Will you marry us?

Will you marry us?” This is the question that was being asked of me. Not a common one, is it? Usually, it is “Will you marry me?” But no, I was being asked the former, by a close friend of mine … and his fiancee!

JT and I have been friends for more than 8 years. In fact, he was my first friend in Seattle, the person who recommended that I be hired to my first job, and the person who also gave me early training in the technical side of building on the job. We became good friends very quickly. He helped my ex-husband and I move into our first home, and then he helped me move out when I was getting divorced, and into my new re-invented future. I remember pondering the irony of this aloud to him, and he said simply, “If I can help you move in, I can help you move out!” So it follows that JT has seen me through every cycle in my life in Seattle.

I had always envied my two childhood best friends their elder brothers. They seemed so protective and caring, that I had really wanted one. Once, about 6 years ago, I felt suddenly that JT felt closest to being an elder brother to me. So what if he was white and blue-eyed? He just felt like a brother! So that August, when Rakshabandhan – the festival celebrating the special sister-brother bond, came around the corner – I tied him a Rakhi. I was shy doing this, assuming that JT might find it corny and weird. But you should have looked at his face! He was delighted, and since his birthday was on Rakhi that year, not knowing that Indian festival dates move every year with the lunar calendar, he assumed that on every birthday he was going to get a Rakhi from me. I liked this idea so much that in subsequent years, I tied the Rakhi on his wrist on his birthdays, not on the real festival date! A couple of years in between, which were my toughest in terms of life-transition, I was so consumed by other things that I missed giving him a Rakhi. But when we met for breakfast or lunch around his birthday, JT would simply show up wearing one of his old Rakhis that he had tied on his own wrist, simply to commemorate the occasion!

So, about a year ago, when JT found the girl of his dreams and proposed to marry her shortly thereafter, I was, needless to say, very happy for him. He is a talented architect and thoughtful citizen, intelligent with words, reads a lot and plays soccer, and is just a very simple, honest and caring guy. I had always hoped he would meet someone special, and it had finally happened! My boyfriend and I went to a few barbeques at JT’s place over the year, and I got to know his girlfriend Sky – it was obvious the love-bug had bitten them hard!

One Sunday a couple of months ago, my boyfriend and I went with JT and Sky on a hike of Ebey’s Landing at Whidbey Island. It is on this beautiful ocean-side hike that they had become engaged to be married earlier in the year! I was taking pictures of them, hoping that it would make a nice memento as a collage when they get married next year. Afterwards, we all stopped to get lunch at a little fresh seafood shop, and as we were sitting around the table eating crabcakes, JT and Sky said to me, “So, we’ve been really wanting to ask you a question, and we feel that this is a perfect moment to do so. Would you please marry us?” For a moment I had no clue what they were saying. Then I remembered – in America, people like you and me can be ordained to officiate the marriage of others. I still couldn’t believe what they were asking, though! “Me? You want me to marry you? What an incredible thing!” I found myself tearing up. 

JT and Sky wanted a non-denominational, non-religious ceremony, blessed by the love of their friends and family. This is why they wanted to be married by a friend, a friend who knows and understands them both. They also said it was important for the person to have the ability to grasp the concept of a deep spirituality and noble life without the dogma of religion, be expressive and articulate, and a good human being. I was overwhelmed that they were bestowing this honor on me. And what’s most incredible, JT told us how it all happened – they had been wondering whom to choose, and he had suddenly realized that he’d like it to be me. He decided he would broach the subject with Sky over the upcoming weekend, but before he said a word, the next day, Sky told him she knew who she wanted to marry them: she said my name!

So in July 2009, I will be marrying one of my best friends and his fiancee. Never could I have imagined that I would have such a rare opportunity in life. Sky says I get to choose the ceremony – the words, the flavor, the length and the cadence – they are happy to have me design it all. It is not only a huge honor, but also a tremendous responsibility. It makes me think about the essence of real relationships, their purpose of common spirit-ual growth, and that how the union of two people can happen in so many different and beautiful ways. I am impressed that JT and Sky have the foresight, thoughtfulness and confidence to step outside the norm.

I am both excited and very nervous – I hope to do my best to give my friends the most meaningful experience to commemorate their union.

Last 5 posts by Shahana Dattagupta


  1. Indrani

    Hi Tana
    Your post was very moving. You are very fortunate to have such dear friends in your life. All the best for the preparation.

  2. Anonymous

    I must say that your posts make me want to visit Seattle – I like the details like fresh seafood store. You never mention the rain which is new or the coffee! Congrats on having friends who trust you so.

  3. Khushi

    Wow what an honor. I did not know this could be done – but its a great idea. I like the title will you marry us .

  4. Tana

    Thank you for your comments! Anonymous, the rain and the coffee have probably become so much part and parcel of the Seattle experience that I forget to mention them separately! 🙂

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