Sample Ceremony 3: Marriage is, Revised 1-9-2017

Introductory Reading

Beloved author Neil Gaiman once wrote:

“Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn’t it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses, you build up a whole suit of armor, so that nothing can hurt you, then one person, no different from any other person, wanders into your life … You give them a piece of you. They didn’t ask for it. They did something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn’t your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you.”

Welcome Message

We are gathered here today to celebrate the marriage of NAME and NAME. We come together not to mark the start of a relationship, but to recognize a bond that already exists. This ceremony is an affirmation of that bond of love and friendship.  When these two wandered into each other’s lives, neither suspected that it would lead to today, yet here we are.

Readings

One of the most amazing and wonderful of all things in life is the discovery of another human being you can truly live with. Someone who makes you happy to see them every day. A relationship like this cannot be found by looking for it or desperately wishing for it. It is a delicate combination of many factors, similarities and differences, similar goals, mutual values, compatibility and all of those practical matters, but also chemistry, pheromones, and sometimes the right amount of perseverance. When you find a person you really like, and all of these things start clicking into place, you don’t let them go. As time goes by, the relationship grows and deepens, and one day you realize this is what you’ve been looking for, this is love.

An author named Laura Hendricks wrote:
“Love is friendship caught fire; it is quiet, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection, and makes allowances for human weaknesses. Love is content with the present, hopes for the future, and does not brood over the past. If you have love in your life, it can make up for a great many things you lack.”

Marriage is perhaps the greatest and most challenging adventure of all human relationships. No ceremony can create your marriage; only you can do that – through love and patience; through dedication and listening; through supporting and believing in each other. By learning to make the important things matter, and letting go of the rest. What this ceremony can do is to witness and affirm the choice you make to stand together despite the occasional urge to run away.

To make a marriage work, we learn to overlook and forgive the things that may frustrate us. These two are promising to stick together through all the unfolded laundry, dirty dishes, sleepless nights and early mornings. To support one another through all the bad traffic, annoying co-workers, and airport security lines.

But marriage is also about having someone to laugh with, to hug and to snuggle with on cold nights. It’s having someone who will get your dumb jokes and obscure movie references.

A happy marriage, I think, is one that includes little surprises, taking time to enjoy doing nothing at all together, and always cheering each other on in life. Marriage is having a confidant, a partner in crime, and a best friend.

Declaration of Intent

NAME and NAME, you are here today to share the depth of your love, friendship, appreciation and respect for each other, and your desire to be together.

NAME, do you take NAME to be your husband/wife/partner? Do you promise to love, comfort, honor and protect him/her, and be faithful to him/her for as long as you both live? “I do.”

Vows

NAME, please repeat after me:
“I, NAME, take you, NAME,
to be my husband/wife from this day forward.
I will always be open and honest with you,
I will respect and care for you,
I will cherish our love and our friendship,
and I will share my life with you always.”

Exchange of Rings

As a symbol of the vows you have shared, you have brought rings to give and receive.

NAME, do you have the ring?
As you place the ring on NAME’s finger, please repeat after me:
“I marry you with this ring. Please wear it, and know that I love you. ”

May these rings always be a reminder of your wedding day, of your vows and a daily reminder of your love.

Closing

May you always see and encourage the best in each other.
May the challenges that life brings your way
make your marriage grow stronger.
And may you always be each others’ best friend
and greatest love.

Announcement

NAME and NAME, I am honored to now pronounce you married/husband and wife. Congratulations! You may kiss!

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