Friday, October 10, 2008

The Ceremony - check!

Last night we met with our friend, who will be acting as officiant, to go over our ceremony. With all there is in the planning, it's easy to forget that this is why we'll really be there. We decided to go with a pretty traditional service, but did add the Hand Blessing Ceremony after we exchange rings. Also, I really thought that Linda and Tai's service was so beautiful - so I borrowed a few of their lines for ours.
Here is what we came up with:

Opening Words
Family and friends, I welcome you to this day of celebration. Chris and Rachel have invited us here today to share in the growth of their love and their declaration of lifelong commitment to each other in marriage. Your blessings, support, and encouragement are important to this union, not only now, but in the days and years to come.

Blessing of the Marriage
Who gives this woman to be married to this man?
Her mother and I do (my father)

Marriage is a commitment to life, to the best that two people can find and bring out in each other. It 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. A wife and a husband are each other's best friend, confidant, teacher, listener, and critic. There may come times when one partner is heartbroken or ailing, and the love of the other may be the strength necessary for existence. 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 throughout a lifetime. 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 fulfull.

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.
wedding prayer by Robert Louis Stevenson)
Lord, behold our friends and family here assembled. We thank you for this place in which we dwell, for the love that unites us, for the peace accorded us this day, for the hope with which we expect the morrow, for the health, the work, the food, and the bright skies that make our lives delightful; for our friends in all parts of the earth. Amen.

Declaration of Intent
We are gathered here today to celebrate Chris and Rachel and to recognize their intentions to become husband and wife. They do so with love and faith in their hearts and with the truest of intentions.
Chris, do you take Rachel to be your wife? Do you promise to love her, respect her and care for her, under all circumstances, and to be a faithful husband to her for as long as you both shall live?
I do (Chris)
Rachel, do you take Chris to be your husband?
Do you promise to love him, respect him and care for him, under all circumstances, and to be a faithful wife to him for as long as you both shall live?
I do (Rachel)

Blessing of the family
(this is where our mothers will each say a short piece to us - to be determined)

Exchange of vows
Chris and Rachel, please join hands and repeat these words after me:

I, Chris, take you Rachel, to be my wife -

-to have and to hold, from this day forward

-for better, for worse

-for richer, for poorer

-in sickness and in health

-in joy and in sorrow

-to love and to cherish

-and to be faithful to you alone

-for as long as we both shall live.


I, Rachel, take you Chris, to be my husband...

Exchange of the Rings
May I please have the rings?
Rings sit quietly on our fingers, reminding us of the power of love and the pledge of the wearer to his or her partner to be faithful and true, and to nurture their love so it will last a lifetime. Rachel and Chris, may these rings be for you always your most treasured adornment and may the love they symbolize be your most treasured possession.

Chris, please take this ring and place it on Rachel's left hand and repeat after me:
-Rachel, I give you this ring as a symbol of my unconditional love
-with all that I am
-and all that I have
-I pledge my life to you
May this ring always remind you that from this day forward, you will be surrounded by my love.

Rachel, please take this ring and place it on Chris's left hand and repeat after me:

The Hand Blessing
Now, as Shakespeare said, please "join your hands, and with your hands, your hearts".
-These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, that are holding your hands on your wedding day, as you promise to love and care for each other today, tomorrow and forever.
-These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it, that will hold and comfort you when fear or grief confront you. These are the hands that will wipe away tears from your eyes, both tears of sorrow and, much more commonly, tears of joy.
-These are the hands that will work alongside yours as together you build your future. May these hands always reach out with love, tenderness, and respect. And may these hands continue to build a loving relationship that lasts a lifetime.

"Blessing for a Marriage" (by James Dillet Freeman)
Let us pray:
May your marriage bring you all the exquisite excitements a marriage should bring... and may life also grant you patience, tolerance, and understanding.
May you always need one another... not so much to fill your emptiness as to help you to know your fullness.
May you want one another, yet not out of lack.
May you entice one another, yet not compel one another.
May you succeed in all important ways with one another... and may you never fail in the little graces.
May you look for things to praise... often say, "I love you!"... and take no notice of small faults.
If you have quarrels that push you apart, may both of you hope to have good sense enough to take the first step back.
May you enter into the mystery which is the awareness of one another's presence, a presence that is no more physical than spiritual ... that is warm and near when you are side by side... and warm and near when you are in separate rooms... or even distant cities.
May you have happiness... and may you find it making one another happy.
May you have love... and may you find it loving one another!

In God's presence and before your family and friends, you have made your promises to each other to be committed and faithful in your life together. In as much as you have pledged you love to one another, I now declare you to be husband and wife.

You may kiss the bride!

Introduction of the couple
It gives me great pleasure to introduce to you Mr. and Mrs. Chris and Rachel_______

So there it is!!! I'm very excited - I think it will be a beautiful and meaningful service. And different than others we've been to. I'm so glad that we have this important part figured out now.... (and crossed of the 2-page list!)


Linda said...

Awesome. I'm thrilled that some of our ceremony spoke to you and you decided to include it in yours. Our friends Erin & Sean did the same thing! It's wonderful to hear. Thank you!

Amanda said...

Good choice. I love it!

Rev. Jeri said...

Beautiful ceremony! (I'm a wedding officiant in California, and I enjoyed reading your ceremony.)

Amanda said...

Love it even more now! ;)

The Shakespeare/hand blessing part is my favorite. I'm torn between incorporating a unity sand ceremony or something like you're doing into our ceremony.

Jenny.Lee said...

yay! you have are doing the hand ceremony too. everything about your ceremony sounds wonderful!

Guilty Secret said...

Wow... I normally just read a few lines of these things then give up but I really felt pulled in by this. Fantastic.

Broke-ass Bride said...

Happy, Beautiful, Meaningful. Thanks for sharing, and congrats on this milestone!

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