I went to be a witness to Steve “Boltz” Bolton’s marriage to Louise Gamberini. It took place at Dead Man’s Corner in the harbour and was attended by about fifty people.

Some of you will be aware of Steve. He’s been making quite a noise in this town for the last couple of years. I mean that literally. He’s the lead figure in what is probably the loudest rock and roll band currently playing in the area: the New White Trash.

The wedding was officiated by Mark Golding, a bearded figure wearing a top hat splendidly arrayed with a variety of colourful feathers.

I was sitting outside the general throng, watching what was going on, when a couple of onlookers asked me what kind of a wedding it was. “Is he a druid?” they asked, referring to Mark. I said I didn’t think so as druids normally wear white. “I think it’s some kind of a pagan ceremony,” I told them, “though the guy getting married is an old rock and roller.”

Later I asked Steve, who told me that Mark is, in fact, a Buddhist. “He’s dressed down for the occasion,” he said.

But the dress style of the officiator wasn’t the only unusual aspect of this wedding. Both the bride and the groom were given away by their grown-up children. After that the happy couple exchanged vows which they had written themselves.

Then Mark said an interesting thing. “This is a union of souls,” he said, “and each of us has the authority and power to gift their journey with our own special blessing.”

He read out a series of vows and asked us to blow kisses onto the rings in order, “to empower their commitment with your love.”

It was that line about authority which struck me. Steve and Louise’s marriage wasn’t being ordained by the authority of church or state, but by the authority of their friends, as individual human beings. That’s the only real authority there is.

And when they had exchanged rings Mark said, “I now pronounce you wife and husband. You may kiss the groom.”

From The Whitstable Gazette.

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