This is my most popular formal ceremony in my wedding officiant business Marry Me In Indy! LLC. This ceremony is broken up into parts where you can easily exchange one reading for another or use a different unity ceremony or ring exchange. When I first sit down with a couple, this is where we start. I gave this particular ceremony to a couple in a different form several years ago and they sent it back back to me written better.
The bride is escorted down the aisle by her father. He gives her a hug and kiss, shakes the grooms hand and places her hand in his and takes his seat.
At this point if the bride and her Father,(or escort) wish it, the officiant asks:
Who gives/ presents this woman to be married?
Father (or whomever escorted her) responds:
Her mother and I do.
Please be seated.
Welcome! We are gathered here today to celebrate and to witness the joining of Bride and Groom in marriage.
As they promise to love, trust in that love, honor one another as individuals, and anticipate with joy spending the rest of their lives together. They are surrounded by you - their friends and family. Thank you for gathering here to witness their marriage and to share in the joy of this special occasion.
This is optional:
We’d like to take a moment to remember those who are not with us here today. Those who couldn't attend and those who have passed away. We know they are here in spirit.
(Moment of Silence)
Bride and Groom, Today, as you two are joined in marriage, there is a vast and unknown future stretching out before you. The possibilities and potentials of your married life are great. We join with you in hoping you make real your dreams! That you are reborn in each other as you share your loves and dreams, wants and desires and together are enriched by them.
Through your commitment to each other, may you grow and nurture a love that makes both of you better people, a love that continues to give you great joy, and also a passion for living that provides you with energy and patience to face the responsibilities of life. There was a time when your lives were two separate paths. Gradually, they were joined as you grew closer together. Today, you proclaim to the world your choice to stay on the same path together. May you be enriched by the unique view of the other!
The first reading is:
By, Mari Nichols-Haining
Because to the depths of me, I long to love one person,
With all my heart, my soul, my mind, my body...
Because I need a forever friend to trust with the intimacies of me,
Who won't hold them against me,
Who loves me when I'm unlikable,
Who sees the small child in me, and
Who looks for the divine potential of me...
Because I need to cuddle in the warmth of the night
With someone who thanks God for me,
With someone I feel blessed to hold...
Because marriage means opportunity
To grow in love in friendship...
Because marriage is a discipline
To be added to a list of achievements...
Because marriages do not fail, people fail
When they enter into marriage
Expecting another to make them whole...
Because, knowing this,
I promise myself to take full responsibility
For my spiritual, mental and physical wholeness
I create me,
I take half of the responsibility for my marriage
Together we create our marriage...
Because with this understanding
The possibilities are limitless.
The Second Reading is
by Robert Fulghum
"You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making promises and agreements in an informal way. All those conversations that were held riding in a car or over a meal or during long walks - all those sentences that began with "When we're married" and continued with "I will and you will and we will" - those late night talks that included "someday and somehow and maybe"- and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding. The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, "You know all those things we've promised and hoped and dreamed- well, 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, lover, dancing partner, and even teacher, for you have learned much from one another in these last few years. Now you shall 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 shall say to the world, this- is my husband, this- is my wife”
These are the most basic of vows and they are simply stated as a question. there are endless possibilities of vows that are already written or you can write your own. You can repeat after the officiant, answer a questions or read your own.
Do you Groom, take Bride, to be your 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 you part.
Groom: I do
Do you Bride, take Groom, to be your 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 you part.
Bride: I do
The rings please…
The rings are the universal symbols of marriage. They mean many things. From now on you will wear these rings and they will remind you... They will remind you of the endless circle that they are. Like love, there is no beginning and no end. They will remind you daily that you are married. Sometimes they will remind you of the commitment that you have made - for better or worse. But, may they always remind you that there is one other person in the world that has pledged to love you forever, through thick and through thin and with all that they have.
please repeat after me:
Groom: Bride, I give you this ring with all that I am and all that I ever will be. Wear it and know that I love you.
With this ring, I marry you.
Bride: Groom, I give you this ring with all that I am and all that I ever will be. Wear it and know that I love you.
With this ring, I marry you.
The Box Ceremony
(this is a unity ceremony, there are endless unity ceremonies you can choose from if you want to do a unity ceremony)
Bride and Groom are starting a new tradition in their life together. This box contains a bottle of wine and a love letter from each to the other. The letters describe the good qualities they find in each other, the reasons they fell in love, and the reasons for choosing to marry. The letters are sealed in individual envelopes and they have not seen what the other has written. Together we will seal this box, and on the happy occasion of each anniversary, they will open the box, read the letters, drink the wine, and add new love letters to the box each year. As time passes, they will have a record of the yearly reflection on their relationship and a living document of the growth and depth of their ever evolving relationship. Bride and Groom, should you ever find your marriage enduring insurmountable hardships, you are to as a couple, open the box, sit and drink the wine together, then read the love letters you wrote to one another when you were united as a couple in marriage.
The couple comes back together to join hand for a the final blessing.
Life and love are the greatest gifts bestowed upon humanity.
May your union grant you patience, tolerance, and understanding
as well as the passion and excitement every marriage should possess.
May you need one another, but not out of weakness.
May you want one another, but not out of lack.
May you support one another, as a sign of mutual independence.
May you continually rediscover your love in one another, as the greatest gift of all.
It is my great pleasure to acknowledge your union as “Husband and Wife.”
You may now seal your marriage with a kiss!!!
May you live happily ever after!
Ladies and Gentlemen, It is my pleasure to introduce to you: ...............................