OFFICIANT: Good (morning / afternoon / evening)! We are gathered here today, not to witness the beginning of what will be, but rather what already is! We do not create this marriage, because we cannot. We can and do, however, celebrate with Groom and Bride and their friends and families the wondrous and joyful occurrence that has already taken place in their lives.
So let the ceremony begin!
The Celebration Of Marriage
Marriage is a supreme sharing of experience, and an adventure in the most intimate of human relationships. It is the joyous union of two people whose comradeship and mutual understanding have flowered in romance. Today Groom and Bride proclaim their love and commitment to the world, and we gather here to rejoice, with and for them, in the new life they now undertake together.
The joy we feel now is a solemn joy, because the act of marriage has many consequences, both social and personal. Marriage requires "love," a word we often use with vagueness and sentimentality. We may assume that love is some rare and mystical event, when in fact it is our natural state of being.
So what do we mean by love? When we love, we see things other people do not see. We see beneath the surface, to the qualities which make our beloved special and unique. To see with loving eyes, is to know inner beauty. And to be loved is to be seen, and known, as we are known to no other. One, who loves us, gives us a unique gift: a piece of ourselves, but a piece that only they could give us.
We, who love, can look at each other's life and say, "I touched his life," or, "I touched her life," just as an artist might say, "I touched this canvas." "Those brushstrokes in the corner of this magnificent mural, those are mine. I was a part of this life, and it is a part of me." Marriage is to belong to each other through a unique and diverse collaboration, like two threads crossing in different directions, yet weaving one tapestry together.
The secret of love and marriage is similar to that of religion itself. It is the emergence of the larger self. It is the finding of one's life by losing it. Such is the privilege of husband and wife – to be each himself, herself and yet another; to face the world strong, with the courage of two.
To make this relationship work, therefore, takes more than love. It takes trust, to know in your hearts that you want only the best for each other. It takes dedication, to stay open to one another, to learn and grow, even when it is difficult to do so. And it takes faith, to go forward together without knowing what the future holds for you both. While love is our natural state of being, these other qualities are not as easy to come by. They are not a destination, but a journey.
The true art of married life is in this an inner spiritual journey. It is a mutual enrichment, a give and take between two personalities, a mingling of two endowments which diminishes neither, but enhances both.
I would like to read to an excerpt from an essay entitled, "The Prophet", a classic reading by Kahil Gilbran
Love one another, but make not a bond of that love. Let it rather be like a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
And stand together, and yet not too near together. For even the pillars of the temple must stand apart; and the oak tree and the cypress will not grow in each other's shadow.
Remember that love gives nothing but from itself. Love possesses not, nor would it be possessed, for love is sufficient unto love.
And think not that you can direct the course of love. For love, if it finds you worthy will direct your course.
Through this co-operation, we give ourselves, our lives and love. Into the hands of the one we love. We do so trustingly and generously. And so, each of us receives a gift: the life and love of the other. We receive this gift, not only from the one we love, but also from the parents who brought us into the world, and from our friends and families as well.
And so as Groom and Bride's friends and family, we are here to share with them this joy and hope, and to see them off on the path they will walk together. May it be a path of blessedness, bright with flowers of prosperity and spiritual awakening; a path of ever deepening, ever broadening love that they will travel, arm in arm throughout eternity.
Groom and Bride this celebration is the outward token of your sacred and inward union of hearts, which the church and temple may bless, and the State make legal, but which neither State nor church can create nor annul. It is a union created by your loving purpose and kept by your abiding will. It is in this spirit and for this purpose that you have come here to be joined together.
OFFICIANT: Please repeat after me.
I, Groom, take you Bride, to be my wife, my partner in life, and my one true love. I will cherish our union, and love you more, each day, than I did, the day before. I will trust you, and respect you, laugh with you, and cry with you, loving you faithfully, through good times and bad, regardless of the obstacles, we may face together. I give you my hand, my heart, and my love, from this day forward, for as long, as we both shall live.
I, Bride, take you Groom to be my husband, my partner in life, and my one true love. I will cherish our union, and love you more, each day, than I did, the day before. I will trust you, and respect you, laugh with you, and cry with you, loving you faithfully, through good times and bad, regardless of the obstacles, we may face together. I give you my hand, my heart, and my love, from this day forward for as long, as we both shall live.
Ceremony of the Rings
Traditionally, the marking- of the passage to the status of husband and wife is marked by the exchange of rings. These rings are a symbol of the unbroken circle of love. Love freely given has no beginning and no end, no giver and no receiver for each is the giver and each is the receiver. May these rings always remind you of the vows you have taken.
OFFICIANT: May I have the rings please? (Best Man places them in my outstretched hand.)
Groom, take Bride's ring, place it on her finger and repeat after me.
"With this ring, I thee wed."
Bride, take Groom's ring, place it on his finger and repeat after me.
"With this ring, I thee wed."
OFFICIANT: We will close with an Apache Blessing.
Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be the shelter for each other.
Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be the warmth for the other.
Now you are two persons, but there is only one life before.
Go now to your dwelling to enter into the days of your life together.
And may your days be good and long upon the earth.
Groom and Bride, remember to treat both yourself and each other with respect, and remind yourselves often of what brought you together.
Give the highest priority to the tenderness, gentleness and kindness that your connection deserves. When frustration, difficulty or fear assail your relationship – as they threatened all relationships at one time or another – remember to focus on what is right between you, not only the part that seems wrong.
In this way, you can ride out the times when clouds hide the face of the sun in your lives – remembering that even if you lose sight of it for a moment, the sun is still there.
And if each of you takes responsibility for the quality of your lives together, your life together will be marked by abundance and delight.
OFFICIANT: Groom and Bride, in so much as the two of you have agreed to live together in Matrimony, have promised your love for each other by these vows, the joining of your hands and the giving of these rings, in accordance with the law of Connecticut and by virtue of the authority vested in me by the State of Connecticut, I do pronounce you Husband and Wife.
Congratulations, you may kiss your bride!
You came to me as two single people and you will now leave as a married couple, united to each other by the binding contract you have just entered. Your cares, your worries, your pleasures and your joys you must share with each other.
I wish the best of good fortune to both of you!
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, I WOULD LIKE TO INTRODUCE FOR THE FIRST TIME AS HUSBAND AND WIFE: MR. AND MRS. (MARRIED COUPLE)!