Lisa and Mike e-mailed me their love story, which I used to compose their celebrant style, New York marriage ceremony. Below is the result.
Lisa and Mike, you already belong to one another. You are best friends and soul mates. You met within the graces of serendipity. But both have nurtured the art of intimacy even further since that fateful first meeting. All the puzzle pieces of your separate lives blend elegantly to form a whole that is greater than its parts. And we call that whole love. In the spirit of your mutual love, we come together to celebrate the memories you will continue to cultivate as a family officially.
Mike and Lisa’s Love Story
Like many skeptics suffering from technophobia, I have many criticisms of the internet. But the world wide web has also bestowed upon us e-harmony, which brings together individuals searching for an uplifting connection with someone special. Lisa and Mike met in such a way. Corresponding through e-mails and chats allowed them to wander through awkward first impressions with a solid barrier until Lisa felt a moment of boldness that was strong enough to agree to meet spontaneously.
And, family and friends, I am inclined to issue a warning: this ceremony will be hereafter laced with sugar.
Why? Because Lisa and Mike’s first meeting was nothing short of theatrical in the most profoundly romantic way possible. When Lisa entered the room for her first date with Mike, she looked straight at him. In the crowded bar, he was the first person she saw. It was a magical moment for both. High nerves only revealed further a natural, instant connection. Lisa felt as if she found the person for whom she had waited so long. In Mike, she found a gentleman who was sincerely caring, thoughtful, honest, and a great listener. At their third date – a Chicago Cubs’ opening game – Lisa’s nervous excitement reached a sort of dating peak when she and Mike shared their first kiss.
Over the next few months, as Lisa and Mike grew to know each other more, they experienced the thrill of inherently understanding all those adages suggesting that we grow younger as we age in years. Revisiting their teen-ager spirits with all of the charms and none of drama, they listened to Keith Urban’s Defining Gravity CD many times over. Every song seemed to reflect their quickly maturing love; each song described perfectly aspects of their friendship. They felt “pure joy” in anticipation of a future together – a happiness neither had yet to experience.
The excitement of falling in love doubled when Lisa met Mike’s beautiful daughters, whom she treasures deeply. She came to admire Mike not only as a person, but as an amazing father. She felt delighted that his family warmly welcomed her and looked forward to future adventures. Already marveling in Lisa, Mike’s affection for her expanded as he recognized the seeds of a new family tree being nourished.
Not long after they began dating, Lisa gave Mike a key with “Happiness” engraved to keep in his pocket so he knew she was always near. Mike reciprocated by giving Lisa a Tiffany heart key necklace. When he gave this to her, he professed that Lisa “gave him the key to happiness, and he was giving her the key to his heart.”
Mike and Lisa, the world’s heartaches, misfortunes, and exhaustion almost compelled you both to hide from love behind a shut door. Then you found each other. And the intimacy shared blossomed. While it is true that you are best friends, you are more than just close companions. A glance from one another is inspiring. When Mike receives a look from Lisa, he automatically feels beautiful; and when Lisa receives a look from Mike, she likewise feels beautiful. You believe in each other. Together, you know you can accomplish even the most challenging obstacle.
Mike, Lisa is overflowing with thrills at the prospect of marrying you. I am sure she is whispering “hurray up” to me in her mind. She genuinely admires and respects you. You have given her more than she ever expected to receive; your love is greater than any she could have imagined. In so many ways do you make her feel special everyday. She feels as if she is the luckiest person in the world to have found such a sensitive guy. Merely saying “I love you…I love you…I love you” does not seem to be enough because it does not mirror the pure joy you give Lisa. Indeed, no other man has brought as many tears of pride, elation, and solace to her face. You are a true gift, and she promises to appreciate you for all of her life. She promises to allow your love to sculpt her into a better person.
Lisa, Mike sees your shining inner beauty glowing with a thoughtful intelligence that discerns right from wrong admirably. With a smart sense of humor, you could write easily a sitcom. Mike feels more grateful than words to have found someone who loves him unconditionally just for being himself. You are patient and caring not only with him, but with his girls as well. Talking with you about anything shows how much you understand him, even when he does not understand himself. You radiate a warmth that makes him feel as if he is the only person in the world; it is a warmth that is always full of hopeful optimism. You are a true gift, and he promises to appreciate you for all of his life. He promises to allow your love to sculpt him into a better person.
In short, Lisa, you are an angel sent from heaven to Mike. And Mike, I am sure Lisa feels as if you are also an angel sent from heaven to her.
Declaration of Intent
With these words in mind, you will now offer your consent to marry.
Mike, do you accept Lisa as your lawfully wedded wife? Do you pledge to love, admire, and comfort her from this day forward in hardship or abundance and frailty or strength? Sharing all of yourself with her for as long as time is yours, do you offer her the adventurous fun of friendship and the patient care of love? Cherishing what you now know and do not yet know about Lisa, will you work to increase her happiness and decrease her burdens? Will you wear a ring everyday to remember your resolve to hold true to these vows always? Knowing all this, do you now seek to join with her into a new cycle of life?
Lisa, do you accept Mike as your lawfully wedded husband? Do you pledge to love, admire, and comfort him from this day forward in hardship or abundance and frailty or strength? Sharing all of yourself with him for as long as time is yours, do you offer him the adventurous fun of friendship and the patient care of love? Cherishing what you now know and do not yet know about Mike, will you work to increase his happiness and decrease his burdens? Will you wear a ring everyday to remember your resolve to hold true to these vows always? Knowing all this, do you now seek to join with him into a new cycle of life?
Exchange of Rings
Lisa and Mike, the hand you hold will now offer a ring as a sign of unwaivering, devoted affection.
We stand here in the glorious ambition of spring, which will turn into the heat of summer, the soothing peace of the fall, and then the relaxing cool of winter before returning to spring again. The seasons come and go: the glare of the sun on the Bethesda Terrace will wax and wane. Likewise will life confront you. Yet your love will be constant; it will be a safe haven. May these rings be enduring symbols of the endlessness of your love, the strength of your commitment, and the circle of love into which you enter as husband and wife.
For some time now, I have waited for this moment. I cannot imagine my life without you. When I hope, I hope for strength to become a better person to make your life happier and more fulfilled. We know each other very well, and I trust future adventures will only bring us closer.Today, I promise before our family and friends to build bright tomorrows with you. I will help you when you need my help, listen to your stories, care gently for the unspoken needs of your heart, and remain faithful and loving as long as we both shall live.
Mike and Lisa, your engagement proposal and acceptance were set to music; “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” played in your ears, minds, and hearts. The sentiments behind the song are very tangible to you. Marriage is very similar to music. Like each note, each day is to be cherished and enjoyed. Continue to comfort, shelter, and listen to each other. When life presents struggles, offer support with gentle compassion. In kindness, give each other the freedom to grow. Be more proud of the little accomplishments than the big, as the little joys bring cheer to our daily lives. As you help and encourage Mike’s daughters to realize their hopes, allow them teach you too. In all these ways, the strength of your family will deepen with each passing anniversary.
Lisa and Mike, you have made your own luck. Each opened up to the other; you unveiled yourselves. And you found long-lasting, true love. Before this day, you were already a couple. It is now a pleasure to pronounce you as “soulmates for life” and introduce you, for the very first time, as “husband and wife.” Each time you kiss, may you give each other a glimpse of paradise.
Signing of License