A Marvelous Moxie Marriage: The Ceremony

The Wedding Ceremony. The Main Event. The Reason for the Season, so to speak.

When I laugh, I REALLY laugh. Apparently, I thought our ceremony was hilarious.

When I laugh, I REALLY laugh. Apparently, I thought our ceremony was hilarious.

To say the wedding ceremony is an important part of your wedding day is to totally understate the obvious. It is THE reason for the day. It deserves your attention and reverence.

I know it’s common to get swept up in The Pretty, and The Flowers and The Details while you’re planning. I know, because I’ve been there. Your ceremony needs your attention, and not last-minute-cramming kind of attention. Your full and undivided attention. Especially if you decide you want to write it yourselves.

Which is exactly what we did.

Neither one of us feel attached to our religions of origin, so we knew we didn’t want a religious ceremony. In fact, I didn’t want to mention God (or any of his incarnations) at all.

Taking inspiration from both A Practical Wedding (the website, not the book, although the book is great too!) and The Wedding Ceremony Planner: The Essential Guide to the Most Important Part of Your Wedding Day
by Judith Johnson, we stole borrowed liberally from those who had done this before.


So, in the spirit of “paying it forward”, here is our wedding ceremony, with our personal vows removed. (Those are just for us, and for those who were able to join us on our day.)

In all honesty, I don’t remember exactly which parts we wrote ourselves and which parts we borrowed. If you are looking for inspiration, Judith Johnson’s book is a wonderful place to start.

I’ve omitted our names, and just gone with Bride & Groom. (No reason in the world while it can’t be Bride & Bride or Groom & Groom. I’m just feeling lazy right now. True Story.)

Including the readings, and the song, our ceremony clocked in at a cool 29 minutes.

Let’s get to it!

(Opening)

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”

Please be seated.

(Gathering Words)

Welcome family, friends.

Weddings are 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 Husband and Wife.

A wedding celebration gives all of us the opportunity to think of our own relationships. To look at our own happiness. As we look upon the love that Groom and Bride share we might be inspired to look at our own lives and the quality of our own relationships.  The truth is, that each one of us is a powerful creator in the dance of love — in the waltz of marriage.  Each moment of every day gives us the choice to rededicate ourselves to one another and to share our love and passion.

It is love that gives the deepest meaning to our lives. It is our highest calling, our greatest purpose, and our finest achievement.

(Readings/Performance)

At this time I would like to invite Groom’s sister, X, to please come forward for our first reading.

(X reads from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin)

For our musical interlude, we have Y on the piano…

(Y plays You’re My Home)

Now we welcome the mother of the bride, Z, with our final reading.

(Z reads from The Art of A Good Marriage)

(In Memory Of)

At this time, we would like to honor the memory of Groom’s parents:
Mom and Dad,

and Bride’s grandparents: Grandma & Grandpa
who are here today in our hearts.

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

(Charge for the Couple)

Bride and Groom,
by entering into the covenant of marriage today you are declaring your faith in each other.
You have indeed earned this faith and trust
by creating a sound foundation for this marriage.

Your task now is to build on this solid base.
Imbue your loving partnership
with the caring, trust, vulnerability, and kindness that are essential to a healthy marriage.

In dedicating yourselves to these values
you will create a marriage that is a source of joy, in which you may both grow in love
and find fulfillment.

Know that you will be tested
by the routines of daily life,
by chance and circumstance,
and by the full cycle of the seasons of life.

Know that together you must encounter life’s sorrow no less than its sweetness,
its frustration along with its grace and ease,
its disappointments along with its fulfillment.

Enter your marriage
confident in the love and trust
you have already created between you.
As you go forward in your journey together as husband and wife,
devote yourselves to living
according to the vows you share today.

Keep your love alive
with your openness to each other
and your enthusiasm for each other. You hold each other’s hearts
in the palms of your hands.
Be gentle caregivers, honoring this trust.

Let this be a marriage
that enhances your individuality
and allows you to know
the greatest gift that is given to us—
the ability to love one another and to be loved.

Is it in this spirit
and for this purpose
that you have come here to be joined together?

(Bride and Groom answer: “Yes, it is.”)

(Community Declaration of Support)

Friends and Family, I now ask that you stand as you are able, and that, Bride and Groom, you turn to face your family and loved ones.  Your response to the following questions is: “We Will”

(Audience stands)

As family and friends, you form a community of support and love that surrounds Bride and Groom and will continue to sustain them as they move forward in marriage. Each of you, by your presence here today, is being called upon to uphold them in loving each other. Will you, surround this couple in love, offering them the joys of your friendship? Will you support them in their relationship? Will you encourage Bride and Groom with your kindness and loving hearts, and honor this marriage into which they have come to be joined today?

(Guests Respond: We will! – Note: They may also respond after every question, who knows?)

Thank you, you may be seated.

(Audience sits)

(Into to Vows)  

Groom and Bride, look at one another and remember this moment in time.  Before this moment you have been many things to one another – acquaintance, friend, companion, and teacher. You’ve shared the stage together, which led us to this very moment today.

Now you shall say a few words that take you across a threshold of life and things will never quite be the same between you. For after these vows you shall say to the world; this is my husband, this is my wife.

Groom and Bride will now share their personal vows.

(Personal Vows, Bride)

(Personal Vows, Groom)

(Traditional Vows)- (These may have to be “repeat after me” if we don’t/can’t memorize them)

Bride: (I, Bride, choose you, Groom,
in the presence of our friends and families, to be my husband and 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 consider you in my thoughts, words and actions,
to never take you for granted,
and to always give thanks
for your presence in my life.)

Groom: (I, Groom, choose you, Bride,
in the presence of our friends and families, to be my wife and 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 consider you in my thoughts, words, and actions,
to never take you for granted,
and to always give thanks
for your presence in my life.)

Bride, do you take Groom
to be your lawfully wedded husband, to love and to cherish, forsaking all others,
from this day forward?

(Bride says “I do”)

Groom, do you take Bride
to be your lawfully wedded wife, to love and to cherish, forsaking all others,
from this day forward?

(Groom says “I do”)

(Intro to the Rings)

May I have the rings please?

The wedding ring is a circle
symbolizing the sun, and the earth, and the universe.

It is a symbol of wholeness, perfection, peace, and infinity.

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.

(Ring Exchange) This may also be a “repeat after me”.

(Groom: Bride, I give you this ring as a symbol of my vow, and with all
that I am, and all that I have, I honor you.) (gives ring)

(Bride: Groom, I give you this ring as a symbol of my vow, and with all
that I am, and all that I have, I honor you.) (gives ring)

(Final Blessing)

Groom and Bride,
our best wishes go forward from this day with you.
We wish for you a fulfilling life,
rich in caring and in happiness.
We wish for you a gentle and peaceful life
that nurtures and comforts you.
We wish for you a noble life,
which reflects your honesty, kindness, and integrity.
We wish for you an adventuresome life,
exploring the fullness of your own and each other’s true selves.

Bride and Groom,
there is a wonderful life ahead of you. Live it fully.
Love its changes and choices.
Let life amaze you and bring you great joy.

(Pronouncement)

And now, by the power vested in me by the State of Pennsylvania,
I now pronounce you Husband and Wife.
You may now seal your union with a kiss!

I now present, for the very first time, Groom and Bride!

Married people!

Married people!

Bob the Builder and I are really proud of our ceremony. We wanted it to be an authentic representation of who we are as a unit, and I think we totally accomplished that. At first, it was daunting to write. But we took our time and we tackled it together. Then we put it away for a week. Then, we read it aloud and started to edit. Then we put it away for another week. Then, we proofread it. THEN, we gave it to our officiant. Then he gave us feedback. It’s a process. Embrace the process.

Anyone else writing their own ceremony & vows? Let me hear from you in the comments!

Next time, we will talk about ceremony music & readings!

All photos by the awesome Marisa & John at Redfield Photography

This post contains affiliate links.

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