This Morning and Every Morning I Choose You

I simply love a good wedding and over the years I have been privileged to attend many special and beautiful ceremonies. Two of these wonderful celebrations were my own. Four years ago today, I married Christian-Sinclair Anthony Amott for the second time. It was a beautiful June day in Vancouver and a few of my favorite memories of that wedding weekend include:

  • The bridal shower tea where 18 very special women in my life shared their wisdom on love and marriage and gave me an instant collection of antique tea cups
  • Christian's stag party which ended up with skinny dipping in English Bay and a rather gruesome toe wound for the groom who limped through the weekend
  • My Uncle Steve's surprise appearance
  • Family BBQ the night before the ceremony in Christian's aunt and uncle's backyard
  • Nieces and nephews climbing in the moss-covered trees
  • Christian being, um, defecated upon by a passing seagull - thankfully a sign of good luck in many cultures!
  • Oysters and Rose Champagne on the lawn of the Teahouse Conservatory
  • Kids climbing the moss-covered trees
  • The many thoughtful, loving and funny toasts - some rehearsed and some spontaneous - that went on all throughout our wedding lunch
  • Party at the Sylvia Hotel that evening and a Dim Sum brunch the following day.
  • Honeymoon on Gabriola Island where my two brothers and their families joined us for a few days.
Each year on our anniversary, I like to take out our wedding photos and reread our vows because really, how often do we do that? Not often enough. But even if we only do it once a year, restating and refreshing the solemn promises we made to each other is a good reminder to live them. Below is our wedding ceremony and a few favorite photos from that special day.

Wedding Celebration
June 26, 2010

Welcome family and friends, to this beautiful natural setting in Stanley Park where we have come together to witness and celebrate the joining of two lives and two families.  Sarah and Christian legally bound their lives together this past New Year’s Eve, but they wanted to celebrate again with you, the important people in their lives.  Many of you have traveled a long way to be here, but whether you have come from across town or across the continent, all of you have come to offer your love, support and blessing for this union.  This moment in time is both poignant and precious to Sarah and Christian and they are honored by your presence.  This park has been Christian’s backyard and now it is Sarah’s too.  It has been the setting for many romantic walks along the seawall during their relationship and is a special place in their hearts. Thank you for being here with us today!

A special thank you goes out to Sarah and Christian’s parents, Bob and Susan Burns, Jane Amott and Allan and Grace Amott.  It was Jane who chose this spot for the wedding and made it possible for us all to be here today.  Family is very important to both Sarah and Christian.  The love, guidance and example you have given them as parents has helped to make them kind and loving adults.  They thank all of you for giving them each a wonderful upbringing and also for giving the other a loving new spouse.

I’d now like to invite Patrick up to share the first reading, an excerpt from Rainer Maria Rilke.

To love is good; love being difficult.  For one human being to love another; that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation. It is a high inducement to the individual to ripen, to become something in himself, to become world, to become world for himself for another’s sake, it is a great exacting claim upon him, something that chooses him out and calls him to vast things….The point of marriage is not to create a quick commonality by tearing down all boundaries.  A merging of two people is an impossibility, and where it seems to exist, it is a hemming-in, a mutual consent that robs one party or both parties of their fullest freedom and development. But once the realization is accepted that even between the closest people infinite distances exist, a marvelous living side-by-side can grow up for them, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them, which gives them the possibility of always seeing each other as a whole and before an immense sky.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Christian and Sarah each bring unique traits to this union and a marriage is a place to honor those individual and sometimes quirky bits about each other.  That is why they fell in love. They met with the magical aid of modern technology.  Imagine the odds!  And yet it was quickly apparent that they might make a good match. Christian wanted to find “someone who was equally enthused about life and embracing it to the fullest.”  Sarah hoped to meet a man who was “curious and wanted to join her in experiencing life in all its fascinating details.”  The words “New Yorker”, “a good bottle of wine” “A keen sense of intellect” and “travel” were the clincher.  Of course, there were early warning signs that Christian was physically attached to his iPhone and overzealous about the Dave Matthews Band and he didn’t realize the extent of Sarah’s obsession with the library, but still, here we find ourselves today.  For the past three years, they have certainly been experiencing life to the fullest with each other.  They have traveled back and forth across the US-Canadian border and all over the world together, from Portugal to Japan to Antarctica with many local adventures in-between.  The great thing about Sarah and Christian as a couple is that they also consider discovering a new Korean joint down the street or trying a different recipe at home together an adventure.  They are have been really good at making each other happy and that happiness spreads and grows exponentially.

Natasha is now going to give our second reading, a poem by Naomi Shihab Nye called “So Much Happiness.”

It is difficult to know what to do with so much happiness.

With sadness there is something to rub against, 

a wound to tend with lotion and cloth.

When the world falls in around you, you have pieces to pick up,

something to hold in your hands, like ticket stubs or change.

But happiness floats.

It doesn't need you to hold it down.

It doesn't need anything.

Happiness lands on the roof of the next house, singing,

and disappears when it wants to.

You are happy either way.

Even the fact that you once lived in a peaceful tree house

and now live over a quarry of noise and dust
cannot make you unhappy.

Everything has a life of its own,

it too could wake up filled with possibilities

of coffee cake and ripe peaches,

and love even the floor which needs to be swept,

the soiled linens and scratched records…..

Since there is no place large enough

to contain so much happiness,

you shrug, you raise your hands, and it flows out of you

into everything you touch. You are not responsible.

You take no credit, as the night sky takes no credit

for the moon, but continues to hold it, and share it,

and in that way, be known.

Well Christian and Sarah, you wanted adventure and now you’ve got it.  You have decided together, to begin this new, wonderful life adventure called marriage. This past November, Christian gave Sarah a beautiful engagement ring that belonged to his maternal grandmother and since that day, I know it has been a whirlwind of excitement.  Love is a gift and a shot of adrenaline, but it is also a conscious decision.  In the dining room of Sarah’s childhood home, there was a wooden plaque that said, “Love is a Decision.”  That idea made a powerful impression on her.  Love is not something that happens to you as a passive recipient.  It doesn’t tap you on the shoulder with a magic wand and say, “ta-da!  And now you are in love”.  Of course, love has a power that can catch you unawares, sweep you up, take your breath away and make you run for champagne and strawberries.  It has even, I’ve been told, inspired Christian to write poetry for Sarah early on in their relationship.  However, love is something to be created by each of you, refreshed every day and creatively expanded upon.  In this way it can grow deeper, stronger and more complex – and thus more amazing and more fun.  As partners, you each are responsible for renewing and stoking your love for each other.  This will guarantee a marriage that will never be boring.  Given both of your lives and your relationship thus far, boring doesn’t seem to be an issue, but there may be some dull moments.  It happens.  Therefore, it is important as part of this commitment to make certain there are many more shining moments to far outnumber the commonplace ones.  It seems so simple a recipe, but as Seneca said, “If you wish to be loved, love.”

Today is a celebration for Christian and Sarah, but it is also a celebration for the rest of us, for it is a pleasure to see love in bloom, to participate in the wedding of two people so happy together.  Weddings are all about hope and optimism.  There is risk involved, but it is a delicious challenge and one that we all cheer on.  And what poet is more jubilant than Walt Whitman?

Matthew, will you please come up to give the last reading?

Allons! whoever you are come travel with me!
Traveling with me you find what never tires.
The earth never tires,
The earth is rude, silent, incomprehensible at first, Nature is rude and incomprehensible at first,
Be not discouraged, keep on, there are divine things well envelop'd,
I swear to you there are divine things more beautiful than words can tell.
Allons! we must not stop here,
However sweet these laid-up stores, however convenient this dwelling we cannot remain here,
However shelter'd this port and however calm these waters we must not anchor here,
However welcome the hospitality that surrounds us we are permitted to receive it but a little while.

Allons! the inducements shall be greater,
We will sail pathless and wild seas,
We will go where winds blow, waves dash, and the Yankee clipper speeds by under full sail.

Allons! with power, liberty, the earth, the elements,
 Health, defiance, gayety, self-esteem, curiosity; 
Allons! from all formulas!

Camerado, I give you my hand!
I give you my love more precious than money,
I give you myself before preaching or law;
 Will you give me yourself? Will you come travel with me?
 Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?

~Walt Whitman, from Song of the Open Road

Christian and Sarah, in your hearts and in front of a judge, you have already committed to love each other and stick by each other as long as you live.  Today, you would like to declare that commitment again in the presence of your family and friends.  May we have the rings, please?

Christian, you’re up first.

Sarah, this morning and every morning, I choose you. May this ring be a symbol of my love for you and my decision to walk through life by your side.  I promise to love you, laugh with you, struggle and strive next to you.  I promise to uplift you and delight in you.  I promise to bring out the best in you and to be my best self for you.  I love you.

Christian, this morning and every morning, I choose you.  May this ring be a symbol of my love for you and my decision to walk through life by your side.  I promise to love you, laugh with you, struggle and strive next to you.  I promise to uplift you and delight in you.  I promise to bring out the best in you and to be my best self for you.  I love you.

Christian and Sarah, it is my great pleasure to pronounce you, again, husband and wife.  Christian, you may kiss your bride!

May you live long , healthy and happy lives together.  May your hearts be full.  May your lips stay sweet.  May your love grow strong.  Go forth now and be happy.  Let’s go drink some champagne!


  1. That was such a wonderful day! Happy Anniversary to you and Christian!

  2. Thank you for sharing your beautiful memories! xx

  3. OMG!! What a beautiful day? Really in love with this view. Was looking for best venue for my wedding and came to know about one of wedding venues Chicago. It was such a gorgeous venue with best facilities and awesome arrangements.