On Officiating a Wedding as a Dudeist Priest

This past weekend, I officiated my second wedding as an ordained Dudeist priest. Dudeism, if you’re not familiar, is drawn from the 1998 movie, “The Big Lebowski,” starring Jeff Bridges as a laid back, bathrobe-wearing, bowling league philosopher called “The Dude.”

Officiating at my FIRST Dudeist wedding

Turns out, the philosophy part was popular enough that a an all-legal-like religion was created out of it. And, oh, sure, it’s a little tongue-in-cheek. But it’s also kinda important. Being in a legally-recognized church, Church of the Dude priests can marry folks all legal-like, sure, but some people want to show their commitment to one another even though that commitment won’t be legally recognized by their county, state, or the federal government. Those are the ceremonies I prefer to involve myself with, because, well, that’s the Way of the Dude: it’s about … chilling out and being accepting, people.

So I was particularly pleased to perform this second wedding, which was for a polyamorous couple. You may have heard the term before, especially since it’s getting more pop culture airtime these days now that some celebs have come out as openly polyamorous. Polyamory, very briefly, is a form of ethical non-monogamy (with heeeeaaaavy emphasis on the ‘ethical’) that embraces the idea that people can be in love with more than one person at once. There are more and more polyamorous families all across this land of ours — indeed, about 4% to 5% of adults in the US consider themselves to be polyam and 29% of adults under the age of 30 think that it’s okay to be in open relationships (here’s the link to those stats). However, this post isn’t about polyamory specifically; it’s about the polyam wedding I officiated, which was all about these two people, who are also in other relationships, wanting to show the world their commitment to one another, too.

Here’s the script I wrote:

THE PROCESSION This is the part where somebody comes down the aisle. Accompanied or not. Music or not. Flower-and-ring velociraptor or not. However you want to do it is cool.

THE GREETING Something like this:

“Hey, everybody. Welcome to the [names of the participants’] wedding. If you were here thinking it was someone else’s wedding, or if you just wanted to get in on the snacks, that’s cool. Our arms are open. Anyway, here’s what’s going to happen: As the designated officiate and an duly ordained priest of the Dude, complete with the ceremonial bathrobe and the holey bowling ball, I’m going to say a few words about how cool this all is, and then these two are going to be all handfasted and such. Shortly after that we’re going to raid that bar right over there.”

[Everybody gets into position and I make sure no one is in danger of imminent vomiting]

OPENING REMARKS “Okay, everybody. As most of you know, or at least are getting the idea now if you didn’t before, this isn’t a traditional marriage ceremony. [the participants] here are polyamorous. That’s a word with a whole lot of syllables in it that all work together to make it one big word, just like how polyamorous familes can have a whole bunch of people in them making them one big bundle of love. We aren’t here today just to join these two together, but to bind up all of their people into a big old joyball of happiness. [Names of everyone] are all being bound together today, and, man, that’s awesome cool.

“But it’s not just about being able to share streaming TV passwords. It’s also about being there for one another to celebrate when the good things happen, and to comfort one another when the bad things do. It’s about understanding that love is infinite–check out the holey bowling ball and the Infinite Heart–but that calendaring takes some effort. It’s about realizing that jealousy isn’t good or bad by itself; it’s how we deal with it and what we learn about ourselves in the process. It’s about snuggling and shared flu seasons. It’s about, hell, yeah, it’s also about the shared streaming passwords.

“As the first quote about polyamory that came up in an internet search says, ‘Polyamory–more fun than a barrel of bonobos.’ 

“But I’d also like to read this poem by Lauren Davidson, whom I don’t know, but who sounds like she’s got the Dude in her heart. Here it is: “Many Loves”, by Lauren Davidson:

“Many Loves,” by Lauren Davidson

“Alright. Let’s do this thing.”

The Marriage

“[Name] and [Name], you’re standing on a rug. That’s not just a metaphor; I brought this rug. But it’s also a metaphor. You’re the rug, and you’re also part of the rug. You each are a strand in that rug, and the people who love you are strands, too, and working together you become something much more than you were before. A bunch of strings, well, that’s just something for the cat to play with. But a rug? A rug really ties the room together.

“Are you, [Name], willing to become a string tying together the rug of [Name’s] life?”

“And are you, [Name], willing to become a string tying together the rug of [Name’sl] life?”

“And are you both willing to share the dry cleaning costs, both real and metaphorical?”

“Alright, cool. [Other Partner], come on over here.”

[[Other Partner] approaches with the handfasting stuff]

“Place your arms together and let these ribbons be a symbol of, well, a whole lot of important stuff.”

[Tying happens]

As a representative of the Church of the Dude, I declare this union knotted. You may now kiss the hell out of one another.

[Once the snogging is over, turn to the audience]

“I’m right proud to introduce [the newly-bound folk], new threads tied together in the rug of life.

“Alright! Let’s celebrate this awesomeness!”

[Party]

Just a couple of informative links:

On Dudeism

What is Polyamory and How Does it Work — The Independent

Here’s What it’s *Really* Like to be in a Polyamorous Relationship

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