s we mentioned in previous editions, summer seems to mean love, as many couples got married recently. Every wedding is unique, especially for those getting married, but even those attending can see that no wedding is like another. From small private gatherings to big almost public events. But some decide to take a step further and make it an occasion to celebrate with everyone, even those they might not know as much. A community event to celebrate love, those around the couple, but also an option to make new friends, to bring life and parties to places. This was the case of Siavash’s and Tavari’s wedding celebration. The actual ceremony was a private one and so it will not be discussed here, but the three days after… well that was a party to behold. The celebration happened in Uldum and each day was different. Starting on July 9th at Mar’at with a parade going over the Vir’naal Dam and followed by the most breath-taking raft race possible. The three contestants, Kraanos, Elanaris and Vivan had to go around the Vir’naal Lake, answering one question on each loop, after answering they were giving a code to check who got the answers correct. At first it seemed it was going to be up to Kraanos or Elanaris, as Vivian was still on the first loop while they were way in the second one. But suddenly Vivan made an incredible come back, maybe encouraged by the support of the public. Victory seemed close, but Kraanos was not going to give up and the effort was worth it, because it made him achieve the first place, followed by Elanaris and finally Vivian. Quite a race, indeed. The following day the celebration moved to Ramkahen, and if the previous days was filled with excitement due to sports, this one was meant to touch our feelings with a magnificent story telling contest. Kay won the competition with a beautiful story of two almost impossible lovers, a statue, and a soldier… who ended up as the lovers of the lake. On second place Theodore, moved us with a touching poem about how love can be seeing as a star that changes your world. Hiyorin got the third position with a tragic story about the love of a man for a tree, one day a woman appeared, and they fell in love, but when the villagers cut the tree down… And last, but not least, Tristepin Clemons, showed us how sometimes people just need a push in the right direction to talk about feelings. Finally, the last day, inside the Vir’naal Dam, a carp kicking competition had place between the team Vol’dun Vultures (Lady Rezmin, Lady Mearin, Master Ayun and Master Korrin) and Four Strangers (Theodore, Kraanos, Lady Lin Bluemoon and Lord James Griswold). It was a thrilling competition with goals everywhere that ended 12-9 for the Vol’dun Vultures. The sport competitions had Sunyiu Qiang-Dû commenting then and every day after 11 bells fireworks happened and party started until next day. I met the happy couple at Sri-La Village, and we had a great conversation about love. I learnt about how they met, how each other helped and supported the other. Siavash: “When Tavari and I met, he'd just gotten out of the Fel Hammer, into battle on the Broken Isles to fight the Burning Legion, and then after that, he had nowhere to go. Sylvanas was about to start a war against Alliance, bombing everything we'd build up back to dust. He didn't want that. So, he just told me how he was without money, without family, without a home... traumatised and out of control... and took a leap of faith to travel to Uldum, all based on a rumour of what that place had become.” A leap of faith that was not easy, as in many couples, there were some rough times, but it is through talking in those times that bonds can grow together. Many people know Siavash from his events and as an entertainer, but sometimes the most public people are the most unseen, because the public only sees the face they show. But those closest, are the ones that see it all, like Tavari sees Siavash: Tavari: “He's encouraging, fills me with drive and keeps me balanced. He's funny and we can spend hours talking. Time flies so fast. He's caring and has a brilliant mind. So creative too. It's never a dull moment with him. But he's also a very calm person. I think people probably view entertainers as people who never stop, but we have our calm breakfasts and there's a calm energy about him.” Having the chance, I asked Siavash to explain a bit more about why they decided to make a public celebration, he had a very interesting explanation that made me learnt a couple of things about cultures: Siavash: “Whole norm of weddings being an exclusive thing where families are awkwardly strongarmed together across a long table to merge and mingle? That's, first of all, not very romantic in my opinion... or not just in my opinion: that whole wedding tradition isn't based on love. It's based on alliances and politics more often than not. It's the norm for elves and humans to host it like that, but if you go to other cultures like trolls and pandaren? They're a -lot- more festive when it comes to family reunion. Not just that, really. any kind of cultural event: If you just look at a troll tavern, many of them haven't got a bar. There's a reason for that architecture: you're not supposed to sit and grow roots. you're supposed to move and mingle! In many southern cultures and societies, weddings are celebrated as an event for the whole town to join. Something that brings the community together, that the couple is a part of. And the thing is... for me? I've not got many ties to Eversong. Ever since the Third War, it's just not been what it used to be. My community? It's the people who've come to join my events for the last half decade. They're the people I meet and mingle with: so, to host a wedding without including them to some extend? That'd feel wrong. We wanted the ceremony itself to be intimate, and that's mostly because we know as a face that not all are keen on our relationship, so to ensure the ceremony would go through all smooth, we just invited a selective few for the ceremony, and then the three-day celebration was the open, public part.” During our talk, a beautiful conclusion and metaphor came up about what love is, and I am glad I did not need to ask, because sometimes a reporter gets the best answers when not asking: love is a conversation yet to end. But if there is someone that knows about love and weddings is Sir Cailen Cadogan, who has officiated many along his life, 12 to be precise, the latest being the one between Earl van Rook and Miss Rowley. Here’s some more about his experience: Gaedryel Ravenbreath: “What does it mean for you to marry a couple?” Sir Cailen Cadogan: “What does it mean for me? Hmh, I find it an honour. Especially in the case of Lord and Lady van Rook. They are my friends and colleagues, so when they asked me to officiate their union it was a special honour. I suppose it is fulfilling to bring other happiness, to be present in that happiness, and share in celebrating it with them.” Gaedryel Ravenbreath: “Have you married someone you didn't know that much?” Sir Cailen Cadogan: “I have yes, I was asked last minute to officiate a wedding for Mister and Mrs Langford, the person that would have done it fell ill. I was happy to step in. In that case it is more of fulfilling a service. But it is a service I do happily. Back when I had just sworn my oath as a Paladin, I travelled the land as an Errant Knight [a knight traveling in search of adventures in which to exhibit military skill, prowess, and generosity]. In those days I would occasionally be asked to officiate the union of farmers or lumber workers. The settings were less grand that Lord and Lady van Rooks, but the ceremonies no less important.” Gaedryel Ravenbreath: “And how does one prepare to officiate a wedding? I imagine you're used to it by now and it helps if they're friends, but who was the first times? How does one find what to say?” Sir Cailen Cadogan: “I usually spend some time with the couple beforehand, like we are now... having a cup of tea, or a drink at a tavern. I learn their story, how they met, what drew them together. Once I know enough, I go home or to my office and write a speech, apart from the initial words the layout is usually the same. One companion of the groom or bride bears the rings, the couple has vows they wish to share with one another, so on. It is also worth asking whether they want a specifically religious ceremony or not. Our Kingdom has become a remarkably more diverse place in the last two decades. Not every human now fully follows the scripture and teachings of the Church of the Holy Light. As I am both a paladin and a servant of state, I have been invested with the power to officiate a religious or non-religious ceremony. The differences are noteworthy. A non-religious one is the one you saw, Lord and Lady van Rook wished the ceremony to take place outdoors, and no religious sermons were given. At Mr and Mrs Langford's ceremony, they wished it to take place in Northshire Abbey. During the service I called upon the Light to bless the couple and their union.” Gaedryel Ravenbreath: “And, if you don't mind me asking, what do you feel when you're about to pronounce those words that make guests cry and the bride and groom skip a beat? Do you feel nervous, happy?” Sir Cailen Cadogan: “The nerves go away once I get started. That moment when you invoke the powers invested in you and pronounce them husband and wife. That is very special. It's hard to describe, I suppose you share in their joy, it makes you feel buoyant. At religious ceremonies, it's those times I feel very close to the Light itself.” Gaedryel Ravenbreath: “As someone who marries other people, is there any advice you'd give to couple about to marry or thinking about it?” Sir Cailen Cadogan: “It is fashionable in the city to have large and expensive weddings. Often people like to hire out a tavern's staff for catering or use an exclusive location. I understand it, everyone wants to impress and make their ceremony seem special. But the truth is... A ceremony is a celebration of your love and your union. A small ceremony, in an inexpensive location is just as significant and as beautiful as as a large one. So long as you are both in love, and happy, and you're surrounded by your close friends and cherished loved ones. It will be memorable, and important. One should never feel pressure to spend more than they can afford, and your love for one another is not diminished if you choose a smaller, more intimate ceremony.”