Bear and Katiyana met one another in the desert at Burning Man on Kati’s birthday, and for Bear it was an instantaneous recognition of that which had been missing, the other half of his soul.
Bear + Kati spent years traveling the world (40+ countries and counting) together and fusing their respective professional lives to form a shared body of work that is…making the world a better place by re-imaging and building community.
This work and their commitment to serving the world and one another is alive and is palpable in both their presence and absence!
Their “official” marriage commenced in September of 2015 where it all began, Burning Man. At a sunrise ceremony surrounded by family that crowned an evening long celebration co-created in ritual, performance, song, dance and fire by their community members.
On May 14th, 2016 Bear + Kati celebrated their community with a one of a kind wedding weekend which drew on many ancient traditions and rituals.
Like the couple themselves, every aspect of this wedding was uniquely and thoughtfully crafted, and imbued with a particular depth of meaning that left a permanent imprint on the hearts of those in attendance. From the wooden amulets each guest received (designed and created by the best man to symbolize Bear + Kati’s union as well as the coming together of complementary forces: masculine and feminine), to the laser cut wooden candle boxes bearing the same unifying symbols as the amulets.
Guests began arriving on Friday to participate in the creation of the sacred ceremonial space. They literally helped build the wedding from ground up, and many of them camped in tents on the property the entire weekend.
On Saturday as guests entered the communal property where the Bride grew up they were treated to a smudging ceremony, which is custom in Native American traditions to purify the spirit by washing the body in a cleansing smoke bath of burning sage or other sacred herbs.
Before the ceremony began, women and men gathered separately with the bride and groom respectively, for ceremonial offerings of wisdom and love to the couple. The women gathered in the community medicine wheel, the same wheel Kati entered to pray for a partner when she was younger, to encircle the bride and shower her with blessings and insights for a happy marriage. The men similarly gathered near the altar in tribal fashion to roar at the top of their lungs with the groom in celebration of his bliss, and to also share their insights for a wonderful marriage.
The wedding, which was held on the bride’s childhood community property in Sebastopol, CA, was a celebration that was decidedly community and ritual centric. Every moment, including the main ceremony, was a platform for deep engagement and connection!
Bear and Katiyana exchanged vows under a beautiful chuppah that was adorned with delicate Indian silks, flowers and Buddha statuettes, honoring both Bear’s Jewish lineage and the couples inclusive world view. At the end of the aisle just before the chuppah, stood the beautiful maypole that had been spun with bright colored ribbons just days earlier in the community’s annual May Day celebration.
Following the ceremony was a beautiful dinner catered by one of couple’s close friends, as 15 of the bride and groom’s friends and guests took turns providing musical entertainment.
The party lasted well into the wee hours of Sunday morning and featured the groom even serenading his wife and the party with a song he had written for her, and later that evening the bride gave a performance spinning poi that had been lit on fire.
To experience Bear + Kati’s magical wedding check out their wedding video here: Till The End of Time
The bride and groom’s ceremonial robes were custom made in India, while their white reception wardrobe was styled by friends. Food was catered by Rebecca Jean Catering and Events (FB: /rebeccajeancatering, Twitter: @RebeccaJeanSF) Flowers by Carol Camacho. Photography by: Dawn Heumann Photography(FB/dawnheumannphotography, INSTA: @dawnheumann) Photography also by: Warwick Saint. Wedding Video by: Empact Labs (FB: /empactlabs)”