I didn’t know what to get you for a wedding gift.
I weighed up some things, tried to choose carefully, but
I couldn’t tell if it was best to buy a really nice vase or a
casserole dish to help you live your life together.
Vases are good, I thought. For flowers. Flowers come and go, but
the vase is always there. And dishes. We all need dishes.
But then I thought – maybe that isn’t the right gift. What if the dish breaks? Life is long, and involves a lot of casseroles and at the very least packet based macaroni cheese that is cooked in a casserole dish
because you haven’t done the washing up.
What if the vase is difficult to wrap up safe and gets cracked as you move,
from one house, one chapter of your lives to another?
So I thought, maybe instead I should tell you all the things that I have learned from songs, and books and TV ads and bedtime stories about what love is.
Maybe that love is the answer, or all you need is love, or love is a many
But somehow, since those weren’t my words, that didn’t seem like the right gift either.
For today is a party. The very best, most marvellous party for the two most marvellous people.
Today is a day for a fairy tale. Not one that involves spinning wheels and pricked fingers, where princes rescue damsels with kisses, and hands are there to be won.
Today is a day for a better story.
And so, like a good fairy (all the best stories have a good fairy) the gift that I have brought for you is a spell.
This spell cannot make you beautiful, for you are that already.
And it cannot bring you riches, for magic does not work that way.
But I can cast a spell for love, a love that stays by your side and gives you many happy days and lives forever, which, even if I say so myself, is probably better than a casserole dish.
Some people call this spell ‘matrimony’, and say it is not for everyone, and it has to be cast with their own special words, otherwise they won’t believe in it.
Others think that this magic called love is so powerful, so dangerous, that it can only be about owning things. That it requires obeying, and registrars, and forms, and new identities.
But we know that this is not true.
For everybody here, we all know this spell. We came together here today just for you, to cast it. We put on our finest robes and rings and travelled from far away, each carrying with us all the pieces of our love, to give to you.
Some of us have brought in our hearts those quiet early mornings, and the way we hummed when we rocked you to sleep.
Every ‘sleep tight’ and ‘see you in the morning’ that we have ever said is in this room today.
Every ‘I love you’ and ‘don’t give up, keep going’.
Some of us have brought that time we got up at four in the morning when it wasn’t our turn to change the baby’s nappy.
Some of us have brought the ghosts of those whose names we have forgotten, but whose love lives on, in our bones and in our faces.
Many of us carry with us, unnoticed, the powerful magic of finding lost car keys.
Midnight texts, midsummer parties, mistletoe and New Year’s Eves, family that know us better than we know ourselves
friends that bring wine in a crisis and make us laugh until we can hardly breathe.
A sprinkle of spreadsheets. A pinch of familiar footsteps up the stairs. Hands that are for holding. The sound of heartbeats.
This is how we cast a spell for love.
So, here are our special words: love owns nothing. It is everyone. It does not break or crack. It kisses grazed knees, it topples governments.
And you might forget about it – you might forget, when you are long married, what colour your tie was or whether the cheese was locally sourced,
or whether someone said weird stuff about magic on your wedding day.
But you should know, that this spell will still be working. Whether you are 35 or 60 or 102, love will be there.
In the day it will be the sun on your skin.
In the evening, it will be the fairy lights that stretch across the dark.
And when the sun goes down, you will know that love sleeps. It only sleeps. It does not die. For love is magic, and you will have it forever, and this is true, for now I have cast the spell.
And, you two marvellous people, this is my gift to you.
Also, I’m sorry about the shit vase I bought.