Wedding, Eumundi - 12th April, 2014
There's also a page for our London celebrations, at camerongreen.org/about/wedding2.
ELIZABETH: WELCOME to you all on this glorious wedding day. A very special day in a beautiful place made even more personal by the coming together of this intimate group of family and friends.
Before we start, please could everyone make sure their phones aren’t going to ring during the ceremony. But by all means keep them on for taking pictures.
Today’s wedding ceremony recognises and celebrates the beauty of early Autumn with an outdoor wedding and also the very personal input Catherine & Cameron have made to all aspects of the day including the ceremony and cuisine choices – which closely reflect their own personal philosophies and common goals – which were in fact the cause of their original meeting in London.
Cathy and Cameron feel very blessed to be here with you, with the earth beneath their feet, the sky above them, surrounded by the trees, birds, and all the other life that abounds here. In this town named after an Aboriginal warrior, they acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land, the Gubbi Gubbi clan. The forty thousand years Australia’s first people survived in this place have much to teach us about living sustainably.
Striving to tread gently in the world is central to Cathy and Cameron’s shared philosophy. The twelfth of April is recognised as the birthday of Mahavira, a central figure in the Jain religion, whose central teaching is ‘ahimsa’ - non-harming. Though not followers of any religion themselves, Cathy and Cameron share this philosophy and are happy to have a wedding date with significance for something that means so much to them.
We come now to the ceremony.
Now that we are all here here, I want to ask all of you gathered family and friends – “Who gives CATHERINE and CAMERON into each other’s care and keeping today?”
ELIZABETH: to CATHERINE and CAMERON
“Now in the presence of your family and friends as witnesses I will ask you both to state your intentions:
“Are you here today at Eumundi’s Hidden Valley willingly, to pledge your love and commitment to each other and to continue your lives together as loving partners?”
CATHERINE and CAMERON “We are.”
ELIZABETH: We have love here in abundance today – The love CATHERINE and CAMERON so clearly have for each other. That of all family and friends who are here today. And the love of those who are not here but who are in Catherine and Cameron’s hearts.
And finally the day itself:
YOUR GLORIOUS WEDDING DAY!!
LINDY and MICHELE will now read an extract from Khalil Gibran’s piece on Love from his book, The Prophet:
LINDY & MICHELE:
When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you, yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you, believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.
For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.
Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God's sacred feast.
All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life's heart.
But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.
When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, “I am in the heart of God.”
And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.
Love has no other desire but to fulfil itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love's ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.
DAVID will now read from 1 Corinthians
If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.
ELIZABETH: We now come to the more formal part of today's celebration
I, Elizabeth Marjorie Reynolds, am duly authorised by law to solemnise this marriage according to law.
Before you are joined in marriage in my presence and in the presence of these witnesses, I am to remind you of the solemn and binding nature of the relationship into which you are about to enter.
Marriage, according to the law of Australia, is the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.
I am legally required to say those words, but CATHERINE and CAMERON look forward to the day when marriage is a universal right, regardless of the gender of the two people who love each other.
With this in mind, CATHERINE and CAMERON will now exchange VOWS with a HANDFASTING ceremony.
ELIZABETH to CATHERINE and CAMERON
“You have made your intentions clear. Now face each other and join hands. We shall now perform a handfasting ceremony. At one time the handfasting ritual was the only way that couples could become engaged or married, and handfasting remained a legal marriage in Scotland right up until 1939. It is where the expression “tying the knot” originates. The binding of a couples’ hands with an infinity knot symbolises that their lives are bound together for life. It is a further seal of their love & commitment and the vows that a couple make to each other.
CAMERON to say:
This binding of my hand to yours is symbolic of the binding of my heart to yours. I ask everyone here present to witness that I CAMERON DAVID GREEN take you CATHERINE ANN LAURENCE to be my lawful wedded wife.
I do not take lightly the responsibility that this joining together represents. The story of my life is now bound with yours, from now on it will always be written with your happiness in mind. Now fate has brought us together we share this fleeting moment to express ourselves, to follow our dreams, to experience the beauty of the world, and to love truly. In achieving these things I have no doubt that the sum of us together will be greater than its parts. I have much to learn from you and a lifetime to do so. I pledge to hold you above all others, to do all I can to honour your wild and free spirit, to engage your beautiful mind, and cherish that which is most dear to me, your compassionate heart. On this day I profess my love for you in front of our family and friends, and for all the days to come together.
CATHERINE to say:
This binding of my hand to yours is symbolic of the binding of my heart to yours. I ask everyone here present to witness that I CATHERINE ANN LAURENCE take you CAMERON DAVID GREEN to be my lawful wedded husband. I solemnly promise that for as long as our hearts shall beat, you can put your trust in me:
~ To be there by your side through the precious time and space we have on this beautiful Earth
~ To support your endeavours and nurture your dreams
~ To try my best to hear you, feel you, see you, as you are and as you aspire to be
~ To keep cherishing you for all that you are
~ To be a part of your world where you are always safe ~ a shelter in the storm and a companion to your soul.
I will keep your love safely in my heart until my last breath.
CATHERINE & CAMERON, as your hands are bound together now, so your lives and spirits are joined in a union of love and trust. The bond of marriage is not formed by these cords, but rather by the vows you have made. For always you hold in your own hands the fate of this union. Above you are stars and below you is earth. Like stars your love should be a constant source of light, and like the earth, a firm foundation from which to grow.
May these hands be blessed this day. May they always hold each other. May they have the strength to hang on during the storms of stress and the dark of disillusionment. May they remain tender and gentle as they nurture each other in their wondrous love. May they build a relationship founded in love, and rich in caring. May these hands be healer, protector, shelter, and guide for each other. (The Hands of the Couple, Traditional Handfasting Prayer, unknown)
Cameron and Catherine, by the power invested in me, I now pronounce you married. You may kiss!
LE KISS !!!
We will now proceed with the signing of the formal marriage documents
SIGNING OF DOCUMENTS etc
PRESENTATION OF MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE /
PHOTOS (NB: no pro photos being taken but friends and family are welcome to take some of course)
Finally, CATHERINE & CAMERON I have the greatest pleasure in declaring you Husband & Wife. Continue your lives together and go in LOVE.
May I be the first to congratulate you.
Ladies & Gentlemen:
The Happy Couple - Cathy and Cameron!!!
Cameron's Wedding Speech
This isn’t going to be a traditional wedding speech; I tried putting in some jokes but none of them were any good, but bear with me for a few minutes and we shall get through a couple of things that I wanted to say.
It’s common for people of my political historical leanings to start a speech by acknowledging the traditional peoples of the land on which we stand, but I wanted to say something a little more. When I walk through the sultry forests of Queensland, I am awed by the beauty of what is there, but I also sometimes catch glimpses in my mind of what is no longer there. As most of you will know I’m no believer in the supernatural, but I could use the term ghost or maybe spirit for want of a better term, though I use it to mean something like a story. Spirits of the people, spirits of the other animals, spirits of all living things past. One might walk through the forest and catch a gust of smoke from the campfires that burned here forty thousand years ago, hear whispers of a conversation in strange tongue that has passed out of human knowledge, echoes of laughter from children’s games that no one remembers any more. I think it is important to remember this history, especially for those of us who identify as Australians, this heritage is our heritage, as increasingly our own spirits now mingle with theirs in this land.
I want to give you some idea of how recent the history of the European colonisation Australia is by telling you a random fact I heard recently. In 1790, former American President John Tyler was born, and at age 63 had a son, that son at age 71 in turn fathered his own son who is still alive today. Our country’s history of occupation by Europeans is on this time scale, just two or three lifetimes; historically it is a blink of an eye. My own grandfather was born in Tasmania where only 73 years after the settlement was founded in 1803 in the UK The Times leader article stated “we have exterminated the race in Van Diemen's land”. He was born closer to these events than we today are to the Second World War, and my grandfather said it plainly as was his way “We owe them” and I have always found myself in agreement with this sentiment. How we as Australians pay that debt I am not sure.
Now I’ll move on to more traditional wedding speech fare.
Well….quite frankly I never thought I’d be standing here giving this speech today; in a mind that many random ideas have wandered across over time, marriage was never really one of them. It is not without its romance, and like most people I enjoy ceremony, but I don’t feel love is deepened by a legal contract or believe there is any god who I need the approval of. Yet here I stand, surrounded by friends and family and there looking as lovely as she ever does, Catherine, my wife.
Cathy and I met in early 2007 and the first memory I have of her was her beautiful smile. Having moved to London 9 months earlier, I connected with many people but I was yet to meet any other vegans and so I decided to form a meetup group to redress this. Cathy came to the first one. I’m proud of the fact that the group is going from strength to strength today and now has over 2600 members. Even had I only met this one special person through it though, it would have been an excellent decision on my part to put myself out there and take a risk. Now here we are today, a little over seven years after that first smile and we are now married. The words “my wife” can now sprinkled liberally throughout my conversations, as her beautiful smile will hopefully be liberally sprinkled throughout my life.
Since I have gotten to know Cathy there simply has been no one else who compared to her. Bertrand Russell once said “love consists in overestimating the difference between one woman and another”, and although I respect much of his philosophy I feel sorry for him and his own wife that he felt that way. Cathy is a unique individual, and uniquely suited to me. To have someone by your side who not only understands your view of the world, has the imagination to see the world as you know it can be, and believes in action towards that goal is not something easily found. Our relationship has never been perfect, any relationship involving me isn’t off to the best start in that respect, but in taking this pledge together today we are making a public statement that we are both deeply committed to each other, to continually improving our relationship and to improving ourselves. Improving oneself, becoming the person that you hoped you would be, is a large part of what life is about to me, and all allies in that journey, as Cathy has always been for me, are the people I believe we should surround ourselves with.
It is not without difficulty that two people from other sides of the earth choose to be together, especially for people who try to limit their carbon footprint as we do; whichever side of the planet we will live upon, some family and friends will be out of reach. Our answer in this respect will be to periodically switch hemispheres, the timing of which we will work out as we go.
Most of you will only have the pleasure of meeting three representatives of Cathy’s family here today, her aunts Din & Mig and her father George, but I have had the pleasure of meeting her brothers Tom, Ben and Eddie, her sister Claire, her step mother Jackie, and other family members during our time in London. It is a lovely, intelligent, and considerate family I have joined with today. I will do my best to return the kindness they have always shown me.
I would like to thank you all for coming here today, and the beauty of a small wedding is that I can. Many have travelled a ways to get here. We have my father David and Paul from Sydney, Lisa and Simon from Canberra, Irene and the Lee massive from Victoria: Michele, Harold, Emma and Dylan; Din and Mig all the way from Western Australia and of course Cathy’s honourable father George who has circled half the world to come here and join us under the Southern Cross today. Representing Queensland we have our local contingent my sister Lindy and her partner Tony, my uncle Rex and his wife Suzie, Nghi and Jane, Kush and Deborah, Helen, Victoria, and our dear friends Mark and Lisa who kindly provided the champagne today. If I’ve left anyone out now would be a good time to shout out. Our wedding would be nothing without all of your contributions, and the greatest gift that you can give us today is your presence and to enjoy yourselves.
I love quotes and though the comment may have been made that this quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson wasn’t specifically suited for a wedding, I will share it anyway as one of my favourites:
“To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded”
Success in our life will also be to deepen our love, as part of our hope for how the world can and should be. In the reflection of another's love we can see ourselves, not unshielded and alone in our journey through time. The deepest expression of love for any other person in our life is a moment as close to union as our isolated souls can be. Although we feel and perceive everything in existence as being separate, in a turn of mind we can also come to realise that all is one, all that exists is part of the same story. As the deepest expression of that realisation, maybe love can save us.
Now I wish to make a toast to all of you, but also to the people who could not be with us today, who exist through us as part of our story and I think of my grandparents in this, Viv, Robbie, Graham, and many others. I also wish to toast someone who, though she is an important person in my life, I never had the pleasure of meeting. From the intelligence and kindness of her children, especially the exceptional woman I am marrying here today, I can only imagine she was an equally exceptional woman herself. I am referring to Cathy’s mother Jessica, who passed away when Cathy was twenty. I’m sure she thought about this day, wondering about the man her daughter might marry. I hope I can live up to her expectations.
So a toast, to Jessica.
Like Cameron, I wanted to start with my own version of the usual traditional owner acknowledgement. Mine won’t be quite so long, but, like him, I want to go a bit beyond the standard words of recognition that we are on Aboriginal land, to reflect on what the world’s first people’s relationships to the land represent, and what we can learn from this. Because it is clear to me that we have strayed very far from our connection with the Earth, and I sincerely hope that humanity as a whole comes - soon - to realise that we are all indigenous to this planet, and starts to act in a way that reflects that. That means recognising our interdependence with the whole earth community, including our duty to future generations. To quote from the Declaration of Interdependence, “When we compromise the air, the water, the soil and the variety of life, we steal from the endless future to serve the fleeting present…” What we now need is “an evolution: from dominance to partnership; from fragmentation to connection; from insecurity, to interdependence.”
This leads to the next thing I want to express, which is my gratitude to everyone for supporting us in our efforts to make this a green wedding, (no pun intended, although to digress quickly, several of my family members think this is such a perfect surname for me that I should take it. Tempting as that is, my feminism trumps this – but I do love Cameron’s name.) Anyway back to what I was saying, I want to start with a big thank you to the rest of my family in their absence for all their support and understanding why we didn’t want them to fly here. They have been great in standing behind our decision to reduce air miles and supportive of our compromise, which is for the two of us go to the UK for a London celebration later this summer, rather than having this become a big wedding with many more flights involved.
Everyone else’s efforts and thoughtfulness are much appreciated too. Thank you to Lindy for the ‘freegan’ rose petals, from plants that were grown locally in QLD and destined for the bin if she hadn’t rescued them for use at our wedding. Thanks to my dad and aunts for offsetting their flights. To all of the non-vegans who are open-mindedly going along with our imposed menu choices – not that we think that’s any hardship, but still. To our very own wonderful vegan chef Irene for making the cake – that is a huge treat. To you all for not minding our eclectic mix of glassware from the local Red Cross shop – one each to last the whole evening. And to all of you for all the other things you all do, not just for us of course but in your own right. That includes all of you: among us we have veggies and vegans, Greens campaigners, civic-minded people involved in all kinds of cool projects through both work or volunteering, wonderful parents, kind friends, wildlife lovers and carers, and much more. You are the best.
I have a few more thank yous before I move on to the Camerony part. The first is to the Greens, Lees and Larkins for welcoming me into their family. Thank you for being here, and for representing those who could not be, either for their own reasons or because they are no longer with us. I know Cameron loved his grandparents and I hope they would have been happy on this day. I’d also like to mention my grandparents who were so important to me growing up, and my mum Jessica who is always in my heart. I know this would have been a very happy day for her, and I love to imagine her and Cameron getting to know each other, connecting not just with their shared environmentalism but just as people, with more than a few bad puns and spoonerisms thrown into the mix. My beloved Dad and aunts, Mig and Din, are here and representing her, which is very precious to me, and I also want to say how much I love them, how safe and loved they make me feel, and how lucky I am that my kin are such kindred spirits in so many ways. Dad, I know Australia is very far away, but you are used to such things, and I always feel that you are near.
I’m nearly there, but it just remains for me to thank all of Cameron’s friends who have embraced me immediately as friends of theirs in my own right. You are all lovely. And to Victoria, who Cameron and I met together soon after I arrived in Brisbane, and who I'm so glad is here today. An organic vegan burger and shared coconut drink just before things kicked off this afternoon was exactly what I needed. And last but not least thanks to Fizzie and John our hosts at Hidden Valley, Dennis the chef, and all their fab helpers, who have provided us with a beautiful setting, a vegan feast and just the kind of vibe we wanted. This is a glorious place and it’s a privilege to be married here.
Right, now for the Camerony part. I’d like to say a few words, in front of you all, about why I am so glad he is in the world and in my life. It starts with EARTH. E for environment. A for Animal liberation. R for Revolution. T for Transcendence and H for human rights. If this acronym is new to you, you can find out more via Cameron’s website, aptly: camerongreen.org. It was pretty hard for me not to fall in love with him when I first went on there myself. But the connection in person is of course immeasurably better. For virtually every change I wish to see in the world, Cameron articulates how I feel and why it matters. He also lives these values in his life, and being with him – even knowing such a person exists – inspires me with a hope and an energy that makes me feel truly alive. I suppose he is the archetypal muse to me, and he makes me feel like I am to him too.
He is also a mirror to my own soul. He shows me who I am and, although this can be painful at times, the flipside is knowing that I’m also an inspiration to him.
And there is so much more besides – the things we both find beautiful, our love of nature, the pleasure we take in shared experiences like walking around outside, slow travel to explore new places, writers like Thoreau, the humour and silliness that we share, all the ways he is so adorable, the pleasure of singing while he plays guitar, and so much else.
Talking of Thoreau, there is a line he wrote that beautifully expresses a feeling that sometimes overcomes me when I’m with Cameron, or even just thinking about him: "The object of love expands and grows before us to eternity, until it includes all that is lovely, and we become all that can love."
I never imagined getting married. I certainly never thought about a wedding day, other than to think vaguely that such a thing would make my beloved dad very happy. But I did once have a sort of strange vision which stayed with me – in that vision I was on a beach, with a man who shares my hippy heart, who loves me to the depths and who believes in me for all the reasons I believe in myself and for others I don’t even see. That vision was about two souls wedded in their own conception of a beautiful world. And Cameron is the embodiment of that man. I feel very blessed that he has come into my life and means to stay there.