proper loving care – to unfold into a very beautiful expression of life.



There are times when a key symbol kindles a romance and can be cherished as a reminder forever. For this couple, roses became an important analogy for their life together. We all send them our blessings, hoping that their love will grow and mature like a rose bud into a full bloom.