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Wedding Ceremony Choices

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Make a note of the choices you like, one from each section. When it is time for us to make decisions, you can copy and paste each choice into this form, or create an email or document to send to me, along with any wording changes you choose to make. Of course, you are free to write your own vows, and make many other choices than those shown here. For example, you may have a favorite poem or reading you prefer. These are only suggestions and guidelines to help us begin the process of creating your custom wedding ceremony. Click here if you are ready to send your choices to me

Opening of the Ceremony – Introduction (We are gathered here…)

Introduction 1

Welcome to all friends and family on this beautiful and joyful day, _____ and _____ have asked me to extend a very warm welcome to you on this their wedding day.

Each of you here joins me in witnessing the marriage of _____ and _____.  We are here to celebrate with them, and wish them every happiness for their future life together.

Many of us would easily describe _____ and _____ as being tender and loving. Yet on this occasion they are also being both brave and daring.

They dare to give truly of themselves, and do so with confidence that they will better who they are as individuals and as a couple. It has been said that marriage is not a union merely between two individuals — it is a union between two souls and the intention of that bond is to perfect the nature of both.

Introduction 2

Dear family and friends, I call upon all of you gathered here to be fellow witnesses with me in the marriage of _____ and _____.  You were each invited to join us today so that you may share in the joy that _____ and _____ are feeling as they pledge their love and commitment to each other.

Introduction 3

Dear family and friends, I call upon all of you gathered here to be fellow witnesses with me in the marriage of _____ and _____.  You were each invited to join us today so that you may share in the joy that _____ and _____ are feeling as they pledge their love and commitment to each other.

Love is a quality of spirit and an attitude of the emotions, but a marriage is a life’s work, a spiritual art form and it is both wonderful and powerful. Real love between two people is perhaps the highest experience that is possible to humankind.  Such love reduces selfishness, deepens personalities, but above all gives life new purpose and meaning.

We are incredibly happy to witness their joyous occasion of this marriage.

 

Charge To The Couple – Explanation of Significance of The Commitment

Charge to couple 1

Before you are joined in marriage in my presence and the presence of your family, friends and witnesses, I must remind you of the serious and binding nature of the relationship you are about to enter.

Marriage is a commitment to life and a commitment to find and bring out the best in each other during that life together. Marriage offers opportunities for sharing and growth that no other human relationship can equal, a joining that is promised for a lifetime.

Within the circle of its love, marriage encompasses all of life’s most important relationships. The two are united as each other’s best friend, confidant, lover, teacher, listener, and critic. Marriage understands and forgives the mistakes life is unable to avoid.  It encourages and nurtures new life, new experiences, and new ways of expressing love through the seasons of life.

When two people pledge to love and care for each other in marriage they create a spirit unique to themselves, which binds them closer than any spoken or written words. Marriage is a promise, a potential, made in the hearts of two people who love, which takes a lifetime to fulfill.

We who are witnessing your marriage, hope that despite the stresses inevitable in any life, your love and respect for each other, your trust and understanding of each other will increase your contentment and heighten your joy in living your lives in marriage.

Charge to couple 2

A good marriage is founded on respect, trust, love and confidence. We believe that those qualities, which have attracted you both to each other, can be best developed during a life spent together.

Before you are joined together in marriage in my presence and in the presence of these your family and witnesses, we wish to acknowledge that you both come to this ceremony as complete individuals, who each understands the profoundness of this lifetime commitment.

Charge to couple 3

Real love in marriage is something beyond the warmth and the excitement and romance of being deeply in love.  It is as much about the welfare and happiness of your marriage partner as about your own.  But real love is not being absorbed in each other.  Love makes burdens lighter because you divide them, it makes joys more intense because you share them.  It makes you stronger so you can reach out and become involved with life in ways you dared not risk alone.

The beautiful thing about love is that it’s an experience we share with the whole of humankind throughout the world.  And yet, to everyone who falls in love, it is the most unique, precious thing in the world.  A really happy marriage is founded on love.  There is nothing in life that love cannot change.  Love is, of its nature, unselfish, understanding and kind.  True love, too, is a commitment of heart and mind.  There can be no stronger bond to ensure a happy married life.

Harmonious wedded life is a precious gain to both partners because, even though marriage increases the scope of responsibility, it adds the dimension of love to life, giving it new meaning and purpose.

On this day, _____ and _____ the day of your marriage, you are standing somewhat apart from the rest of us as a symbol of the open expression of your love.  This is as it should be, but love is not meant to be the possession of two people alone.  Rather it should be the source of a common energy, which gives you the strength to live your lives with joy, happiness and with courage.

 

Declaration of Intent (The I Do’s … Informing Witnesses That Intentions Are Made Freely)

I Do 1

We gather today, to celebrate the love that _____ and _____ have for each other, and to witness their intentions to commit their lives to each another.

_____, will you take _____ to be your wife, will you continue to be loving and caring, to comfort her, to protect your love for her, cherishing her, honoring and respecting her and your promises to her throughout all the events of your lives together?

_____, will you take _____ to be your husband, will you continue to be loving and caring, to comfort him, to protect your love for him, cherishing him, honoring and respecting him and your promises to him throughout all the events of your lives together?

I Do 2

We are here today, to celebrate the love, which _____ and _____ have for each other, and to recognize their decision to commit their lives to one another.

Do you _____, take _____, to be your lawfully wedded wife, to share your life openly, together with her in sickness and in health, in happiness and in sorrow, in good times and in bad, to cherish and love for all of your lives?

Do you _____, take _____, to be your lawfully wedded husband, to share your life openly, together with him in sickness and in health, in happiness and in sorrow, in good times and in bad, to cherish and love for all of your lives?

 

Exchange of Vows (Promises Made To Each Other)

Vows 1

I take you, _____, to be my wife/husband and to share my life with you.

I will be faithful to you and each rising sun will find you by my side.

I will treasure our new life above all else.

All that I am, and all that I ever hope to be, is yours forever.

Vows 2

Officiant: _____ and _____ will now say their vows.

Spouse 1: _____, I am proud to take you as my husband/wife.  For all of the time we have been together, there has always been the kind of love and understanding which is only shared when there is true love.  You have helped me triumph over challenges presented, encouraged my personal growth and boosted my self-esteem.  You have helped me become the person I am today, and with your help I will be a better man, tomorrow than I was yesterday.

I love the way you love and care for me.

I love the way you trust and totally believe in me.

I love the way you always see the very best in me.

Today as we begin our lives as husband and wife.

I totally commit myself to you.

Spouse 2: _____, I take you as my husband/wife.  To say I love you is not enough.  To try to condense the depth of my feelings into a few words is impossible.

It doesn’t tell of the respect I have for you as an individual,

Nor how I appreciate how tender and caring you really are;

Nor the joy I find in your warm laughter;

Nor the strength you give when I need it the most;

Nor the pleasure I feel in your gentle touch.

But if to say, “I love you” means all these things. Then let me say “I love you more each day”.

Vows 3

Officiant:

A marriage, truly, is composed of the promises made and kept by two individuals.  Today _____ and _____ stand before us to publicly declare their love and to share with us their marriage promises. _____, what promises do you make?

(Each person in turn says this):

I promise to love _____ with all my heart and mind and strength. I promise to be faithful to her/him in my thoughts, my words and my actions for all the days of my life.  I promise to consider his/her welfare and happiness before I make any decisions and I promise to offer him/her comfort, encouragement, companionship, and love throughout our lives.

Vows 4

Today I give myself to you and ask for your tomorrows.  I promise to love you more than anyone else can; to give you my strength and ask for yours in return; to help you and support you.  I give you all my trust and ask you to accept me as your husband/wife.

Vows 5

_____, I promise to love you,

I promise to protect you,

I promise to be faithful to you,

for all the days of my life.

I will soothe your hurts,

I will share your happy moments.

I will do all in my power,

to make you as happy as I am today,

for all the tomorrows yet to come.

Vows 6

Today I give myself to you and ask for your tomorrows.  We don’t know what challenges lie ahead.  We know only that we will face them together. Because of you, I am a better person than I once was. I promise to love you more than anyone else can; to give you my strength and ask for yours in return; to help you in good times and in bad; to try to always see the good in you.  I give you all my trust and will try to be worthy of your love and trust. Before these witnesses, I vow to be loyal to you in every way, to comfort you, to cherish you, and always to love you.

Vows with Children

Officiant invites any children to come forward.

The applicable spouse says:

I have pledged my love to you and promised to be a faithful wife/husband. Now I want to add another, different kind of vow. I promise to love (Children’s Names) for all of our days and to treat them as if they were my own. I gladly accept the obligations that go along with this pledge. I love (Children’s Names) and want them to be a part of my life forever.

 

Readings and Poems

Readings 1

A Walled Garden

Author Unknown

Your marriage should have within it a secret and protected place, open to you alone.

Imagine it to be a walled garden, entered by a door to which only you have the key.

Within this garden you will cease to be a mother, father, employee, homemaker or any other roles which you fulfill in daily life.

In that place, you are yourselves, two people who love each other.

In that place, you can concentrate on one another’s needs.

So take your hands and go to your garden.

The time you spend together is not wasted but invested… invested in your future and the nurture of your love.

Readings 2

Humorous Reading

Dr. Seuss

We are all a little weird,

And life’s a little weird,

And when we find someone whose

Weirdness is compatible with ours,

We join up with them and fall in

Mutual weirdness and call it Love.

Readings 3

From “The Irrational Season”

by Madeleine L’Engle:
…Ultimately, there comes a moment when a decision must be made. Ultimately, two people who love each other must ask themselves how much they hope for as their love grows and deepens, and how much risk they are willing to take…

It is indeed a fearful gamble…Because it is the nature of love to create, a marriage itself is something which has to be created, so that, together we become a new creature.

To marry is the biggest risk in human relations that a person can take…If we commit ourselves to one person for life this is not, as many people think, a rejection of freedom; rather it demands the courage to move into all the risks of freedom, and the risk of love which is permanent; into that love which is not possession, but participation…

It takes a lifetime to learn another person…When love is not possession, but participation, then it is part of that co-creation which is our human calling…

Readings 4

Love

by Roy Croft

I love you not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you.

I love you, not only for what you have made of yourself, but for what you are making of me.

I love you for the part of me that you bring out.

I love you for putting your hand into my heaped-up heart and passing over all the foolish, weak things that you can’t help seeing there.

And for drawing out into the light all the beautiful belongings that no one else had looked quite far enough to find.

I love you because you are helping me to make of the lumber of my life, not a tavern, but a temple.

Out of the works of my every day, not a reproach, but a song.

I love you because you have done more than any creed could have done to make me good, and more than any fate could have done to make me happy.

You have done it without a touch, without a word, without a sign.

You have done it by being yourself.

Readings 5

Love is Always

by Melissa Jaggard

Love is an ocean of discovery

A multitude of experiences to treasure

It is the alliance of two lives for always

Not to become one life, but to be two hearts beating in time

Love will hold you near to one another

So that you never feel alone

It will keep you warm within

So that there never be frost around your hearts

Love will grow, will ripen and be ever strong

So that there never be emptiness in your souls

Love is the most precious gift to bestow

A resplendent gift to receive

And MARRIAGE is the promise to cherish your love

To guide its path and never let its glory pass unnoticed

Love is the rapture of this day that will be with you always

Fulfilling you, shining through you ALWAYS

Readings 6

Love Is…

by Ann Landers

Love is friendship that has caught fire.

It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving.

It is loyalty through good and bad times.

It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses.

Love is content with the present, it hopes for the future, and it doesn’t brood over the past.

It’s the day-in and day-out chronicle of irritations, problems, compromises, small disappointments, big victories and working toward common goals.

If you have love in your life, it can make up for a great many things that are missing.

If you don’t have love in your life, no matter what else there is, it’s not enough.

Readings 7

Marriage is a Promise of Love

by Edmund O’Neill

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

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

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

Readings 8

Marriage is love

by Gloria Matthew

If two are caring as they are sharing life’s hopes and fears.

If the music of laughter outweighs sadness and tears,

Marriage is togetherness.

If both derive pleasure from the mere presence of each other,

yet when parted no jealousies restrict, worry or smother,

Marriage is freedom.

If achievements mean more when they benefit two,

and consideration is shown with each point of view,

Marriage is respect.

And if togetherness, freedom and respect are combined

with a joy that words can never fully define, then

Marriage is love.

Readings 9

Quiet Thoughts of the Seasons

by Hugh Prather

The quiet thoughts of two people a long time in love

Touch lightly, Like birds nesting in each other’s warmth

You will know them by their laughter

But to each other they speak mostly through their solitude.

If they find themselves apart, they may dream of sitting undisturbed

In each other’s presence, of wrapping themselves warmly in each other’s ease.

Officiant: _____ and _____, may each year bring rebirth to the spirit of your marriage, as you grow together, and may your life always be a dance to the joyous music of your love.

Readings 10

To Love is Not to Possess

by James Kavanaugh

To love is not to possess,

To own or imprison,

Nor to lose one’s self in another.

Love is to join and separate,

To walk alone and together,

To find a laughing freedom

That lonely isolation does not permit.

It is finally to be able

To be who we really are

No longer clinging in childish dependency

Nor docilely living separate lives in silence,

It is to be perfectly one’s self

And perfectly joined in permanent commitment

To another–and to one’s inner self.

Love only endures when it moves like waves,

Receding and returning gently or passionately,

Or moving lovingly like the tide

In the moon’s own predictable harmony.

Because finally, despite a child’s scars

Or an adult’s deepest wounds,

They are openly free to be

Who they really are–and always secretly were,

In the very core of their being

Where true and lasting love can alone abide.

Readings 11

Touched by an Angel

Maya Angelou

We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.

Love arrives
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.

We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love’s light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.

Readings 12

What is Love

Author Unknown

Sooner or later we begin to understand that love is more than verses on valentines and romance in the movies.

We begin to know that love is here and now, real and true, the most important thing in our lives.

For love is the creator of our favorite memories and the foundation of our fondest dreams.

Love is a promise that is always kept, a fortune that can never be spent, a seed that can flourish in even the most unlikely of places.

And this radiance that never fades, this mysterious and magical joy, is the greatest treasure of all – one known only by those who love.

 

Ring Exchange

Rings 1

Officiant: From ancient times, the circle was known to be a symbol of eternity–a sign that life, happiness, and love have no beginning and no end. A wedding ring, a circle made of strong metal, was placed on the third finger of the left hand, the ring finger, because it was traditionally believed that this finger was a direct connection to the heart — the perfect spot to place a symbol, representing eternal love and commitment. The vena amoris, that is, the vein of love, runs directly from the “ring finger” to the heart.  Please repeat after me:

Spouse 1 and 2: With this ring / I thee wed. / Take it as a sign / of my everlasting / and unconditional love / with all that I am / and all that I have / from this day forward / as your husband/wife.

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

Rings 2

Officiant: From ancient times, the circle was known to be a symbol of eternity–a sign that life, happiness, and love have no beginning and no end. A wedding ring, a circle made of strong metal, was placed on the third finger of the left hand, the ring finger, because it was traditionally believed that this finger was a direct connection to the heart — the perfect spot to place a symbol, representing eternal love and commitment. The vena amoris, that is, the vein of love, runs directly from the “ring finger” to the heart.  Please repeat after me:

Spouse 1 and 2: With this ring, I give you my heart / I promise from this day forward, / You will not walk alone. / My heart will be your shelter, / And my arms will be your home.

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

 

Special Ceremonies

Unity Candle 1

Now, _____ and _____ will commemorate their marriage by lighting a Unity Candle.

 

[The couple walks over to the candles.]

 

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

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

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

[The couple returns to original positions]

Sand Ceremony 1

_________ and _________, today you are making a life-long commitment to share the rest of your lives with each other.

Your relationship is symbolized through the pouring of these two individual containers of sand; each representing all that you were, all that you are, and all that you will ever be.

Each one holds its own unique beauty, strength, and character. They can stand on their own and be whole, without the need of anything else. When the two are blended together they represent an entirely new and extraordinary love relationship. Each grain of sand brings to the mixture a lasting beauty that forever enriches the combination.

_____ and _____, please pick up your individual containers of sand.

These represent your lives to this moment; individual and unique.

_____ and _____, blend the sand together into a new container.

As you now combine your sand together, your lives also join together as one.

The life that each of you have experienced until now, individually, will hereafter be inseparably united, for the two shall become one. Just as these grains of sand can never be separated and poured again into the individual containers, so will your marriage be.

Handfasting Ceremony 1

As this knot is tied, so are your lives now bound.

Woven into this cord, imbued into its very fibers, are all the hopes of your friends and family, and of yourselves, for your new life together. With the fashioning of this knot, I tie all the desires, dreams, love, and happiness wished here in this place to your lives for as long as love shall last.

In the joining of hands and the fashion of a knot, so are your lives now bound, one to another.

By this cord you are thus bound to your vow. May this knot remain tied for as long as love shall last.

Two entwined in love, bound by commitment and fear, sadness and joy, by hardship and victory, anger and reconciliation, all of which brings strength to this union. Hold tight to one another through both good times and bad, and watch as your strength grows.

 

Pronouncement of Marriage (By the authority vested in me…)

Pronouncement 1

_____ and _____, in the presence of your family and friends who have joined you to share this moment of joy, you have declared your deep love and affection for each other.

You have stated your wish to live together, always open to a deeper, richer friendship and partnership.

You have formed your own union, based on respect and honor.

Therefore, by the power vested in me by the State of Louisiana, it is my joyful responsibility to officially acknowledge your union as “Husband and Wife.” You may now seal your marriage with a kiss.

Pronouncement 2

You have declared before all of us that you will live together in marriage.  You have made special promises to each other, which have been symbolized by the joining of hands, taking of vows and the giving and receiving of rings.

By the authority vested in me by the state of Louisiana, I now pronounce you to be husband and wife.  Now that the ceremony is over and the experience of living day by day is about to begin, I ask you to first kiss, and then go out and live your lives together joyfully!

 

Presentation of The Couple (With great pleasure, I introduce Mr. & Mrs. …)

Presentation 1

Ladies and Gentlemen, family and friends, it is my pleasure to present, for the first time anywhere, Mr. And Mrs. _____ and _____ ______!

Presentation 2

Ladies and Gentlemen, for those of you who have come to witness this union, it is my pleasure to present the newly united couple, _____ and _____ _____.

Have you made a note of your choices? If so, are you ready to send your choices to me? Click here to do so.

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