By the Dudely Lama
One of the reasons people dig ordaining at The Church of the Latter-Day Dude is that it invests them with the power to officiate at wedding ceremonies. It’s ironic of course, because The Dude was clearly determined never to get married. The mere suggestion made him involuntarily spit up his White Russian.
But of course, that doesn’t mean Dudeism is anti-marriage. Far from it, Dude. Marriage can be a natural, zesty enterprise. And it helps perpetuate the whole durn human comedy. And it can provide a sense of security in an insecure world, both for the couple and their children. Dudeism isn’t strictly pro- or anti-anything — just the opposite, actually. With mantras like “That’s just, like your opinion, man,” “Will you just take it easy?” and “Well, that’s your perception,” Dudeism tries to serve as a corrective to all the pros and antis and shoulds and shouldn’ts which get in the way of limber thinking and make it difficult for us to figure our things for ourselves.
Moreover, marriage can be different things to different people. The legalization of gay marriage in many states has impelled many people to try and decide what marriage even means to them, rather than just taking it for granted. Is it a romantic pledging of one’s heart to another for eternity? Is it a practical business arrangement for sharing resources? Is it a moralistic arrangement mandated by some supreme being? Is it just an excuse for a really good party?
Rather than launch into a Sobchakian diatribe about “our basic freedoms” or, alternatively, “3000 years of beautiful tradition–you’re goddamn right I’m living in the past!” we’re only going to note that weddings can be wonderful moments in time when friends get together and love is pledged and food and drink are shared and wild photos are taken and weird shit takes place. In other words, they are like daydream sequences. Far out.
Festivals and celebrations no longer mean to us what they meant to our distant ancestors. Whereas Christmas used to be a weeklong orgy (the Roman Saturnalia), now it’s a day of creepy commercialism and TV reruns. And where Easter used to be a celebration of the rebirth of the world after the dead of winter, today we eat chocolate eggs and chase an imaginary bunny.
This is one of the reasons why weddings are magical: because they are one of the few remnants of the glorious festivals of old. That, and some coming-of-age ceremonies, and perhaps funerals.
I made this point while officiating at a the wedding ceremony of my best friend from high school last week:
After all, it’s with these brief, magical cornerstone moments that our lives are sketched out, kind of like those connect-the-dots exercises we do as children, where the image gradually comes into view the more the dots are drawn together. And that image, at the end of it all, is our life.
Of course, making a Dudeist wedding speech can pose a unique challenge. After all, love is such a personal thing and to tell people what to expect or what they should do or what relationships are really all about is, well, kind of undude.
There are scores of wedding ceremonies available on the Internet that read like patronizing sermons about how people should treat each other — not so many that celebrate the implicit value of love and family and leave it at that.
Perhaps the best way to approach a Dudeist wedding ceremony is to merely point out that we’re all just really happy to be here and that we wish them the best. However you choose to convey that is up to you. Then again, maybe the bride and groom want to be patronized, in which case you should say “have it your way, dudes.”
One important tip — make sure to check your printout thoroughly before reading it in front of the couple and the crowd. That way you won’t call the bride by the wrong last name like I did. This, fortunately, was forgiven. But then again, that’s what makes being a Dudeist priest in a religion of relaxation such a great avocation: if you mess up a bit, no one holds it against you, so long as your heart is in the right place.
On a related note, our very own Dudey-Sattvah, Cathleen Falsani officiated her second Dudeist wedding last weekend. Here are a couple of photos of her with her Dudefish-bedecked dossier:
If any Dudeist priests out there have any photos or videos of themselves officiating at a wedding, why not send them to us here. Maybe we’ll put up a special gallery on the site!
You may now kiss the guide.