In our correspondence preceding their wedding, Chris sent a short poem and a few lines from a song lyric that he felt described his love for Amanda. He also let me know how they met. From there, I built a “sweet and simple” ceremony that I thought reflected their warmth and relaxed nature of their wedding: while echoing a spiritual (humanist sense) core, the tone was playful. The ceremony text itself was a surprise. From their smiles, I trust they enjoyed it!
Many thanks for this and the lovely ceremony – it was just what we wanted and we look forward to seeing the photos.
Best wishes and thanks again
Chris and Amanda
Chris and Amanda, you met in a small town located in Wales in 1996 while still at university. As she attended a meeting of the Debating Society, Amanda saw a strange guy speaking. She decided quickly that he was “the One.” Right away, she knew the many journeys ahead would be more joyous with Chris by her side.
Amanda, fourteen years have passed since you watched Chris speak, and you are currently on another continent. But here and now, Chris is finally ready to tell you a secret: he knew right away that you were “the One” too! Despite the ups and downs of your shared and separate adventures, Chris has always known that he was meant to be yours. You will always be “the One” for him.
The following short passage by Goethe wonderfully captures the essence of how he feels today – the day he marries you – and I am sure you feel the same way.
“Tis the true season of love, when
We believe that we alone can love,
That No-one could ever,
Have Loved before us,
And no one will love
In the Same Way after us.”
Like Chris, I trust that the love filling you both at this moment will span all the future experiences to come. As the lyrics from “If I had words” sung by the mice in the movie Babe express:
If I had words to make a day for you
I(‘d) sing you a morning golden and new
I would make this day last for all time
Give you a night deep in moonshine
Prelude to Vows
Love needs at least two thankful, sweet, and witty brains to mature. It admits being in love through constant exercise. When one forgets, the other reminds, should one fall ill, the other comforts, and if one feels stress, the other cares. Since they learn and grow through each other, two in love have dual strength, more bravery, more wisdom, and more kindness. Love is feigning the desire to kiss before teeth greet the toothpaste in the morning, and giving the gifts of remembering to buy the right bread and cheese. It is washing the floor, cleaning another’s hair from the drain, and taking out the trash for the 100th straight time with minor complaints. Although love is forgetful—dates, places, and bits of information fade—it never forgets what a person likes and loathes. It teases about mishaps yet protects from ridicule by outsiders. Love is mindful of favorite foods, T.V. shows, and eccentric moods. It recalls with the perfect balance of good humor and sympathy odd eating habits, weird music and movie inclinations, misused words, creaking joints, ill-fated attempts, and every wrinkle, as it strokes gently stray wisps of hair. Love asks questions and listens to the answers. It seeks out knowledge through books, the news, and in the everyday. With equitable responsibility, it pays the bills and saves for the future. It dreams of finding more time with loved ones even though they can be cranky. Love christens through optimism: it sustains in faith and hopefulness. It is loyal despite feeling abandoned at times, and makes amends through big and small gestures. Because it works and plays hard, it understands real messiness. Because it is patient during hardships, it has a refined spirit. It is courageous enough to achieve what is true, and smart enough to know any moments to embrace modesty. Love is an ongoing, affectionate alliance between compassionate companions committed for life. Its greatest insight reveals itself to be: happiness of love is part honor and part joy. Above all, love is always a sanctuary for peace and fulfillment.
Statement of Intent
I now ask you to state your intention: Is it your wish to join together in marriage?
Wedding Vows with ring exchange:
I vow to love you and care for you
as long as we both shall live.
I take you, with all of your faults and strengths,
as I offer myself to you with my faults and strengths.
I will help you when you need help,
and will turn to you when I need help.
I choose you as the person with whom I will spend my life.
Note to Readers: Do not plagiarize. I realize that some prefer friends to officiate and “borrow” materials from the internet. But do note the unethical essense of cutting and pasting original ceremony text from celebrant’s websites: trust me, marriage officiants are not living in luxury! Also, since I copyright all material via the Library of Congress, it is technically illegal to use any original work without permission.