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Wedding Ceremonies
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Ceremonial Duties

The Wedding Ceremony

There is no end to the number and types of wedding ceremonies. Some are steeped in tradition. Others are as new as new age. Taking into consideration your faith, denomination, and the requirements of the governing body and/or the minister or official who is going to perform the ceremony, you must determine how much leeway you will be given in modifying traditional vows or whether or not you will be given the opportunity of creating your own ceremony and/or vows.

The elements of a wedding ceremony are somewhat universal although they may be embellished and their chronology be modified from ceremony to ceremony. Here are some of the major elements:

1) The Greeting Or Introduction
2) The Declaration of Intentions (Wedding Vows)

3) The Exchange of Rings

4) Blessings and Readings, and

5) The Pronouncement

Introductions

Most ceremonies will begin with the person performing the ceremony introducing the happy couple to the family and friends who have gathered together to witness the happy occasion.

Here is a traditional introduction that most Officiates will use:

We gathered together here in the presence of friends and family to celebrate one of life's greatest relationships - the union between man and woman, which we call marriage.

As we join together __________ and __________ in this marriage, let us search our hearts for the wisdom of this covenant, which has from ancient times been expressed with those ideas that come from the heart.  Ideas like love, loyalty, trust, fidelity, and forgiveness.  Let us also decide to share our knowledge of these things with them as they start this journey together.

Into this estate these two people come now to be joined.  If any of you can show just cause why they may not be lawfully married, speak now or forever hold your peace!

Questions of Intent

"Will you have this woman to be your wedded wife, to live together in this union?  Will you love her, comfort her, honor, and keep her, in sickness and in health; and forsaking all others keep only unto her so long as you both shall live?"

Answer:  I will

"Will you have this man to be your wedded husband, to live together in this union?  Will you love him, comfort him, honor and keep him, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others keep only unto him so long as you both shall live?"

Answer:  I will

Question to Bride's Father

"Who gives this woman to be married today?"

Optional Questions

"Who shares in the giving of these two people in marriage today?"

"Will you __________ and __________ 's parents grant them your blessings and pledge them your love and acceptance?"

 

 

Some traditional Wedding Vows

I take you ____________ to be my wedded wife/husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and, in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, and thereto I pledge you my faith and love.

I take you ____________ to be my wedded wife/husband. I pledge that I will love you and tenderly care for you in sickness and in health, when life is peaceful and when it is in disorder. I will honor your goals and your dreams, and help you to realize them. And I vow to share my life with you through the best and worst of what is to come.

I take you ____________to be my wedded wife/husband. I promise to be faithful to you, to give and to receive, to care and console, to inspire and respond, loving you now, but even more in your growing and becoming. I will love you when we are together and when we are apart, when life is peaceful and in disorder, when I am proud of you and when I am disappointed in you, in times of leisure and in times of work.  I will honor goals and dreams, and help you to realize them.  I will be open and honest with you, and join with you in seeking the fulfillment of our lives.

I take you ____________ to be my wedded wife/husband, and these things I promise you: I will respect, trust, help, and care for you; I will share my life with you; I will forgive you as we have been forgiven; and I will try with you better to understand ourselves, the world, and God; through the best and the worst of what is to come as long as we live.

 ____________, I take you as my wife/husband. I pledge to share my life openly with you, to speak the truth to you in love. I promise to honor and tenderly care for you, to cherish and encourage your own fulfillment as an individual through all the changes of our lives.

I ____________ promise to love and cherish you ___________, to give you my strength, to help you in good times and bad, to respect our individuality, to make our home one of love and understanding. I give you all of my trust, all of my tomorrows, all of my life.

 

Exchange of Rings

"A circle is the symbol of the sun and the earth and the universe, of wholeness and perfection, and peace and love.  It is worn on the third finger, because of an ancient Greek belief that a vein from that finger goes directly to the heart.These rings mark the beginning of a long journey together.  Wear them proudly, for they are symbols which speak of the love that you have for each other."

 

During the exchange of rings, the Officiate will ask the bride and groom to exchange a few words as they place a ring on their partner's finger.

Here are a few variations...

         In token and pledge of our constant faith and abiding love, with this ring I thee wed. 

         I give you this ring as a symbol of our love.  With it I wed you, and give you my body, soul, and heart.

         Take and wear this ring as a symbol of our love.  With it I wed you, and give you my body, soul, and heart.

         Take and wear this ring as a symbol of my love.  With it I wed you, and commit my life to you forever.

 

Prewritten Ceremonies:

 

Standard Civil Ceremony:
(Name), I take you to be my lawfully wedding (husband/wife).  Before these witnesses I vow to love you and care for you  as long as we both shall live.  I take you, with all your faults and your strengths,  as I offer myself to you with my faults and my strengths.  I will help you when you need help,  and will turn to you when I need help.  I choose you as the person with whom I will spend my life.

 

Sample Ceremony One:

Minister:
____________ and ____________, in presenting yourselves here today to be joined in marriage, you perform an act of faith. This faith can grow and develop and last, but only if you both decide to make it so: A lasting and growing love is not guaranteed by any ritual.

If you would have the foundation of your marriage be the devotion you have for one another, not just at this moment, but for all the days to come, then treasure the hopes and dreams that you bring here today. Establish that your love will never be blotted out by the common nor obscured by the ordinary in life. Faults will surface where now you find comfort, and admiration can be shattered by the routine of daily life.

Dedication, love, and joy can grow only when you nourish them together. Stand fast in that hope and confidence, trusting in your shared destiny just as strongly as you trust in yourselves and in one another today. Only with this spirit can you forge a union that will strengthen and endure all the days of your lives.

Groom:
I, ____________, take you, ____________, as my friend and love, beside me and apart from me, in laughter and in tears, in conflict and tranquility, asking that you be no other than yourself, loving what I know of you, trusting what I do not know yet, in all the ways that life may find us.

The Groom places the Brides ring on her finger and says:
____________, I give you this ring as a symbol of my vow, and with all that I am, and all that I have, I honor you.

Bride:
I, ____________, take you, ____________, as my friend and love, beside me and apart from me, in laughter and in tears, in conflict and tranquility, asking that you be no other than yourself, loving what I know of you, trusting what I do not know yet, in all the ways that life may find us.

The Bride places the Grooms ring on his finger and says:
____________ , I give you this ring as a symbol of my vow, and with all that I am, and all that I have, I honor you.

Minister:
With this statement made of love and trust, which we have just heard, I now wish you to greet ____________ and ____________ as husband and wife.

May this day shine eternally in your lives.
May it add brilliance to every achievement and cast a light over any misfortune.
May you care for each other in all sadness.
May you give cheer to each other.
May you give vitality to each other in all undertakings.
May all that is virtuous, beautiful and honest, remain with you always.

 

Example Two:

Minister:
We are gathered here today to witness the coming together of two people, ____________ and ____________, whose hearts and spirits are entwined as one. They now desire to profess before all the world their intention henceforth to walk the road of life together.

To these two people, this marriage signifies the birth of a new spirit, a spirit which is a part of each of us, yet not of any one of us alone. This "birth of spirit" reminds us of spring, the season when all life is reborn and looms again. It is appropriate, therefore, that this wedding of ____________ and ____________ be in the spring, and that it be under the open sky, where we are close to the earth and to the unity of life, the totality of living things of which we are part.

The beliefs and thoughts about love which motivate these two people are perhaps best expressed in the words of poet Kahlil Gibran:

"You were born to be together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the wings of death scatter your days.
Ay, you shall be together even in your silent memory.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heaven dance between you.
Love one another, but make not a bondage of love.
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup, but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread, but eat not of the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone, though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping,
For only the hand of life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together,
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in shadow."

Minister to Bride:
Do you ____________, knowing this man's love for you and returning it, realizing his strengths and learning from them, recognizing his weaknesses and helping him to overcome them, take ____________ to be your lawfully wedded husband?

Bride:
I do.

Minister:
Place the ring on his finger.

Minister to Groom:
Do you ____________, knowing this woman's love for you and returning it, realizing her strengths and learning form them, recognizing her weaknesses and helping her to overcome them, take ____________ to be your lawfully wedded wife?

Groom:
I do.

Minister:
Place the ring on her finger. Let these rings serve as locksnot binding you togetherbut as keys, unlocking the secrets of your hearts for each other to know, and thus bringing you closer together forever.

And now ____________ and ____________, seeking the fulfillment of love and marriage, find again that the poet Gibran speaks for them:

"Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks to another day of loving.
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love's ecstasy;
To return home eventide with gratitude, and then sleep with a prayer
For the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips."

I now pronounce you husband and wife.

 

Wedding Ceremony Three:

Minister: (Groom and Bride), you have come here today to celebrate the love that you have for each other. We share in this with you by giving recognition of your decision to accept each other as husband and wife. Into this state of marriage you now come to be united.

You are now taking into your care and keeping the happiness of the one person in the entire world whom you love best. You are adding to your life not only the affection of each other, but also the companionship and blessing of a deep trust as well. You are agreeing to share strength, responsibilities and to share love.

I require and charge you both to remember that love and loyalty alone will be the foundation of a happy and enduring home. No other human ties are tenderer; no other vows are more loving than those you now assume.

---------- do you take ---------- as your wife / husband, will you be faithful to her / him in tender love and honor, offering encouragement and companionship, and will you live with her / him and cherish her / him as love and respect will lead you in the bond of marriage?

Response: I, ----------, take thee ----------, to be my wedded wife / husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish.

(Repeat with other partner)

Minister: This ring by its shape, is a symbol of undying the undying love that exists between you. The substance of which it is composed id a symbol of purity, which shall ever characterize your minds and hearts in all your relationships together.

Response: (Each partner pledges) With this ring I pledge to you my deepest love and devotion.

Minister: These two lives are now joined in one unbroken circle. Wherever they go, may they always return to one another in their togetherness. May these two find in each other the love for which all men and women long. May they grow in understanding and compassion. May the house they establish be such a place of sanctuary that man will find there a friend. And may these two rings symbolize the spirit of undying love in the hearts of both of them.

I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss your bride.

 

Affirmation of Love Ceremony

By the Most Reverend Marjorie Norris

Minister: ________ and __________ is it the will of you both to come together today and declare your love?

Couple: It is.

Minister: (To first partner)_________, do you desire to spend the rest of your life with (Second Partner)__________?

Answer: I do.

Minister: Do you love this (man/woman) with all your heart and life, and will you keep (him/her) in sickness and in health, forsaking all others?

Answer: I do, and I will.

(Minister repeats questions with second partner.)

Minister: (To first partner)_________, do you take __________to be the companion of your heart and the friend of your life? To stand united in the face of adversity and smile together in the light of good fortune? With these words spoken, do you wish to share your life with ________ and live as one?

Answer: I do.

(Minister repeats question with second partner.)

(If rings are not to be exchanged, the next section should be omitted.)

Minister: The ring is a circle, unbroken and unending, a symbol of unity. Today, __________ and ________give and receive these rings as token of their vows to make their lives one and as a sign of a love that is whole and unending.

Minister: (To first partner)__________take this ring and place it on _______s finger. Repeat after me: This ring is a sign of our love and my commitment to you.

(Minister repeats with second partner.)

Blessing by Minister to couple:

Now you will feel no rain, for you will be shelter for each other.

Now you will feel no cold, for you will be warmth for each other.

Now you will feel no loneliness, for you will be friends for each other.

Now you are two people, but there is only one road you will walk together.

May your days together be good and long upon the Earth.

Minister: In as much as you have publicly declared your love and expressed your wish to spend your future together, I declare you united as one, in love, in life and in happiness.