Religion Non-Specific Ceremony

 

Suggested Opening Logistics

  • Background music
  • Music changes (this is the official start of the ceremony)
  • Grandparents are ushered in by groomsmen, best man, or Groom
  • Parents are ushered in by groomsmen, best man, or Groom
  • Music changes
  • Maid of honor and Bride s maids enter individually
  • Ring barer,  and flower children, and bell ringer enter individually
  • Music changes to bridal march
  • Bride is escorted in
  • Music stops briefly then continues (low volume) throughout ceremony

Introduction

Audience is seated

Lance: Good afternoon (morning/evening)! We are gathered here today, not to witness the beginning of what will be, but rather what already is! We do not create this marriage, because we cannot. We can and do, however, celebrate with Bride and Groom and their friends and families the wondrous and joyful occurrence that has already taken place in their lives.

Who accompanies this Bride to Groom ?

Whomever is escorting Bride : I do.

Escort sits

The Celebration Of Marriage

Marriage is a supreme sharing of experience, and an adventure in the most intimate of human relationships. It is the joyous union of two people whose comradeship and mutual understanding have flowered in romance. Today Bride and Groom proclaim their love and commitment to the world, and we gather here to rejoice, with and for them, in the new life they now undertake together.

The joy we feel now is a solemn joy, because the act of marriage has many consequences, both social and personal. Marriage requires “love,” a word we often use with vagueness and sentimentality. We may assume that love is some rare and mystical event, when in fact it is our natural state of being.

Recognition of those who could not be with us today
Specifically name parents, grandparents or siblings that have either passed or were physically unable to attend. For those passed, a remembrance table off to the side with pictures of them is appropriate.

Recognition of Parents

Before we go on to say more about love, it is important to recognize from where love comes in our lives. Of course, someone first loved Laura and Lantz. Someone cared for them as children, showed them what love, compassion, kindness, and care is. Of course we are speaking of the parents. The work of our parents is critical in preparing us to be the loving adults we are, so today, Laura and Lantz want to make special recognition of their parents today, for making today possible. I speak for everyone here when we say “Thank You mom’s and dad’s for beginning in Lantz and Laura something so special.

(Now Bride and Groom present flowers to their parents)

On Love (continued)

So what do we mean by love? When we love, we see things other people do not see. We see beneath the surface, to the qualities which make our beloved special and unique. To see with loving eyes, is to know inner beauty . And to be loved is to be seen, and known, as we are known to no other. One who loves us, gives us a unique gift: a piece of ourselves, but a piece that only they could give us.

We who love, can look at each other’s life and say, “I touched his life,” or, “I touched her life,” just as an artist might say, “I touched this canvas.” “Those brushstrokes in the comer of this magnificent mural, those are mine. I was a part of this life, and it is a part of me.” Marriage is to belong to each other through a unique and diverse collaboration, like two threads crossing in different directions, yet weaving one tapestry together.

To make this relationship work, therefore, takes more than love. It takes trust, to know in your hearts that you want only the best for each other. It takes dedication, to stay open to one another, to learn and grow, even when it is difficult to do so. And it takes faith, to go forward together without knowing what the future holds for you both. While love is our natural state of being, these other qualities are not as easy to come by. They are not a destination, but a journey.

The true art of married life is in this an inner spiritual journey. It is a mutual enrichment, a give and take between two personalities, a mingling of two endowments which diminishes neither, but enhances both.

First Reading (this is a ready that can be replaced with another)

On Marriage, By Edmund O’Neill

Marriage is a commitment to life – to the best that two people can find and bring out in each other. It offers opportunities for sharing and growth that no other human relationship can equal, a joining that is promised for a lifetime. Within the circle of its love, marriage encompasses all of life’s most important relationships. A wife and a husband are each other’s best friend, confidant, lover, teacher, listener, and critic. There may come times when one partner is heartbroken or ailing, and the love of the other may resemble the tender caring of a parent for a child. Marriage deepens and enriches every facet of life. Happiness is fuller; memories are fresher; commitment is stronger; even anger is felt more strongly, and passes away more quickly. Marriage understands and forgives the mistakes life is unable to avoid. It encourages and nurtures new life, new experiences, and new ways of expressing love through the seasons of life. When two people pledge to love and care for each other in marriage they create a spirit unique to themselves, which binds them closer than any spoken or written words. Marriage is a promise, a potential, made in the hearts of two people who love, which takes a lifetime to fulfill.

Love

Mingling in marriage is a mutual dedication, a cooperative venture in every sense. It is a relationship based on love, respect, and a determination by both partners to adjust to each other and support one another, in health and in sickness, in joy and in sadness, in ease and in hardship.

Through this co-operation, we give ourselves, our lives and love. into the hands of the one we love. We do so trustingly and generously. And so, each of us receives a gift: the life and love of the other. We receive this gift, not only from the one we love, but also from the parents who brought us into the world, and from our friends and families as well.

And so as Bride and Groom ‘s friends and family, we are here to share with them this joy and hope, and to see them off on the path they will walk together. May it be a path of blessedness, bright with flowers of prosperity and spiritual awakening; a path of ever deepening, ever broadening love that they will travel, arm in arm. through out eternity.

The Commitment

Bride and Groom this celebration is the outward token of your sacred and inward union of hearts, which the church and temple may bless, and the state make legal, but which neither state nor church can create nor annul. It is a union created by your loving purpose and kept by your abiding will. It is in this spirit and for this purpose that you have come here to be joined together.

Blessing of the Rings

Lance: Who holds the rings?

Best Man or Sponsor: I do

Lance: These are the rings that Bride and Groom will wear for the rest of their lives, that express the love that they have for one another. Let us take a moment and send our prayers, our thoughts and our love to these rings, so that as they wear them, they will carry our love with them as well.

(Best man holds his hand up to display the rings and holds them up to be blessed by the Lance.)

Lance: Let us all bless these rings! These rings are circles, symbols that remind us of the Sun, and the Earth, and the universe. Symbols of holiness, of perfection and peace … that which has no beginning and no end. And so, in this moment, let us all bring our blessings to these rings to also be symbols of unity, of joining and of commitment. Let us grant that the love which Bride and Groom  have for each other now may always be just this way.

Exchange of Vows and Rings

Exchange Of Vows and Rings (these vows can be replaced with another)

Lance: Bride and Groom , as you dedicate yourselves to one another, we are mindful of the Love around us represented by our Family and friends.

Each holds the hand of the other, slides the ring half way on, then repeats the vows after Lance

(Ensure that Bride has moved her engagement diamond to the right hand before beginning this part)

Groom:

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, or for poorer,
in sickness, and in health,
to love and to honor
and to cherish unconditionally.
Forsaking all others, I will be faithful to you.
With This Ring, I Thee Wed
Let it ever be a symbol of our Love
And with this ring, I thee wed.

Bride:

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, or for poorer,
in sickness, and in health,
to love and to honor
and to cherish unconditionally.
Forsaking all others, I will be faithful to you.
With This Ring, I Thee Wed
Let it ever be a symbol of our Love
And with this ring, I thee wed.

(Then finish putting the ring on the finger.)
Apache Wedding Blessing  (this is a ready that can be replaced with another)

Now you will feel no rain,
For each of you will be shelter to the other.
Now you will feel no cold,
For each of you will be warmth to the other.
Now there is no more loneliness,
For each of you will be companion to the other.
Although there are two bodies,
But there is only one life before you.
Go now to your dwelling place,
To enter into the days of your togetherness.
And may your days be good and long upon the earth.

Conclusion

Bride and Groom , remember to treat both yourself and each other with respect, and remind yourselves often of what brought you together.

Give the highest priority to the tenderness, gentleness and kindness that your connection deserves. When frustration, difficulty or fear assail your relationship – as they threatened all relationships at one time or another – remember to focus on what is right between you, not only the part that seems wrong.

In this way, you can ride out the times when clouds hide the face of the sun in your lives – remembering that even if you lose sight of it for a moment, the sun is still there.

And if each of you takes responsibility for the quality of your lives together, your life together will be marked by abundance and delight.

Pronouncement

In as much as you have consented together in this ceremony to live in wedlock and have sealed your vows in the presence of this company and by the giving of these rings, it gives me great pleasure to pronounce that you are now husband and wife.

I present to you Mrs. Bride and Mr. Groom

Lance: Would everyone please stand as the couple departs! Please remain in your places until the parents have left the room.

Music begins, couple slowly walks out, flower girl and ring bearer depart, groomsmen and bridesmaids recess as pairs, Lance invites parents and grandparents to exit just in front of him.

Lance: (said as he departs last) Thank you all very much!