Keith Horstman, Denver Celebrant & Officiant
My View on Marriage and Partnership…
It has been said that getting married is the boldest and most idealistic experience that most of us will ever have. It is a leap of hope into the unknown future. We are choosing an exclusive partner with which to travel life’s paths, either for a little while or for the rest of our life. Our mode of living in the world radically changes. We separate from a life of single-hood and we transition into a world of intentional collaboration.
In doing so, we create a supportive structure with which to nurture children, family and friends, our professions and causes we hold dear. Two individual stories come together and another layer of story begins. This needs to be celebrated! As a Celebrant, I aim for ritual that empowers the couple to leap from “I Do” to “Yeehaw!”
I can affirm that marriage offers one of life’s most joyous opportunities for jubilation. My goal is to bring couples to the summit with their Rocky Mountain ceremony.
I have helped to create a ritual experience between a non-practicing Jew and non-practicing Lutheran who wanted to incorporate elements from their family’s religious tradition; from the Huppah to the readings to the Mozel Tov. Also memorable was a ceremony between a Hindu and a Catholic, complete with authentic festive Indian wedding attire. I once presided at a wedding ceremony in a Denver backyard between Shinto/Buddhist (from Japan) and a Christian, and then on a Conifer mountain top with a song writer from Nashville who used his musical gifts to help create a beautiful secular ceremony. The common denominator in all these weddings was a desire to celebrate the couple’s love, and that is what matters most to me.
In addition to my background and experience, I have been certified by the Celebrant Foundation and Institute, a non-profit organization with the mission of educating and promoting expert ritual makers who celebrate and honor the couple and their personal journey.
Love is not a feeling. Love is an action, an activity. Love is the free exercise of choice. Love is always wanting what is best for the other person.
– M. Scott Peck
Perhaps you now find yourself on a path to choosing an officiant. To help in your discernment, let me share a bit of background – some particulars that might help you to determine if I might be a good fit in working with you to create a personal and unique ceremony. Scott Peck, with his book The Road Less Traveled, was an early influence in my life. I found a richness of personal growth when embarking on life’s unbeaten path. As a post-college young-adult who grew up Catholic, my first inclination at finding fulfillment involved becoming a priest, as a way to be of service to others.
I attended a multi-cultural seminary for six years, obtained a Masters of Divinity degree and was ordained in 1995. After living the celibate (vow not to marry) lifestyle for four more years, my mind, body and soul revolted. I wanted a partner, I wanted to be married. I found myself at the end of a ten year rumination period in which all of my learned theology, scriptural studies, cultural adventures, pastoral care and parish experience had congealed to open a new door. Not only did I want a family, but I was eager to work with people in creating personal and meaningful ceremonies on their own terms and away from the confines of any religious institution.
As I was in the process of transitioning, I was offered an opportunity to travel to the Philippines for a Jimmy Carter, Habitat For Humanity Work Week. Ten-thousand volunteers gathered from around the world to build 300 houses. While at breakfast the first day of our trip, and among hundreds of volunteers, a young woman asked if the last seat at my table was available. I thought, “Goddess, not only is that seat available….” My mission for the week was now nuanced! I had one fleeting opportunity to hook and reel in this beauty to see if we had a future together.
Nine months after first meeting, we were engaged. Not wanting to begin our married life under clouds (the midwest), we moved to Denver. My wife works in the non-profit sector as a development director and I carry the torch [full-time] for incredible wedding ceremonies. Aleah and I have two blooming kids, we live at 8,100 feet where the ground is white from Halloween to Mother’s Day, and the sun shines 300 days a year. We found our path in the Rockies!
If What I Shared Resonates With You, Let’s Meet!
Many of us have unfortunately experienced wedding ceremony as a mundane ritual that seems to follow the same old beaten path. My life’s work is to take your ceremony down the road less traveled; a way of ceremony that is unique, personalized and magical for you. When you look back on your wedding, my greatest desire is that your mind immediately remembers the richness of the ceremony as the heart and soul of your wedding. If my approach to this work is appealing and exciting to you, I would love to chat! Please email or call me at 303.717.5600. I also have a simple form that will generate a prompt reply from me!