Together with our minister we crafted our ceremony....I took his basic standard methodist ceremony and then found a few resources online (which i WISH i still had the links to) then i went to work writing our ceremony. Mark and I then sat down, edited things out, changed the wording in some areas and once we were happy with it we took it to our minister. Our minister then reviewed it, edited some things out (it ended up being longer than we wanted it to be in it's original form), changed some wording (to make it easier for him to say), shortened some of the wordiness, and then we gave him free reign in some areas...like prayers and a reading section we devoted to him where he used some bible verses.
photo credit: McLellan Style
Greeting: Dear family and friends, we are gathered here, in the beauty of nature, and in the presence of God, to unite Mark and Liz in marriage. Marriage can be one of the most wonderful of human experiences. Love in its many manifestations is what life is all about. To share their lives, to encourage creativity, inspire each other to reach beyond the limits of the ordinary . . . not at the expense of each partner's individuality, but rather, by the strength of the common bond, this is the hope in which Mark and Liz come to be married.
The Giving In Marriage:
Who Supports this Woman in Her Marriage to this Man?
Answer: Her family and I do.
Opening Prayer and Reading:
Prayer: Rev. John D. Richardson
From Union 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.
Homily/Marriage Address: Given by Rev. John D. Richardson
Acknowledgement of Family and Friends:
Today represents not only the joining of Mark and Liz, but also the joining of their families and friends. Mark and Liz would like to recognize their parents on this occasion – Joe and Martina, Chris and Susan, Steve and Jan. They offer their profound gratitude to you for all the love and care you have showed in raising them. Parents, the unconditional gifts of love and support that you have continually offered have inspired them to become who they are today and they thank you, from the bottom of their hearts. Without you, this day would not be possible.
They are blessed to share their wedding day with you, their family and friends, and they thank each of you for making the journey here.
Mark and Liz have also asked that we take a moment to honor those loved ones who are not with us today, especially their grandparents. (a moment of silence)
Declaration of Support:
I invite you all to stand in support of Mark and Liz. As family and friends, you form a community of support that surrounds Mark and Liz. Each of you, by your presence here today, confirms your commitment to uphold and care for these two people in their marriage. Always stand beside them, never between them. Offer them your love and your support. Encourage them when encouragement is needed and listen to them when they ask for advice. In these ways, you can honor this marriage into which they have come to be joined today. Do you offer your love and support to strengthen their marriage and bless this family created by their union?
Please answer by saying: “We Do”
Thank you, you may be seated.
Declaration of Intent:
Mark and Liz, before God and your family and friends, I ask you to affirm your willingness to enter this covenant of marriage and to share all the joys and sorrows of this new relationship, whatever the future may hold.
Liz, will you have Mark to be your husband, and will you love him faithfully as long as you both shall live?
Mark, will you have Liz to be your wife, and will you love her faithfully as long as you both shall live?
Then please turn to each other and share the vows you have written.
Exchange of Marriage Vows:
Mark and Liz write their own vows….
Blessing and Exchange of Rings:
These rings are the outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace, signifying to all the uniting of Mark and Liz in a holy union. By your blessing, O God, may these rings be symbols of unending love and faithfulness to Mark and Liz, reminding them of the covenant they make this day.
Liz, I give you this ring as a sign of my vow, and with all that I am, and all that I have, I honor you; in the name of God.
Mark, I give you this ring as a sign of my vow, and with all that I am, and all that I have, I honor you; in the name of God.
Blessing of Hands:
Mark and Liz, please gaze now into each others hands, so you may see the gift that they are to you.
“These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow, and forever.
These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future.
These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch, will comfort you like no other.
These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief fills your mind. These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes; tears of sorrow, and tears of joy.
These are the hands that will tenderly hold your children.
These are the hands that will help you to hold your family as one.
These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it.
And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.”
God, bless these hands that you see before you this day. May they always be held by one another. Give them the strength to hold on during the storms of stress and the dark of disillusionment. Keep them tender and gentle as they nurture each other in their wondrous love. Help these hands to continue building a relationship founded in your grace, rich in caring, and devoted in reaching for your perfection. May Mark and Liz see their four hands as healer, protector, shelter and guide. We ask this in your name Lord, Amen.
May the love that has brought you together continue to grow and enrich your lives. May you meet with courage the problems that arise to challenge you and may your relationship always be one of love and trust. May the happiness you share today be with you always and may every word you have pledged here be a living truth in your lives.
Closing Prayer: Let us pray for Mark and Liz in their life together.
All: Faithful God, source of love, pour down your grace upon them, that they may fulfill the vows they have made this day, and reflect your steadfast love in their life-long faithfulness to each other. As members with them of the body of Christ, use us to support their life together; and from your great store of strength give them power and patience, affection and understanding, courage and love toward you, toward each other, and toward the world, that they may continue together in mutual growth according to your will in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Declaration of Marriage/ The Kiss:
Mark and Liz, in the presence of God and of your family and friends who have joined you to share this moment of joy in your lives, you have declared your deep love and affection for each other. You have stated your wish to always be open to a deeper, richer friendship and partnership. You have formed your union, based on respect and honor. May God confirm your covenant and fill you both with grace.
Now that Mark and Liz have given themselves to each other by solemn vows, with the joining of hands, and the giving and receiving of rings, I announce to you that they are married; in the name of God our Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer. Amen.
You may seal your marriage with a kiss.
Presentation of Couple:
Friends and Family, it is my pleasure to present to you, for the first time, Mr. and Mrs. Mark and Elizabeth Boger!
This whole ceremony lasted about 20 minutes. Also, as you can see from the text, Mark and I decided to write our own vows as well. I'll share those at a later date :) I hope this helps those of you that have made the decision to write your own ceremony! Good Luck and Happy Planning!