our traditional-ish-esque wedding ceremony

We had many goals and ideas for our wedding day — brunch, small-ish guest list and mountain location, to name a few — but number one on our list was an event that really represented and reflected who we are. A large part of that was the ceremony, which is why I was elated to hear from friends and family who attended how much they enjoyed it.

In crafting the ceremony, I googled and read and researched a number of sources. The result was a hodge-podge of my ideas combined with bits and pieces of ceremonies others had shared. I’m sharing as a way of paying it forward in the hopes that an engaged couple who is seeking something unique for their ceremony may be able to borrow a few bits and make what can be a daunting task a bit easier.

Opening/Welcome

Hello and welcome! Please be seated.

Each of you is an important part of Nicole and Dustin’s circle of family and friends and they are so grateful you’re here with them today. Before we get to the good stuff, Nicole and Dustin have one request for all of you and that is your full presence as they commit to one another. To do so, they ask that everyone please silence and put away your cell phones, iPads or whatever your device of choice may be. They promise there will be plenty of time for photos and such after the ceremony.

(Pause for a few seconds to give guests a chance to comply)

Thank you.

You have come from near and far to bear witness to and celebrate this joyous occasion – Dustin and Nicole’s marriage to one another. And, what an incredible moment – Dustin and Nicole, please take a moment to look around and truly take it all in. All of these amazing humans are here for you.

(Pause)

And, to you, family and friends, Nicole and Dustin thank you all for taking the time and energy to be here today on this day of celebration.


Address

Because today is a celebration. A celebration of love, commitment, friendship, family and of two people – Nicole and Dustin – who, especially on this day, are a prime example of how happy two people can really be together. They make being in a relationship look easy, and it’s in that effortlessness where we can see how perfectly suited they are for one another. Today we will witness, celebrate, laugh – and probably eat and drink a little — and be glad because these two have found their teammate and partner in each other.

The thing is, you don’t have to have a ceremony to have a marriage though.

And when you think about it, the whole thing is kind of weird, right?

You’re standing in front of a lot of people, looking fancy, holding flowers, and being stared at by pretty much everyone who has meant anything to you.

So why do we do it?

The marriage ceremony has been an integral feature across nearly every culture, religion, generation, and society.

We have thousands of important moments that happen throughout our lives, but this one is regarded as one so critical, we acknowledge its special status by sharing it with others.

Why this moment?

Because despite all of our differences, love is what we all share.

It’s the great unifier — our one universal truth.

That no matter who we are, where we’ve come from, what we believe, we know this one thing: love is what we’re doing right.

As you may have read on their wedding website, Nicole and Dustin’s love story began as many do today in our modern times – with a swipe. Or, to be more precise, two swipes – which led to a few conversations and then to a few beers. And, it was over those beers during their first meeting, that both Nicole and Dustin felt something a little different, although they weren’t exactly sure what yet. About a month later, however, while Nicole was away exploring Scandinavia, it became very clear to them both that what they felt was love. And, not just any love, but the kind of love that is life-changing.

And that brings us to today – and why Nicole and Dustin are standing here

And why all of you are watching them stand here

(Speak directly to Dustin and Nicole)

I’m here — we’re all here — because we want to support you as you join together in marriage.

We’re here to hope with you, to support you, to be proud of you, and to remind you that love isn’t happily ever after, love is the experience of writing your story.

It’s not one moment — not even this moment. It’s every moment.

Big ones like saying “I love you,” moving in together, getting engaged — but mostly a million little ones that come in between the big moments.

Falling asleep next to one another, making dinner together, spending holidays with your families, getting a big hug when you arrive home from work.

These everyday moments fuse together into one big experience.

And even though this experience is so incredible, words fail us when we try and explain it.

That’s just the way it is with love — it’s meant to be felt, not described.

But trying to describe love is one of our favorite pastimes.

We use the words we have to write stories, and poems, and songs about love.

And even though we describe love in different ways — and even though love can look different from one person to the next — we all know it when we see it.

And we see it here – with the two of you.


Declaration of consent

And now we come to the words Nicole and Dustin want to hear the most today – the words that take them across the threshold from being engaged to married.

A marriage, as most of us understand it, is a voluntary and full commitment. It is made in the deepest sense to the exclusion of all others, and it is entered into with the desire and hope that it will last for life.

Before you declare your vows to one another, please confirm that it is indeed your intention to be married today.

(Niece takes Nicole’s bouquet. Nicole and Dustin turn toward each other and hold hands)

Dustin, do you come here freely and without reservation to join Nicole in marriage? If so, answer I do.

Dustin:

I do.

Officiant:

Nicole, do you come here freely and without reservation to join Dustin in marriage? If so, answer, I do.

Nicole:

I do.


Exchange of vows

Officiant:

Dustin and Nicole, you have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided it would be a good idea to get married.  From that moment of yes to this moment of yes, you have been making promises and agreements in a casual way. All those conversations you had riding in a car or over a meal or during long walks — all those sentences that started 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”- all these common things are the real process of a wedding. The 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.”
After you speak these words, things will never quite be the same between you. For after these vows, you will say to the world, this – (point to Dustin) is my husband, this (point to Nicole) – is my wife.

Dustin, please begin

Dustin:

Today, surrounded by people who love us, I choose you, Nicole, to be my partner.

I choose you to learn and grow with, to explore and adventure with and to respect in everything as an equal partner,

I choose you because you have taught me that two people joined together

With respect, trust and open communication

Can be far stronger and happier than each could ever be alone.

I choose you because you are the strength I didn’t know I needed,

And the joy I didn’t know I lacked.

I promise to love you for who you are,

And for who you are yet to become.

I promise to be patient,

And to remember that all things between us are rooted in love.

I promise to nurture your dreams and help you reach them.

I promise to share my whole heart with you,

And to remember to show you how deeply I care for you,

No matter the challenges that may come our way.

I vow to support you, push you, inspire you, and, above all, love you – as long as we both shall live.

I choose you.

Do you take me to be your lawfully wedded husband?

Nicole:

I do.

Nicole:

Today, surrounded by people who love us, I choose you, Dustin, to be my partner.

I choose you to learn and grow with, to explore and adventure with and to respect in everything as an equal partner,

I choose you because you have taught me that two people joined together

With respect, trust and open communication

Can be far stronger and happier than each could ever be alone.

I choose you because you are the strength I didn’t know I needed,

And the joy I didn’t know I lacked.

I promise to love you for who you are,

And for who you are yet to become.

I promise to be patient,

And to remember that all things between us are rooted in love.

I promise to nurture your dreams and help you reach them.

I promise to share my whole heart with you,

And to remember to show you how deeply I care for you,

No matter the challenges that may come our way.

I vow to support you, push you, inspire you, and, above all, love you – as long as we both shall live.

I choose you.

Do you take me to be your lawfully wedded wife?

Dustin:

I do.


Unity Activity

Officiant: 

Dustin and Nicole will now take part in a ceremony to symbolize the uniting of themselves through marriage.

(Dustin and Nicole go to their parents to receive their chemicals and walk to the table with the unity table)

Officiant (read while Dustin and Nicole pouring chemicals together to create reaction)

Nicole, the flask of sodium phosphate represents your life up to this moment, separate and distinct from Dustin’s. Dustin, this flask of copper sulfate represents your life up to this moment, separate and distinct from Nicole’s. Marriage is the joining of two lives into one. As you pour these solutions together, they will form an insoluble copper phosphate suspension. Just like Dustin and Nicole, the chemicals are unique and wonderful on their own, but brought together, they form something new and amazing.

Dustin’s sister will now read a passage Dustin and Nicole selected.

Sister

I will love you forever; whatever happens. Till I die and after I die, and when I find my way out of the land of the dead, I’ll drift about forever, all my atoms, till I find you again… I’ll be looking for you, every moment, every single moment. And when we do find each other again, we’ll cling together so tight that nothing and no one’ll ever tear us apart. Every atom of me and every atom of you… We’ll live in birds and flowers and dragonflies and pine trees and in clouds and in those little specks of light you see floating in sunbeams… And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won’t just be able to take one, they’ll have to take two, one of you and one of me.

(Pause to allow Dustin and Nicole to complete the unity activity. Dustin and Nicole return to their spot in front of officiant.)


Ceremony of the Rings

Grace takes rings out of satchel

Grace: 

Dustin and Nicole, these rings are an external and visible sign of the internal bond which unites the two of you. May they serve as a seal of the vows you have made to one another.
Dustin as you place this ring on Nicole’s finger, repeat after me:
Nicole, I give you this ring, as a daily reminder of my love for you.

Dustin:

Nicole, I give you this ring, as a daily reminder of my love for you.

Grace:
Nicole, as you place this ring on Dustin’s finger, repeat after me:
Dustin, I give you this ring, as a daily reminder of my love for you.

Nicole:

Dustin, I give you this ring, as a daily reminder of my love for you.


Conclusion

Officiant (addressing Nicole and Dustin): 

Before I pronounce you husband and wife, I have just one more thing I want you to do.  Your wedding day is one that seems to fly by.  It’s a day filled with emotion, friends, family, pictures and more. So, before all of the craziness ensues, I want you to take a few seconds to look into each other’s eyes.  Think about the happiness that you’re feeling in this place, in this moment.  Really let that feeling register in your heart and your mind.  Now, I want you to think about your life together in a year or five or 10.  We all know that your visions of the future are not identical, but always complementary.

John Lennon once said, “A dream you dream alone is only a dream.  A dream you dream together, THAT is a reality.”  That new reality starts now.


Declaration of marriage and kiss

Grace: 

Nicole and Dustin, today you have pledged yourself to each other in the presence of your loving friend and family and, on behalf of all those present, it is my honor and delight to pronounce you partners in marriage. You may seal this declaration with a kiss.

(Dustin and Nicole kiss)

Officiant:

I am pleased to present the newlyweds, Dustin and Nicole!

(Niece hands bouquet to Nicole as Dustin and Nicole walk down aisle)

Recessional

 

2 thoughts on “our traditional-ish-esque wedding ceremony

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