Assembled by Elizabeth Strong in the 1990s
1) Friends, we are gathered here at this hour to witness and to celebrate the coming together of two separate lives. We have come to join these two, to be with them and rejoice with them in the making of this important commitment. The essence of this commitment is the taking of another person in (his)(her) entirety as lover, companion, friend. It is, therefore, a decision which is not to be entered into lightly but rather undertaken with great consideration and respect for both the other person and one’s self.
2) Love is one of the highest experiences that we human beings can have, and it can add depth of meaning to our lives. The sensual part of love is one of life’s greatest joys, and when this is combined with real friendship, both are infinitely enhanced. The day-to-day companionship–the pleasure in doing things together, or in doing separate things but delighting in exchanging experiences — is a continuous and central part of what people who love each other can share.
3) This is a time set apart
apart from the ordinary and the routine
apart from the ongoing rush of life;
This is a time set apart in the lives of these two people —
a time for reflection and commitment
a time for beginnings and promises
a time of celebration —
a time which they have invited us to share.
This is a place set apart —
apart from the familiar and the commonplace
apart from the swirling currents of humanity.
This is a place set apart for the gathering
of this unique community of persons —
a place for welcomes and remembrances
a place for witnessing and sharing
a place of celebration —
a place which we, together but once,
can call our own for these few moments.
Welcome to this sacred space and to this special time in the lives of ________________________and ______________________. We have come together to witness their marriage, and to acknowledge the commitment they have made to one another and to celebrate the joy of this occasion with them.
4) We are here to take part in an event which is at once, one of the most public and one of the most private in all of human experience.
A wedding, as a private moment, requires the intimate commitment of two persons to one another, — it is an act of communion between their spirits that no one else is privileged to share. A wedding, as a public event, is a declaration made to all those who gather to witness it — a celebration in which family, friends and community all participate.
5) We gather to acknowledge and celebrate a new life – the life ______________and _____________ have created from the joining of their own individual lives. This joining has already taken place. Now, as their love and commitment has deepened there is born a desire for a ceremonial acknowledgement and blessing of this love. ____________and _____________, we are delighted to be a part of this ceremony. This company of family and friends has already shared much with you; they know you well; they love you and wish you every happiness.
6) We have come to this place to unite __________________and ____________. Marriage is an institution which can only become real in the lives of two people. This celebration is but the outward sign of such an inward union of hearts.
_____________and ______________, in presenting yourselves here today, you are performing an act of faith in each other–a faith which will grow and mature and endure. If you would have your love set on such faith, not just at this moment, but in all the days ahead, then ever cherish the hopes and dreams you now hold. Resolve that love not be dulled by the commonplace nor blurred by the mundane in life. Faults will appear where now there is satisfaction; talents will fade in bleaching experience; wonder will flatten in the rituals of daily living — but devotion, joy and love can remain, as you build them together. Stand fast in hope and confidence, believing in yourselves and believing in each other. In this spirit you can create a union which will radiate to one another and give new hope and strength to all who watch your quest with joy and love.
1) ________________________and _____________________bring two unique personalities and spirits to this relationship. It is the strengths of these individual personalities and spirits that has given their relationship a strong foundation. On that they have built a trust and respect of one another. They bring dreams which inspire them. They challenge one another on a daily basis to strive to be the best they can be, both as individuals and as partners.
Strong as they may be, there are always outside forces that try to diminish the importance of their life together. We are here today to share their joy and to pledge our support of them, not only as individuals but as a couple. We rejoice with them as an outward symbol of the union of their hearts — a union created by friendship, respect, and love.
2) This ceremony symbolizes the intimate sharing of two lives, yet this sharing must not diminish but enhance the individuality of each partner. A union that lasts is one which is continually developing and one in which each person is individually developing, while growing in understanding of the other. Deep knowledge of another is not something that can be achieved in a short time, and real understanding of the other’s feelings can develop fully only with years of intimacy. This wonderful knowledge of another person grows out of really caring for that person so much that one wants to understand as completely as possible what the other is feeling. Thus, it is possible to share not only joys and successes but also the burden of sorrows and failures. To be known in this way is a priceless thing because such understanding and acceptance make it easier to live with our problems and failings and worries.
3) On this day of your union, you stand somewhat apart from all other human beings. You stand within the charmed circle of your love, and this is as it should be. But love is not meant to be the possession of two people alone. Rather, it should serve as a source of common energy, as a form in which you find the strength to live your lives with courage. From this day onward you must come closer together than ever before, you must love one another in all adversity. but at the same time your love should give you the strength to stand apart, to seek out your unique destinies, to make your special contribution to the world, which is always part of us and more than us.
4) Ask most people why they marry the person they do, and they’ll tell you, “She’s/He’s the first one who called me on everything.” all the things you tried to get away with in the past, all the games you designed and mastered for the express purpose of keeping people at arm’s length were, it turns out, all just a weeding-out process, a search for the one person who doesn’t fall for it – the one who can sidestep your tricks and see right through you. And, ironically, you’re not upset. In fact, you’re impressed. You think, “Wow, good for you.” And the message goes forth: “Okay, no more calls, we have winner.”
So, you learn to accept each other. Your best behavior is now and forever reserved for outside the house and once you’re inside, you’re free to be the person you really are. There’s a tacit understanding. “I know all about you and you know all about me and it’ll be all our little secret.”
You become a little team. And you look out for each other. Now and forever, it’s the “two of you.”
from “Couplehood” by Paul Reiser
VOWS AND RING EXCHANGE I
__________________and ___________________, you have chosen one another as life partners. Knowing what you know of each other, and trusting in what you do not yet know, are you now ready to be married?
They have spoken their wish. Will you, their family and friends, honor and pledge them your love, support and acceptance?
I,________________take you,________________, to be my spouse, the companion of my days. I proclaim my love for you. I proclaim my trust in you. I am happy to be a part of you. Remember, these words from my heart will always be true, now and forever. With all that I feel, here is my love for you. We shall keep together what trouble and sorrow our lives may lay upon us, and we shall share together our store of goodness and plenty and love.
I,________________take you, ________________, to be my spouse, the companion of my days. I proclaim my love for you. I proclaim my trust in you. I am happy to be a part of you. Remember, these words from my heart will always be true, now and forever. With all that I feel, here is my love for you. We shall keep together what trouble and sorrow our lives may lay upon us, and we shall share together our store of goodness and plenty and love.
What pledges do you offer that you will fulfill these vows?
The circle is the symbol of the sun and the earth and the universe. It is the symbol of wholeness and of perfection and of peace. The ring is a symbol of unity into which your two lives are now joined in an unbroken circle, in which, wherever you go, you will return unto one another.
I,_________________________, take you,_______________________, as my beloved, to protect, love, respect, and cherish for our lifetime together.
I,_________________________, take you,______________________, as my beloved, to protect, love, respect, and cherish for our lifetime together.
Wear these rings as a symbol of your union and as a sign to all the world of your love for and devotion to one another. Each time you look at your rings, remember all that you have pledged to one another this day.
VOWS AND RING EXCHANGE II
Do you,_______________ take,______________, as your life partner, to share with (her)(him) all the wonders life has to offer, through the good times and the bad, through laughter and tears, as long as you both shall live?
Do you,________________ take,____________, as your life partner, to share with (her)(him) all the wonders life has to offer, through the good times and the bad, through laughter and tears, as long as you both shall live?
May these rings be forever the symbol of the unbroken circle of love. Love freely given has no giver and no receiver — for each is the giver and each is the receiver. May these rings remind you always of the vows you have taken here today.
As a sign and symbol of our union, I give you this ring to wear forever. (place ring on finger)
As a sign and symbol of our union, I give you this ring to wear forever. (place ring on finger)
VOWS AND RING EXCHANGE III
I,_____________ take you,_____________ as my spouse, to be no other than yourself. Loving what I know of you, trusting what I do not yet know, I will respect your integrity and have faith in your abiding love for me, through all our years, and in all that life may bring us.
I,____________ take you,_____________ as my spouse, to be no other than yourself. Loving what I know of you, trusting what I do not yet know, I will respect your integrity and have faith in your abiding love for me, through all our years, and in all that life may bring us.
The rings you are about to exchange are a symbol of everything your marriage is to mean to you: the giving of each to the other, the value in which you hold each other. They are an outward symbol of a promise, freely given, each to the other.
I give this ring as a symbol of my love for you.
I give this ring as a symbol of my love for you.
1) Since, ______________________and _______________________have vowed to be loyal and loving toward each other, formalizing in our presence the existence of the bond between them, we bear witness to the ceremony they have performed — the ceremony that symbolizes their union, and recognize their marriage before the community.
2) Now have you, _____________and you,____________, in the presence of these friends and loved ones, declared your confidence that upon the foundation of your love you can build a worthy home. You have solemnly promised to live together in the sacred experience of marriage. You have given and received rings and in so doing have declared your marriage to exist. We, here gathered, bear witness to this declaration, and recognize you as married.
3) And now that you have spoken the words and performed the rites that unite your lives, we do hereby in conformity with ancient custom declare your marriage to be valid and binding.
4) In as much as these two persons have freely promised, in our presence, to live together in the relationship of marriage and thereto have engaged themselves in the giving and receiving of rings, I, therefore, ministering in the name of my free religious faith, affirm and celebrate their commitments and call them married.
(Couple step forward, take two burning candles, and use them to light the third, larger one.)
As these two flames merge to form a newer, stronger source of light, and yet continue to burn, each with their own special brilliance, so may it be with your lives.
WORDS FOR WEDDINGS WITH CHILDREN/h3>
_________________and _______________, your child(ren) is/are with you today. They (He/She) represent(s) a major portion of each of your lives. With your new status as a married couple, your child(ren) acquire new status. This is not only a great joy, but also a great responsibility. Thus, it seems good and right to have you make another promise today.
Will you both use your new relationship with each other to provide for this (these) child(ren), a home that is stable and secure, loving and supportive, which, as they mature, they will be able to grow in strength, self-respect and intelligence, and which they will remember with warmth and affection?
PRAYER AND MEDITATIONS
1) We are thankful for the sacred and tender ties which ________ and __________have now taken upon themselves. May all their loved ones, here assembled or in absence remembering them, ever continue to rejoice in the bonds which have united them. May the inspiration of this ceremony abide throughout their lives. May they hold firm those things to which they have pledged themselves. May they be comfort and joy, counsel and strength to each other through all the changes and chances of the world. Hand in hand, heart with heart, and united by one soul, may they walk together along the pathway of life in faith, hope and love.
2) Let us unite in prayer. God, giver of life and love we give thanks for the celebration of marriage that we have gathered to consecrate this day. We each bring to this sanctuary; to this ancient and holy ceremony, the hopes and dreams we hold for all who love. May this union between _______and _______be blessed by God with love, honesty, reason and passion. May the days of this marriage increase constantly in joy and fulfillment. For together, here in the presence of love and of those who love, we honor the consecration of two lives, once apart, to a greater vision of their lives together. May God bless you and keep you. May you walk always in the paths of love.
1) May the blessing that rests upon all who love, rest also upon you and fill you with all spiritual grace. May the bond that unites you ever be strengthened. May you so love and work together in the days that are to come that your lives shall be enriched and ennobled by a true and deepening companionship of mind and heart.
2) With a perfect and abiding confidence, with a trust and affection which knows no limitation — I send you forth upon your journey of life — to laugh for joy, to suffer pain; to seek, to serve, to find.
3) Now and forever may both of you be united in love and harmony;
Now and forever may both of you share your moods and dreams with loving care.
Now and forever may both of you keep trust in each other, constant and deep.
Now and forever may you find joy in life and warm contentment as life partners with one another.
4) Look to this day,
For it is life, the very life of life.
In its brief course lie all the verities and realities of your existence:
The bliss of growth;
The glory of action;
The splendor of beauty;
For yesterday is but a dream,
And tomorrow is only a vision;
But today, well lived, makes every yesterday a dream of happiness, and every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well, therefore, to this day.