27 March, 201227 March, 2012 20 comments Post Comments Uncategorized Uncategorized

Stirring the Family Drama Pot #2 - You’d really rather have a “kiddo-free” wedding, but that is freaking your sister, mother of three beautiful, but rambunctious, children, out. (She cannot BELIEVE you’re considering not having nephews at your wedding!) 

First of all, you are not a bad person for feeling like to don’t want kids at your wedding. For some weddings, depending the atmosphere that you want to create, it just doesn’t work. (Plus, you’re probably not super excited about the idea of paying for $40 reception-hall kids’ plate chicken fingers.) So, one way to respond to your guests concerns, once they figure out you have not invited their sweet-peas to your big day, is to say this: “You deserve a break and a night away from the kids! Use my wedding as a good excuse for it - I want you to be able to eat without having to worry about cutting someone else’s meat! I want you to be able to drink a couple of glasses of wine without worrying about how much high-fructose corn syrup is in the kiddie cocktails! Please, do yourself the favor of getting a sitter so you can slow dance with your husband without a 5 year old hanging on your butt, wondering if he can play Angry Birds on your phone.” If you have a lot of unhappy parents wondering what the heck they are going to do with their angels, consider organizing having one home where they can drop the kids off at with one or two hired babysitters - the parents can all pitch in to pay the sitters for the evening, OR if you are really feeling generous, work it into your wedding budget. Hopefully they’ll realize the kids WILL have more fun that way, and once the moms realize they can actually dust off and use the cute clutch that’s been hiding under the diaper bags, they will too. 

Sincerely, Rev. Anne Styx, Chicagoland's "The Rev For Whatev"

15 November, 201115 November, 2011 Post Comments Uncategorized Uncategorized
If you come from the kind of family in which every decision you make is greeted with warm smiles, 100% support, and even thunderous applause, please know that not only are you very, very lucky, you are very much in the minority. For most couples planning their wedding, even when they are having a relatively intimate affair, they often find, and are often surprised, that EVERYONE in their family has an opinion on what they should do. They not only have an opinion, they have no problem sharing it. Loudly. And sometimes rudely. Isn’t this supposed to be YOUR day? If you are in the heat of wedding decision-making, you may be finding yourselves in this predicament. In my next few entries, I will offer some thoughts on how to cope with family drama pots, (and the weddings that stir them.)
Pot #1 - Your parents or loved ones are or are helping you foot the bill for the wedding, and therefore, believe they have a say or authority over most, or even all, of the decisions you make for your wedding.
Whew, this is a tough one, so I will deal with it first. If the guidance you are being given is tolerable, and you can live with some of the things they would like to see that day, then your ability to compromise is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of grace and strength. However, if guidance is verging into dictatorship, you must say something, but doing so in a loving, mature way will likely garner the best response: “Mom, please know that John and I are so grateful for the fact that you and Dad are helping us make this wedding possible, but it is really important to us that we celebrate the beginning of our marriage in a way that reflects who we are and what we love. Making this choice fulfills that for us better than that choice. Thank you for understanding that.” In the situation where that is not enough, and your loved ones instead choose to continue to push the fact that it’s their money, so it’s their way, then you may have to make the difficult decision to kindly decline their financial assistance. You may have to scale back, significantly even, so that you can fit your budget, but that is okay. If doing it your way is important enough to you, you will be able to also figure out how to do it your way with the resources you have.
Sincerely, Rev. Anne Styx, Chicagoland's "The Rev For Whatev”

When choosing readings for your ceremony, keep in mind that readings can come from anywhere you like, you don’t have to limit yourself to poems or literature. What about song lyrics? It’s a way to incorporate a favorite or meaningful song without actually having to play the whole song or figure out how to work it in. Plus, many people won’t even recognize it as song lyrics, or if they do recognize the words, they will probably think, “I know these words, but I don’t quite know why...” It will give a nice little element of the unexpected in your ceremony. Here are some suggestions for song lyrics that may make good readings. 

The Wedding Song sung by Bob Dylan

I love you more than ever, more than time and more than love,

I love you more than money and more than the stars above,

Love you more than madness, more than waves upon the sea,

Love you more than life itself, you mean that much to me.

Ever since you walked right in, the circle's been complete,

I've said goodbye to haunted rooms and faces in the street,

To the courtyard of the jester which is hidden from the sun,

I love you more than ever and I haven't yet begun.

From this Moment On sung by Shania Twain

I'd give anything, and everything. And I will always care. 

Through weakness and strength, happiness and sorrow. 

For better for worse, I will love you 

With every beat of my heart.

From this moment life has begun 

From this moment you are the one 

Right beside you is where I belong 

From this moment on 

From this moment I have been blessed 

I live only for your happiness 

And for your love I'd give my last breath 

From this moment on 

For a dash of humor, and you have a reader who can pull it off with sweetness, go with something like this:

I Wanna Grow Old With You - Adam Sandler

I wanna make you smile,
Whenever you're sad.
Carry you around when your arthritis is bad.
All I wanna do,
Is grow old with you

I'll get you medicine,
When your tummy aches.
Build you a fire if the furnace breaks.
It would be so nice,
Growin' old with you

I'll miss you, kiss you
Give you my coat when you are cold.
Need you, feed you.
I'll even let you hold the remote control
So let me do the dishes in our kitchen sink
Put you to bed when you've had too much to drink
Oh I could be the man,
Who grows old with you

I wanna grow old with you.

If you REALLY want comedy, have the recitation of a really unexpected song lyric, (“Baby Got Back?” “Love Shack?” “Eye of the Tiger?”) if you have someone who can read it with complete seriousness and a straight face. Nobody will forget it! Ever. :)

Good luck! 

Sincerely, Rev. Anne Styx, Chicagoland's "The Rev For Whatev”


It's your day. I'll help you keep it that way. 

10 March, 201110 March, 2011 1 comments Post Comments Uncategorized Uncategorized
Choosing a reading for your wedding can be a little daunting. There are a lot of options out there, but what I hope to do here is narrow the field down for you a bit and present some of the nicest ones I have seen, and in my experience work well and are not terribly difficult for your readers to master quickly. (Even if they have had, um, a couple “pre-festivity beverages.” You know it happens. I definitely know it happens.) In the previous blog entry I offered poetry suggestions. Below are some literary options. 

1. Far and away, if you are looking for a biblical option, the most popular is : 

1 Corinthians 13

1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

 4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

 8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

 13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 

Why? Well, because it’s a really nice passage and offers timeless sentiments on the realities of love.

2. Another nice choice is:

Abundance and Delight

Treat yourselves and each other with respect, and remind yourselves often of what brought you together. Give the highest priority to the tenderness, gentleness, and kindness that your connection deserves. When frustration, difficulties, and fear assail your relationship, as they threaten all relationships at one time or another, remember to focus on what is right between you, not only the part which seems wrong. In this way, you can ride out the storms when clouds hide the face of the sun in your lives - remembering that even if you lose sight of it for a moment, the sun is still there. And if each of you takes responsibility for the quality of your life together, it will be marked by abundance and delight.

Again, some really nice sentiments here, but overall, a short reading, and to the point.

3. This one is a nice reminder of the idea that while you are uniting on your wedding day, you should still work to retain your own self-identity as well.

The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran: “You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days. Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God. But let there be spaces in your togetherness. And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another, but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of life can contain your hearts. And stand together yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

4. Finally, one of my absolute favorite readings is the following. I even have adapted it a little for use in one of the most popular ceremonies I deliver for couples. I wish I had written it myself. 

“Union” by Robert Fulghum

You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making promises and agreements in an informal way. All those conversations that were held riding in a car or over a meal or during long walks - all those sentences that began with “When we’re married” and continued with “I will and you will and we will”- those late night talks that included “someday” and “somehow” and “maybe”- and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding. The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, “ You know all those things we’ve promised and hoped and dreamed- well, I meant it all, every word.” Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another- acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, and even teacher, for you have learned much from one another in these last few years. Now you shall say a few words that take you across a threshold of life, and things will never quite be the same between you. For after these vows, you shall say to the world, this- is my husband, this- is my wife.

Again, if you aren’t drawn to any of these choices, a quick google search for “wedding readings” should help too. Happy hunting! 

Sincerely, Rev. Anne Styx, Chicagoland's "The Rev For Whatev”


It's your day. I'll help you keep it that way. 

13 February, 201113 February, 2011 Post Comments Uncategorized Uncategorized

Poetic Readings for Your Ceremony

When most people think of readings during wedding ceremonies, they are probably going to think about biblical or religious readings first, as that is probably what most people have seen done in the past. But, as more and more ceremonies are being conducted by more open-minded officiants, your choices may be limited to only your imagination. “Oh great,” you may be thinking. “More decisions for me to make.” Let me help. One of your other options for readings is poetry. Poetry, however, can be difficult for the average person to read without stumbling or snickering, especially if it’s from the romantic period, so here are some nice suggestions that are, in my opinion, “easy on the cheese.” 

“To Be One With Each Other” by George Eliot

What greater thing is there for two human souls

than to feel that they are joined together to strengthen

each other in all labor, to minister to each other in all sorrow,

to share with each other in all gladness,

to be one with each other in the

silent unspoken memories?

Apache Wedding Poem

Now we will feel no rain, for each of us will be shelter to the other.
Now we will feel no cold, for each of us will be warmth to the other.
Now there is no loneliness.
We are two bodies but there is one life before us, and one home.
When evening falls I will look up and there you'll be.
I'll take your hand and you'll take mine and we'll turn together to look
at the road we travelled to reach this -- the hour of our happiness.
It stretches behind us as the future lies ahead, a long and winding road
whose every turning means discovery, old hopes, new laughter, and shared tears.
The adventure has just begun.

The Bargain
Sir Philip Sidney (1554 - 1586)

My true-love hath my heart and I have his,
By just exchange one for the other given;
I hold his dear and mine he cannot miss;
There never was a better bargain driven.
My true-love hath my heart and I have his,

His heart in me keeps him and me in one;
My heart in him his thoughts and senses guides;
He loves my heart for once it was his own,
I cherish his because in me it bides.
My true-love hath my heart and I have his.

Touched by an Angel by Maya Angelou

We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.

Love arrives
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls

We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love's light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free

Now remember, I said “easy on the cheese,” not completely lactose-free. If you aren’t drawn to any of these choices, a quick google search for “wedding poems” should help too. Happy poem hunting! 

Sincerely, Rev. Anne Styx, Chicagoland's "The Rev For Whatev”


It's your day. I'll help you keep it that way. 

I graduated from college as an English major, so literature and the power of words is something that is near and dear to me. Choosing readings for special people to recite at your wedding ceremony nearly always works out nicely. Not every wedding ceremony is going to include readings of course, but if yours will, or you are considering including them, keep in mind that you may have numerous options. If you are having your ceremony in a church or house of worship, your options may be limited to biblical readings or religious readings, but if you are interested in including something besides those choices, don’t be afraid to ask the officiant about that possibility. The absolute worst thing they can say is “no,” right? But, if you have hired an independent officiant, like a justice of the peace, wedding minister, or celebrant to perform your ceremony, they will probably not only be okay with it, they may even encourage you to get creative if you are going to include readings.  My next few posts are going to include ideas for choosing readings not found in religious texts. Here, I’d first like to encourage you to think about asking the people you have chosen to do readings to choose the readings themselves or even write something original for you, particularly if they are writers or poets. If you trust them enough to speak at your ceremony, trust that they just might choose something totally perfect and better than you could have even imagined.

What!?! Give up control of one detail of your wedding!?! 

Yes. You really can do it. I promise it will be okay. But, of course if you still plan to make the choices, the next few weeks of posts will hopefully help you choose something totally perfect too. 

Sincerely, Rev. Anne Styx, Chicagoland's "The Rev For Whatev”


It's your day. I'll help you keep it that way.  

It’s probably one of the biggest pieces of good news you’re going to share in the course of your lifetime - “We’re engaged!” The 21st century has brought us so many different ways to share our good news: Texting, tweeting, Facebook, email, you name the technology, and there’s a way to share news on it. I’m going to speak on behalf of all your closest and most cherished loved ones. Please, please, do them the honor of telling them your fantastic news in person, or at the very least, pick up the phone so they can hear the excitement in your voice, and you will be able to hear the sheer happiness in theirs. It’s totally fine for your school chum from 2nd grade, the one you haven’t actually seen or spoken to in 20 years, to hear about your pending nuptials on Facebook, but it is generally just not okay for your Mom or your best friend to find out that way. They should be able to hug you upon hearing the news, not typing, “OMG!!!!!!!!!!! I’m so happy 4 U!!!!!!!!” So, when the big moment has just past, he was on one knee, and you’ve just said, “Yes, yes, YES!” please resist the urge to press that Twitter app icon on your Droid. Instead, consider taking the time to let everybody know who is really important in your life, by phone or in person, first. Then, go ahead and update that relationship status. I know you’re dying to.  

Sincerely, Rev. Anne Styx, Chicagoland's "The Rev For Whatev"


It's your day. I'll help you keep it that way.

19 December, 201019 December, 2010 Post Comments Uncategorized Uncategorized

It’s always a bit of a challenge: what to get your “significant other” for a gift. There may be a special amount of pressure when it’s your fiance, or your first Christmas together as husband and wife, etc. How do you pick out the perfect gift? Well, it’s important to remember what gift-giving is really about, or, at least, what it should be about. Are you trying to get the right gift to make sure your fiance doesn’t get mad at you, throw something at you, call off the wedding? Probably not the right reasons. Gift-giving, to me, should try to show your appreciation for someone. It should try to show them that you care about them. It should try to say, “Hey, you really mean something to me. You’re an important part of my live, so I got you this to show you that.” 

There are three things you can put into your gift: effort, thought, and money. Put none of these three things into your gift, and, well, you’ve probably got a stinky gift. Expensive gifts are nice of course, but if you didn’t put any thought or effort into the purchase, it’s pretty meaningless. If you put in effort without thought, (like you spent a year learning how to make cheese, and you present a beautiful basket of homemade cheeses, only be be reminded, again, that your fiance is lactose intolerant.) Gosh, at least you tried, but really, not a great gift either. So, probably the most important piece to the gift-giving puzzle is thought, and if the other two elements can come into play, all the better.  Think about all that makes your fiance who they are, and go from there. If you think and think about your fiance, and all of their likes, dislikes, dreams, and desires, and you still can’t come up with an idea, just ask what your fiance would like for a gift. And then, when they tell you something, make sure you get that. That often works too. :) Happy Holidays to all! 

Sincerely, Rev. Anne Styx, Chicagoland's "The Rev For Whatev"


It's your day. I'll help you keep it that way.

13 December, 201013 December, 2010 Post Comments Uncategorized Uncategorized

A third way to incorporate your children into your ceremony is to mention them in the vows themselves, or have separate vows to them in addition to your marriage vows to your future spouse. Also, depending on the personality of your child(ren), they may want to write some vows to share with you. (Always an opportunity for an “AWWWWWW!” moment.) Here’s how it might sound if you include vows to children after you say your marriage vows (This version, as written, would be great for a step-father/step-mother situation, but you can edit as needed.): 

While I promise to be a good and faithful wife/husband to you, I promise to be a patient, caring and loving father/mother to (children’s names.)  I promise to care for them and provide for them as my own.  I promise to be their strength and their emotional support. 

 Kids, you know I love you like crazy and would do anything for you.  I love you with all my heart and I take you as my family.

Disclaimer - Tissues should be made available to all guests. There is at least a 90% chance they are going to need them.

“Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family.  Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.”  ~Jane Howard

Sincerely, Rev. Anne Styx, Chicagoland's "The Rev For Whatev"


It's your day. I'll help you keep it that way.

Another great way to incorporate your children into your wedding ceremony is to make them a part of the unity candle ceremony or sand ceremony. (I’ll go ahead and state the obvious here. Unity candles involve fire. Fire and children are generally not good partnerships. So, if you have little kids, the sand ceremony is probably a safer bet. Plus, they would get to pick out their  own color of sand, which they will enjoy. Older kids, however, would likely be just fine with the candles.) Here’s how it might sound in your ceremony: Today as BRIDE and GROOM have sealed their commitment to each other with the exchange of rings, they too make a commitment to their children. We recognize the significant role that CHILDREN have in this union celebrated today. They will now join BRIDE and GROOM in this commitment to each other by contributing a part of each individual person into one blended family. Today, this relationship is symbolized through the pouring of these 4 individual vessels of sand, each representing a member of the family in all that they were, all that that are, and all that they will ever be. As each individual’s sand is poured into the family’s one united common vessel, the individual vessels of sand will no longer exist, but will be joined together as one.  Just as these grains of sand can never be separated and poured again into the individual containers, so will become the bond with your family. Please pour the sand into this common vessel to symbolize the blending of your lives.

Funnels are a big help too for the kids. :) And remember:

When you look at your life, the greatest happinesses are family happinesses.”  ~Joyce Brothers

Sincerely, Rev. Anne Styx, Chicagoland's "The Rev For Whatev"


It's your day. I'll help you keep it that way.

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