Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wedding Ceremony

Several of our friends and family who couldn't be at the wedding, asked if I'd be willing to post our ceremony on the blog. It makes me smile to re-read it as it was a perfect moment in our day. Despite having to change the venue somewhat last minute because of weather and having to cram everyone indoors, the ceremony was just what we wanted.

We wanted the feeling of a traditional ceremony, but we were clear that we wanted something secular and very personal. We wrote it ourselves using bits and pieces from a number of services that I found online (Union by Robert Fulgham, vows). (Patrick is a good friend and served as our officiant). In the hopes that this is useful to others searching for ceremony ideas, here goes...

Prelude & Procession - I walked in to Beach Boys Wouldn't it be nice and Ron and I walked up the aisle together.

Welcome & Opening - written by Patrick

Remembrances & Moment of Reflection

Patrick : Please take a few moments for silent reflection on the significance of marriage, the importance of this day in the lives of Ron & Kate, and to give thanks for those of us who are present and to honor the memory of those who are not with us today, but are here in spirit. [Allow about 30 seconds for silence]

Reading #1 Love Autumnal by Oliver Jenkins - read by Kate's brother

Statement of Community Support

Patrick : Family and friends, you have been invited here because you have shared and contributed to the lives of Kate and Ron in the past and by witnessing their marriage ceremony today, they ask you to share in their future.

The intimate, yet public, nature of this ceremony reminds us that we are social beings. Our identities, even our very existence, come about because our family and friends are the relationships that nurture and define us. So it is that marriage cannot exist in isolation from family, friends, community.

To all of you here, we ask you to nurture this union with your love and understanding. Do you promise to pledge your support to this new shared life? Will you promise to help them keep their hearts open and tender, full of forgiveness and compassion? Will you promise to keep them accountable to the promises that they make each other in front of you today? If so, please answer “We do”.

[Guests: We do.]

Reading #2 Excerpts from I Like You by Sandol Stoddard Warburg - read by R&K's friend Andrea

Exchange of Vows

Patrick: Ron and Kate - You have known each other for many years, through your first acquaintance to this moment of commitment. At some moment, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes to this moment of yes, 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. Just two people working out what they want, what they believe, what they hope for each other.

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 each other, “You know all those things we’ve promised and hoped and dreamed? Well, I meant it, 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, 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 the 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.

Are you free and ready to enter into full commitment of marriage?

Ron & Kate – We are.

Instead of traditional vows, Ron & Kate have opted to write one another letters to be opened and read out loud to one another, in front of all of these witnesses, for the first time now.
Ron read letter to Kate
Kate read letter to Ron

Patrick: Please each repeat after me in unison:

* I promise to turn to you when I am in need and to care for you when you need me.
* I will take strength from who you are, accept who you are not, and remind you who you want to be.
* I will try to remember, whether sunk in sorrow or distracted by the day-to-day, what I feel at this moment – my sense of good fortune and my sheer joy at being with you.
* Knowing that my family and friends surround me, knowing who I am and who I want to be – with this strength and certainty I say to you – I have only one life and it is only so long and I choose to spend it with you.

Ring Exchange

Patrick : May I have the rings, please? [take from Scott, best man]

These rings have no beginning and no ending, which symbolizes that the love between you will never cease. Placed on your fingers, it is a visible sign of the vows which have made you husband and wife.

Ron – take Kate’s ring and place it on her finger and repeat after me :
I give you this ring as a symbol of my commitment to you and our family.

Kate – take Ron’s ring and place it on his finger and repeat after me :
I give you this ring as a symbol of my commitment to you and our family.


Patrick :
By the power of your love and commitment, and the power vested in me by the state of Massachusetts (the best state in the union!), I now pronounce you husband and wife! You may kiss each other!


I present to you the happily married couple, Ron & Kate Wells.

TA DA!!!


andrea said...

i was almost holding it together until " I have only one life and it is only so long and I choose to spend it with you. " sooooo sweet.

i was honored to be a part of it!! you should link to an excerpt from the "i like you" book because there were tons of compliments on it.

Kate Farley said...

Thanks Andrea! We were so excited that you were willing to be a part of it too. And on your recommendations the links for the readings are up.

How great that the link to the Warburg poem was on our friend Ginevra's blog eh?

Rena said...

aw man. this was a wonderful, personal ceremony. wish i could have been there to hear the letters, because i'm guessing they were the best part. and yeah, the "i have only one life and it is only so long and i choose to spend it with you" was perfect. yay! congrats again, to both of you.

Tara said...

Kate, this was just beautiful and I'm so glad you shared it with all of us. What a simple and profound gift you gave to us by sharing your ceremony and for all of us to remember and re-vow our commitments even to our friends, our families and perhaps society itself. Thank you!.

grazina said...

hooray! congrats! i hope you guys are well!

grazina said...

hooray! congrats to you guys! i hope that all is well!