Kristin flipped first; soon it was mutual


Welcome friends, families, and honored guests. We are here to celebrate love. Love organizes our large and sometimes unpredictable world. Because despite all of our differences, love is one thing we all share. It’s the great unifier — our one universal truth. That no matter who we are, where we’ve come from, what we believe, we know this one thing: The greatest gift bestowed upon humans is the gift of love freely given between two persons.

All of us here today have our own love stories. Some are short, others long. Some are yet unwritten, while others are just getting to the good part. There are chapters in all of our stories that are sad or disappointing — and others that are exciting and full of adventure.

Varun and Kristin’s love story began one spring evening on the banks of Koshkonong Creek. When Kristin flipped her kayak, Varun was there to help pick her up. Little did they know this would be the first of many times when one would be there for the other. Since then their romance has been fueled by coffee, Thai food and outdoor adventures.

Now here we are a little over a year later to celebrate the commitment they have made to each other. This is a time to pause, look back and smile at all the moments that brought them here. And a time to look ahead at all the moments that are still to come.

I’m here — we’re all here — because we want those moments for you. We’re here to hope with you, to support you, to be proud of you and to remind you that love isn’t happily ever after, love is the experience of writing your story. It’s not one moment, not even this moment. It’s every moment. Big ones like saying “I love you,” moving in together, getting engaged, but mostly a million little ones that come in between the big moments. Falling asleep next to one another, making dinner together, spending holidays with your families, gardening together, getting a big hug when you get home from work.

These everyday moments fuse together into one big experience. And even though this experience is so incredible, words fail us when we try and explain it. That’s just the way it is with love — it’s meant to be felt, not described.

But trying to describe love is one of our favorite pastimes. So today, we have some words about what love is, coming from one of the people who loves you the most.


Kristin, will you have Varun to be your wedded husband, to share you life with him, and do you pledge that you will love, honor, and care for him in tenderness and affection through all the varying experiences of your lives?

Kristin: I will.

Varun, will you have Kristin to be your wedded wife, to share you life with her, and do you pledge that you will love, honor, and care for her in tenderness and affection through all the varying experiences of your lives?

Varun: I will.


Kristin and Varun [separately, to each other]: “You are my one true love. I pledge my love to you and take you to be my [husband/wife]. I promise to love you through the good and the bad, the joy and the sorrow. I will be honest and faithful, and will make you coffee in the mornings. I promise to be patient and kind, and always respect you for who you are. I will support your choices and encourage you in pursuing your dreams. You will always be my best friend.”


Now that Kristin and Varun have publicly pledged their love to each other before this community of witnesses, I now pronounce, by the authority invested in me and in me and in accordance with the laws of the state of Wisconsin, that they are husband and wife. Varun and Kristin, you may now kiss each other.


As a blessing for Varun and Kristin, I want to close with these lines from an Apache Indian ceremony:

Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be shelter for the other.
Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth to the other.
Now there is no more loneliness.
Now you are two persons, but there is only one life before you.
Go now to your dwelling to enter into the days of your life together.
And may your days be good, and long upon the earth.


I now have the pleasure of introducing to you for the first time, as a married couple, Kristin Haider and Varun Ramesh.

This ceremony was composed by the couple, with contributions from Dan Barker.

Kristin and Varun are living in Madison. A Minnesota native, she works in the USDA Agricultural Research Service plant breeding and genetics lab on the UW campus as a biological science technician. She studied ecology at Penn State University and received her M.S. degree in 2014.

Varun is working on a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at UW-Madison. He’s originally from Hyderabad, India, where his parents, Ramesh Sampath and Jayasri Ramesh, and his sister, Ayesha Ramesh, live. He moved to Wisconsin in 2011 and received his master’s in mechanical engineering in 2013.

Freedom From Religion Foundation