Yesterday, I officiated at a wedding...in a cemetary.
As a ordained officiant, I only do weddings a couple of times a year, these days, but when my friend Amy asked me to officiate her wedding, I was happy to say yes. I was even happier when Amy and Jeff decided to do it at one of my favorite spots in Atlanta...Oakland Cemetary.
The wedding was at the top of a hill in a lovely white gazebo. The local news station came out to film it, for a series on people using Oakland for various purposes other than burials. The bride looked gorgeous, the groom handsome; her 8 year old daughter, the flower girl, was lovely in a long white dress, and his 11 year old son, the ring-bearer and best man, was handsome in his first tux. Only the immediate families of the couple and a few friends were present. I said some words about standing together through good times and misfortune, peace and misunderstanding, Jeff read a poem to Amy, the rings were exchanged, and I pronounced them man and wife. It was short, but very heartfelt and beautiful, and I thought the honored dead, who include many Atlanta mayors, Margaret Mitchell, and Bobby Jones the golfer, must have enjoyed it if any of their spirits were hanging around.
It may seem odd to start a new beginning in a place so where many people end, but after all, it is the fact that we do end that gives the events of our lives such poignancy and richness.
After the ceremony, we went across the street from Oakland to a popular restaurant called Six Feet Under, and had a fabulous repast of shrimp, clams, chicken, grouper, alligator bites, and fried okra, followed by wedding cake and champagne. We ate on the upstairs deck, looking out at Oakland. Our waiter said that there have been about 10 weddings at Oakland in the five years he's been at Six Feet Under, but only a few wedding receptions at Six Feet Under. Even if you don't want to have your wedding reception there, I highly recommend the food and the friendly service.
So there you have it..a wedding on Leap Day, 2008, in a cemetary. How is that for putting a unique stamp on your vows?
Oakland is a beautiful place and I recommend it to anyone for its beauty, peaceful atmosphere, and history.