The end of my wedding season found me out on Peaks Island for several weekends in a row. TEIA (The Trefethen-Evergreen Improvement Association) is a favorite location of mine to shoot at on the island. TEIA is a 100+ year old social and boating club, it is so classically Maine, the old clubhouse reminds me of a time long gone by. This was a fitting place for Jen and Dan’s wedding and reception. A sweet, easygoing couple, these two were most concerned with their family and friends having a fun and relaxing time at their wedding, and that clearly happened. Instead of hiring a traditional caterer, Dan’s mom, Mary, and step-dad, Steve, prepared and served an amazing meal, with the help of lots of other Peaks Islanders. Seeing the community come together to put on a fabulous dinner only added to the intimacy and sense of family of this event.
Their ceremony on the dock was one of the most personal and heartfelt that I’ve witnessed in a long time. Jen’s brother, Brian, read a portion of George Saunders’ 2013 Syracuse University commencement address on ‘Kindness’, instead of a more traditional wedding reading. I wanted to include a portion of it here, if you haven’t heard read the whole speech, I suggest you do.
“It’s a little facile, maybe, and certainly hard to implement, but I’d say, as a goal in life, you could do worse than: Try to be kinder.
And so, a prediction, and my heartfelt wish for you: as you get older, your self will diminish and you will grow in love. YOU will gradually be replaced by LOVE.
Hurry up. Speed it along. Start right now. There’s a confusion in each of us, a sickness, really: selfishness. But there’s also a cure. So be a good and proactive and even somewhat desperate patient on your own behalf – seek out the most efficacious anti-selfishness medicines, energetically, for the rest of your life.
Do all the other things, the ambitious things – travel, get rich, get famous, innovate, lead, fall in love, make and lose fortunes, swim naked in wild jungle rivers (after first having it tested for monkey poop) – but as you do, to the extent that you can, err in the direction of kindness. Do those things that incline you toward the big questions, and avoid the things that would reduce you and make you trivial. That luminous part of you that exists beyond personality – your soul, if you will – is as bright and shining as any that has ever been. Bright as Shakespeare’s, bright as Gandhi’s, bright as Mother Teresa’s. Clear away everything that keeps you separate from this secret luminous place. Believe it exists, come to know it better, nurture it, share its fruits tirelessly.” -George Saunders
Congrats Jen and Dan, I hope Croatia was amazing!