The Century

The Event Of The Century

The Century is an urban chic venue in the heart of downtown Modesto! 

Imagine yourself walking into a building built back in the early 1900's.....old exposed brick walls, 20 foot ceilings adorned with crystal chandeliers, spectacular hand-scraped wood floors, private posh VIP room, chic restrooms, gorgeous patios embellished with a beautiful brick candle wall.....and that's just the beginning of the Event of The Century!

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Who will be giving the bride away?

Traditional Wording: Father Responds
Officiant: "Who gives this woman to be married to this man?" or "Who presents this woman to be married to this man?"
Answer: "I do" or "Her mother and I do" or "Her family and I do" or (in unison) "We do."

Wording for Both Sets of Parents
Officiant: "Who presents this woman and this man to be married to each other?
Answer: (All parents in unison): "We do."

Non-Verbal Support of Families
When they reach the end of the aisle, the father or parents of the bride hug her and then hug her intended. No words are said.
If a couple walks up the aisle unaccompanied, they can walk first to their families, giving them each a flower and embracing, before meeting at the altar.

Ceremony One: Spiritual and Heartfelt

Opening Prayer
Let us begin by welcoming the presence of God within each of us. As we lift into the loving that joins us together as one, let us surround Bride and Groom with our love, our prayers, and our best wishes for them on this, their wedding day, and throughout their journey together as Marriage Partners. Beloved God, we welcome you and are so grateful for your presence Sample Ceremonies here with us today. We have come here as a community of family and friends to love and support Bride and Groom, to witness their entrance into the sacred and joyous covenant of marriage, and to celebrate the beginning of their journey together as Marriage Partners. We are here because we love Bride and Groom. We rejoice that they have found each other and that through each other, they have come to know the power of love as they have never known it before. We celebrate this union of their hearts, minds, bodies, and souls and wish them great joy. We ask, Beloved God, that you guide and bless Bride and Groom with a loving, healthy, and happy marriage. We ask that through this union they may come to know you more deeply. Amen.

Remembrance
Bride and Groom have asked that we take a moment to honor the memory of those loved ones who could only be here today in spirit.

Gathering Words
Dearly beloved, we are gathered here in the presence of these witnesses, to join together this man and this woman in holy matrimony; which is an honorable estate, revered since time immemorial as the most profound and tender of human relationships. The union of two people in heart, body, and mind is intended by God for their mutual joy; for the help and comfort given one another in prosperity and adversity, and, when it is God’s will, for the procreation of children and their nurture in the knowledge and love of the Lord. Therefore marriage is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, deliberately, and in accordance with the purposes for which it was instituted by God. Bride and Groom, remember that love and faithfulness alone will provide a solid foundation for a long and happy marriage. No relationship is more tender than that of husband and wife. And no promises are more sacred than those of Marriage Partners. In keeping faithfully to your vows and in bringing to this marriage the best that is within you, your life together will be filled with grace and joy, and your home will be a place of peace. The choice to enter into marriage is profound. In choosing a lifelong partner, we are choosing the one who will witness our changes and growth, and who will affect these changes and shape our maturation as well. Bride and Groom, this day not only signifies a celebration of shared values and commitment, but it attests to the fact that you have chosen to build your future together. Through the sacred vows of marriage you are saying that who you are and who you want to be can best be achieved through this union. As we rejoice in Bride and Groom’s marriage today, let us each consecrate the relationships in our own lives and rededicate ourselves to these unions we share. Let us each choose the path of loving and caring for one another 152 and of making these commitments a priority in our lives.

Declaration of Support
Bride and Groom, today we have come together to celebrate the love you have found with each other. By being here with you, each of us is declaring our support for your decision to join together in marriage. (To guests) As families and friends you form the community of support that surrounds Bride and Groom. Each of you, by your presence here today, is being called upon to uphold them in honoring and loving each other. Always stand beside them, never between them. Offer them your love and support, not your judgment. Encourage them with your kindness and loving hearts, and honor this marriage into which they have come to be joined today. Will everyone please stand? Collectively, you represent the families, friends, and traditions that have brought Bride and Groom to this point in their lives. Please affirm your support for this marriage by responding “Yes, I do” to the following question: As part of the community which surrounds Bride and Groom, do you offer your love and support to strengthen their marriage and bless this family created by their union? Guests: Yes, I do! Please be seated.

Marriage Address
Marriage is the essence of human relationships. It challenges us to be of one accord without abandoning the truth of our individuality. It challenges us to not lose ourselves in one another, but rather to walk side by side heading in the same direction. As with all relationships, marriage is an endless presentation of choices about how we want to be with one another. Each choice results in either more unity or more separation. Choose into that unity, Bride and Groom, every chance you get. Sacrifice your judgments, expectations, and any other ways that you have learned to separate yourselves from each other. Share the gifts of your friendship, humor, vulnerability, sensitivity, and kindness. Be sure to find ways each day to protect, affirm, and support each other, and to treasure the balance and shared values that you have found with each other. Enjoy the intertwining of your independence with your intimacy. I wish you the courage to keep your loving hearts open to each other for the rest of your lives. God bless you.

Candle Ceremony
From every human being there rises a light that reaches straight to heaven. And, when two souls who are destined to be together find each other, their streams of light flow together, and a single brighter light goes forth from their united being. Human love is not a substitute for spiritual love— it is an extension of it. Bride and Groom, when you see each other as the divine and eternal beings that you are, you will never cease to wonder and glory 155 in your coming together. The purpose of human love is to awaken love for God. The truth that is continually reborn is that within each human being burns the spark of the divine. When two people love one another with devotion and freedom, they kindle the awareness of that spark in each other as nothing else quite can do. Bride and Groom, in committing to one another today, you kindle one another’s divine light and promise always to do your best to see that light in one another, to nurture and tend that divine flame in your partner as best you can each day, especially at the times it may be hardest to do, and the times your partner may doubt or forget the existence of that light within him or herself. Bride, take this candle now, and light it from the center candle representing the divine source. As you do so, symbolically enter the sacred trust to honor the divine spirit in Groom. Groom, as you light this candle from the divine source, symbolically enter the sacred trust to honor the divine spirit in Bride. Now, bring your individual flames together, symbolizing the new and greater flame of your marriage, remembering that just as this union is made stronger by your strength as individuals, so are you as individuals made stronger by the strength of this union. And never forget that the light of your union, while made up of your unique and individual expressions of light, is continually sustained and renewed by your connection to the eternal and inexhaustible light of God, the Source. (To guests) Please stand and join me in the Lord’s Prayer. The Lord’s Prayer Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, 157 but deliver us from evil, For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. Amen. Wedding Vows Bride and Groom, please join hands to share your

Wedding Vows
Groom: I take you, Bride, to be my wife, from this day forward, to join with you and share all that is to come. To laugh with you in joy, to grieve with you in sorrow, to grow with you in love, serving mankind in peace and hope, as long as we both shall live.
Bride: I choose you, Groom, to be my lifelong partner, lover, and best friend. I will always be faithful to you and be at your side to laugh with you in times of joy and comfort you in times of sorrow. Wherever our path leads us, it takes us together. I will encourage and support you, honor and love you. I will respect our differences and do my part to work through all our challenges. Groom, I’ll be your safe haven and your home. With purity of heart and love in my soul, I stand before our loved ones as your lifelong partner.

Ring Exchange
May I have the rings, please? Bride and Groom, these wedding rings symbolize the holiness, perfection, and peace that is available to you in your marriage. They are symbols of the love, friendship, and faithfulness that you share. As circles, they have no beginning or end. They are round like the sun, the moon, the earth, and the universe. Just as these rings have no points of weakness, may your union be strong, and may you be blessed with joy as you journey through life together surrounded by the circle of your love. Groom, place this ring on Bride’s finger. 159 Groom: I love you. (He places the ring up to the knuckle of her finger.) Bride: I wed you. (She moves the ring over the knuckle onto her finger.) Officiant: Bride, place this ring on Groom’s finger. Bride: I love you. (She places the ring up to the knuckle of his finger.) Groom: I wed you. (He moves the ring over the knuckle onto his finger.)

Final Blessing
Bride and Groom, you have declared your intention and vows before God and this gathering of your families and friends. May the grace of this day carry forward with you all the days of your lives. May you find delight in each other and may your love continue to grow and to nurture you throughout your lives. I wish you the strength to be true to the vows 160 you have made here today. May you always have the wisdom to cherish the precious love you share. May you abide by the laws of Spirit, nurturing yourselves and this marriage with acceptance, understanding, cooperation, and loving. May the life you share be peaceful, healthy, and filled with blessings and joy. As the Apache Wedding Blessing declares: Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be shelter to the other; Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth to the other; Now there will be no loneliness, for each of you will be companion to the other. Now you are two persons, but there is one life before you. Go now to your dwelling place to enter into the days of your togetherness, And may your days be good and long upon the earth. And now, by the power vested in me by the State of _____, I witness and affirm your union of love and now pronounce you Partners in Marriage. You may now kiss as husband and wife for the first time. Congratulations and God bless you! 

Ceremony Two: Short and Sophisticated

Gathering Words
Welcome. A wedding is such a wonderful occasion, filled with hopes, dreams, and excitement. We are here today to celebrate the love that Bride and Groom have for each other, and to recognize and witness their decision to journey forward in their lives as Marriage Partners. We are gathered to support them as they embark upon their voyage of discovery as husband and wife. We are here to see them off on this journey. Let us also be there for them to see them through.

Declaration of Support
Collectively, you represent the families, friends, and traditions that have brought Bride and Groom to this point in their lives. Please affirm your support for this marriage by responding “Yes, I do” to the following question: As part of the community that surrounds Bride and Groom, do you offer your love and support to strengthen their marriage and bless this family created by their union? Guests: Yes, I do.

Wedding Vows
Bride and Groom, please join hands and share your Wedding Vows.
Groom: Bride, I promise to love you, to cherish you, and to respect you in all ways, always. I promise to participate fully in our Marriage Partnership. I will give completely of my mind, body, heart, and soul. I promise to make your plans and dreams as important to me as my own. I promise to do my share so that our lives together can be healthy, happy, and abundantly satisfying. I promise to lovingly fulfill these vows each and every day for all of my days.
Bride: Groom, I promise to love you, to cherish you, and to respect you in all ways, always. I promise to participate fully in our Marriage Partnership. I will give completely of my mind, body, heart, and soul. I promise to make your plans and dreams as important to me as my own. I promise to do my share so that our lives together can be healthy, happy, and abundantly satisfying. I promise to lovingly fulfill these vows each and every day for all of my days.

Ring Exchange
Officiant: May I have the rings, please? Groom, place this ring on Bride’s finger. Groom: Bride, this ring is a symbol of the strength and beauty of our love. May it belong to your hand as my heart belongs to you, separate yet close, simple yet miraculous.
Officiant: Bride, place this ring on Groom’s finger. Bride: Groom, this ring is a symbol of the strength and beauty of our love. May it belong to your hand as my heart belongs to you, separate yet close, simple yet miraculous.

Final Blessing
Now, because you have chosen one another and pledged to love each other for all the days of your lives, before God and before this loving community of family and friends, it gives me great joy to pronounce that you are Partners in Marriage. You may now kiss!

Ceremony Three: Celebrating Our Oneness While Honoring Our Differences

Opening Prayer
Beloved God, we welcome your presence here today as we join our hearts together as one in loving support of Bride and Groom. We have come here today as families and friends to see them off on their journey together as Marriage Partners. May we also be there to see them through. We ask that you guide and protect Bride and Groom as they go forward through this world united in marriage. We are deeply grateful for their presence in our lives and for the opportunity they have given us to bear witness to their great love for each other. We are also profoundly grateful for the challenge that their love has presented to many of us to break free of our limiting beliefs of who was allowed to love whom and the judgments, prejudices, and forms of rejection that flow from such myopic views. We thank Bride and Groom for their courage, wisdom, and capacity to love without condition and thus to serve us as great teachers of the power and sanctity of love. As stated in Matthew 9:16, what you have joined together, Beloved, may no man put asunder.

Marriage Address
In every marriage union, as in every relationship in our lives, the success or failure of that coming together rests on the ability of the participants to simultaneously celebrate their oneness while honoring their differences. As we all know, the “samenesses” and “differences” of Bride and Groom stand in stark contrast to what we have grown accustomed to as the norms of our society. For some of us it was a challenge to see beyond that contrast and the temptation to negatively judge them rather than to question our very own reaction to their love. Some of us were quicker to embrace their love while others needed to find our way through inner and outer rules, learning and reinforcing an important life lesson— that nothing is more important than loving one another. Perhaps making rules about who is allowed to love whom is foolish and ill-advised— an attempt to play God in matters that are God’s territory and not ours. Has anyone here ever succeeded in making themselves love another? Try as we might to fake it— love has a purity and beauty that is unmistakable to us all and something to stand in awe of. For over twenty years, I have been officiating wedding ceremonies for all kinds of couples. One thing that has always impressed me is that when a couple’s union challenges what we are used to, we are presented with the choice to either rise to this challenge or to hold tight to our limiting beliefs. Whether bridging the gap between different races, cultures, religions, or age groups, or being more similar than we are used to as in couples of the same gender, these couples have a freedom that many of us lack. They are available to love regardless of race, creed, color, situation, circumstance, or environment. There are no walls around their hearts that prevent them from allowing love to occur. And, occur it did between Bride and Groom! What an interesting lesson for the rest of us. How would our individual and collective lives be different if our hearts were also unbound by rules and beliefs that we must only love others who are quite like us, but then, not too much like us? I celebrate Bride and Groom And all couples who challenge us to unbind our hearts and render ourselves vulnerable to the power and possibilities of love.

Candle Ceremony
From every human being there rises a light that reaches straight to heaven. When two souls who are destined to be together find each other, their streams of light flow together, and a single brighter light goes forth from their united being. Human love is not a substitute for divine love— it is an extension of it. Bride and Groom, when you see each other as the divine and eternal beings that you are, you will never cease to wonder and glory in your coming together. The purpose of human love is to awaken love for God. The truth that is continually reborn is that within each human being burns the spark of the divine. When two people love one another with devotion and freedom, they kindle the awareness of that spark in each other as nothing else quite can do. Bride and Groom, in committing to one another today, you kindle one another’s divine light and promise always to do your best to see that light in one another, to nurture and tend that divine flame in your partner as best you can each day, especially at the times it may be hardest to do, and the times your partner may doubt or forget the existence of that light within him or herself. Bride, take this candle now, and light it from the center candle representing the divine source. As you do so, symbolically enter the sacred trust to honor the divine spirit in Groom. Groom, as you light this candle from the divine source, symbolically enter the sacred trust to honor the divine spirit in Bride. Now, bring your individual flames together, symbolizing the new and greater flame of your marriage, remembering that just as this union is made stronger by your strength as individuals, so are you as individuals made stronger by the strength of this union. And never forget that the light of your union, while made up of your unique and individual expressions of light, is continually sustained and renewed by your connection to the eternal and inexhaustible light of God, the Source.

Wedding Vows
Before Bride and Groom share their wedding vows I thought you might like to know that they have kept them secret from one another until now. Groom: My beloved Bride, I have spent most of my life alone and much of it profoundly devoted to my soulwork and to being of service in this world. 173 I have not pitied myself my solitary life. I recognized its authenticity while still hoping that someday I might be blessed with a true partnership of loving, cherishing, honoring, and nurturing shared with a beautiful Wife and equal, lover and best friend. With you, Bride, my dreams have come true and been surpassed beyond my wildest dreams. I can’t imagine that I will ever stop lighting up when you walk into a room. I am so grateful to be here with you today surrounded by our families and friends and filled with joy and enthusiasm for whatever our future brings— knowing that we will stand side by side through it all. I will not make false promises to you about being your perfect partner— after all, I will continue to be me with all my faults and frailties— though hopefully my rough edges will soften over time. I do however make you these promises: I will continue my devotion to my soulwork and to support you in yours, knowing that our sacred paths are now intertwined in new and exciting ways. I will do my very best to love you in the ways you need and want to be loved for the rest of my life. I promise to keep learning more each day how to love you, honor you, and respect you in ways that tickle your fancy. Bride, I will forever be grateful for the blessing of having you in my life. Bride: Groom, my love, the blessings we share are captured in the following two excerpts: The first is from Rumi’s “The Wandering”— The minute I heard my first love song I started looking for you, not knowing how blind that was. Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. they’re in each other all along. The second piece I want to share with you I tweaked a bit from D. H. Lawrence’s poem “Fidelity”— Two people in love are like the earth, that brings forth flowers in summer, and love, but underneath is rock. Older than flowers, older than ferns, older than foraminiferae, older than plasm altogether is the soul underneath. And when, throughout all the wild chaos of love slowly a gem forms, in the ancient, once-more-molten rocks of two human hearts, two ancient rocks, the hearts of two lovers that is the crystal of peace, the slow hard jewel of trust, the sapphire of fidelity. The gem of mutual peace emerging from the wild chaos of love. We certainly have had our share of chaos, my love. But, we also got the prize, the brass ring, the sapphire. Thank you for having the fortitude to walk this path together so far. We have indeed earned the power and privilege of our love. I am honored and filled with joy to be here beside you entering into the sacred and joyous 176 covenant of marriage. You can count on me to be there for you and for us for the rest of my life. Groom, my love, I will be by your side no matter what life brings our way. You will always be surrounded by my love.

Ring Exchange
May I have the rings, please. These rings are symbols of the love that joins you spirit to spirit. May they serve you and those who see them upon your fingers as a reminder of the oneness, eternity, and renewal inherent in the marriage union. Like arms that embrace, these wedding rings you give and receive this day reflect the circle of your shared love. May they also serve to remind you of the freedom and the power of your love. May they be for you always your most treasured adornment, and may the love they symbolize be your most treasured possession. Groom, place this ring on Bride’s finger. Groom: Bride, this ring is a symbol of the strength and beauty of our love. May it belong to your hand as my heart belongs to you, separate yet close, simple yet miraculous. Bride, I give you this ring as a symbol of my vow. May it encircle your finger always, as my love will your heart. Bride: Groom, this ring is a symbol of the strength and beauty of our love. May it belong to your hand as my heart belongs to you, separate yet close, simple yet miraculous. Groom, I give you this ring as a symbol of my vow. May it encircle your finger always, as my love will your heart.

Final Blessing and Pronouncement
Bride and Groom, on behalf of your loved ones gathered here with you today, I would like to mention some of the things we wish for you: First, we wish for you a love that is rich, deep, and powerful enough to inspire others and to support you both in bringing forth the best that is within you. May you lavishly love one another and love being loved by one another today, tomorrow, and always. Second, may you sustain a deep and abiding friendship in which you are considerate of each other, kind, thoughtful, and so much more. Third, we wish for you the kind of home that will be a sanctuary for you both, a place of peace, freedom, vitality, growth, and humor. Finally, we wish that at the end of your lives you will be able to look back and smile upon the life that you have shared together, pleased, satisfied, and fulfilled beyond your wildest dreams. And now, it is my great pleasure to pronounce that you are Partners in Marriage.

Ceremony Four: Inspired by Nature

Gathering Words
We are gathered here in this beautiful place to witness the joining of Bride and Groom in marriage. They particularly wanted to invite you here because their sense of spirituality and the growth of their love is connected to this place. They wanted to share with you the beauty of these mountains because this is where they have made their home. During their seven and a half years together, they’ve come here on many mornings like this one, and walked quietly through the mountain laurel, listening to the wind in the pines. Their time spent in nature, climbing some of the mountains you see before you here, has been a time of connectedness, of shared reverence for the world, and a deepening respect and love for one another. It is this sense of timelessness and peace that they wanted to share with you on this, their wedding day. As you look out over the mountains, please take a moment for reflection and quiet prayer to open your hearts and minds to the love and togetherness we are here to share through this ceremony. You may also want to take a moment to remember those loved ones who are not with us today.

Declaration of Support
Today, we form a circle of love around Bride and Groom as they enter into marriage. To last, their marriage must be a consecration of each to the other, and of both to the wider community of which they are a part. That community starts with each and every one of you, their loved ones. Through their act of marriage, Bride and Groom have gathered you around them like a comforting blanket, forming their community of love and support as they move forward into a shared life as Marriage Partners. Now, let us share in a moment of silently extending our blessings to Bride and Groom for a loving, healthy, and happy marriage. Bride and Groom, it is very special that you have chosen to celebrate your marriage union in the circle of your families. I would like to welcome each member of your families. (Family members are each called by name, given a flower by the Bride and Groom, and then, one by one, join into a circle around the Bride and Groom.) This circle of your family represents your circle of loving, caring, friendship, and family support. These people embody the traditions and values that have brought you to this point in your lives. Bride and Groom, at this time, your parents would like to share their best wishes with you. Bride’s mother: Bride, your father and I are so happy for you today and filled with pride and joy that our baby girl has become such an accomplished and lovely woman. And, as though that were not enough, you have found a profound love with Groom and brought this magnificent young man into our family. Bride’s father: Groom, I never imagined there would come a day when I could sincerely feel that anyone was wonderful enough for our Bride. But you have changed all that. 183 She has chosen wisely, and we are delighted to have you in our family. Bride’s mother: Bride and Groom, we have had the good fortune to build and enjoy a secure and nurturing marriage. Our greatest wish for you is that you too have the good fortune to share a healthy and happy marriage, and that you continue to light up the room for each other for the rest of your lives. Groom’s mother: My dear son Groom, nothing could give your father and me greater pleasure than to stand here with you today knowing that you have found what your generation calls your soul mate. I have watched you and Bride really take your time in getting to know each other and in building a solid foundation of love and respect for each other. And now, as you stand on the threshold of your marriage, I can truly say we support you both without reservation and with great enthusiasm. Groom’s father: I remember when Groom was a young boy and used to love learning all the names of the trees, flowers, and birds. Now I listen to the two of you share your anecdotes and lessons from nature and am so pleased for you both that you share this common bond. Seeing how much you two love and understand nature touches me deeply. You are a wise and wonderful pair, and you make us all better people just by knowing you. May God bless you always. Officiant: I invite each of you as members of this gathering to indicate your support for Bride and Groom by answering “I will” to the following question: By God’s grace, will each of you do everything you can to uphold and care for these two persons in their marriage? Guests: I will.

Marriage Address
A true marriage is the ultimate relationship because it offers the opportunity of limitless intimacy between two people. It is a great and challenging adventure into the depths and heights of human caring, affection, trust, and understanding. For those who take its sacred vows, their lives are intermingled as the waters of two streams become one, flowing together into a mighty river. A true spiritual marriage is a journey of transformation into the profound mysteries of life and creation. In marriage, two become one, and that one is far more complex and dynamic than the simple addition of the two. In marriage, we do not give ourselves to another, but rather surrender into something greater while maintaining our balance and well-being as individuals. Together, we co-create a shared identity we call “we.” 186 A truly sacred marriage union is a vehicle for self-realization that allows us to know our true selves by reflection through our loved one. Thus, marriage is a divine instrument through which we come to know God’s presence in ourselves, in each other, and in the world around us. Bride and Groom, you have come here today to surrender into the co-creation of something wholly new and transcendent— your precious, sacred, and unique marriage journey as husband and wife. Today, you step into a much fuller experience and expression of the mysteries and miracles of love. Your precious, blessed, and sacred union is lovely in its innocence, mighty in its strength, and abundant with possibilities. It belongs to you both. Over time you will give it an identity. We wish for you the wisdom, strength of character, and divine creativity to make this a happy marriage, a safe harbor, and a joyful journey to share.

Water Ceremony
Many of us have been blessed to notice that when we share a true and abiding love with a partner, even plain water tastes sweet. Bride and Groom, share this clear water now as a symbol of the sweet and precious love you share. (The Bride and Groom give each other a drink from the same glass.) As you do so, remember that just as you are now partaking of the sweetness and purity of this fresh and clean water, you have already been blessed to partake of the brilliance and magnificence of the love you share. By devoting yourselves to cherishing and nurturing this love, may your marriage grow sweeter with each passing year.

Wedding Vows
Officiant: Bride and Groom, please join hands and share your Wedding Vows. Groom: I, Groom, choose you, Bride, as my life partner. I am so glad that I waited for my dreams to come true because they did when I found you. I am so blessed that I get to be your partner and am comforted to know that I have chosen wisely. Whatever life has in store for us, I will honor and respect our marriage and be by your side, loving you through it all. I will always strive to be the husband of your dreams. Bride, I will love you forever. Bride: I, Bride, promise to always keep my love for you alive and out in front of all I do. I promise to be faithful and true no matter what challenges may come our way. I promise to nurture you as my husband, my lover, and my best friend. I will continue to love you and cherish you, walking through this life, together, hand in hand.

Ring Exchange
Officiant: May I have the rings, please? Wedding rings are symbolic reminders of the unbroken circle of a healthy and abiding love. Within the safety and comfort of a true marriage, love freely given has no beginning and no end. Love freely given has no separate giver and receiver. Each of you gives your love to the other and each of you receives love from the other and the circle of love goes around and around. May these rings serve to remind you of the freedom and the power of your love. The wedding ring is a circle symbolizing the sun, and the earth, and the universe. It is a symbol of wholeness, perfection, and peace. As you enter into the circle of your shared love, may you be blessed through your devotion to this union. May your journey as husband and wife be filled with peace, love, and joy. Groom, place this ring on Bride’s finger. Groom: With this ring, I give you my promise to honor you, to be faithful to you, and to share my love and my life with you in all ways, always. Officiant: Bride, place this ring on Groom’s finger. Bride: With this ring, I give you my promise to honor you, to be faithful to you, and to share my love and my life with you in all ways, always.

Final Blessing and Pronouncement
Bride and Groom, on behalf of your loved ones who are here with you today, I would like to mention some of the things we wish for you: First, we wish for you a love that is rich, deep, and powerful enough to inspire others and to support you both in bringing forth the best that is within you. May you lavishly love one another and love being loved by one another today, tomorrow, and always. Second, we wish for you the kind of home that will be a sanctuary for you both, a place of peace, freedom, vitality, growth, and humor. And in this home, we hope that you are blessed with a healthy and happy family. Finally, we wish that at the end of your lives you will be able to look back and smile upon the life that you have shared together, pleased, satisfied, and fulfilled beyond your wildest dreams. And now, by the power vested in me by the State of _____, it is my great pleasure to pronounce you husband and wife. Mr. and Mrs. _____, you may now kiss as husband and wife for the first time. Congratulations and God bless you!

Ceremony Six: A Marriage with Children

Opening Prayer
Beloved God, we are gathered here, uniting our hearts as one in support and celebration of Bride and Groom as they enter into the sacred and joyous covenant of marriage. We ask you to bless the family created by this union as Bride’s daughter, Child 1, and Groom’s son, Child 2, join with them in the creation of a new family. We ask that you guide and bless each of them in loving and honoring one another and in building and strengthening a family unit that will be a safe and nurturing haven for them all. Help them to find the balance and harmony of their individuality and their shared life. We ask that your light and grace be extended to each of them, that they may know you and welcome you in their lives each and every day.

The Uniting of Families and Friends
When two people come together in marriage, their families and friends are also joined together into a larger circle of caring. From now on, you will know Bride and Groom not only as individuals, but as Marriage Partners, and your individual lives will be linked together as members of this community. Bride and Groom, today we have come together to celebrate the love you have found with each other. By being here with you, each of us is declaring our support for your decision to join together in marriage. (To guests) As families and friends, you form the community of support that surrounds Bride and Groom. Each of you, by your presence here today, is being called upon to uphold them in honoring and loving each other. Always stand beside them, never between them. Offer them your love and support, not your judgment. Encourage them with your kindness and loving hearts, and honor this marriage into which they have come to be joined today.

Marriage Address
Bride and Groom, you began as best friends, and now that friendship has grown into a loving and abiding commitment. Remember that the strength and power of the love you share with each other and with your children stand upon your health and well-being as individuals. In order to teach each other how to love and care for you, you will need to be aware of your own needs as individuals and lovingly communicate them to each other. Tenderly nurture your children so that they always feel your love and know that they are safe and cared for. Celebrate your love for each other and for the children each and every day. Remember that God’s infinite wisdom brought you together and will continue to light your path all the days of your lives. Share the gifts of your friendship, your patience, and your tenderness. Always nurture this partnership with your incredible ability to communicate with each other, and your abiding respect for each other’s strength, wisdom, freedom, and differences. Continue to bless each other with your eternal honesty and your delight and gratitude for the glory of being able to share your destiny. Remember to let your children know each and every day how precious they are to you. Surround each other and your children with your tender loving care. I wish you the courage to keep your loving hearts open to each other for the rest of your lives. God bless you.

Marriage Vows and Ring Exchange
Groom: Bride, I have never known the desire and passion you have created in me. I never imagined these feelings were even possible. Words cannot describe our spiritual, physical, and emotional connection. Life is a series of events and experiences that together make us who we are; that person someone else sees when they meet you. Bride, from the moment we met, I discovered a unique bond with a truly special person. My life was forever changed, and now, with you in my life, each day is truly a lovely day. We came together from separate paths and today begin our journey along the same road, our destinies forever linked, our lives intertwined. I have heard that love consists not of gazing into each other’s eyes, but of looking outward together in the same direction. From deep within my heart, I love you. Bride, in you I have found someone to share not only the good times, but the bad; not only the pleasure, but the pain; someone to support and be supported by. You are my companion to confide in and console. You are my best friend. I am confident that with you, none of life’s obstacles will stand in our way and together we will enjoy all that life has to offer. 199 Bride, my Love, my soul mate, my partner, my best friend, today I ask you to be my wife and companion. I commit myself to you for the rest of our lives together and beyond. Please share with me the joy of guiding my son, Child 2, as I will enjoy guiding your daughter, Child 1, together raising our family. Who knows what other beautiful facets our relationship will foster. For there awaits us all the pleasure of growing together in a life shared for years to come. Bride: Our love developed over time, with respect for each other’s talent and ability, into a friendship. As we supported and guided each other, you patiently and tenderly broke down my walls. While you taught me to look into my heart and soul, we shared our dreams, hopes, fears, and desires. Somewhere, probably sooner than either of us knew, we fell in love. I asked you to catch me while I was falling, and you wrapped your loving arms around me. Groom, as I gaze into your beautiful green eyes, 200 I look into your soul and I join you there. I have fallen in love with you, my best friend, a thousand times. I will fall in love with you thousands more, giving my love to you freely. Groom, I know that we will be tested by the routines of daily life, by chance and circumstance, and by the full cycle of the seasons of life. I am entering into our marriage knowing that together we will face life’s sorrow no less than its sweetness, its frustration along with its grace and ease, its disappointments along with its fulfillment. I promise that, as your partner, I will do my best to help us keep our hearts open to each other and the love flowing between us even at the times this may be hardest to do. I will remain at your side, holding you close and supporting you above all. The strength of the connection we have between us was evident when we first met. In our lives, I will continue to explore and develop that connection. As I give myself to you in marriage, I vow to be a loving woman, filled with passion and friendship, and to make a happy home for both of us and our children. When we are apart, I will always look at the sky and the moon, knowing that we are together, never truly apart, for our hearts and souls are so incredibly linked. You have freed my wings for flying, and I will fly with you forever. I will look for your secret places and share mine with you, always working to keep our love new, exciting, adventurous, and young, especially as it grows in maturity and familiarity. You were made to love me and I was made to love you. Our destinies intertwined, bringing us together here today and for the rest of our lives. Keep your loving arms around me. Our love proves to me that fairy tales really do come true. It will last forever. We have reached our island! Love…We are there!

Vows to the Children
Officiant: Bride, Groom, Child 1, and Child 2, you have all pledged your love to your new family and promised to love and nurture each other. Love is something very magical. It is a gift from God that lights us up inside. And when two people join their hearts together in marriage, their lights flow together and a single brighter light goes forth from their united being. When a family is formed as an extension of this union, the light is intensified by the light that flows from the children as well. The happiness you feel in being a family together is a reflection of this. This light that you have, this happiness, comes from God. So when we love one another, we are experiencing God’s presence in our lives. Bride, Groom, Child 1, and Child 2, you are divine and eternal beings, and as you come to know this, you will never cease to wonder and glory in your coming together as a family. By being a loving family, you will awaken your love for God and your knowledge of the fact that within each human being burns the spark of the divine. When people love one another with devotion and freedom, they kindle the awareness of that spark in each other as nothing else quite can do. Bride, Groom, Child 1, and Child 2, in joining together today, you kindle one another’s divine light and promise always to do your best to see that light in each other and to nurture and tend that divine flame in one another as best you can each day, especially at the times it may be hardest to do, and the times when one of you may doubt or forget the existence of that light within yourself. This ceremony marks not only the union of Bride and Groom as Marriage Partners, it also celebrates their joining together with Child 1 and Child 2 to form a new family. Bride and Groom to Children: (reading alternating paragraphs) Child 1 and Child 2, we are now one family, a mom and dad, brother and sister. Each of you has so much beauty inside. You can do anything you choose to do with your life. We promise to be patient and to support each of you, to give you strength and room to grow, to do less correcting and more connecting, to stop playing serious and to seriously play, to do less tugging and do more hugging. Life is full of surprises, and we want you to know that no matter what happens, no matter what you do or who you become, we will always love you. Child 1 and Child 2, today we give you these rings to remind you of our love and to serve as a symbol of the unity of our new family.

Children’s Vows
Officiant: An absolute requirement in a wedding ceremony is the sharing before witnesses of vows between the two individuals who are being married. The exchange of these vows represents the moment of covenant between the two. It is the vows which bind them both spiritually and emotionally. Vows are love made tangible as they reach from and speak to the heart. In creating today’s ceremony, Child 1 and Child 2 asked if they could also take vows to express their love and commitment to their new family. It is true, Child 1 and Child 2, that something very special is happening for you as well today. In this ceremony, you are sharing in the celebration of the happiness that is present in your family, and you are affirming your role in that most fundamental of all human relationships. May the joy and excitement of today and the warmth and loving of your home also serve as a model for you of what you will seek and find when it is your time to enter into marriage and to create your own family. Child 1, please repeat after me: I, Child 1, do hereby promise to love, honor, and cherish my family and God, to always be honest and true about who I am, and to honor and respect the truth of each member of this family. Child 2, please repeat after me: I, Child 2, do hereby promise to love, honor, and cherish my family and God, to always be honest and true about who I am, and to honor and respect the truth of each member of this family.

Final Blessing
Bride and Groom, I wish you the courage to keep your loving hearts open to each other for the rest of your lives, and to cherish the precious love you share. May you continue to find delight in each other and in your being together. May your love forever nourish you and keep you strong. Child 1 and Child 2, may you also find the strength, comfort, and support you need as you grow and develop as members of this family. I wish you all the strength to be true to the vows you have made here today. May you always have the wisdom to cherish the precious love you share. May you abide by the laws of Spirit, nurturing yourselves and each other with acceptance, understanding, cooperation, and loving. May your home provide each of you as individuals, and all of you as a family, with a place of peace and health, filled with blessings and joy. Bride and Groom, by the power vested in me by the State of _____, I witness and affirm your union of love and now pronounce you Partners in Marriage. You may now kiss as Marriage Partners for the very first time. Congratulations and God bless you! (The children recess with their parents.)

Ceremony Seven: Non-denominational Christian with Scriptural Readings

Scripture Readings
Officiant: A reading from John 2, verses 1–11: On the third day there was a wedding in Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there: Jesus also was invited to the wedding, with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “O woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now there were six stone water jars there, for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Ceremony Six: A Marriage with Children—Text Worksheet 210 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the Bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first; and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine; but you have kept the good wine until now.” This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory; and his disciples believed in him. In Matthew, chapter 18, verse 20, Jesus says: “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” As represented here today, in this union of Bride and Groom, Christ is among us. It is through their love and among those who have gathered here today to witness this union, that our loving God reveals himself to us. When we come together in God’s name, we put down our petty and powerful weapons of judgment and rejection, and all the ways that we have learned to withhold ourselves from one another and we reach together into that which patiently awaits our choice to turn away from the multitude of our illusions— to the presence of God. To truly enter into this presence, we need to choose our oneness rather than our separateness. Christ taught us that the pathway into the glory of our true selves is through our loving hearts. And it is through choosing our loving that we truly worship God. Our greatest blessing in life comes not from power or possessions but from the intimate knowing and loving of another. Bride and Groom are so blessed. So, today is a celebration of their love and how this love brings God’s presence into their lives, for indeed, a true marriage such as this one is the highest form of knowing and worshiping the Beloved.

Marriage Address
Bride and Groom, this bond you share is a true miracle and a blessing from God. Treasure it and carefully tend it each day. You breathe life into each other and provide a safe and sacred harbor where you are able to shed all of your worldly illusions while witnessing, receiving, and cherishing the precious truth of one another. Generously shower each other with the gifts of your faith, strength, honesty, beauty, and complexity. In the hardest of times, always remember to reach for the Godness— the goodness inside of yourselves and each other— to the Oneness of our Lord’s most loving message of “When two or more are gathered in my name, there I am also.” May you always honor the sanctity of your union and thus be blessed beyond your wildest dreams. God bless you.

Reading
Now, Groom’s sister, _______, will share a reading from the first letter of John, chapter 4, verses 7–16, followed by an excerpt from First Corinthians, chapter 13. Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

Candle Ceremony
Officiant: The lighting of the Unity Candle is a ritual symbolizing the union of two people as they enter into marriage. The Unity Candle itself represents the oneness that is being created by the joining of their individual lives into a shared journey. The individual candles symbolize the uniqueness of Bride and Groom as they walk side by side heading in the same direction. They are separate, yet one. The lighting of the Unity Candle in the presence of God symbolizes the great mystery of the union of two becoming one. Bride and Groom, always remember that as you join together in marriage, you are still two separate beings, each with your own unique needs, dreams, and desires, and that in marriage, you are creating a covenant of loving, caring, and sharing between you. 216 Now, Bride and Groom, as you bring these lights which symbolize your individual selves closer and closer together, your flames merge into the greater light of your union. As you light the Unity Candle to symbolize the enduring flame of your marriage, let us each take a moment to silently express our prayerful wishes for your happiness and well-being in this marriage. And let us remember that just as Bride and Groom are becoming one, so are we coming together into a circle of family and friends in loving support of this marriage. Bride and Groom, tend the light of your loving union with great devotion and kindness. May you be blessed with a lifelong partnership of loving and learning through God’s grace.

Wedding Vows
Please join hands and share your Wedding Vows. Groom: In the name of God, I, ____, take you, ____, to be my partner in marriage. 217 It is you, above all others, who has awakened my soul and enthused me with the possibility of becoming all that I am capable of being in this world. I am so grateful to you for these blessings. I want you to know how much I cherish your friendship and how much I appreciate your belief in me. Your love is my greatest treasure. I will be at your side through all of life’s challenges and joys as we become one in spirit before God. I promise to give of myself to you in every way I can, to care for you and protect you as I would my own self. I promise to be faithful to you in this life, and to be honest and true to our union until God, in his perfect wisdom and timing, calls one of us to death. Bride, I promise to carry the flame of your love with me forever in this world and the next, so that the light of our love, now one light drawn from the mingling of two souls, will always prevail. Bride, I will forever thank God for your presence in my life and you will always be surrounded by my love. May God always keep us and watch over our love and our home. Bride: Groom, I strongly believe that our union is God’s will. Therefore, through his grace, I, Bride, take you, Groom, to be my beloved partner in marriage. And, with all the sincerity in my heart, I promise to love you dearly, to confide in you honestly, to respect you proudly, and to always be kind. I have learned, through you, the importance of being true to myself, and as your partner, I will strive to be fair and true to you. I look forward to our life together, enriched by our friendship and the encouragement we give to one another. And I am comforted to know you have promised to be by my side in times of fear and sorrow. Groom, from this moment forward, I offer to you all that I am and all that I hope to be. I will be faithful to you and grateful to God for our love all the days of my life.

Ring Exchange
Officiant: May I have the rings, please? Let us pray. Bless, O Lord, the giving of these rings, that they who wear them may abide in thy peace and continue in thy favor; through Jesus Christ our Lord. May Bride and Groom abide in thy peace and grow in their knowledge of your presence through their loving union. May the seamless circle of these rings become the symbol of their endless love and serve to remind them of the covenant they have entered into today to be faithful, loving, and kind to each other. Beloved God, may they abide in your grace and be forever true to this union. Amen. Groom, place this ring on Bride’s finger. Groom: Bride, I give you this ring in token and pledge of my abiding love for you. Bride, with this ring, I thee wed, in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen. Officiant: Bride, place this ring on Groom’s finger. Bride: Groom, I give you this ring in token and pledge of my abiding love for you. Groom, with this ring, I thee wed, in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Musical Interlude
“Ave Maria”

The Pronouncement of Marriage
Officiant: Beloved Father, Mother, God, we ask you to bless Bride and Groom with the strength to keep the vows they have made, and to cherish the love they share, that they may be faithful and devoted to each other. Help them to support each other with patience, understanding, and honesty. Enable them to have a home that is a place of blessings and of peace. We seek your love and grace for all who are witnesses of this holy marriage. May all who share the marriage covenant be renewed through their witnessing this union. Bride and Groom, may your life together be joyful; may you both be enriched and made better people for living in this blessed union. May the grace and wisdom of God be always with you. May the love of God always fill you, surround you, and protect you. Amen. Now, because you have chosen one another and pledged to love each other for all the days of your lives, before God and before this loving community of family and friends, it gives me great joy to pronounce you Partners in Marriage. You may now kiss.

Benediction
Beloved God, source of love and light and sound, pour your grace down upon Bride and Groom, that they may fulfill the vows that they have made today through their love and faithfulness to each other. Bride and Groom, go in peace and love, seeing in each other the face of God smiling upon you and blessing you each and every day.

Ceremony Eight: Joyful Family Togetherness

Gathering Words
For those of us blessed by a true partnership of love, we feel safe in the presence of our loved one. There is no need to hide any part of ourselves for fear of being judged or rejected. We can just be together from moment to moment, believing that those moments will thread together into eternity. There is a gentleness to the presence of love that softens life’s rough edges. It makes us somehow braver to go forth into the world knowing that the shelter of someone’s love awaits us at day’s end. We are most vulnerable when we love. We place our trust in another to honor us and to care for us, to treasure us and to receive our love. In love, we trust that the other will provide a safe haven in which we can experience and share the fullness of our being with one another. And in so doing, we trust that our lives will be far richer than had we chosen separate journeys through this world. We trust that our love will fill us full and make us wiser and more beautiful beings. We find that our union graces our lives with balance, a sweetness beyond any we have ever tasted, and a treasure beyond any measure of value we have ever known. Whenever we attend a wedding celebration, we are given the opportunity to reexamine our own lives. We might look at the radiance of the couple before us and be tempted to compare their obvious joy to the quality of our own primary relationships. The truth is that each one of us is a powerful creator in the dance of love and marriage. Each one of us, each moment of every day, has the choice to rededicate ourselves to one another or to withhold our love and caring. Love is powerful. It is simple. Yet it is very complex. In order for love to flow between two people, four things must be happening at once. Each person gives their love to the other and each is the receiver of the other’s love. Love requires us to be vulnerable to each other so that our love may flow back and forth through these four doors. There are so many ways that we can choose to be in relationship to each other. It is only through love that our spirits are lifted into a oneness that transcends all the dualities we experience in our lives. Loving is the only experience that enables us to see that our separation is only a condition of the physical and material level of being— that our souls can soar and merge as one. It is love that gives the deepest meaning to our lives. It is our highest calling, our greatest purpose, and our finest achievement. One of the great joys of the wedding day is the joining together of the couple’s families and friends. Bride and Groom are filled with gratitude to each and every one of you for the loving, caring, friendship, and support that you have given them throughout their lives. Being able to share their wedding day with you, surrounded by your love and support, is a treasured blessing. Knowing that your best wishes go forward with Bride and Groom strengthens them as they embark upon their journey as Marriage Partners.

A Letter Written and Read by Groom’s Son
Bride and Groom, I wish you every happiness on your wedding day. May it exceed your wildest dreams as a day filled with laughter, community, and fair skies, perfectly lovely in every detail. May this day live forever in your hearts as the beautiful beginning of your forever together. May the days that follow be a romantic, magical time, discovering the joy of living together as one. And as the days turn to weeks and months and years, take the time to enjoy the little things in life, like lavender sunsets and evening walks. May you both wake each morning to the happy surprise that you love one another even more than the day before. And may you gracefully learn life’s lessons of patience and compromise as you learn to trust each other’s feelings as your own. Your first year of marriage will be gone before you know it. Treasure each anniversary as a happy reminder of the vows that join your hearts, your minds, and your destinies. Perhaps your favorite anniversary gift will be to renew your vows each passing year. May your days “for better,” “for richer,” and “in health” far outnumber stormy days and times of trouble. As you live and love throughout the years, may you realize all the fulfillment marriage can bring, and know that all your days have been happier because you have shared them with each other.

Marriage Address
Officiant: Bride and Groom, demonstrate your love for yourselves and each other through caring and sharing. Stretch your love large enough to embrace whatever life brings to you. Let it fill you, surround you, comfort and protect you. Let your hearts be truly safe and at home with each other. Be generous in expressing your love. Be open to receive love from each other. Be flexible and forgiving with each other. Let your relationship be a catalyst that transforms you into the expression of your highest selves. Remember that your relationship is alive and ever-changing and that your love is a miracle, always inviting you to grow, to learn, to blossom, and to expand. How you regard each other and how you behave toward each other will determine the destiny of your union. It is your creation together, your sacred responsibility. Be kind to your relationship. Nourish it with tender loving care, and, above all else, keep your loving alive. Treat it as the precious blessing it is. Do not just be married or in love; but let your marriage be an active process of loving each other. The quality of your marriage is up to you. Both of you as individuals and together as a couple will choose what kind of marriage you will create, promote, and allow through your thoughts, feelings, and actions each day. May you always honor the sanctity of your union and thus be blessed beyond your wildest dreams.

Wedding Vows
Officiant: I now invite you all to join me in witnessing Bride’s and Groom’s Wedding Vows. Groom, do you take this woman as your wife and equal, your lover and your best friend; keeping yourself only unto her, for as long as you both shall live? Groom: Yes, I do. Officiant: Bride, do you take this man as your husband and equal, your lover and your best friend; keeping yourself only unto him, for as long as you both shall live? Bride: Yes, I do.

Ring Exchange
Officiant: May I have the rings, please? These rings are circles, and circles are symbolic of the sun, the earth, and the universe. As arms that embrace, these wedding rings you give and receive this day reflect the circle of shared love into which you enter as partners in life. May you always be blessed, and may you abide in peace and love. Groom, place this ring on Bride’s finger. Groom: As a sign of my love and my knowledge that in marrying you, I am becoming much more than I am, I give you this ring with the promise that I will love you and keep my heart open to you all the days of my life. Officiant: Bride, place this ring on Groom’s finger. Bride: As a sign of my love and my knowledge that in marrying you, I am becoming much more than I am, I give you this ring with the promise that I will love you and keep my heart open to you all the days of my life.

Final Blessing
Now, because you have chosen one another and pledged to love each other for all the days of your lives, before God and before this loving community of family and friends, it gives me great joy to pronounce you husband and wife. Congratulations! Mr. and Mrs. _____, you may now kiss as husband and wife for the first time!

Ceremony Nine: A Heartfelt Commitment Ceremony

Opening Prayer
Let us begin by welcoming the presence of God within each of us. As we lift into the loving that joins us together as one, let us surround Partner A and Partner B with our love, our prayers, and our best wishes for them on this day of celebration and throughout their journey together as life partners. We are here because we love Partner A and Partner B. We rejoice that they have found each other and that through each other, they have come to know the power of love as they have never known it before. We celebrate this union of their hearts, minds, bodies, and souls and wish them great joy.

Gathering Words
If you ask most couples who have a strong and abiding love what they like most about their partners, usually they will say that they don’t have to pretend to be anything Ceremony Eight: Joyful Family Togetherness—Text Worksheet other than what they are. They are able to express themselves without fear of being judged or rejected. There is room in the relationship for both of them to be unique individuals. They are free to surrender to the possibility of profound intimacy— to be known and loved without condition. For quite some time now, Partner A and Partner B have known and loved each other. They have been strengthened by their love and have received many blessings through its beauty and tenderness. They have learned that they can depend on each other and on the power of their love, and that through each other they are becoming better people. Today, they come before us to declare their commitment to each other as life partners, vowing to share the trials and triumphs of their shared life. They are declaring to each other and to all of us present that they will be by each other’s side no matter what life brings their way. Love has gathered us here today. We are here to celebrate the love that Partner A and Partner B have for each other, as well as the love that each of you has given them throughout their lives. As families and friends, you are the ones who have taught Partner A and Partner B how to love. You have shown them the blessings that come through loving one another. Having planted this seed of love in them, we are now gathered to support them as they embark upon their voyage of discovery as life partners. We are here to see them off on this journey. Let us also be there to see them through.

Friendship Circle
Partner A and Partner B have expressed to me the importance of actively involving all of you in their celebration today. So, we are going to share a ritual, the Friendship Circle, that originated in the Quaker tradition. In a moment, I’m going to ask you all to get up and form a circle around the chairs. Then, anyone who wishes to may share their thoughts and feelings about Partner A and Partner B joining their lives together. You may want to offer them your blessing or to share a story about them, or a reflection of a time you have shared together. Whatever comes forward is just fine. So now, let us form our circle of family and friends. (Everyone forms a circle and the Officiant invites guests to begin their sharing.)

Candle Ceremony
This flame you ignite before us today is strong and shining brightly. May you tend it well so that it may shine throughout your lives. May the warmth of the love it symbolizes forever bring you courage, reassurance, and comfort and fill you both with strength and joy.

Commitment Vows
Please join hands to share your vows. Partner A: I, Partner A, choose you, Partner B, in the presence of our friends and families, to be my partner from this time forward; to love you, to be a comfort and safe haven in your life, to hold you close, to listen deeply when you speak, to nourish you with my gentleness, to uphold you with my strength, to weigh the effects of the words I speak and the things I do, to never take you for granted, and to always give thanks for your presence in my life. Partner B: Dearest Partner A, I choose you to be my partner for life, to be by your side through our life’s journey together. You are my best friend. You are my precious love. You are the one I choose to spend my life with. I promise to cherish you, to honor you, to love and respect you. I promise to comfort and encourage you, when we are healthy and when we must endure sickness; when we are filled with the joys of success and when we are burdened with sorrows. Partner A, I promise to love you without condition for all the days of my life.

Ring Exchange
Officiant: May I have the rings, please? These rings are a symbol that has been carried forward from antiquity. They are simple and strong. They are round like the sun and the moon, like the eye, and like the embrace of love. As circles, rings remind us that as we give our love, so it comes back around to us, and we give and receive love around and around in the circle of love. May your commitment rings always serve as a reminder to you that your love, like the sun and moon, illumines; that your love, like the eye, lets you see clearly; and your love, like an embrace, is a grace upon this world. Partner A, place this ring on Partner B’s finger. Partner A: Partner B, with this ring I am giving you my promise to always love you, cherish you, honor you, and comfort you. I will always be grateful to God for your presence in my life. Officiant: Partner B, place this ring on Partner A’s finger. Partner B: Partner A, from the moment we met, I knew I wanted to spend my life with you. With this ring, I pledge myself to you, to our union, and to our everlasting love.

Final Blessing
Officiant: Now that Partner A and Partner B have joined themselves to each other by solemn vows, and by the giving and receiving of rings, I pronounce that they are partners for life. Congratulations and God bless you!

Ceremony Ten: Renewal of Marriage Vows

Gathering Words
We are gathered here together as families and friends to celebrate the fact that Wife and Husband have shared twenty-five years of marriage together. For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness, and in health, they have found the strength in their love and commitment to endure and to enjoy all that has come their way. They have not only shared a marriage, but have raised three sons as well: Son 1, Son 2, and Son 3. They have formed a family of individuals who love and care for each other and who can count on one another to be there when needed. So, Wife, Husband, and Son 1, Son2, and Son 3, today we celebrate you as a family as well. Wife and Husband, as Reverend _____ reminded you twenty-five years ago, “Marriage and the union it symbolizes who will witness our changes and growth, and who will affect these changes and shape our maturation as well. Wife and Husband have learned through their years together that the essence of a marriage relationship is the openness to another person in his or her entirety as lover, companion, and friend. They joined their lives together in search of something greater and richer, and created a life that transcended their solitary paths. They found that really loving one another with depth and passion is the greatest treasure. It has added richness and profound meaning to their lives. They have discovered that love is one of life’s greatest joys. By simply giving of themselves to each other, honestly and courageously, they have both been infinitely enhanced. As companions in day-to-day life, Wife and Husband have taken pleasure in sharing their time and their thoughts and feelings. They have delighted in reporting in on their separate adventures in the world, which have become the rhythm of life between these devoted partners as they have built their life together. In this marriage, two lives are intimately shared; and the blending of the two has not diminished either one. Rather, it has enhanced the individuality of each partner. As this marriage has matured, it has taken on a life of its own. And within it, Wife and Husband have individually evolved while growing in understanding of each other. This wonderful intimacy has mirrored a depth of inner knowing that has awakened levels of awareness they never knew existed. To be awakened in this way is a priceless gift. When we give of ourselves into a loving Marriage Partnership, we do not abandon ourselves; we do not shed our individuality; for that is what brought us together in the first place. Each of us knows that a marriage is not created by law or a ceremony; but rather it occurs in the hearts of two human beings. It grows out of loving, caring, and sharing ourselves with each other. And so it is that Wife and Husband have connected their hearts and souls one to the other, drawing upon the depths of their being, 245 into the deep well of human need— the need to live united, and loving, and complete. So, in witnessing this ceremony today, we are observing only an outward sign of an inward union that exists between Wife and Husband. Today, they have come before us to publicly reaffirm their love; to promise to continue to nurture themselves, each other, and this union; and to acknowledge its centrality in their lives. They do so knowing that marriage is at once the most tender, yet challenging, of all relations in life. One of the great joys of this day is the joining together as a community of family and friends. Wife and Husband are filled with gratitude to each and every one of you for the loving, caring, friendship, and support that you have given them throughout their marriage. Being able to share this day with you, surrounded by your love and support, is a treasured blessing.

Candle Ceremony
Every human being possesses a special light that burns within them. When two spirits, destined to be together, find each other, their streams of light flow together, and a single, brighter light goes forth from their union. When a family is formed as an extension of this union, the light is intensified by the light that flows from the children, as well. When people love one another with devotion and freedom, they kindle the awareness of that spark in each other as nothing else quite can do. Wife, Husband, and Son 1, Son 2, and Son 3, in your commitment to one another, you kindle one another’s divine light, and promise always to do your best to see that light in each other; to nurture and tend that spirit in one another as best you can, especially in difficult times, when it may be hardest to do, and the times when one of you may doubt or forget the existence of that light within one another. Wife, Husband, and Son 1, Son 2, and Son 3, take these candles now, and as you light them, symbolically enter the sacred trust to honor the divine spirit in one another. Now, bring your individual flames together, symbolizing the new and greater flame of your family, remembering that just as this union is made stronger by your strength as individuals, so are you as individuals made stronger by the strength of this union.

Renewal of Vows and Ring Exchange
Wife and Husband, please join hands to renew your marriage vows. You have traveled a long way together to reach this place today. In rededicating yourselves to each other, this marriage, and your family, you are affirming that: You are friends and choose to remain so. You are lovers and choose to remain so. You are individuals and choose to remain so. And you are partners and choose to remain so. Wife and Husband, as you place these rings on each other’s fingers, please reaffirm your marriage vows. Husband: Wife, I feel blessed to have found you as my partner and I look forward to sharing the rest of my life with you. Wife: Husband, I feel blessed to have found you as my partner and look forward to sharing the rest of my life with you.

Final Blessing
Officiant: Wife and Husband, twenty-five years ago you entered this marriage with hope, commitment, and a newfound love. Today, you stand before us reaffirming a commitment that has stood the test of time, that has strengthened you as individuals, and taught you about the power of love in your lives. It is an honor and a blessing for each of us to be here with you today, celebrating your love and commitment to each other and to your family. May you continue to find delight in each other, and may your love continue to grow and to nurture you all the days of your lives. I wish you the strength to continue to keep the vows you have made and the good fortune to find ever greater tenderness, joy, and comfort in the love you share. Support each other, your marriage, and family with patience, understanding, and honesty. May your home continue to be a place of peace and health, filled with blessings and joy. May you endlessly delight one another. May you love and fulfill each other always. Go in peace. Live in joy. Thanks be to God. Congratulations and God bless you! You may now kiss!

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