Our Wedding Ceremony

wedding 7One of the questions I’ve been asked the most since my wedding in July has been how did I come up with my wedding ceremony. Well, it wasn’t super hard, I have to say. My primary reference was The Wedding Ceremony Planner, by Judith Johnson. I had the 2005 version, but there’s a new version out this year, which is what I linked to. It was indispensable for understanding the organizational paradigm of a wedding ceremony. I also took some of the excerpts that I liked best from their samples and rewrote them to work for Alex and I.

We each selected our own readings, mine was a passage from The Velveteen Rabbit which is my favorite childhood storybook. Alex picked a section of Douglas Adams’ So Long and Thanks for All the Fish, which I sort of laughed at at first, but then realized how quintessentially him it really is.

So, without further ado, here’s our ceremony. Feel free to use any parts of it that speak to you on your special day!

Our Ceremony

Processional

Gathering Words

Officiant: Love has gathered us here today. We are here to celebrate the love that Lindsay and Alex have for one another, as well as the love that all of you have shared with them throughout their lives. As their family and friends, you have shown them the best of what love can build, and taught them how to build that love in their own lives.

Each of us here today knows that a marriage is not created by a law or a ceremony; rather that it occurs in the hearts of two human beings. It grows out of loving, caring, and sharing ourselves with one another. You have shown them the blessings that come from a life lived in love, and inspired them to connect their hearts and souls, one to the other.

So, in witnessing this ceremony today, we are all observing only an outward sign of an inward union that already exists between Lindsay and Alex.

Hello, and welcome to the celebration of Lindsay and Alex.

Declaration of Support

Officiant: This beautiful couple didn’t get here all by themselves. They have been loved and cared for by you, their families, depending on you for sustenance, knowledge, guidance, and love. Without you, this day would not be possible. From this day forward, they will likely need your support in different ways, but they will still depend on that support.

With this in mind, I ask [Bride's Parents], as representatives of your family: Will you take Alex into your family and into your hearts?

Bride’s Parents: We will

Officiant: [Groom's Parents], as representatives of your families: will you take Lindsay into your families and into your hearts?

Groom’s Parents: We will.

Officiant: May the blessing of their marriage extend throughout your families from this day forward.

Readings

Officiant: Lindsay has asked her aunt and godmother, [name], to read a passage from The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams, [name]?

Bride’s Aunt: {My Aunt said something brief here about how happy she was to be a part of our day.}

“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but Really loves you, then you become Real.”

“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get all loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

“I suppose you are real?” said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive. But the Skin Horse only smiled.

“The Boy’s Uncle made me Real,” he said. “That was a great many years ago; but once you are Real you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always.”

Officiant: Thank you. Alex has asked his cousin and godmother, [name] to read a passage from So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, by Douglas Adams, [name]?

Groom’s Cousin:

They looked at each other for a moment.

The moment became a longer moment, and suddenly it was a very long moment, so long one could hardly tell where all the time was coming from.

For Arthur, who could usually contrive to feel self-conscious if left alone for long enough with a Swiss Cheese plant, the moment was one of sustained revelation. He felt on the sudden like a cramped and zoo-born animal who awakes one morning to find the door to his cage hanging quietly open and the savannah stretching grey and pink to the distant rising sun, while all around new sounds are waking.

He wondered what the new sounds were as he gazed at her openly wondering face and her eyes that smiled with a shared surprise.

He hadn’t realized that life speaks with a voice to you, a voice that brings you answers to the questions you continually ask of it, had never consciously detected it or recognized its tones till it now said something it had never said to him before, which was “Yes.”

Officiant: Thank you.

Marriage Address

Officiant: You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes to this moment of yes you have been making promises and agreements in an informal way.

All those conversations that were held riding in a car or over a meal or on the couch while trying to decide on a movie to watch — all those sentences that began with “When we’re married” and continued with “I will and you will and we will”- those late night conversations that included “someday” and “somehow” and “maybe”- and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding.

The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, “You know all those things we’ve promised and hoped and dreamed? Well, I meant it all, every word.”

Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another- acquaintance, friend, companion, teammate, partner, and even teacher, for you have learned much from one another in these last few years. Now you shall say a few words that take you across a threshold of life, and things will never quite be the same again.

After these vows, you will say to the world, this is my husband, this is my wife.

Vows & Ring Exchange

Officiant: Lindsay, please repeat after me: I, Lindsay, take you, Alex

To be none other than yourself.

I promise to stand by your side. To encourage you, and be open and honest with you;

To laugh with you, and cry with you. To always love and honor you.

Both freed and bound by our love,

For as long as we both shall live.” (places ring)

Alex, please repeat after me: I, Alex, take you, Lindsay

To be none other than yourself.

I promise to stand by your side. To encourage you, and be open and honest with you;

To laugh with you, and cry with you. To always love and honor you.

Both freed and bound by our love,

For as long as we both shall live.” (places ring)

Pronouncement

Officiant: Lindsay and Alex, we have heard your promise to share your lives in marriage. We recognize and respect the vows you have made here this day before each one of us as a witness.

In the honesty and sincerity of what you have said and done here today, and in accordance with the laws of the state of Ohio it is my honor and delight to declare you henceforth to be husband and wife you may seal your vows with a kiss.

Final Blessing & Announcements/Instructions

Officiant: Now, may the love that has brought you together continue to grow and enrich your lives. May you meet with courage the problems that arise to challenge you, and may your relationship always be one of love and trust.

May the happiness you share today be with you always, and may every word you have pledged here be a living truth in your lives.

Music starts, recessional

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