Once Upon a When

...your wedding...YOUR way!!

Words...

So maybe you've got everything under control, and just need some ideas about HOW to get started.  I was like that with my wedding, too!  I had a very definite idea that our wedding (which happened to fall on April Fools Day) needed to express everything about ME.  Friends that knew me best also knew that I shunned marriage as an outdated, over-rated institution....and I was not ready to be institutionalized!

In my little bloggy-blog section, I'll share some tips & tricks & tools I've found to help make the writing process flow a little smoother.

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Planning Your Encore Wedding

Posted on March 6, 2015 at 8:25 AM Comments comments (4)

One of my (soon-to-be) favorite couples sat down with me at a cafe at our first meeting.  They had a pretty good idea of what they DID NOT WANT at their wedding, which definitely narrowed down the list of What They Could Want.  Her priceless quote to me was, "This is not my first rodeo!"  To which her Fiance dead-panned, "And I'm not her first rodeo clown!"  There seemed to be a lot of concern about what was "appropriate" and expected at this, their Encore Wedding.

Getting remarried? Congratulations! This time around, anything goes. If your last wedding was in city hall, have the grand gala of your dreams.  Let your inner Cinderella do her thing!  Was your last wedding the grand gala of your dreams?  Maybe this time focus on making it an intimate affair to remember.  Not everyone gets a second (or 3rd....) chance at Love.  Celebrate that!  Prefer an intimate party with friends and family? That's okay, too. Children are often a common addition to second (or third or fourth) weddings, making this a true family affair! Planning a wedding can be even more fun the second (or third) time around. Here's what encore couples need to know:


1. ANNOUNCING YOUR ENGAGEMENT

 

The very first people you should tell about the upcoming wedding are the children either of you have from previous marriages. This is very important: Even if your children adore your fiance, they can feel very alienated if they don't hear about it first. Your kids are going to have a brand-new stepparent -- no one should know that before they do.

2. WHAT to WEAR

 

Brides: Be yourself. Let your personality shine through. You probably wore traditional garb when you married someone else -- this time wear what you like! This also means that if you always wanted to wear the big white dress, but for some reason didn't, do it now! You may want to skip the veil as the veil is generally a first-time-bride tradition. Instead, try a glimmering tiara, or fresh flowers in your hair. Choose your attendants' attire with the same philosophy.

 

Grooms: Same goes for you. Wear whatever you feel comfortable in -- a zoot suit, a morning suit, a white tie, a seersucker suit, or tails.

3. CHILDREN

 

Involve your children in the ceremony -- after all, your fiance will be part of their family, too. Let them be ushers, bridesmaids, flower girls, ring bearers, best men, pages, or organizers. That said, don't just assume that they want to be involved. Always ask. If a child expresses reluctance, don't push. Reassure your children that their presence will be appreciated regardless of their roles on the big day. As a nice gesture, seat them at your table during the reception.

4. CASUAL OR FORMAL?

 

Have the wedding of your dreams. Not formal enough the first time? Go all out on this one. Too stuffy the first time? Have a backyard barbecue complete with limbo contest. Consider a soiree that creatively combines tradition with your own personal flair. There's only one rule: Have fun!

5. REGISTRY

 

Many encore brides who are independently settled or already live with their Fiance decide to skip the registry. Instead, they arrange for guests to make donations to a favorite charity in lieu of wedding gifts. If you forgot things you really wanted (pickle dish, carving board, corkscrew) the first time you registered, remedy the error now. You may want to avoid silver, china, and crystal, since these items are associated with first marriages.  One of the most AWESOME ideas I've seen was a recent couple that had a Honeymoon Registry.  In place of gifts, guests had the opportunity to contribute to the Honeymoon memories!  You can read more about that here: Buy Our Honeymoon.

6. SHOWERS

 

As you probably have most necessary household items, go for interesting theme showers:

 

Self-improvement: Ballroom dancing, scuba diving, a spa weekend.

 

Wine Cellar: Wineglasses, corkscrew, wine rack, membership to a wine-of-the-month club, wine-tasting classes.

 

Great Outdoors: Gardening tools, skis, hiking/camping equipment, binoculars, rock-cpmbing lessons, a gas grill.

7. INVITATIONS

 

If you're planning a formal or elegant wedding, engraved invitations are perfectly acceptable. For an informal wedding, explore different ideas: Create invitations on your computer, or print them on Japanese rice paper. For a casual affair, write invitations on balloons (recipients will have to blow them up to read the message.) I saw a great Wine Label created for the couple's favorite wine that they gave to guests invited for a dinner!  Don't know how to word your invites? Here are a couple of ideas:

 

For couples hosting the wedding themselves, this is a common wording:

 

Ms. Jane Doe

 

and

 

Mr. John Smith

 

request the honor of your presence at their wedding.

 

Include your children for a thoughtful touch. For example:

 

Ms. Jane Doe

 

with her daughter Rachel Allison Doe

 

and her son Brandon William Doe

 

and

 

Mr. Joseph Jones

 

with his son Michael Jones

 

request the pleasure of your company

 

at the union of their families.

8. MONEY MATTERS

 

Generally, you two should share expenses. Discuss the type of affair each of you would pke, and try to accommodate each other's needs and wants. Draw up a budget and stick firmly to it. If relatives want to contribute, feel free to accept -- and be sure to send a thank-you note and gift.

9. FLOWERS, PHOTOGRAPHY, MUSIC, AND MORE

 

Go ahead and get the most beautiful bouquet, the best photographer, and a fabulous DJ or band. For a more casual affair, make a camera-happy relative your honorary photographer. Have your own video camera? Enlist a few friends to take turns capturing the moment. These goodies depend on your budget and your wedding's formality.

10. REHEARSAL DINNER

 

A remarrying couple may certainly have a rehearsal dinner, even if the next day's ceremony is informal and doesn't require rehearsal. Traditionally, the groom's parents would host the dinner; in this case, the groom may want to host it himself. You should invite the wedding party and their spouses, your parents, and your children -- provided they can stay up late. Beyond that, the number of attendees is up to you.

11. HONEYMOON

 

Including your children in your wedding planning can be a rewarding experience, but you should honeymoon alone and bask in wedded bpss. If you have very young children, vacation by yourselves for a few days, then take the children with you for a few more. If your children are old enough to stay home alone, go for that island adventure or European hopday and experience joie de vivre!

 

Remember this: You might have been married before, but not to each other. Treat your big day as a unique, special occasion. It is a first for the two of you together. Happy planning!

But I Don't Want My Momma's Ceremony!

Posted on March 2, 2015 at 3:50 PM Comments comments (0)

When I first sit down to meet with a couple, I bring this outline, talk it out, and explain the significance and meaning behind the various elements and traditions, answer lots of questions, and ask some of my own. From the basic outline, we dive into the whole world of wedding ceremonies…but having that nice firm framework of the ceremony structure really helps to prepare and better understand what the couple really wants to express.

As I like to say, we can add anything in, we can take anything out. Copy/Paste is a marvelous invention, really. But I do find that sticking with this basic structure helps your guests "follow along" a little more easily during the ceremony, and not get lost in a non-traditional setting. But, other than that, the ceremony is up to you. Take what you need, leave the rest out, this is YOUR CEREMONY, after all.

The elements (sections, phases, stages etc.) of a wedding ceremony are ordered based on ritual theory. Basically, a wedding is a Rite of Passage, an event that marks a person's transition from one life status (single) to another (married).

Rites of passages have three stages: separation, transition, and incorporation. We can see these stages reflected as we approach the life event (for example, your engagement period is one of transition, and your wedding celebration is a moment of incorporation), but can also look at what each element in the ceremony represents, and use the corresponding stage to help us order the ceremony.

Family members can get concerned when you say things like, "We're going to have zombies in our wedding vows!" Well, if that’s what you both are into and Walking Dead is the time you always make to spend together – DO IT! I always try to tell my off-the-path couples that there really are no “right or wrong” words. It’s what bonds you together that matters. If your mother hates it, well, she’s not the one getting married, is she?

For Example: The processional can be seen as separation — moving away from one point of life into another. The vows are transitional — standing upon the threshold. And the declaration of marriage is incorporation — taking the new status into the everyday.

By looking at each element, and deciding which stage of the rite of passage it represents, we can easily order the events within the ceremony itself.

OK, enough ritual theory for now. Let's get to the outline!

Welcoming of the guests

The officiant enters, usually as the first person in the processional, or sneaks in from the side. This is a nice point for the officiant to introduce themselves, as well as make any announcements (Turn off cell phones?)

Processional

The entrance of the wedding party — which is a whole other post!

Gathering Words

• Presentation of the couple

• Family ritual

• Thanking of family and friends

• Remembrances

In my intro, I welcome the couple to their wedding celebration, and like to add a few words of thanks to the person who escorted the bride or groom down the aisle — a twist on the traditional "giving away." Using the couple's own words and information, I do a special thanks for the family and friends who have joined us. This helps to create an intimate air, right from the beginning.

Any special rituals or traditions that honor family would go here, such as a flower presentation for parents. If the guests are being asked to do anything during the ceremony, such as with a ring warming or a wishing stone ritual, this is also the place to introduce it, and get it started.

If the couple would like to include any remembrances, this is a good place to include them. A brief moment of silence, lighting of a memorial candle, a wine toast, or just a mention of those that are no longer with us are all lovely ways to acknowledge lost loved ones. I find at this point in the ceremony, it doesn't bring down the tone very much.

Marriage address

When I officiate a wedding, I call this section "The Love Story." I write an original narrative for my couples that talks about who they are — how they met, how they fell in love, and all of the lovely adventures that brought them to their wedding day. I end with what they love about each other, and their hopes and dreams for the future. It's funny, touching, personal, and very different with every wedding.

This is a great place to include a reading, too, to have as the "center" of your ceremony. It works especially well if you can find a piece that really speaks to you and your partner. Adding some personal comments, about what the piece means to you, is a nice way to really personalize it, without having to write a lot. You could also sit down with your partner, and think about what marriage and your relationship means to you, and have your officiant share that as your marriage address.

In a more traditional ceremony, this is where the sermon or homily would go.

The Declaration of intent

This is the "I Do!" part of a wedding. The couple faces one another, takes hands, and answers some very important questions about marriage. If you are planning on writing your own vows, it is nice to include more traditional vows here, or you can even write your own "I Do's!"

Wine ceremony or other unity ritual.

The unity rituals that represent the life that the couple will share together go here — thoroughly in transition, not yet incorporation (remember our mini-ritual theory lesson?). Wine ceremonies, presentation of gifts or flower to each other, tree plantings — there are the rituals that go at this point.

Vows

Either read by the couple to each other, or done "repeat after me" style with the officiant.

Ring vows

Short ring vows are usually done "repeat after me" as the couple places the rings on each other's fingers.

Note: Vows can be combined! Do you not want to talk? Just do "I Do's!" Really want the personal vows, but no repeat after me? Exchange your rings after the personal vows. This is your ceremony, and you can do whatever you want with it.

Unity ritual

Any unity ritual that symbolizes the couple joining their lives together goes here, towards the end. Unity candles, sand ceremonies, signing of a marriage license, to name a few.

Closing remarks

A final blessing or benediction could go here as well. I like to bring back important elements or themes from the rest of the ceremony, or end with a short poem or piece of advice for the couple.

If you have bubbles or rose petals or something you want guests to shower you with or do as you walk out, this is also a good place to have your officiant make a little announcement about it.

Declaration of marriage

The couple is pronounced MARRIED and then they kiss!

Post-declaration ritual

There are a few rituals that take place just after the marriage is made official — the breaking of the glass and the jumping of the broom. For ease of use, I recommend including the explanation for these rituals in the closing remarks.

Recessional

It's time to to have that party you spent so much effort planning!

 

10 Steps for How to Write Wedding Vows

Posted on February 28, 2015 at 2:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Step 1. Read dozens of vow examples for inspiration.

Start by reading some traditional, by-the-book vows honoring your own religion, if you practice a certain faith, and others, as well to see what speaks to you. You can incorporate these into the original words you write, or just use them as a jumping-off point for your personalized vows. Once you've found a few you love, consider what it is about the style that draws you to those vows in particular.

Step 2. Agree on format and tone with your fiance.

Decide how you want your vows to come across. Will they be humorous? Poetic and romantic? Go over the logistics too. Will you write them separately or together? Will they be completely different or will you make the same promises to each other, as you would with traditional vows? Some couples do a little of each. Finally, will you share them with each other or keep them a secret until the wedding day?

Step 3. Jot down notes about your relationship.

Take some time to reflect on your fiancé. Think about how you felt when you first met, what made you fall in love and when you knew you wanted to get married. Write it all out. Here are some questions to get you started:

Why did you decide to get married?

What hard times have you gone through together?

What have you supported each other through?

What challenges do you envision in your future?

What do you want to accomplish together?

What makes your relationship tick?

What did you think when you first saw your fiance?

When did you realize you were in love?

What do you most respect about your partner?

How has your life gotten better since meeting your mate?

What about them inspires you?

What do you miss most about them when you're apart?

What qualities do you most admire in each other?

Step 4. Come up with one or two, or many, promises.

They're called vows for a reason, so the promises are the most important part! A tip: "Include promises that are broad in scope, such as 'I promise to always support you,' as well as very specific to the two of you, like 'I promise to say "I love you" every night before bed,'" says wedding celebrant Christopher Shelley.

Step 5. Write it all out.

Now that you have notes, it's time to establish a structure and write your first draft. Speechwriting expert Robert Lehrman suggests a four-part outline: Affirm your love, praise your partner, offer promises and close with a final vow. Another way to organize it is to start with a short story and then come back to it at the end.

Step 6. Banish clichés.

Now that you have your first draft, it's time to make edits. Borrow from poetry, books, religious and spiritual texts, even from romantic movies, but don't let someone else's words overpower your own. You want your vows to sound like you and relate to your relationship, and that won't happen if every word is borrowed from other sources. And if you find yourself relying on cliché phrases (you know, those sayings that have been used over and over so many times they no longer sound genuine) to get your point across, Shelley suggests coming up with a specific example from your relationship that has a similar message. For example, instead of saying, "Love is blind," you might say, "I think you're just as beautiful today as you are in a T-shirt and jeans."

Step 7. Take out anything too cryptic or embarrassing.

You've invited your family and friends to witness your vows in order to make your bond public, so be sure everyone feels included in the moment. That means putting a limit on inside jokes, deeply personal anecdotes and obscure nicknames or code words. Wedding celebrant and author Maureen Pollinger suggests, "Think about how your vows will sound to you 10 years from now." Have a friend or family member read it over ahead of time for feedback, if you're okay with sharing your vows beforehand.

Step 8. Shorten your vows to one to two minutes, max.

Your vows are important, but that doesn't mean they should drag on. "When someone says something in a very meaningful way, you don't have to say it over and over," Pollinger says. Pick the most important points and make them. If yours are running longer than two minutes, do an edit. Put some of the more personal thoughts in a letter or gift to your fiance on the morning of your wedding and save any guest-related topics for your toasts.

Step 9. Practice out loud (seriously!).

It might sound weird, but this really is the best way to prep. "When you practice, don't just do the same thing over and over. Listen each time – then do it better," Lehrman says. Your vows should be easy to say and sound conversational. As you recite them, listen for any tongue twisters and super-long sentences, then cut them. This is also the time to practice the delivery. "Stand straight, look at your spouse and use your hands expressively – but only use small gestures," Lehrman says.

Step 10. Make a clean copy for yourself.

The paper you read from should be legible, so even if you're working on it right up until a few moments before your ceremony, use a fresh piece of paper free of cross-outs, arrows and notes. And give some thought to the presentation too, because "it will end up in the photos," says Annie Lee, wedding planner and founder of Daughter of Design. "I suggest a nice note card that matches the wedding colors or a little notebook or pad. You can handwrite it or cut and paste the computer print to fit within that." And it also makes nice keepsake hang in your home later on. Have a backup plan too. Pollinger points out that some couples find themselves too emotional to speak (it happens!), so have your officiant either prompt you by quietly saying the vows first or read the vows on your behalf.

 

 

Is Jesus Invited to Your Wedding?

Posted on Comments comments (0)

Choosing a Non Denominational or Secular Wedding Ceremony

 

It’s come up a few times in recent weeks that couples ask me to write them non-denominational ceremonies when what they really want is a secular ceremony.

 

It can be confusing, since some folks use the terms interchangeably. But there is a difference.

 

Non-denominational has religious overtones that are not specific. It is generally referenced to Judeo Christian traditions, but not necessarily. Some religions are non-denominational without any Christian connections. Non-denominational acknowledges that there may be a supreme being and honors its presence in a general way. Frequently the deity is referred to as ‘God.’ Other congregations call themselves non-denominational and are Christian in nature. So general reference to Christ and God is what they have in common with other Christian sects.

 

Secular on the other hand is more a civil ceremony, but not necessarily lacking in spirituality. Secular ceremonies do not make reference to God or any religion, but the choice of words can elevate the benign to the sublime.

 

Most of my couples opt for secular ceremonies once they realize the difference. Even couples who opt for the briefest of ceremonies, opt for a high level of personalization with references to an event or shared truths that bind them together in a more than superficial way. In fact, my most spiritual ceremonies tend to be technically secular in nature.

 

Non-denominational has more obvious religious references but is not necessarily more spiritual.

 

When couples are Christian but not of the same denomination they might ask for a non-denominational component in their vows, readings, or add a blessing. Sometimes when couples are of different faiths they will also opt for a non-denominational ceremony in order to acknowledge their shared belief in God. Sometimes couples who themselves are not religious, will ask for non-denominational components in an effort to appease more religious family members. And then there are couples are very devout in their faiths, but cannot be married in their own church due to a prior divorce. They remain devoted to their faiths despite their inability to be married in their own church and often request non-denominational elements that reflect their religious views.

This is a sample of what a secular ceremony looks like.  Maybe its right for you, and maybe it isn't your cup of tea, but it should answer some questions!

Opening Words

 

Welcome friends, families, and honored guests. We are here to celebrate love. Love organizes our large and sometimes unpredictable world. It is that which enshrines and ennobles our human experience. It is the basis for the peace of family, and the peace of the peoples of the earth. The greatest gift bestowed upon humans is the gift of love freely given between two persons.

 

Officiant’s Welcome

 

All of you are present today because you, in one way or another, have been part of Holly’s or Dennis’s life. On behalf of the bride and groom, a hearty welcome to all. Today we witness a marriage that began with a math book. Dennis asked Holly if he could borrow this book I am holding in my hands. Holly suggested that they meet and complete their math homework together. And from that beginning in a math classroom, their love has grown exponentially and reached toward the infinite. Innumerable factors have joined them together, adding to both of their lives to create something greater than that which existed before. And now, today Dennis and Holly become a set that is natural, sometimes complex, and occasionally irrational, but always real.

 

Officiant’s Address

 

In marriage, two people turn to each other in search of a greater fulfillment than either can achieve alone. Marriage is a bold step, taken together, into an unknown future. It is risking who we are for the sake of who we can be. Only in giving of ourselves fully, and sharing our lives with another, can the mysterious process of growth take place. Only in loyalty and devotion bestowed upon another can that which is eternal in life emerge and be known. Two among us, who have stood apart, come together now, to declare their love and to be united in marriage.

 

The words we say today have no magic or prophetic powers. The power of the wedding vows is merely a reflection of a reality that already exists in the hearts and minds of these two people. Holly and Dennis, nothing I can say, or nothing you can say to each other, will ensure a long and happy, satisfying and committed marriage. Only your love for one another, and your integrity to make your commitment real, can do that. I humbly offer the words of author William A. Peterson in “The Art of Marriage,” who I believe has captured in words, the essence, of that commitment. I hope you will keep his words upon your heart, and refer to them again.

 

The little things are the big things.

It is never being too old to hold hands.

It is remembering to say, “I love you” at least once a day.

 

It is never going to sleep angry.

It is at no time taking the other for granted;

the courtship should not end with the honeymoon,

it should continue through all the years.

 

It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.

It is standing together facing the world.

It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.

It is doing things for each other

not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice,

but in the spirit of joy.

 

It is speaking words of appreciation

and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.

It is not expecting the husband to wear a halo

or the wife to have the wings of an angel.

It is not looking for perfection in each other.

 

It is cultivating flexibility, patience,

understanding, and a sense of humor.

It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.

It is giving each other an atmosphere

in which each can grow.

 

It is not only marrying the right partner,

it is BEING the right partner.

This is “The Art of Marriage”.

 

Reading #1

 

Marriage is a Promise of Love

by Edmund O’Neill

 

Marriage is a commitment to live — to the best that two people can find and bring out in each other. It offers opportunities for sharing and growth no other human relationship can equal, a physical and emotional joining that is promised for a lifetime.

 

Within the circle of its love, marriage encompasses all of life’s most important relationships. A wife and husband are each other’s best friend, confidant, lover, teacher, listener, and critic. There may come times when one partner is heartbroken or ailing, and the love of the other may resemble the tender caring of a parent for a child.

 

Marriage deepens and enriches every facet of life. Happiness is fuller; memories are fresher; commitment is stronger; even anger is felt more strongly, and passes away more quickly. Marriage understands and forgives the mistakes life is unable to avoid. It encourages and nurtures new life, new experiences, and new ways of expressing love through the seasons of life. When two people pledge to love and care for each other in marriage, they create a spirit unique to themselves, which binds them closer than any spoken or written words. Marriage is a promise, a potential, made in the hearts of two people who love, which takes a lifetime to fulfill.

 

Poem

 

At this time, Dennis and Holly have chosen to read a poem to each other. This is “Love” by Roy Croft.

 

Holly:

 

I love you,

Not only for what you are,

But for what I am

When I am with you.

 

Dennis:

 

I love you,

Not only for what

You have made of yourself,

But for what

You are making of me.

 

Holly:

 

I love you

For the part of me

That you bring out;

I love you

For putting your hand

Into my heaped up heart

And passing over

All the foolish, weak things

That you can’t help

Dimly seeing there,

And for drawing out

Into the light

All the beautiful belongings

That no one else had looked

Quite far enough to find.

 

Dennis:

 

I love you because you

Are helping me to make

Of the lumber of my life

Not a tavern

But a temple;

Out of the works

Of my every day

Not a reproach

But a song.

 

Holly:

 

I love you

Because you have done

More than any creed

Could have done

To make me good,

And more than any fate

To make me happy.

 

Dennis:

 

You have done it

Without a touch,

Without a word,

Without a sign.

You have done it

By being yourself.

 

Parent and Community Blessing

 

People have been united in marriage in all lands and all cultures. In marriages everywhere, two individuals leave the families that raised them, to begin a new family. At this time, we ask the parents of the Bride and Groom to stand to bless this marriage.

 

Do you, [Parents of the Bride and Groom] who have lovingly raised and nurtured these two individuals, offer your blessing for their marriage, promising to support them, understand them, and encourage them in their solemn endeavor, in the years ahead? If you agree, please say, “We do.” [Parents respond.]

 

And to the witnesses and honored guests here today, I ask the same question. Do you offer your blessing for their marriage, promising to support them, understand them, and encourage them in their solemn endeavor, in the years ahead? If you agree, please say, “We do.” [Audience responds]

 

Unity Candle

 

Now, Holly and Dennis will commemorate their marriage by lighting a Unity Candle. [Holly and Dennis walk over to candles.]

 

Light is the essence of our existence. Each one of us possesses an inner glow that represents our hopes, our dreams and our aspirations in life.

Holly and Dennis, the two distinct candle flames represent your lives before this day, individual, unique and special. Please take the candle symbolizing your life before today, and together light the center candle to symbolize the union of your individual lives. [Place the tapers back into their holders -- join hands and remain near the candles.] As this new flame burns undivided, so shall your lives now be one. From now on your plans will be mutual, your joys and sorrows both will be shared alike.

 

Although you are now entering into a marriage, you do not, however, lose your personal identity. Rather, you will use your special individuality to create and strengthen the relationship of marriage. Therefore, all three candles remain glowing. The individual candles represent all that makes each of you the wonderful and unique person the other admires and respects. The Unity candle in the center symbolizes the union of your lives, families, and friends, as well as your shining commitment to each other, and to a lasting and loving marriage. [Holly and Dennis return to positions in front of Ryan.]

 

Reading #2

 

Union

By Robert Fulghum

 

You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making promises and agreements in an informal way. All those conversations that were held riding in a car or over a meal or during long walks — all those sentences that began with “When we’re married” and continued with “I will and you will and we will” — those late night talks that included “someday” and “somehow” and “maybe” — and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding. The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, “You know all those things we’ve promised and hoped and dreamed — well I meant it all, every word.” Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another — acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, and even teacher, for you have learned much from one another in these last few years. Now you shall say a few words that take you across a threshold of life, and things will never quite be the same between you two. For after these vows, you shall say to the world, this — is my husband, this — is my wife.

 

Vows

 

[They each wrote their own vows secretly. Ironically enough their vows turned out to be very similar.]

 

Exchange of Rings

 

Do you Holly, accept this man, Dennis, as your husband — joining with him today in matrimony — offering your friendship and loving care — honoring his growth and freedom as well as your own — cherishing and respecting him, loving and embracing him in times of adversity and times of joy? If so, answer now, “I do.” (Holly responds, “I do.”)

 

Please repeat after me:

 

With this ring / I thee wed. / Take it as a sign / of my everlasting / and unconditional love / with all that I am / and all that I have / from this day forward / as your wife.

 

Do you Dennis, accept this woman, Holly, as your wife — joining with her today in matrimony — offering your friendship and loving care — honoring her growth and freedom as well as your own – cherishing and respecting her, loving and embracing her in times of adversity and times of joy? If so, answer now, “I do.” (Dennis responds, “I do.”)

 

Please repeat after me:

 

With this ring / I thee wed. / Take this as a sign / of my everlasting / and unconditional love / with all that I am / and all that I have / from this day forward / as your husband.

 

Love freely given has no giver and no receiver. You are each the giver and each the receiver. The wedding ring is a symbol, in visible form, of the unbroken circle of your love, so that wherever you go, you may always return to your shared life together. May these rings always call to mind the power of your love.

 

Pronouncement

 

Holly and Dennis, in the presence of your family and friends who have joined you to share this moment of joy, you have declared your deep love and affection for each other. You have stated your wish to live together, always open to a deeper, richer friendship and partnership. You have formed your own union, based on respect and honor. Therefore, it is my joyful responsibility to officially acknowledge your union as “Husband and Wife.” You may now seal your marriage with a kiss.

 

Final Blessing for Your Marriage

 

May the glory which rests upon all who love you, bless you and keep you, fill you with happiness and a gracious spirit. Despite all changes of fortune and time, may that which is noble and lovely and true remain abundantly in your hearts, giving you strength for all that lies ahead.

 

Introduction of Bride and Groom

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my privilege to present to you for the very first time, Mr. and Mrs. Dennis and Holly _______!

 

 


 



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