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One. When Love Beckons

Minister:
We are gathered here today to witness the coming together of two people, ____________ and ____________, whose hearts and spirits are entwined as one. They now desire to profess before all the world their intention henceforth to walk the road of life together.

To these two young people, this marriage signifies the birth of a new spirit, a spirit which is a part of each of us, yet not of any one of us alone. This "birth of spirit" reminds us of spring, the season when all life is reborn and looms again. It is appropriate, therefore, that this wedding of ____________ and ____________ be in the spring, and that it be under the open sky, where we are close to the earth and to the unity of life, the totality of living things of which we are part.

The beliefs and thoughts about love which motivate these two people are perhaps best expressed in the words of poet Kahlil Gibran:

"You were born to be together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the wings of death scatter your days.
Ay, you shall be together even in your silent memory.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heaven dance between you.
Love one another, but make not a bondage of love.
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup, but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread, but eat not of the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone, though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping,
For only the hand of life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together,
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in shadow."

Minister to Bride:
Do you ____________, knowing this man's love for you and returning it, realizing his strengths and learning from them, recognizing his weaknesses and helping him to overcome them, take ____________ to be your lawfully wedded husband?

Bride:
I do.

Minister:
Place the ring on his finger.

Minister to Groom:
Do you ____________, knowing this woman's love for you and returning it, realizing her strengths and learning form them, recognizing her weaknesses and helping her to overcome them, take ____________ to be your lawfully wedded wife?

Groom:
I do.

Minister:
Place the ring on her finger. Let these rings serve as locks–not binding you together–but as keys, unlocking the secrets of your hearts for each other to know, and thus bringing you closer together forever.

And now ____________ and ____________, seeking the fulfillment of love and marriage, find again that the poet Gibran speaks for them:

"Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks to another day of loving.
To rest at the
noon
hour and meditate love's ecstasy;
To return home eventide with gratitude, and then sleep with a prayer
For the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips."

I now pronounce you husband and wife.


 

Two. May This Day Shine Eternally

Minister:
____________ and ____________, in presenting yourselves here today to be joined in marriage, you perform an act of faith. This faith can grow and develop and last, but only if you both decide to make it so. A lasting and growing love is not guaranteed by any ritual.

If you would have the foundation of your marriage be the devotion you have for one another, not just at this moment, but for all the days to come, then treasure the hopes and dreams that you bring here today. Establish that your love will never be blotted out by the common nor obscured by the ordinary in life. Faults will surface where now you find comfort, and admiration can be shattered by the routine of daily life.

Dedication, love, and joy can grow only when you nourish them together. Stand fast in that hope and confidence, having faith in your shared destiny just as strongly as you have faith in yourselves and in one another today. Only with this spirit can you forge a union that will strengthen and endure all the days of your lives.

Groom:
I, ____________, take you, ____________, as my friend and love, beside me and apart from me, in laughter and in tears, in conflict and tranquillity, asking that you be no other than yourself, loving what I know of you, trusting what I do not know yet, in all the ways that life may find us.

The Groom places the Bride’s ring on her finger and says:
____________, 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, in the name of God.

Bride:
I, ____________, take you, ____________, as my friend and love, beside me and apart from me, in laughter and in tears, in conflict and tranquillity, asking that you be no other than yourself, loving what I know of you, trusting what I do not know yet, in all the ways that life may find us.

The Bride places the Groom’s ring on his finger and says:
____________ , 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, in the name of God.

Minister:
With this statement made of love and trust, which we have just heard, I now wish you to greet ____________ and ____________ as husband and wife.

May this day shine eternally in your lives.
May it add brilliance to every achievement and cast a divine light over any misfortune.
May you care for each other in all sadness.
May you give cheer to each other.
May you give vitality to each other in all undertakings.
May all that is virtuous, beautiful and honest, remain with you always.


 

Three. Welcome to the Celebration!

Minister:
We, who have gathered in this circle, are now privileged to witness and to participate in a ceremony celebrating, the public acknowledgment of a love which ____________ and ____________ have for each other, knowing that by our presence here with them, we are saying that they, together, are loved by many others. We have come to surround them as they stand before us in this center, where now ____________ and ____________ in essence say, "Welcome to our marriage! Welcome to the Celebration!"

Marriage is too for children! For them it is, or can be, more than just witnessing. There is an opportunity for them to bring themselves into the new family and in a symbolic sense to give themselves to this new venture as they bring a "Gift of love" which they will present now to ____________ and ___________.

The children come bearing flowers, which are given to the Bride and Groom.

Minister:
When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. That is impossible. It is even a disservice to pretend it is possible. Yet that is what most of us demand. We have such little faith in the ebb and flow of life and of love and of relationships.

We leap forward at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb, for we are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanence, on duration, on continuity. But the only continuity possible in life, as in love, is in growth, in fluidity and in freedom, as dancers are free, barely touching as they pass, but partners in creating the same pattern.

I speak now to ____________ and ____________ of love, in which, the trust and freedom of the other person becomes as significant as the trust and freedom of one's self. I speak to them of generosity, which gathers the beauty of earth for riches and the kindness which turns away the wrath of foolish men and women. I speak of all our hopes for their continued growth through patience, one for the other. May ____________ and ____________ keep the vows made on this day, in freedom, teaching each other who they are, what they yet shall be, enabling them to know that, in the fullness of being, they are more than themselves and more than each other, that they are all of us and that together we share joyously the fruits of life on this Earth, our home.

Ring Ceremony:

Groom places ring on Bride’s finger:
May this ring forever be to you the symbol of my growing love.

Bride places ring on Groom’s finger:
May this ring forever be to you the symbol of my growing love.

Minister:
May these two find happiness in their union. May they live faithfully together, executing the vows they have made between them; and may they ever remain compassionate and encouraging, that their years may be rich with the joys of life, and their days be long upon the Earth.

I now pronounce you husband and wife.


 

Four. Witness and Share the Joy

Minister:
Welcome to the marriage of ____________ and ____________.

You have been asked to gather here to witness and share in the joy of this union.

Groom:
There was darkness for a long time and then there was light, and that light was you. Your love has given me wings, and our journey begins today. I pledge before this assembled company to be your husband from this day forward. Let us make of our two lives one life. I want you for today, tomorrow, and forever.

Bride:
I have dreamed my whole life of having someone as wonderful as you love me the way you do. I give myself to you as your wife, and I promise here to treasure for all of my days the love we celebrate today. Let us bring together our lives and find ourselves anew each day.

Minister to Bride:
____________, will you take ____________ as your husband, in happiness and with patience and understanding, through conflict and tranquillity?

Bride:
I will.

Ring is placed on Groom’s finger.

Minister to Groom:
____________, will you take ____________ as your wife, in happiness and with patience and understanding, through conflict and tranquillity?

Groom:
I will.

Ring is placed on Bride’s finger.

Minister:
In the years which shall bring ____________ and ____________ into greater age and wisdom, we hope that their love shall be ever young; that they shall be able to always recover from moments of despair. In this hope, may they keep the vows made on this day, in freedom, teaching each other who they are, what they yet shall be, enabling them to know that, in the fullness of being, they are more than themselves and more than each other, that they are all of us, and that together we share joyously the fruits of life on this earth, our home.

Inasmuch as ____________ and ____________ have declared their love to each other before family and friends, I now greet them with you as husband and wife.

You may kiss.


 

Five. Enter Days of Togetherness

Minister:
We are gathered here today to take part in the most time-honored celebration of the human family, uniting a woman and a man in marriage. ____________ and ____________ have come to witness before us, telling of their love for each other. We remember, theirs is a love whose source is the affection of those who loved them into being.

We remind them that they are performing an act of complete faith, each in the other; that the heart of their marriage will be the relationship they create. In a world where faith often falls short of expectation, it is a tribute to these two who now join hands and hearts in perfect faith.

Minister to Groom:
____________, will you receive ____________ as your wife? Will you pledge to her your love, faith and tenderness, cherishing her with a husband's loyalty and devotion?

Groom:
I will.

Minister to Bride:
____________, will you receive ____________ as your husband? Will you pledge to him your love, faith and tenderness, cherishing him with a wife’s loyalty and devotion?

Bride:
I will.

Minister:
_____________ and _____________, receive each other from your fathers and mothers, who give you into each other's keeping, by saying now, each to the other, words which will tell of your love.

Groom:
I, ____________, take you, ____________ to be no other than yourself, in all the ways life may find us, tending you in sickness and rejoicing with you in health, as long as we both shall live to love.

Bride:
I, ____________, take you, ____________ to be no other than yourself, in all the ways life may find us, tending you in sickness and rejoicing with you in health, as long as we both shall live to love.

Minister:
Will you now give and receive a ring?

Bride and Groom:
We will.

Minister:
This circlet of precious metal is justly regarded as a fitting emblem of the purity and perpetuity of the Marriage State. The ancients were reminded by the circle of eternity, as it is so fashioned as to have neither beginning nor end; while gold is so incorruptible that it cannot be tarnished by use or time. So may the union, at this time solemnized, be incorruptible in its purity and more lasting that time itself.

Minister hands the ring to the Groom, who places it on the Bride’s finger:
Wear this ring forever, ____________, as a symbol of love and peace and of all that is unending.

Minister hands the ring to the Bride, who places it on the Groom’s finger:
Wear this ring forever, ____________, as a symbol of love and peace and of all that is unending.

Minister:
We speak to ____________ and ____________ of love, in which the trust and freedom of the other person becomes as significant as the trust and freedom of one's self. We speak to them of generosity, which gathers the beauty of earth for riches, and the kindness which turns away the wrath of foolish men and women. We speak of each of our hopes for their continued growth through patience, one for the other. We speak of our confidence that new levels of understanding, discovered by them in experiences of sorrow and tribulation, shall bring ever new surprises of strength and fortitude they do not now know.

In the years which shall bring ____________ and ____________ into greater age and wisdom, we pray that their love shall be ever young; that they shall be able always to recover from moments of despair, the lithesome ways of buoyant youth. In this hope may they keep the vows made on this day, in freedom, teaching each other who they are, what they yet shall be, enabling them to know that in the fullness of being, they are more than themselves and more than each other; that they are all of us, and that together we share joyously the fruits of life.

Inasmuch as ____________ and ____________ have declared their love and devotion to each other before family and friends, I now greet them with you as husband and wife.

Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be sanctuary to the other. Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth to the other. Now there is no isolation for you. Now there is no more loneliness. Now you are two, but there is only one life in front of you.

Go now and enter into the days of your togetherness.


 

Six. A Permanent Bond of Love

Minister:
It is one of life's richest surprises when the accidental meeting of two life paths lead them to proceed together along the common path as husband and wife. It is one of life's finest experiences when a casual relationship grows into a permanent bond of love. This meeting and this growth bring us together today.

____________ and _____________, will you take vows here before all of us which symbolize the manifested vows you have already made and will continue to make to each other throughout your lives?

Bride and Groom:
We will.

Bride:
I, ____________, take you, ____________, as my friend and love, beside me and apart from me, in laughter and in tears, in conflict and tranquillity, asking that you be no other than yourself, loving what I know of you, trusting what I do not yet know, in all the ways that life may find us.

Groom:
I, ____________, take you, ____________, as my friend and love, beside me and apart from me, in laughter and in tears, in conflict and tranquillity, asking that you be no other than yourself, loving what I know of you, trusting what I do not yet know, in all the ways that life may find us.

Minister:
The circle is the symbol of the sun, earth, and universe. It is the symbol of peace. Let this ring be the symbol of unity and peace in which your two lives are joined in one unbroken circle. Wherever you go, return unto one another and to your togetherness.

Groom places ring on Bride’s finger:
I give you this ring to wear upon your hand as a symbol of our unity in steadfast love.

Bride places ring on Groom’s finger:
I give you this ring to wear upon your hand as a symbol of our unity in steadfast love.

Minister:
You are mature people who have established individual patterns of living. Yet you have found not only a need for companionship, but the satisfaction of that need in each other's company. It is this love, based upon a responsible understanding, that will aid you in creating out of your two lives, a marriage and a happiness you will share together. Stand fast in hope and confidence, believing in yourself and believing in each other.

Inasmuch as you two have come before your friends and family and have declared your love and devotion to each other, I now greet you with them as husband and wife.


 

Seven. In Beauty It is Done

Minister:
We have come together in the presence of God to witness the joining of ___________ and ____________ in Holy Matrimony. This is a special time of celebration that ___________ and ____________ will long remember, and because of this, they are thankful you are here to share their joy.

Gracious God, before whom we stand, look with favor upon this couple, who desire to make their vows before you and this gathering of family and friends. We are thankful to the families, which have reared them to adulthood. May they experience your presence as they pledge their lives, one to another, and celebrate this new beginning.

"The Fountains mingle with the River
And the Rivers with the Ocean,
The winds of Heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion:
Nothing in the world is single;
All things by a law devine
In one spirit meet and mingle.
Why not I with thine?
See the mountains kiss high Heaven
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdained its brother,
And the sunlight clasps the earth
And the moonbeams kiss the sea:
What is all this sweet work worth
If thou kiss not me?

Percy B. Shelley

Groom:
I, ____________, take you, ____________ as my friend and love, beside me and apart from me, in laughter and in tears, in conflict and in tranquillity, asking that you be no other than yourself, loving what I know of you, trusting what I do not know yet, in all the ways that life may find us.

Bride:
I, ____________, take you, ____________ as my friend and love, beside me and apart from me, in laughter and in tears, in conflict and in tranquillity, asking that you be no other than yourself, loving what I know of you, trusting what I do not know yet, in all the ways that life may find us.

Exchange of Rings:

The Groom place’s his Bride’s ring on her finger. He says:
____________, take this ring as a symbol of my love and fidelity.

The Bride place’s her Groom’s ring on his finger. She says:
____________, take this ring as a symbol of my love and fidelity.

Minister:
Inasmuch as you, ____________ and ____________, have come before your family and friends and declared your love and devotion to each other, I now greet you with them as husband and wife.

Let all things that go before you be beautiful;
Let all things that go behind you be beautiful;
In beauty it is done.


 

Eight. A Lifetime of Love

Minister:
With great joy, we come together to join this man, ___________, and this woman, ____________, in matrimony.

This marriage is an event in the lifetime of a love. Neither I, nor all society, can join these two lovers today. Only they can do what they have chosen. They are joining themselves, each to the other. As they find union with one another, they proclaim that union today and pledge its future. We, by our participation in this celebration, do but recognize and honor their intention to dwell together as husband and wife.

Groom:
I promise you ____________, that I will be your loving and loyal husband from now on. I will share with you all of life's joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain, until death parts us.

Bride:
I promise you ____________, that I will be your loving and loyal wife from now on. I will share with you all of life's joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain, until death parts us.

Ring ceremony.

Minister:
Each of you has rings for each other. Would you exchange them?

As they are exchanging rings, the minister says:
As a ceaseless reminder of this hour, and of the promise you have made to each other, these rings also speak of the oneness you now experience as husband and wife.

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 you will feel no loneliness, for each of you will be a companion to the other.
Now you are two bodies, but there is only one life before you.
Go now to your dwelling place, to enter the days of your life together.
And may your days be good, and long upon the earth.

Because they have so affirmed, in love and knowledge of the other, so also do I declare that ____________ and ____________ are now husband and wife.


 

Nine. The Wine Ceremony

Minister:
Welcome to the marriage of ____________ and _____________.

The poet Kahlil Gibran once wrote:

"Love one another, but not make a bond of love.
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup, but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread, but not eat from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
For only the hand of life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together,
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow."

Minister to Groom:
____________, when you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. That is impossible. It is even a lie to pretend it is possible. And yet that is exactly what most of us demand. We insist on permanence, on duration, on continuity. The only continuity possible in life as in love is in growth, in fluidity, and in freedom, as dancers are free, barely touching as they pass, but partners in creating the same pattern.

Minister to Bride:
____________, the only real security is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not even in hoping. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back nostalgically to what it was, nor forward in dread or anticipation to what it might be. It is loving in the present relationship, accepting it as it is now. Relationships must be like islands, which one must accept for what they are here and now with their limits, islands surrounded and interrupted by the sea, continually visited and abandoned by the tide. One must accept the security of the ebb and flow of intimacy.

The Bride and Groom pour each other a glass of wine.

Minister:
The years of our lives are a cup of wine poured out for us to drink. The grapes when they are pressed give forth good juices for the wine. Under the winepress of time, our lives give forth labor and honor and love. Many days you will sit at the same table and eat and drink together. Drink now and may the cup of your lives be sweet and full to running over.

The Bride and Groom touch their glasses and drink a sip of wine.

Minister:
Now, ____________ and ____________, will you take vows here, before all of us, which symbolize the many unseated vows you have already made and will continue to make to each other throughout your relationship.

Bride:
The words I say to you now are ones I have waited a lifetime to utter, words I say in love and in confidence. I see you as a strong, growing partner, the person with whom I wish to share my life. I offer you all the days before me, no matter what may come our way. I freely take you, ____________, as my husband. Take this ring as a sign of my commitment.

Groom:
I promise to stand by you, to be there when you need me, and to share the happiness and sadness of my life with you. If the secret of life is to enjoy the passage of time, then let us share our time together from this day forward. I come to this place today as a man standing alone; I will walk from it by your side. Today, I shall carry you across the threshold and enter into a new and lasting lifetime commitment. I commit myself to you, ____________, as your husband.

Minister:
When you share a joy, it is doubled, and when you share a sorrow, it is halved.

You have booth pledged your love to each other before these witnesses. Therefore, by the authority granted to me, I joyfully pronounce you husband and wife.


 

Ten. There is No Greater Gift

Minister:
There is no greater gift than the love that makes two people one. To behold this love blossoming between two hearts is always a joy; and to behold the vows of lovers as they take each to the other, throughout all the changes of life, is a glorious moment of the soul. It speaks of the great conviction by which people mutually rely upon and believe in one another. In a world where faith often falls short of our expectation, it is a wonderful tribute to two people to see them joining hands and hearts in perfect faith.

We are gathered to unite this man and this woman in marriage, which is an institution founded in nature, ordained by the state, sanctioned by the church, and made honorable by good men and women in all ages. It is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but discreetly, advisedly, and with due reverence. This celebration is the outward token of a sacred and inward union of hearts, which the church may bless and the state make legal, but which neither state nor church can create or annul, as this union is created by loving purpose and kept by abiding will. Into this legacy, these two lovers come to be united.

Walt Whitman once wrote:

"Afoot and lighthearted
Take the open road, healthy, free,
The world before you,
The long, brown path before you,
Leading wherever you choose.
Say only to one another:
I give you my hand!
I give you my love,
More precious than money,
I give you myself
Before preaching or law.
Will you give me yourself?
Will you come travel with me?
Shall we stick by each other
As long as we live?"

Minister to Groom:
____________, will you have this women to be your wedded wife, to live together after ordinance in the holy estate of matrimony? Will you love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health, in sorrow and in joy, and forsaking all others, keep you only unto her, so long as you both shall live?

Groom:
I will.

Minister to Bride:
____________, will you have this man to be your wedded husband, to live together after ordinance in the holy estate of matrimony? Will you love him, comfort him, honor and keep him, in sickness and in health, in sorrow and in joy, and forsaking all others, keep you only unto him, so long as you both shall live?

Bride:
I will.

Groom:
I, ___________, take you, ____________, to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, and thereto I give you my love.

Bride:
I, ___________, take you, ____________, to be my wedded husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, and thereto I give you my love.

Minister:
What token of these pledges do you offer?

Best man presents rings.

Minister:
Bless this act, that the intentions of this moment, symbolized by this visible act, shall be fulfilled through the days of their lives. Amen.

Groom:
With this ring, I thee wed, and pledge my faithful love.

Bride:
With this ring, I thee wed, and pledge my faithful love.

Minister:
O thou who art the Spirit of Love for the human race, send thy blessing upon these thy servants, whom we bless in the name of love. Enable them faithfully to perform this covenant that they have made in our presence. May their hearts be united in the bonds of each other's joys, consoled of each other's sorrows, helpers to each other in all the vicissitudes of life. Grant that they may faithfully discharge the duties that belong to the condition into which they have entered, and that, as good companions, they may walk the road together from this day forward. Amen.

For inasmuch as ____________ and ____________ have consented together in wedlock, and have witnessed the same before this company, and thereto have engaged and pledged themselves to each other, and have declared the same by giving and receiving a ring and joining hands, I pronounce that they are husband and wife.

May you always be in love.

May your love be as beautiful on each day you share, as is on this day of your wedding.

Amen.

 


 

Eleven. A Sacred Personal Union

Minister:
We are gathered here to witness the joining of this man and this woman in marriage; which is an honorable estate, instituted in the necessities of our being, and dedicated to the happiness of mankind; an estate not by any to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, discreetly, soberly, and in all sincerity.

To be true, this outward form must be a symbol of that which is inner and real, a sacred personal union, which a church may solemnize and a state make legal, but which only love can create and mutually fulfill.

To endure, the marriage of these two persons must be a consecration of each to the other, and of both to the wider community of which their lives are a part.

Love is a great thing, and thorough good. By itself, it makes everything that is heavy, light, and it bears evenly all that is uneven.

Love carries a burden which is no burden; it will not be kept back by anything low and mean; it desires to be free from all worldly affectations and not to be entangled by any outward prosperity or by adversity subdued.

Love feels no burden, thinks nothing of trouble, attempts what is above its strength, and pleads no excuse of impossibility.

Love is therefore able to undertake all things, and it completes many things and warrants them to take effect, where he or she who does not love would faint and lie down.

Though weary, love is not tired; though pressed, love is not straightened; though alarmed, love is not confounded; but as a living flame, it forces its way upward and securely passes through all.

Love is active and sincere.

Minister to Groom:
____________, will you have this woman to be your wife, to live together in the sacred estate of marriage? Will you love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health, in sorrow and in joy, and be faithful to her, as long as you both shall live?

Groom:
I Will.

Minister to Bride:
____________, will you have this man to be your husband, to live together in the sacred estate of marriage? Will you love him, comfort him, honor and keep him, in sickness and in health, in sorrow and in joy, and be faithful to him, as long as you both shall live?

Bride:
I Will.

Groom takes Bride's right hand in his own and repeats after minister:
I, ___________, take you, ____________, to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.

Bride repeats after Minister:
I, ___________, take you, ____________, to be my wedded husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.

Minister:
Inasmuch as ____________ and ____________ have consented together in marriage, and have witnessed the same before you, and thereto have pledged their faith to each other, and have declared the same by joining hands and giving and receiving rings, I pronounce that they are husband and wife. You are now wed.

May you always remain sweethearts and friends.
May your marriage be full of kindness.
May the years bring you happiness and contentment.
Forever love.


 

Twelve. A Time for a Wedding

Minister reads from the Bible:

"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to throw away;
A time to tear, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak:
A time for love, and a time for hate;
A time for war, and a time for peace.
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven."

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Minister:
Now is a time for a wedding.

Friends, ____________ and ____________, have invited us here today to share in the celebration of their wedding.

We come together, not to mark the start of a relationship but to recognize a bond that already exists. This marriage is one expression of the many varieties of love. Love is one, though its expressions are infinite.

It is fitting to speak briefly about love. We live in a world of joy and fear and search for meaning and strength in the seeming disorder. We discover the truest guideline to our quest when we realize love in all its magnitudes. Love is the eternal force of life. Love is the force that allows us to face fear and uncertainty with courage. But, you must "be of love a little more careful than of anything." For the giving of yourself in love is difficult: you must learn to give of your love without total submission of yourself. Therefore, in your giving, give your joy, your sadness, your interest, your understanding, and your knowledge–all expressions that make up life. But in this giving, remember to preserve yourself–your integrity, your individuality. This is the challenge of love within marriage.

Minister to Groom:
____________, do you come before this gathering of friends and family to proclaim your love and devotion for _____________? Do you promise to respect her, and to care for her during times of joy and hardship? Do you commit yourself to share your feelings of happiness and sadness? Do you pledge to remain faithful to her?

Groom:
I do.

Minister to Bride:
____________, do you come before this gathering of friends and family to proclaim your love and devotion for _____________? Do you promise to respect him, and care for him during times of joy and hardship? Do you commit yourself to share your feelings of happiness and sadness? Do you pledge to remain faithful to him?

Bride:
I do.

The Minister may ask God’s blessing on the rings as follows:
Bless, O Lord, this ring, to be a sign of the vows by which this man and this woman have bound themselves to each other; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Creator, Savior, Loving Spirit, bless this couple who have committed themselves to each other in marriage and have come seeking your blessing. Surrounded by their families and friends, may they feel encircled by your love as well as theirs. Assure them of your presence in days of joy like this one and in days of sorrow, pain, and bereavement. Strengthen their relationship through all the tests of adversity and brighten it with a generous measure of happiness.

Help them make their home a place where they love children and welcome friends. Spare them from interference by those who, through wanting to help, may intrude in what are the proper responsibilities of husband and wife, father and mother, and children. Make them good neighbors, doing for others what they would have others do for them. Teach us all to love each other as we love ourselves.

Exchange or Rings:

The Groom says:
I offer you this ring to wear as a symbol of our unity.

The Bride says:
I offer you this ring to wear as a symbol of our unity.

Minister:
May these two find happiness in their matrimony. May they live faithfully together, may they ever remain compassionate. May years be rich in the joys of life, and their days be long upon the earth.

I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss the bride.


 

Thirteen. The Drawing Together of Two Separate Lives

Minister:
Dear Friends, we are gathered today to witness and to celebrate the drawing together of two separate lives. We have come so that this man, ____________, and this woman, ____________, may be joined in marriage. It is not to be entered into lightly but with assurance and mutual respect. Love, the shining light of human emotion, reduces our selfishness, fulfills our need to share, and reinforces our virtues.

Kahlil Gibran echoed these sentiments in The Prophet:

"Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each of you be alone,
even as the strings of a lute are alone, though they quiver with the same music.
And stand together, yet not too near together, for the pillars of the temple
stand apart, and the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow."

Minister:
Out of chaos, let us pledge our unity, never losing sight of the individuality that has spawned and rejuvenated this love. Today's celebration of human affection is the outward sign of commitment, which religion may consecrate and society may formalize, but neither of which guarantees happiness. For in this fold must exist two minds full of loving purpose, willing to grow and not recede in the face of change. Beneath the benevolent spirit of affection and sharing, these two people stand before us. Will you now clasp your right hands?

Minister to Groom:
Do you, ____________, take ____________, to be the wife of your days, to love and to cherish, to honor and to comfort, in sorrow or in joy, in hardship or in ease, to have and to hold from this day forth?

Groom:
I do.

Minister to Bride:
Do you, ____________ , take _____________ to be the husband of your days, to love and to cherish, to honor and to comfort, in sorrow or in joy, in hardship or in ease, to have and to hold from this day forth?

Bride:
I do.

Best man hands the rings to the groom, who presents them to the minister, or to his wife directly, placing hers on her finger and his on his own finger.

Minister:
May this couple, just married, draw strength from their agreement. Understanding, even in moments of despair, the virtues found in each other. Solace under fire, encouragement when life becomes a trial, sharing one another's joy and pain. Welcoming life's mysteries through the optimism found in their love. Growing wise instead of old, accepting the unwanted stranger that no one knows. Sharing today's inspiration, beyond the present, may this union only add to the goodness and joy of life.

I now pronounce you husband and wife.

You may kiss the bride.

 


 

Fourteen. A Lasting Love

Minister:
Today we have gathered in this place of natural beauty to be joyful, in celebration of the relationship of ____________ and ____________. By their commitment to marry each other, they are saying yes to love, yes to caring, yes to the family. May the spirit of God–which is in the blue sky, in the wind, and in the fresh smells of the Earth–enter your bodies, fill your hearts, and bless your lives.

Have you come here in the midst of these natural surroundings to affirm your commitment to each other?

Bride and Groom:
We have.

Minister:
Please share your vows with each other:

Groom:
I promise to live with you, to encourage and celebrate your growth and fulfillment through all the changes of our lives, and to be your faithful husband. May respect for ourselves, for each other and for the earth continue to be the cornerstone of our lives together.

Bride:
I promise to live with you, to encourage and celebrate your growth and fulfillment through all the changes of our lives, and to be your faithful wife. May respect for ourselves, for each other and for the earth continue to be the cornerstone of our lives together.

Minister:
What do you give to each other as a symbol of this pledge?

Groom to the Bride, placing her ring on her finger:
I give you this ring, and I welcome you into my life as the companion of my days.

Bride to the Groom, placing his ring on his finger:
I give you this ring, and I welcome you into my life as the companion of my days.

Minister:
These two people have been drawn together by their love for each other. May they practice self-discipline and patience throughout their marriage, for these are essential to lasting love. May they continue to trust each other, for trust is the foundation on which all love is built.

Minister:
Since ____________ and ____________ have pledged their love and commitment to each other before these witnesses, I declare that they are husband and wife.

Congratulations! You may kiss.


 

Fifteen. God Bless This Marriage

Minister:
Dearly beloved: We have come together in the presence of God to witness and bless the joining together of this man and this woman in Holy Matrimony. The bond and covenant of marriage was established by God in creation, and our Lord Jesus Christ adorned this manner of life by his presence and first miracle at a wedding in Cana of Galilee. Holy Scripture commends it to be honored among all people. It signifies to us the mystery of the union between Christ and His Church.

The union of husband and wife in heart, body, and mind is intended by God for their mutual joy; for the help and comfort given one another in abundance and adversity; and, when it is God's will, for the procreation of descendants and their nurture in the knowledge and love of the Lord. Therefore, marriage is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but deliberately, reverently, and in accordance with the purposes of which it was instituted by God.

Into this holy union, ____________ and ____________ now come to be joined. If any of you can show just cause why they may not lawfully be married, speak now, or else forever hold your peace.

Minister to Bride and Groom:
I require and charge you both, here in the presence of God, that if either of you know any reason why you may not be united in marriage lawfully, and in accordance with God's Word, you do now confess it.

Minister to Bride:
____________, will you have this man to be your husband, to live together in the covenant of marriage? Will you love him, comfort him, honor and keep him, in sickness and in health? And forsaking all others, will you be faithful to him as long as you booth shall live?

Bride:
I will.

Minister to Groom:
____________, will you have this woman to be your wife, to live together in the covenant of marriage? Will you love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health? And forsaking all others, will you be faithful to her as long as you booth shall live?

Groom:
I will.

The Minister addresses the congregation:
Will all of you witnessing these promises do all in your power to uphold these two persons in their marriage?

People:
We will.

If there is to be a presentation or a giving in marriage, it takes place at this time. A hymn or psalm may follow.

The Minister then says to the people:
The Lord be with you.

People:
And also with you.

Minister:
Let us pray.

O gracious and ever-living God, you have created us male and female in your image. Look mercifully upon this man and this woman who come to you seeking your blessing, and assist them with your grace, that with true fidelity and steadfast love, they may honor and keep the promises and vows they make; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

"Blessed are the poor in spirit:
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that shall mourn:
for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek:
for they shall inherit the Earth.
Blessed are they that do hunger and thirst after righteousness:
for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful:
for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart:
for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers:
for they shall be called the children of God.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake:
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you,
and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad:
for great is your reward in heaven
for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you."

Matthew 5:3-12

After a passage from the Gospel is read, the minister says:
The Gospel of the Lord.

People:
Praise to you, Lord Christ.

The Groom, facing the Bride and taking her right hand in his, says:
In the Name of God, I, ____________, take you, ____________, to be my wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death. This is my solemn vow.

Then they loose their hands, and the Bride, still facing the Groom, takes his right hand in hers, and says:
In the Name of God, I, ____________, take you, ____________, to be my husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death. This is my solemn vow.

They loose their hands. The Minister may ask God's blessing on the rings as follows:
Bless, O Lord, this ring to be a sign of the vows by which this man and this woman have bound themselves to each other; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The giver places the ring on the ring finger of the other's hand and says:
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, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

The Minister joins the right hands of husband and wife and says:
Now that ____________ and ____________ have given themselves to each other by solemn vows, with the joining of hands and the giving and receiving of a ring, I pronounce that they are husband and wife, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Those whom God has joined together, let no one put asunder.

People:
Amen.

The Minister asks all to rise and says:
Let us pray together in the words our Savior taught us.

If there is not to be a Communion, one or more of the prayers may be omitted.

Let us pray:
Eternal God, creator and preserver of all life, author of salvation, and giver of all grace: Look with favor upon the world you have made, and for which your Son gave his life, and especially upon this man and this woman whom you make one flesh in Holy Matrimony. Amen.

Give them wisdom and devotion in the ordering of their common life, that each may be to the other a strength in need, a counselor in perplexity, a comfort in sorrow, and a companion in joy. Amen.

Grant that their wills may be so knit together in your will, and their spirits in your Spirit, that they may grow in love and peace with you and one another all the days of their life. Amen.

Give them grace when they hurt each other, to recognize and acknowledge their fault, and to seek each other’s forgiveness and yours. Amen.

Make their life together a sign of Christ's love to this sinful and broken world, that unity may overcome estrangement, forgiveness heal guilt, and joy conquer despair. Amen.

Bestow on them, if it is your will, the gift and heritage of children, and the grace to bring them up to know you, to love you, and to serve you. Amen.

Give them such fulfillment of their mutual affection that they may reach out in love and concern for others. Amen.

Grant that all married couples who have witnessed these vows may find their lives strengthened and their loyalties confirmed. Amen.

Grant that the bonds of our common humanity, by which all your children are united one to another, and the living to the dead, may be so transformed by your grace, that your will may be done on earth as it is in heaven; where, O Father, you live and reign in perfect unity, now and forever. Amen.

The people remain standing. The husband and wife kneel, and the Minister says this prayer:
Most gracious God, we give you thanks for your tender love in sending Jesus Christ to come among us, to be born of a human mother, and to make the way of the cross to be the way of life. We thank you, also, for consecrating the union of man and woman in his name. By the power of your Holy Spirit, pour out the abundance of your blessing upon this man and woman. Defend them from every enemy. Lead them into all peace. Let their love for each other be a seal upon their hearts, a mantle about their shoulders, and a crown upon their foreheads. Bless them in their work and in their companionship; in their sleeping and in their waking; in their joys and in their sorrows; in their life and in their death. Finally, in your mercy, bring them to that table where your saints feast forever in your heavenly home; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Minister adds this blessing:
God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit: Bless, preserve, and keep you; the Lord, mercifully with his favor, look upon you, and fill you with all spiritual benediction and grace; that you may faithfully live together in this life, and, in the age to come, have life everlasting. Amen.

The Minister may say to the people:
The peace of the Lord be always with you.

People:
And also with you.

The newly married couple then greet each other, after which greetings may be exchanged throughout the congregation.


 

Sixteen. An Unending Love

Minister:
Dearly beloved: We have come together in the presence of God to witness and bless the joining together of this man, ____________, and this woman, ____________, in Holy Matrimony. The bond and covenant of marriage was established by God in creation, and our Lord Jesus Christ adorned this manner of life by his presence and first miracle at a wedding in Cana of Galilee. It signifies to us the mystery of the union between Christ and his Church, and Holy Scripture commends it to be honored among all people.

The union of husband and wife 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.

You ask what is this love we here affirm, and I answer, it is a covenant you make, one with the other, a covenant born of commitment to each other's well being and growth and commitment to your relationship itself, allowing it the possibility of change and of growth.

The Minister says to the woman:
____________, will you have this man to be your husband; to live together in the covenant of marriage? Will you love him, comfort him, honor and keep him, in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, be faithful to him as long as you both shall live?

Bride:
I will.

The Minister says to the man:
____________, will you have this woman to be your wife; to live together in the covenant of marriage? Will you love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, be faithful to her as long as you both shall live?

Groom:
I will.

The Minister addresses the congregation:
Will all of you witnessing these promises do all in your power to uphold these two persons in their marriage?

People:
We will.

Exchange of Rings:

Minister:
You have determined that you would seal your vows today by the exchanging of rings. The rings you give and receive this day are marvelous symbols of endless love. The rings are made of gold, a symbol of purity. May your thoughts towards one another be pure. The ring is an unbroken circle, having no end, so it is emblematic of the enduring and unending love you have for each other.

Groom:
I give this ring in remembrance of this hour, a symbol of love that is beautiful, endless and complete.

Bride:
I give this ring in remembrance of this hour, a symbol of love that is beautiful, endless and complete.

Minister:
____________ and ____________, you have now affirmed before your families and friends your love and your caring for each other. You have come from different backgrounds. You have walked different paths. You are different individuals. Your love has transcended these differences. In the years before you, may the richness of the traditions that have nurtured you enhance and brighten your lives as you help to create and shape the future.

May the challenges of your life together be met with courage and optimism. May you learn from your failures and grow in your achievements. May life bless you with children, friends, and family in a wide network of mutual support and enjoyment. May you face pain, toil, and trouble with a stout but light heart. May you share with others the radiance of your seasons of joy and pleasure. May you always remember that laughter is the medicine of God.

The Minister joins the right hand of the man and woman and says:
Now that ____________ and ____________ have given themselves to each other by solemn vows, with the joining of hands and the giving and receiving of a ring, I pronounce that they are husband and wife, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Those whom God has joined together let no one put asunder. Amen.


 

Seventeen. A Promise of Love

Minister:
We have come together today in the presence of God to witness the joining of ___________ and ___________ in Holy Matrimony. This is a special time of celebration that ___________ and ___________ will long remember, and because of this, they are thankful you are here to share their joy. From the dawn of human history, it has been customary for the community to place its seal of approval upon the union of two persons in marriage. If these solemn vows that they are about to make are kept faithfully, God will bless their marriage.

Gracious God, before whom we stand: Look with favor upon this man and this woman who desire to make their vows before you and this gathering of family and friends. We are grateful for their families, which have reared them to maturity; and for the church, which has nurtured them in the faith. May they experience your presence as they pledge their lives, one to another, and may they ever walk the pleasant paths of righteousness. This we pray through Christ our Lord.

There is a skill to marriage, as there is to any activity people engage in. This art requires that we pay thoughtfulness to the little things as well as the big ones that are part of the closeness of matrimony.

Develop the capacity to forgive and forget and heal quarrels as they happen. Say, "I love you" and speak words of appreciation often. Do not come to take each other for granted, and demonstrate your gratitude in thoughtful ways. Never grow too old to hold hands. Do not expect perfection of each other, perfection is only for God. Make your search for the good and the beautiful a common search.

A good marriage evolves when two separate souls face life's pleasures and sadness in harmony, not in unison.

As Rainer Maria Rilke wrote in Letters to a Young Poet:

"Once the realization is accepted that, even between the closest human beings, infinite distances continue to exist, a wonderful living side by side can grow up, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against a wide sky!"

Each phrase is spoken first by the Groom and then repeated by the Bride (or vice versa):

I promise to be your lover, companion, and friend,
Your partner in parenthood,
Your ally in conflict,
Your greatest fan and your best friend.
Your comrade in adventure,
Your student and your teacher,
Your consolation in disappointment,
Your accomplice in mischief,
Your strength in your need and vulnerable to you in my own,
And most of all, your associate in the search for enlightenment.

The Groom places the ring on the Bride’s finger and says:
____________, 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, in the name of God.

The Bride places the ring on the Groom’s finger and says:
____________, 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, in the name of God.

Minister:
Before this gathering, you have promised each other your love and have given each other rings to wear as a sign of your deep commitment. It is my distinct pleasure to declare that you are now husband and wife.

You may kiss one another.

 


Eighteen. A Civil Ceremony

Officiant:
We are gathered to unite the two of you in marriage, which is an institution ordained by the state and made honorable by the faithful keeping of good men and women throughout all ages, and is not to be entered into lightly or unadvisedly.

The Officiant says to the man:
Do you, ____________, take ____________ to be your wife, to love, comfort, and cherish from this day forth?

Man:
Yes.

The Officiant says to the woman:
Do you, ____________, take ____________ to be your husband, to love, comfort, and cherish from this day forth?

Woman:
Yes.

Bride and Groom exchange rings.

Officiant:
Having thus pledged yourselves each to the other, I do now, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the state of ____________, pronounce you husband and wife.


 

Nineteen. A Blessed Union

Minister:
It is a time of celebration, for two people have come together and found mutual joy. They have shared their lives and decided to create a covenant between themselves, a partnership guided by spirit and support by our community. ____________ and ____________ ask all you in attendance in body and spirit to pledge your support and encouragement for them to keep true to their vows.

Minister lights two white taper candles:
We are all children of the light. I light this candle, which represents the sun, our spiritual father. I light this candle, which represents the moon, our spiritual mother. As these flames burn bright and strong, may their light bring this union between ____________ and ____________ to grow in joy and love.

Minister scatters flower petals in a complete circle around the couple:
Let your love be like the flowers of the earth, beautiful and divine, ever growing, spreading love and joy throughout the Earth. May you live within a circle of love and may your unity be a thing of beauty and sweetness. May your love dance in eternal circles of time, with the dance of the earth with the sacredness of life.

Bride and Groom each pick up one white candle, turn to each other, and hold the flames together to make one flame.

Minister:
And you begin your journey of life shared, separate beings that have come together into one light, one love. Many are the years you will share if you keep your vows, your sacred trust. May the sacred winds whisper joy into your life. May you take delight in each other for all your days. You are forever changed from this day forward. May this fire of love kindle your passions for each other throughout all your years. May your love rise anew, an eternal flame to light the day. May you grow old together and share a happy home.

Bride and Groom light a single white candle and blow out the tapers. They repeat together after the minister the following:
Beloved, I seek to know you, and ask for the wisdom to love you as you are.I will take joy in you and in our life together. You are to me the whispering of the tides, the seduction of summer’s heat. You are my friend, my lover. Grow old and wise with me. I look forward to the life before us of rainbows and sunsets and a willingness to share all things. I love you. I adore you.

Minister to Bride:
Do you, ____________, take ____________ to be your partner in all things, to love and trust, care for and cherish?

Bride:
Yes, with all my heart.

Minister to Groom:
Do you, ____________, take ____________ to be your partner in all things, to love and trust, care for and cherish?

Groom:
Yes, with all my soul.

Minister to congregation:
May we all now pause and reflect upon the beauty of these lovers, the beauty and wonder of life. We all wish these two as many days of perfect love and perfect trust that life can bring. By the legal powers of the State of ____________ are these sacred vows made manifest.


 

Twenty. Fundamental Union

Minister:
Where the sublime is done, there rests the Divine. The sacred web binding of the flowering of one life with another makes common weave and common wealth for all. No kind is apart, nor to itself sufficient. As I treat the weakest and plainest of creatures, so will I be judged.

Our treasure and trust are the children. They are due a wholesome and learned growth, and, given these, will rightly honor their elders.

These waters are my cradle, the land is my garden, the sky is my blanket. These are my sustenance, and worthy of devotion. The earth is bountiful without measure. My sowing and reaping will be mindful for the harvest of the far generations. My mind, my body, and my spirit are equally deserving of care.

The wedding of this woman and this man, each to each other, is a solemn and luminous paring. The way of their path is theirs alone to choose, and none may intrude. But they will honor love as the clear wellspring of commitment, and truth, of the community.

What is our purpose and why are we set in this place? Our purpose is to make greater the portion of the sublime giving to our time and place. Our purpose is to unite ____________ and ____________ in holy matrimony. Our purpose it to confirm the joys of love and commitment before God and this congregation.

Minister to Bride:
Do you, ____________, take ____________ to be your lawfully wedded husband?

Bride:
I do.

Minister to Groom:
Do you, ____________, take ____________ to be your lawfully wedded wife?

Groom:
I do.

Ring Ceremony.

Minister:
Before God and this congregation, and with the powers vested in me by the state of ____________, I now pronounce you husband and wife.

 

 

 

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