The Wedding Temple

(This brief speech was delivered by Vin, just before the start of the wedding.)

Some of you may have noticed this wooden structure. It is our Wedding Temple, which we are inviting all of you to contribute to as part of celebrating this day. 

The Temple is inspired by the structure first created in 2000 by David Best, for the annual Burning Man festival. For those unfamiliar with Burning Man, it is a week-long event in which people from all over the world come together in the middle of the Nevada desert, also known as “the playa”, to celebrate art, culture, diversity, and life.

While the event is named for the giant wooden man standing in the middle of the temporary desert city, the highlight for us has always been the Temple experience.

Nearly everyone on the playa visits the Temple at least once during the week, leaving behind a piece of themselves written on the walls or placed on the structure. When you walk through the Temple, you’re surrounded by every aspect of the human experience. You’ll find everything from memorials to those lost, mementos, and apologies, to hopes, wishes, goals, and dreams. 

Much of the art erected in the desert is burned near the end of the festival, including the eponymous Man, and the Temple. Saturday, they burn The Man, and it’s always a big party. But on Sunday, when the Temple burns, with all of the contributions that have been made by attendees, there is a solemn silence that falls across the playa. 

In years when we have not gone to Burning Man, we hold our own Mini Temple Burn, using a plain wooden bird house. We write on it and put notes in it, as we would if we were at the Burning Man Temple itself. Then we burn our Mini Temple, standing quietly together and watching the flames until it all turns to ash. 

In honor of these traditions, we decided to have our own Wedding Temple, which we’ve placed in the dining room. We would love for you to write your well wishes, thoughts, experiences, and hopes for our future. We welcome you to also write about something unrelated to us and our day, in keeping with the Burning Man Temple tradition. If you want to share what you’ve written, please be sure to take a photo. While we wanted to complete the experience with a ceremonial burning of our Temple, the weather has not cooperated. We will hold a smaller, private Temple burn at a later date when the weather is better, and we’ll be sure to share our photos and video of that ceremony.

Now, it’s time for the big show!