Ceremony – Handfasting of Four Cords

Officiant: Do you come of your own free will and accord?

Spouse1 & Spouse2: Yes.

Officiant: Since your lives first crossed, you have formed ties between each other. The promises you make today will bind your lives together. With full awareness, know that you declare your intent to be handfasted before your friends and family. Do you still seek to enter this ceremony?

Spouse1 & Spouse2: Yes.

Officiant: Will you share yourselves freely and generously with each other, making time to be together?

Spouse1 & Spouse2: We will.

Officiant: The first binding is thus made with blue, symbolic of Water, that your love may flow and fill you to your depths. [The blue cord is draped over the couple’s hands.]

Officiant: Will you each seek to ease the other’s pain and suffering, sharing laughter and joy?

Spouse1 & Spouse2: We will.

Officiant: The second binding is thus made with green, symbolic of Earth, that your love may be wise and nurturing, and your happiness abundant. [The green cord is draped over the couple’s hands.]

Officiant: Will you strive to keep your romance alive through daily actions and words of encouragement?

Spouse1 & Spouse2: We will.

Officiant: The third binding is thus made with red, symbolic of Fire, that your love may be bright and passionate. [The red cord is draped over the couple’s hands.]

Officiant: Will you both help each other to grow in spirit and wisdom?

Spouse1 & Spouse2: We will.

Officiant: The fourth binding is thus made with white, symbolic of Air, that your love may be as limitless as the sky, and filled with spirit. [The white cord is draped over the couple’s hands. All four cords are tied together.]

Officiant: You are now bound together, your two lives joined by love and trust into one life. The knots of this binding are not formed by these cords, but rather by your vows. For as always, you hold in your own hands the making or breaking of this union.  You are now handfasted as one.

 

 

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Ceremony – Celtic Blessing of Four Elements

In this ceremony, the officiant says a line, and the couple repeats it together at the same time.  This can be accompanied by a handfasting of 4 cords, one representing each element: brown for earth, white for air, red for fire, and blue for water.

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We ask protection for the ones that we love.

We honor all creation as we pledge our hearts and lives together.

We honor earth and ask our marriage be abundant and grow stronger through the seasons.

We honor air as we sail through life safe and calm in the arms of the universe.

We honor fire and ask that our union be warm and glowing with love in our hearts.

We honor water to clean and soothe our relationship that it may never thirst for love.

With all the forces of the universe we pray for harmony and true happiness as we forever grow young together.

Blessed be.

 

 

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Ceremony – Celtic Vows for the Marriage of Equals

In this ceremony, the officiant says a line, and the couple repeats it together at the same time.

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You cannot possess me, for I belong to myself.

But while we both wish it, I give you that which is mine to give.

You cannot command me, for I am a free person.

I pledge to you that it will be your eyes into which I smile every morning.

I pledge to you my living and dying equally in your care.

I shall be a shield for your back and you for mine.

I shall not slander you nor you me.

I shall honor you above all others.

And when we quarrel we shall do so in private and tell no strangers of our grievance.

This is my wedding vow to you.

This is the marriage of equals.

 

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Ceremony – Gaelic Wedding Pledge

You cannot possess me, for I belong to myself,
But while we both wish it, I give you that which is mine to give.
You cannot command me, for I am a free person,
But I shall serve you in those ways you require.
And the honeycomb will taste sweeter coming from my hand.
I pledge to you that yours will be the name I cry aloud in the night.
And the eyes into which I smile in the morning.
I pledge to you the first bite from my meat,
And the first drink from my cup.
I pledge to you my living and dying, equally in your care,
And tell no strangers our grievances.
This is my wedding vow to you.
This is a marriage of equals.

 

 

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Ceremony – Shell or Stone Blessing

Originally used for beach weddings by the ocean, this ceremony can also be used near any body of water such as a lake or river. As guests arrive they are asked to choose a Seashell or Stone from a basket (or you may prefer to have someone handing them out as they arrive).  This is a creative way to bring the ceremony to a close.

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Officiant: SPOUSE1 and SPOUSE2 before you met, your lives were on different paths with different destinations. But love has brought you together and joined these separate paths into one. Each of your loved ones here today has been given a small seashell that represents their presence at your wedding today, as their individual paths are also joining yours for this ceremony. When a commitment this strong is made by two people, the power of that commitment, of that love, of that courage, reaches out and touches all of us around you, so that our lives are changed and we share a part of your love. Like a seashell dropped in an ocean, the ripple of the love from this celebration extends and changes the world we live in.

I will now ask that everyone please hold the shell you have been given and pause to make a silent wish or blessing for happiness and good will for the couple and for the future of their marriage. (pause for silent blessing)

Now, please follow the couple down to the water’s edge. Once we get there, the couple will count to three. On three, we will all cast our shells into the ocean, and as the ripples touch and intertwine with one another, may our love and blessings also touch and intertwine.

(pause to get everyone to the water’s edge, then couple counts to 3 and the shells are tossed in.)

 

 

 

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Ceremony – Truce Bell

The Bell of Truce originates from west Ireland peasant traditions, believed to be derived from St. Patrick’s Bell of Will. St. Patrick believed that bells were important to his ministry, and helped him in performing miracles. There is also a tradition in many cultures that the sound of ringing bells will ward off evil spirits.  The Truce Bell, is a bell that is blessed by the officiant of the ceremony and presented to the bride and groom for future use to end any arguments that may arise.

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Officiant: SPOUSE1 and SPOUSE2 have an expectation of marriage that is not only romantic but also realistic, and they wish to express this within the context of their wedding ceremony with this bell of truce. Bells have long been associated with weddings as their joyous tones announce good tidings, but this bell will have one more important duty.

(Spouse1)  think of all the most lovely things about (Spouse2), and what sparks your love and makes you want to spend the rest of your lives together.  Think also about all the wonderful things you hope for your future together.  While holding on to these thoughts, give this bell a hardy ring.  (pause for ringing)

(Spouse2) think of all the most lovely things about (Spouse1), and what sparks your love and makes you want to spend the rest of your lives together.  Think also about all the wonderful things you hope for your future together. While holding on to these thoughts, give this bell a hardy ring.  (pause for ringing)

(Spouse1) and (Spouse2), I hereby bless this bell; may its familiar sound always bring back memories of what you were thinking the first time you rang it. Keep this bell in your home to remind you of your wedding day, your love, and your hopes. When arguments arise, and they will, put this bell to its best use. One of you should ring the bell to call a truce. Its sound will remind you of your vows, conjure up the happiest memories from this day and help you resolve your differences in a loving and compassionate way.

 

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Ceremony – Vows by Dr Suess

Groom: Yes, I will have, and I will hold,
Just as I have at this time told,
Yes, I will love her all my life
As I now take her as my wife.

Pastor: Will you love through good and bad?
Whether you’re happy or sad?

Groom: Yes, I’ll love through good and bad,
Whether we’re happy or sad,
Yes, I will have and I will hold
Just as I have already told,
Yes, I will love her all my life,
Yes, I will take her as my wife!

Pastor: Will you love her if you’re rich?
Or if you’re poor, and in a ditch?

Groom: Yes, I’ll love her if we’re rich,
And I will love her in a ditch,
I’ll love her through good times and bad,
Whether we are happy or sad,
Yes, I will have, and I will hold
(I could have sworn this has been told!)
I promise to love all my life
This woman, as my lawful wife!

Pastor: Will you love her when you’re fit,
And also when you’re feeling sick?

Groom: Yes, I’ll love her when we’re fit,
And when we’re hurt, and when we’re sick,
And I will love her when we’re rich
And I will love her in a ditch
And I will love through good and bad,
And I will love when glad or sad,
And I will have, and I will hold
Ten years from now a thousandfold,
Yes, I will love for my whole life
This lovely woman as my wife!

Pastor: Will you love with all your heart?
Will you love till death you part?

Groom: Yes, I’ll love with all my heart
From now until death do us part,
And I will love her when we’re rich,
And when we’re broke and in a ditch,
And when we’re fit, and when we’re sick,
(Oh, CAN’T we get this finished quick?)
And I will love through good and bad,
And I will love when glad or sad,
And I will have, and I will hold,
And if I might now be so bold,
I’ll love her my entire life,
Yes, I WILL take her as my wife!

Pastor: Then if you’ll take her as your wife,
And if you’ll love her all your life,
And if you’ll have, and if you’ll hold,
From now until the stars grow cold,
And if you’ll love through good and bad,
And whether you’re happy or sad,
And love in sickness, and in health,
And when you’re poor, and when in wealth,
And if you’ll love with all your heart,
From now until death do you part,
Yes, if you’ll love her through and through,
Please answer with these words:

Pastor and Groom: I DO!

Pastor: You’re married now! So kiss the bride,
But please, do keep it dignified.

 

 

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Reading – Taming the Fox from The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The fox:”…But if you tame me, it will be as if the sun came to shine on my life. I shall know the sound of a step that will be different from all the others. Other steps send me hurrying back underneath the ground. Yours will call me, like music, out of my burrow. And then look: you see the grain-fields down yonder? I do not eat bread. Wheat is of no use to me. The wheat fields have nothing to say to me. And that is sad. But you have hair that is the color of gold. Think how wonderful that will be when you have tamed me! The grain, which is also golden, will bring me back the thought of you. And I shall love to listen to the wind in the wheat . . .”

The fox gazed at the little prince, for a long time.

“Please–tame me!” he said.

“I want to, very much,” the little prince replied. “But I have not much time. I have friends to discover, and a great many things to understand.”

“One only understands the things that one tames,” said the fox. “Men have no more time to understand anything. They buy things all ready made at the shops. But there is no shop anywhere where one can buy friendship, and so men have no friends any more. If you want a friend, tame me . . .”

 

 

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Reading – quote from Children of Dune by Frank Herbert

The future remains uncertain and so it should, for it is the canvas upon which we paint our desires. Thus always the human condition faces a beautifully empty canvas. We possess only this moment in which to dedicate ourselves continuously to the sacred presence which we share and create.

This would work well for those doing a unity painting as part of their ceremony.

PaintingQuoteFrankHerbert

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Reading – From The Princes Bride by William Goldman

Westley:

“Do I love you? My God, if your love were a grain of sand, mine would be a universe of beaches… I have stayed these years in my hovel because of you. I have taught myself languages because of you. I have made my body strong because I thought you might be pleased by a strong body. I have lived my life with only the prayer that some sudden dawn you might glance in my direction. I have not known a moment in years when the sight of you did not send my heart careening against my rib cage. I have not known a night when your visage did not accompany me to sleep. There has not been a morning when you did not flutter behind my waking eyelids…

I love you. Okay? Want it louder? I love you. Spell it out, should I? I ell-oh-vee-ee why-oh-you. Want it backward? You love I…


Westley: Hear this now; I will always come for you.

Buttercup: But how can you be sure?

Westley: This is true love – you think this happens every day?


The Impressive Clergyman –

Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder today. Mawage, that bwessed awangement, that dweam wifin a dweam…And wuv, tru wuv, will fowwow you foweva…So tweasure your wuv.

 

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Reading – The Sandman, Vol. 9 by Neil Gaiman

Have you ever been in love? Horrible, isn’t it? I makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses, you build up a whole suit of armor, so that nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life…You give them a piece of you. They didn’t ask for it. They did something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn’t your own anymore.

 

 

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Reading – Vows of Drogo and Daenerys from Game of Thrones

Khal Drogo: You are the moon of my life. That is all I know and all I need to know. And if this is a dream, I will kill the man who tries to wake me.
Daenerys Targaryen: Until the sun rises in the west and sets in the east, until the rivers run dry and the mountains blow in the wind like leaves. You are my sun & stars.

 

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Reading – quote from “Scenes from The Song of Hiawatha” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

(Note, this is not a traditional Iroquois reading. This is from an epic poem written in 1855, which was inspired by the life of Chief Hiawatha, co-founder of the Iroquois Confederacy.  There is virtually no connection, apart from name, between Longfellow’s hero and the real Chief Hiawatha.   It is a work of American Romantic literature, not a representation of Native American oral tradition.  With that in mind, these are still beautiful words for a wedding, if authenticity to Native American tradition is not a consideration in your ceremony.).

 

Come join us in celebration, those who love sunshine on meadow,Who love shadow of the forest,love the wind among the branches and the palisades of pine trees,and the thunder in the mountains whose innumerable echoes flap like eagles in their eries.
Listen to this song of marriage. How, from another tribe and country came a young man, “give me as my wife this maiden, and our hands be clasped more closely, and our hearts be more united.
Thus it is, our daughters leave us, those we love and those who love us.
When a youth with flaunting feathers beckons to the fairest maiden.
From the sky the sun benignant looked upon them through the branches, Saying to them, “oh, my children life is checkered shade and sunshine.”
The two figures man and woman Standing hand in hand together, with their hands so clasped together that they seem in one united. And the words thus represented are, “I see your heart within you.” Sing them songs of love and longing
Now, let’s feast and be more joyous.

 

 

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Ceremony – Native American Rite of Seven Steps

Here are two variations on the Native American Rite of Seven Steps.  One variation is set up for one speaker at a time, in the manner of vows.  The second variation is said alternating between the bride and groom.

Rite of Seven Steps by a single speaker:

Let us take the first step to provide for our household
a nourishing and pure diet, avoiding those foods injurious to healthy living.
Let us take the second step to develop physical, mental and spiritual powers.
Let us take the third step to increase our wealth
by righteous means and proper use.
Let us take the fourth step to acquire knowledge,
happiness and harmony by mutual love and trust.
Let us take the fifth step, so that we be blessed
with strong, virtuous and heroic children.
Let us take the sixth step for self-restraint and longevity.
Finally, let us take the seventh step and be true companions
and remain lifelong partners by this wedlock.”

We have taken the Seven Steps. You have become mine forever.
Yes, we have become partners. I have become yours.
Hereafter, I cannot live without you.
Do not live without me. Let us share the joys.
We are word and meaning, united.
You are thought and I am sound. May the night be honey-sweet for us;
may the morning be honey-sweet for us;
may the earth be honey-sweet for us and the heavens
be honey-sweet for us. May the plants be honey-sweet for us;
may the sun be all honey for us;
may the cows yield us honey-sweet milk.
As the heavens are stable, as the earth is stable,
as the mountains are stable, as the whole universe is stable,
so may our unions be permanently settled.

Rite of Seven Steps with alternating speakers:

GROOM STEP 1: O’ my beloved, our love has become firm by your walking one with me. Together we will share the responsibilities of the lodge, food and children. May the Creator bless noble children to share. May they live long.

BRIDE STEP 1: This is my commitment to you, my husband. Together we will share the responsibility of the home, food and children. I promise that I shall discharge all my share of the responsibilities for the welfare of the family and the children.

GROOM STEP 2: O’ my beloved, now you have walked with me the second step. May the Creator bless you. I will love you and you alone as my wife. I will fill your heart with strength and courage: this is my commitment and my pledge to you. May God protect the lodge and children.

BRIDE STEP 2: My husband, at all times I shall fill your heart with courage and strength. In your happiness I shall rejoice. May God bless you and our honorable lodge.

GROOM STEP 3: O my beloved, now since you have walked three steps with me, our wealth and prosperity will grow. May God bless us. May we educate our children and may they live long.

BRIDE STEP 3: My husband, I love you with single-minded devotion as my husband. I will treat all other men as my brothers. My devotion to you is pure and you are my joy. This is my commitment and pledge to you.

GROOM STEP 4: O’ my beloved, it is a great blessing that you have now walked four steps with me. May the Creator bless you. You have brought favor and sacredness in my life.

BRIDE STEP 4: O my husband, in all acts of righteousness, in material prosperity, in every form of enjoyment, and in those divine acts such as fire sacrifice, worship and charity, I promise you that I shall participate and I will always be with you.

GROOM STEP 5: O’ my beloved, now you have walked five steps with me. May the Creator make us prosperous. May the Creator bless us.

BRIDE STEP 5: O my husband, I will share both in your joys and sorrows. Your love will make me very happy.

GROOM STEP 6: O’ my beloved, by walking six steps with me, you have filled my heart with happiness. May I fill your heart with great joy and peace, time and time again. May the Creator bless you.

BRIDE STEP 6: My husband, the Creator blesses you. May I fill your heart with great joy and peace. I promise that I will always be with you.

GROOM STEP 7: O’ my beloved goddess, as you have walked the seven steps with me, our love and friendship have become inseparable and firm. We have experienced spiritual union in God. Now you have become completely mine. I offer my total self to you. May our marriage last forever.

BRIDE STEP 7: My husband, by the law of the Creator, and the spirits of our honorable ancestors, I have become your wife. Whatever promises I gave you I have spoken them with a pure heart. All the spirits are witnesses to this fact. I shall never deceive you, nor will I let you down. I shall love you forever.

 

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Reading – Cherokee Prayer

Great Spirit above please protect the ones we love.
We honor all you created as we pledge
our hearts and lives together.
We honor Mother Earth – and ask for our marriage to
be abundant and grow stronger through the seasons;
We honor fire – and ask that our union
be warm and glowing with love in our hearts;
We honor wind – and ask we sail though life
safe and calm as in our father’s arms;
We honor water – to clean and soothe our relationship –
that it may never thirsts for love;
With all the forces of the universe you created,
we pray for harmony and true happiness as
we forever grow young together.

 

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Reading – Commitment Reading of the Pueblo Tribes

Before we met, you and I were halves unjoined except in the wide
rivers of our minds. We were each other’s distant shore, the
opposite wings of a bird, the other half of a seashell. We did not
know the other then, did not know our determination to keep alive
the cry of one riverbank to the other. We were apart, yet connected
in our ignorance of each other, like two apples sharing a common
tree. Remember?

I knew you existed long before you understood my desire to join my
freedom to yours. Our paths collided long enough for our indecision
to be swallowed up by the greater need of love. When you came to me,
the sun surged towards the earth and moon escaped from darkness to
bless the union of two spirits, so alike that the creator had designed them
for life’s endless circle. Beloved partner, keeper of my heart’s odd secrets,
clothed in summer blossoms so the icy hand of winter never touches us.
I thank your patience. Our joining is like a tree to earth,
a cloud to sky and even more. We are the reason the world can laugh
on its battlefields and rise from the ashes of its selfishness to hear me say,
in this time, this place, this way – I loved you best of all.

 

A Pueblo ceremony may also include using a traditional wedding vase.  You may enjoy this example video.

 

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Reading – Wedding Prayer – Great Plains Tribes

0 Morning Star!
When you look down upon us, give us peace and refreshing sleep.
Great Spirit!
Bless our children, friends, and visitors through a happy life.
May our trails lie straight and level before us.
Let us live to be old.
We are all your children and ask these things with good hearts.

 

 

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Ceremony – Blessing to the Four Directions – Native American Tribe Unknown

Today we call in all the powers of the 4 directions, and ask them to bless and watch over you.

May the powers of the East illuminate your path and bless you and your home with Grandfather Sun’s first light. May it be your inspiration for keeping life fresh and new.

Let the powers of the South protect the child within each of you. Always honor and trust with joy. Let laughter be your giveaway.

May the powers of the West walk with you giving you the strength to release that which no longer serves you, and the vision needed to meet all of your new goals.

The North blesses you with the wisdom of when to speak and when to listen and reminds you to be grateful for every blessing everyday, and to keep forgiveness in you heart. May your words always be sweet upon your lips.

Above the Great Star Nation reminds you; you came from the stars and to the stars you will return. We give our blessing to guard and guide you through your dreams.

The powers below bless you by keeping you grounded and on your path and reminding you to always walk softly on Mother Earth, as she is your heart beat and sustenance.

The powers within honor your hearts joy and help you be faithful to your personal growth.

Pipe to right: May you always accept our protection by walking in courage.
Pipe to left: May you receive abundance as well as nurture yourselves and others.
To Sky: May the Great Spirit watch over you as long as the grass grows, and the waters flow.

 

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Ceremony – Blessing of the Coins

Minister: (Minister takes the coins in hand.) Now we will continue with the Blessing of the Coins.  The13 coins in this ceremony represent Jesus and his 12 disciples. The coins also represent different values that the couple desires to share between themselves: love, harmony. cooperation, commitment, peace, happiness, trust, respect, caring, wisdom, joy, wholeness and nurturing. In presenting the bride with these coins, the groom symbolically recognizes his responsibility as a provider, and pledges to support and care for his wife, as well as declares his trust in her. In receiving the coins, the bride accepts that trust and confidence unconditionally with total dedication, responsibility, and prudence. In the name of our Heavenly Father, I bless these coins, knowing that they are also a symbol of the good in store for this loving couple. I accept this for Bride’s Name and Groom’s Name, and so it is, Amen.
(Pause for Minister to pour the coins into the groom’s hands.  Groom holds his hands over the Bride’s hands.)

Minister to the Groom: Groom’s Name, please repeat after me.
I, Groom’s Name, give you Bride’s Name, these coins as a symbol of the unquestionable trust and confidence I place in you as my beloved wife. As we unite our lives today I share all material responsibility with you. (Pause as groom pours coins into bride’s hands,)

Minister to the Bride: Bride’s Name, please repeat after me.
I Bride’s Name, accept these coins and assure you, Groom’s Name, of my total dedication in looking after you and your possessions and pledge my unconditional love to you.

Minister: In exchanging these coins, Bride’s Name and Groom’s Name have agreed with each  other, what is his is hers and what is hers is his. May these coins be a symbol of this couple’s mutual love, fidelity and trust.
(Pause to hand off the coins to wedding attendant.)

 

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Ceremony – Lasso

Minister: Bride’s Name and Groom’s Name have chosen to incorporate the Lasso ritual into their wedding ceremony. The Lasso is a wedding ritual in which the couple is bound together with a ceremonial rosary. Lassoing is a declaration of intent, where the bride and groom clearly state that they are marrying of their own free will.
Bride’s Name and Groom’s Name, since your lives have crossed, you have formed and eternal and sacred bond. As you enter this state of matrimony you should strive to make real the ideals that give meaning to this ceremony.

With full awareness, know that within this Lasso you are not only declaring your intent to be bound together before your friends and family, but you speak that intent also to God.

The promises made today and the ties that are bound here greatly strengthen your union and will cross all the years or your lives.

Bride’s Name and Groom’s Name, I ask you to hold hands and look into each others eyes.
Will you honor and respect one another, and seek to never break that honor?
Will you share each other’s pain and seek to ease it?
Will you share the burdens of each so that your spirits may grow in this union?
And will you share each other’s laughter, and look for the brightness in life and the positive in each other?

Bride & Groom: We will.

(Pause while Lasso is draped in the form of a figure 8 around the Bride and Groom by parents or wedding attendants.)

Minister: Bride’s Name and Groom’s Name, as you are bound together now, so too your lives and spirits are joined in a union of everlasting love and trust. Above you are the stars and below you is the earth. Like the stars your love should be a constant source of light, and like the earth, a firm foundation from which to grow.

Minister: Let us pray.
Father in heaven, You ordained marriage for your children, and You gave us love. We present to You Bride’s Name and Groom’s Name, who come this day to be married. May the covenant of love they make be blessed with true devotion and spiritual commitment.

Bless this marriage, O God, as they begin their journey down the road of life together. We know not what lies ahead, for the road has many turns and bends, but we are grateful to you for helping them to make the best of whatever comes their way.

We are thankful that they can continue to enjoy each other as they did when they first met and for helping them to realize that nothing and no one is perfect and to look for the good in all things and all people including themselves.

Thank you for helping them to respect each other’s likes and dislikes, opinions and beliefs, hopes and dreams and fears, even though they may not always understand them.

Thank you for helping them to learn from each other and to help each other to grow mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Thank you for helping them to realize that no matter what happens to them they will hold on to each other and know that things have a way of working out for the good.

Thank you for helping them to create a peaceful, stable home of love as a foundation on which they can build their lives.

But most of all, dear God, thank you for helping them to keep lit the flame of love that they now share, so that by their loving example, they may pass on the light of love to their children and to their children’s children forever and ever.
And so it is. Amen
(Pause while Lasso is removed by the same people who placed it)

 

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