The other day, I was lucky enough to participate in a “surprise” 20th wedding anniversary vow renewal. A thoughtful and romantic husband from Canada surprised his wife by arranging a last minute holiday to New York, to celebrate their anniversary. He found me online, and we schemed to create a sweet ceremony in Central Park.
There were several moments when it seemed like the plot might be revealed, but some fancy footwork by the husband saved the day. One sticky situation occurred at the Pearson airport in Toronto, as the couple boarded on the plane. Among the items in the husband’s carry-on luggage was an object that was “unrecognizable” to the security agent as he X-rayed the bag. Sheepishly, the piece was removed from the bag—and it was a Quaich, a traditional ritual item from Scotland. I can only imagine that our wife was very curious why he would travel with such an unsual article.
The Quaich is typically a family heirloom passed from generation-to-generation to be used on certain special occasions, such as a wedding ceremony. The Quaich is a short bowl shaped dish with decorative handles (typically inspired by Celtic designs) on both sides. In the wedding ceremony, the bride and groom will simultaneously sip Scotch (of course) from the cup. This Quaich had been used at the couple’s wedding two decades ago, and our clever husband wanted to do the same in the Park.
In my hastily prepared ceremony, I used the following wording as the husband and wife sipped—not Scotch, but champagne—from the heirloom:
As you drink from this Quaich
you drink from the cup of life
as husband and wife.
From this day forward
you will share life’s bitterness
with its sweetness,
with its happiness,
and its tribulations
with its joy.
From this moment forward
you will share everything,
doubling your joys
and dividing your sorrows.
While this ritual would have been special with any cup, it was even more significant with a family heirloom. Such treasures always enhance the ritual, large or small.