Saturday, December 18, 2010

DIY Week: Our Ceremony

I've already talked about our ceremony some, from how I felt to what we said and did.   We borrowed a lot from A Cupcake Wedding's ceremony posts, because everything she wrote was how I felt and it was elegant and lovely.  At the bottom of this post, I'm going to cut and paste our ceremony so that you can use it if you would like.  Hardly any of it is written by us, and if you know where pieces of it come from, feel free to add credit in the comments and I'll try to give credit where credit is due.

Our readings were - Ruth 1:16, read by our Moms.  I wanted this reading, because I thought having something from the Bible is a good way to honor our Christian heritage and Mark's Christian upbringing, and I also really love this passage.  We used the text from Singing the Living Tradition, the Unitarian hymnal (available for reference at the Enoch Pratt Library here in Baltimore).  We also picked this passage because the idea of "your people will be my people" holds great meaning for us.
Entreat me not to leave you, for where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Ruth 1:16
The next reading we had we asked our reverend to do. We decided on our readings so late that we didn't feel comfortable asking somebody at the last minute, so we just asked Rev. Fritts to do it. He did a great job, and if you have a minister, you might as well let them talk.
From the Irrational Season, by Madeline L'Engle -

But ultimately there comes a moment when a decision must be made. Ultimately two people who love each other must ask themselves how much they hope for as their love grows and deepens, and how much risk they are willing to take. It is indeed a fearful gamble. Because it is the nature of love to create, a marriage itself is something which has to be created, so that, together we become a new creature.
To marry is the biggest risk in human relations that a person can take. If we commit ourselves to one person for life this is not, as many people think, a rejection of freedom; rather it demands the courage to move into all the risks of freedom, and the risk of love which is permanent; into that love which is not possession, but participation. It takes a lifetime to learn another person. When love is not possession, but participation, then it is part of that co-creation which is our human calling, and which implies such risk that it is often rejected.
Our third reading we had the bridal party do - we picked that piece by Kahlil Gibran that everybody reads at weddings - in Singing the Living Tradition, it had been broken up into 8 separate sentences and we had everybody in the bridal party read one line of it. Truthfully, this reading was, for me at least, more about including our bridal party than what the reading actually said, and we wrote our ceremony at the last minute (uh, don't do this. Go write it now, trust me, I'll be here when you get back.)
Once the ceremony was written, I emailed it to the minister and he added a few changes, like telling us to hold hands, etc. But the best part actually came during the ceremony itself, because as we said our vows (the usual, traditional vows) to each other, we got a little overwhelmed. We weren't supposed to kiss yet, so Rev. Fritts told us to go ahead and give each other a hug.



I'm just going to cut and paste our entire ceremony here, with the names removed (and replaced with the heteronormative "bride and groom" - sorry about that.)

Wedding Ceremony
Welcome, family and friends of [bride] and [groom] – I know that many of you have traveled great distances to be here today.  [Bride] and [Groom] have asked you here because you are important to them.  The support that you have given them over the years, both as individuals and as a couple, has shaped their relationship.  They are so pleased that you could all be here today to bear witness to their union.  

We gather at this hour to witness and to celebrate the marriage of [Bride] and [Groom].  Marriage is an institution founded in nature, guarded by the state, solemnized by the church, and made honorable by the faithful keeping of good men and women in all ages, a source of joy to those who enter it, and of greater good for our common life.  In marriage, two people turn to each other in search of a greater fulfillment than either can achieve alone. Marriage is a bold step into an unknown future. It is risking who we are for the sake of who we can be.  Your lives will change, your responsibilities will increase, but your joy, trust, and understanding will be multiplied if you are sincere and earnest in your vows to one another.  [Bride] and [Groom] come now to join in this special relationship.  

Reading 1
Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Ruth 1:16

Reading 2
From The Irrational Season – Madeleine L’Engle
But ultimately there comes a moment when a decision must be made. Ultimately two people who love each other must ask themselves how much they hope for as their love grows and deepens, and how much risk they are willing to take. It is indeed a fearful gamble. Because it is the nature of love to create, a marriage itself is something which has to be created, so that, together we become a new creature.

To marry is the biggest risk in human relations that a person can take. If we commit ourselves to one person for life this is not, as many people think, a rejection of freedom; rather it demands the courage to move into all the risks of freedom, and the risk of love which is permanent; into that love which is not possession, but participation. It takes a lifetime to learn another person. When love is not possession, but participation, then it is part of that co-creation which is our human calling, and which implies such risk that it is often rejected.
Reading 3: 

Love one another, but make not 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 eat not 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.
Let there be spaces in your togetherness, 
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another, but make not a bond of love.



Question of Intent:
[Bride] and [Groom], have you come here freely and without reservation to give yourselves to each other in marriage?  
Both: We have.
Do you pledge to nurture, trust and respect each other and to be open, honest, and loyal to one another?  
Both: I do. [note: we did not read the script closely beforehand, so for each of these, said either "yes" or "I do" or "we do" but never the same thing at the same time]
Do you promise to work together to build a harmonious relationship of equality, respecting each other’s uniqueness and helping one another grow to your fullest potential? 
Both: I do.
Do you promise to comfort each other through life’s sorrows and joys?
Both: I do.  

Wine and Chocolate Ritual: 
There will come in your life days of great sweetness, and days of bitter sorrow. There will be celebrations, and there will be tears. There will be triumphs, and there will be tragedies. Life holds indescribable happiness in store for you both - and unavoidable pain, as well. And so to symbolize your acceptance of this reality, today you will share the bitter and the sweet, just as you will share them in the years to come.  Take and eat this bitter, dark chocolate. 
[Both taste] Taste in it the dark days which will rock your marriage and test its strength. It represents disappointment, illness, grief. Know that these hard times will come, and with them, the opportunity to deepen your bond as husband and wife.
Now, take and drink this sweet red wine.
[Both drink] Taste in it the sweetness and light that will fill your marriage with joy. Savor the fruits of this wine, just as you will savor every happiness that your beloved brings you. It represents shared laughter, your child’s first steps, your golden anniversary. Delight in it, as you will delight in your husband, your wife.

Vows
[Bride] and [Groom], the symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, “All those things we’ve promised and hoped and dreamed - I meant it all, every word.” Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another- acquaintance, friend, companion, boyfriend, girlfriend, fiance.  Now you will say a few words that take you across a threshold of life, and things will never quite be the same between you. For after these vows, you will say to the world, this - is my husband, this - is my wife.  
I, [Groom], take you [Bride], to be my wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part. 
I, [Bride], take you [Groom], to be my husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part. 

Rings
[Bride] and [Groom], let these rings serve as a reminder of the feelings you have in your hearts at this very moment. There are times in life that we tend to focus on the things we have not yet accomplished, there will also be times of great loss. Yet as you look at these rings, remember the great gift that you have been given and all that you have in one another. Remember that you have someone to share this life with. Never again will you have to walk alone.
Now, Repeat after me: "With all that I am, with all that I will become, with this ring, I marry you."

Blessing
In joining your lives may God grant you both...Love... to afford each other a special quality of time together. Joy...in the accomplishments of one another. Understanding...that your interests and desires will not always be the same. Friendship...based on mutual trust. Courage...to speak of a misunderstanding and to work on a solution before the setting of the sun. Compassion...to comfort each other in pain and sorrow. Foresight...to realize rainbows follow rainy days. Imagination...to keep with you part of the child you used to be. Mirth...from your sense of humor. Awareness...to live each day with the knowledge that there is no promise of tomorrow. May you always be there for each other, and may your friends who have gathered to share this day be there for you as well, should you need them.  

Announcement:
In the presence of these witnesses and in keeping with our tradition, you have spoken the words and performed the rites that unite your lives.  [Bride] and [Groom], you are now husband and wife in the sight of God, this community, and all people.  

3 comments:

  1. Wow, that was the same Madeleine L'Engle passage we had read at our wedding. Awesome!

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  2. Thank you for posting your ceremony! We are meeting with our priest next week, and I'm printing off a couple of different parts of various ceremonies to show her. I loved the blessing.

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  3. I'm working on our ceremony right now! I think you had a great balance of traditional things and things about equality and working hard at your marriage, which is exactly what we are going for too. I've already decided that we have to use the Robert Fulghum quote you condensed for your vows introduction because it really says everything I feel about how that moment is really a confirmation of something that's already begun.

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