Our ceremony, word for word
- Last updated on September 11, 2011 at 12:43 am
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To the gathered Assembly and the couple the priest says:
In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Priest: Who supports this woman in her marriage?
R: I do!
Good evening. It is truly a blessing from heaven for two people to find one another and to love so deeply. We gather here today to witness and celebrate an act of deep love. Lauren and Dan, in their devotion, respect, and love for each other wish to unite in the holy bond of marriage, and to dedicate themselves to each other’s happiness and wellbeing as life mates and partners. On behalf of them, I welcome you all.
And Although this is their day, it is also a tribute to all of you. For knowing you and interacting with you has helped to make our Bride and Groom who they needed to be to find each other. They would like to thank you all for that. All of you are the threads of which are woven the tapestry of their lives. Each one of you is an important piece in the story it tells. It is the fabric that they wrap around themselves and take comfort in when the world seems cold. And on days like today when everything is right in their world, that tapestry is proudly spread out and displayed for everyone to see, with all the glorious colors and textures that your diversity adds. You all hold a place in their hearts reserved for those that they have chosen to call 'Family' and “Friends” and they are deeply grateful for each and every one of you here today
Marriage is a gift from God, a miracle. A true spiritual marriage is an act of metamorphosis, a profound mystery of creation and rebirth, as two become one. After speaking to you both, it is obvious that you already know some of the great blessings marriage has to offer. It is an opportunity to feel the joy of taking care of someone who takes care of you, to be challenged towards growth yet gently nurtured, to love deeply and receive it in return. It is about trust, friendship and having a partner to share all life has to offer. It is a commitment to participate in a process of mutual evolution, understanding and forgiveness. It is indeed a sacred union to be treated with reverence.
Marriage is not a place to hide from the world. It is a safe place to grow and become wiser. It is a place to evolve into better people; so that you can go out in the world and make a difference by spreading the joy and wisdom that you have found with each other. Together in this marriage, you shall contribute more fully, for you both shall be more full.
Lauren, Dan is a gift to you from God, but he is not a gift for you alone. It is God’s will that in your love, this man might find within himself a greater sense of who he is meant to be. You are asked to see the good in this man, to accept him for who he is and who he shall be. In this way, God’s purpose shall be accomplished in this relationship. May this man find the kingdom of heaven through the love you share.
And so it is with you also Dan, that although Lauren is God’s gift to you, she is not a gift intended for you alone. You are asked by God to so love this woman, that in your love she might find herself as God has created her, so beautiful and strong and brave and true, that the entire world might be blessed by the presence of a woman who shines so. May she relax in your arms as she has never relaxed before. May she know, from now on, that there is one on whose love she can depend on forever.
In such a marriage, the wedding ceremony is the gateway into this mystery. But remember that no ceremony can create your marriage. Only you can do that through love, patience, and dedication; through helping and supporting and believing in one other; through learning to forgive and appreciating your differences; by making the important things matter and to letting go of all the rest. What this ceremony can do is to witness and affirm the choice you have made to begin a new life today as husband and wife.
And so now you stand before this loving community of family and friends, ready to acknowledge to God and to the world: this is my beloved, the one with whom I choose to create the rest of my life.
Reading: An Excerpt from Plato's Symposium
The Parental Honoring and Silent Blessing:
Lauren and Dan wish acknowledge their parents on this occasion. They offer their profound gratitude for all the love and care they had shown in raising them. The unconditional gifts of love and support that you have continually offered have inspired them to become who they are today, and they thank you, from the bottom of their hearts, for guiding them to this celebration of love here today. Without you, this day would not be possible.
Lauren and Dan also wish to remember those absent from us this day. Though they are absent physically, we invoke, through our thought and prayers, their loving presence. We pray that God might multiply beyond measure the blessings from these loved ones to this loving couple, and any children who might one day be a part of this union. Now, from our hearts, we ourselves visualize and sanctify all the blessings we would bestow on Lauren and Dan in their lives as a couple and a family. And in our sincere desire to bless, we in turn, are blessed also.
Priest: Blessed Be.
The Hands Ceremony
These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow, and forever.
These are the hands that will work along side yours as together you build your future.
These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch will comfort you like no other.
These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief temporarily comes your way.
These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes, tears of sorrow and tears of joy.
These are the hands that will tenderly hold your children.
These are the hands that will give you support and encouragement to chase down your dreams.
These are the hands that will hold you tight as you struggle through difficult times.
These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it.
These are the hands that will lift your chin and brush your cheek as they raise your face to look into eyes that are filled with overwhelming love for you.
And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.
Together as a team, everything you wish for can be realized. God, bless these hands that you see before you this day. May they always be held by one another.
The couple has decided to say their own vows,
The Ring Ceremony:
And so we come, Lauren and Dan, to the blessing and presentation of rings by which you will symbolize and bind your love.
The circle has long been a symbol of spirit and the power of God. Without beginning or end, and with no point of weakness, the circle is a reminder of the eternal quality of God and of unending strength. Let the seamless circle of these rings become the symbol of your endless love and unending faithfulness.
Your wedding rings are most special because they say that even in your uniqueness you have chosen to be bonded, to allow the presence of another human being to enhance who you are. Your rings carry a potent double message: We are individuals and yet we belong; we are not alone. As you wear them through time, they will reflect, not only who you are, but also the union you are making; the fact that throughout the rest of your lives each of you will be imprinted by the other, yet as yourself remains.
Rings are handed to the priest and he continues,
God, the Father, bless these rings X X X and the two who exchange them. Fill them with your Holy Presence. Keep them safe in the circle of Your protection and love.
The ring is handed to the bride,
Lauren, place this ring on Dan’s finger and repeat after me:
Dan, with this ring, I pledge my love and faithfulness to you, today, tomorrow and always.
The ring is handed to the bridegroom,
Dan, place the ring on Lauren’s finger and repeat after me:
Lauren, with this ring, I pledge my love and faithfulness to you, today, tomorrow and always.
Wear these rings as the enclosing bond of reverence and trust, and fulfill the circle of love that now makes you one.
Reading: Pablo Neruda's "Sonnet XVII"
To the assembly and the couple,
Lauren and Dan, in the presence of God, your family and friends today, you have spoken the words and performed the rites which unite your lives. It is my greatest joy and privilege as a priest in Christ’s one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church and my legal right as a minister authorized to do by this commonwealth to declare you husband and wife.
Dan, you may now kiss your bride.
To the Assembly and the couple:
Lauren and Dan, the two of you are now joined in one unbroken circle. Wherever you go, may you always return to one another in your togetherness. May you two find in each other the love for which all men and women long. May you grow in understanding and in compassion. May the home that you establish be such a place of sanctuary that all who visit will find there a friend.
Bow your head and pray for God’s Blessing:
And now, Lauren and Dan, may the Lord God bless you and keep you forevermore, May God be with you and bless you, May you see your children’s children, May you be poor in misfortune, Rich in blessings, May you know nothing but happiness;
May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon the fields.
May the light of friendship guide your paths together.
May the laughter of children grace the halls of your home.
May the joy of living for one another trip a smile from your lips, a twinkle from your eye.
And when eternity beckons,
at the end of a life heaped high with love,
May the good Lord embrace you
with the arms that have nurtured you
the whole length of your joy-filled days.
The priest says to the assembly,
Well, this is the end, or more truthfully, the beginning! And so, Ladies and Gentleman, it is my highest honor and privilege, to present to all of you, for the very first time publicly as husband and wife, Lauren and Dan!