Reading – Saying Goodbye to the Fox from The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

… And then he added: “Go and look again at the roses. You will understand now that yours is unique in all the world. Then come back to say goodbye to me, and I will make you a present of a secret.” The little prince went away, to look again at the roses.
“You are not at all like my rose,” he said. “As yet you are nothing. No one has tamed you, and you have tamed no one. You are like my fox when I first knew him. He was only a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But I have made him my friend, and now he is unique in all the world.” And the roses were very much embarrassed.
“You are beautiful, but you are empty,” he went on. “One could not die for you. To be sure, an ordinary passerby would think that my rose looked just like you–the rose that belongs to me. But in herself alone she is more important than all the hundreds of you other roses: because it is she that I have watered; because it is she that I have put under the glass globe; because it is she that I have sheltered behind the screen; because it is for her that I have killed the caterpillars (except the two or three that we saved to become butterflies); because it is she that I have listened to, when she grumbled, or boasted, or ever sometimes when she said nothing. Because she is my rose.“
And he went back to meet the fox.
“Goodbye,” he said. “Goodbye,” said the fox. “And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
“What is essential is invisible to the eye,” the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.
“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”
It is the time I have wasted for my rose–” said the little prince, so that he would be sure to remember.
“Men have forgotten this truth,” said the fox. “But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. You are responsible for your rose . . .”
“I am responsible for my rose,” the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.
…”But the eyes are blind. One must look with the heart . . .”

 

 

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Reading – quote from Welcome to Nightvale by Joseph Fink & Jeffery Cranor

“All of their imperfections and faults which made them individuals worth loving.  They had built those faults into the usual messy, comfortable, patched-up, beautiful structure that any functioning long term relationship ended up being.”

 

 

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Ceremony – Declaration of Intent (I Do’s) – adapted by Arwen Freer

SPOUSE1, do you choose SPOUSE2 to be your lawfully wedded ROLE2, and do you promise to give yourself in all love and honor, in all duty and service, in all faith and tenderness, and forsaking all others, to live with, and cherish PRONOUN2, in the holy bond of marriage as long as you both shall live? (Pause for SPOUSE1 response: I do)

SPOUSE2, do you choose SPOUSE1 to be your lawfully wedded ROLE1, and do you promise to give yourself in all love and honor, in all duty and service, in all faith and tenderness, and forsaking all others, to live with, and cherish PRONOUN1, in the holy bond of marriage as long as you both shall live? (Pause for SPOUSE2 response: I do)

OPTION: for secular ceremonies, the word “holy” can be omitted.

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Reading – Plato’s Symposium (excerpt)

Humans have never understood the power of Love, for if they had they would surely have built noble temples and altars and offered solemn sacrifices; but this is not done, and most certainly ought to be done, since Love is our best friend, our helper, and the healer of the ills which prevent us from being happy.

To understand the power of Love, we must understand that our original human nature was not like it is now, but different. Human beings each had two sets of arms, two sets of legs, and two faces looking in opposite directions. There were three sexes then: one comprised of two men called the children of the Sun, one made of two women called the children of the Earth, and a third made of a man and a woman, called the children of the Moon. Due to the power and might of these original humans, the Gods began to fear that their reign might be threatened. They sought for a way to end the humans’ insolence without destroying them.

It was at this point that Zeus divided the humans in half. After the division the two parts of each desiring their other half, came together, and throwing their arms about one another, entwined in mutual embraces, longing to grow into one. So ancient is the desire of one another which is implanted in us, reuniting our original nature, making one of two, and healing the state of humankind.

Each of us when separated, having one side only, is but the indenture of a person, and we are always looking for our other half. Those whose original nature lies with the children of the Sun are men who are drawn to other men, those from the children of the Earth are women who love other women, and those from the children of the Moon are men and women drawn to one another. And when one of us meets our other half, we are lost in an amazement of love and friendship and intimacy, and would not be out of the other’s sight even for a moment. We pass our whole lives together, desiring that we should be melted into one, to spend our lives as one person instead of two, and so that after our death there will be one departed soul instead of two; this is the very expression of our ancient need. And the reason is that human nature was originally one and we were a whole, and the desire and pursuit of the whole is called Love.

 

 

 

 

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Reading – The Wedding of Serge and Molly, from the book Torpedo Juice By Tim Dorsey

I, Serge, take you, Molly, to be my lawfully wedded wife, to love and to hold, in sickness and on health, in good times and bad, choosing you exclusively as my wife, friend, partner, airtight alibi, getaway driver, nurturing each other’s growth, making fun of the same relatives behind their backs, developing a list of running gags that is the foundation of any solid relationship, doing all the cool things married people do, which is why I’m really looking forward to this: snuggling on the couch with photo albums, watching classic movies in bed with lots of snacks, making silly remarks when we fart, at least at first before is becomes contentious, always agreeing with my wife that her really hot-looking friends dress like sluts and promising never, ever to fight. And when we do, to fight fair and not take off our rings and throw them at each other or reach for hot-button secrets we confided like those kids from junior high and their cruel nicknames-damn them to eternal hell! Then having lots and lots of kids with normal names instead of Scout, Tyfani, Dakota, Breeze or Shaniquatella, reading them bedtime stories and nursery rhymes, singing Christmas carols, teaching them that the “special words” Mommy and Daddy use around the house can’t be repeated at school because it’s “our little secret.” I, further solemnly swear to adore and respect, to honor and defend, against all foes foreign and domestic, my love, my light, my life, the wind beneath my wings, the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air, fourscore and seven years, in Birmingham they love the guv’nah—ooo-ooo-ooo!  As long as we both shall live! Amen!

 

 

 

 

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Reading – “Today I Marry My Best Friend” by Bertrand Russell

Today I marry my best friend:
The one I have laughed and cried with,
The one I have learned from and shared with,
The one I have chosen to support, encourage and give myself to,
Through all the days, given to us to share,
Today I marry the one I love.

 

 

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Reading – “I Fell in Love with Her Courage…” by F. Scott Fitzgerald

“I fell in love with her courage, her sincerity and her flaming self respect. And it’s these things I’d believe in, even if the whole world indulged in wild suspicions that she wasn’t all she should be. I love her and that is the beginning of everything.”

 

 

 

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Reading – The Rule of Life, by Buddha – Sermon at Rajagaha

Sermon at Rajagaha, Verses 19-22

Do not deceive, do not despise each other anywhere.
Do not be angry nor bear secret resentments;
for as a mother will risk her life and watches over her child,
so boundless be your love to all, so tender, kind and mild.

Cherish good will right and left, early and late,
and without hindrance, without stint, be free of hate and envy,
while standing and walking and sitting down,
whatever you have in mind, the rule of life that is always best
is to be loving-kind.

 

 

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Reading – Carl Sagan on Love

Note: This is not actually a quote from Carl Sagan.  Part of the words are his, the rest are an amalgam from other thinkers.  However, as this quote is generally mis-attributed to Sagan, I have listed it as his, only to aid those who are searching for this quote.

“The world is so exquisite with so much love and moral depth. We should remain grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides. The sum of all our evolution, our thinking and our accomplishments is love.”

 

 

 

 

 

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Reading – Mark Twain on Marriage

“Marriage makes of two fractional lives a whole, and it gives to two purposeless lives a work […] it gives to two questioning natures a reason for living, and something to live for; it will give a new gladness to the sunshine, a new fragrance to the flowers, a new beauty to the earth, a new mystery to life.”   – Mark Twain

 

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Ceremony – Hand Washing

Couple approaches a table with a bowl of water and two hand towels.

Officiant: Today, you start your life together anew as a married couple. It is best to start with a clean slate, putting problems, big and small, behind you. You come acknowledging that the person you have chosen is not perfect, yet fits with you in a way no other person can. Whatever difficulties you may have experienced, today you have decided that your love is bigger than any of them, and you have chosen a life together. Water brings forgiveness and we all need forgiveness. We need to forgive others and we need to forgive ourselves.  As you wash your hands in this bowl of water, forgive yourself and each other for any pain in the past. Allow yourself to be forgiven for your human imperfections.  (Couple washes their hands.)

Allowing yourselves to have your hands dried by each other signifies your vulnerability. We all have to be vulnerable; it breaks through isolation, and in our own vulnerability, we become more trusting, caring and understanding of our partner. In a loving and compassionate marriage, to achieve the greatest intimacy, you must have the courage to be open and vulnerable to each other.  (Couple dries each other’s hands.)

Do you begin your lives together with grace and compassion?

Couple: We do.

 

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Ceremony – Sand Blending – With Guests

Each of you in attendance were asked to be here because you hold a special place in Spouse2’s and Spouse1’s life.  You came to honor and witness their love and commitment. So, SPOUSE2 and SPOUSE1 wanted to make each of you a tangible part of this ceremony. On their behalf, I will now ask each of you to put a spoonful of sand into this container, representing your love and support for them.

SPOUSE1 and SPOUSE2, today you are making a commitment to share the rest of your lives with each other. Your relationship will be symbolized through the pouring of these two individual containers of sand; each representing all that you were, all that you are, and all that you will ever be.

Consider your containers of sand. Each one holds its own unique beauty, strength, and character. They can stand on their own and be whole, without the need of anything else. These containers represent your lives to this moment; individual and unique. As you now combine your sand together, your lives also join together as one.

When the two are blended, together they represent an entirely new and extraordinary loving relationship. Each grain of sand brings to the mixture a lasting beauty that forever enriches the combination. The life that each of you have experienced until now, individually, will hereafter be inseparably united, for the two shall become one. Just as these grains of sand can never be separated and poured again into the individual containers, so will your lives be.

 

 

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Ceremony – Sand Blending – With Parents

SPOUSE1 and SPOUSE2, today you are making a commitment to share the rest of your lives with each other. Your relationship will be symbolized through this blending of sand.

However, you are not just uniting with each other, but also joining two families together.  Will the parents come forward first and pour a blended layer to honor the foundation each family gave to the Spouse1 and Spouse2 and to show your blessing for this union.

SPOUSE1 and SPOUSE2, consider your containers of sand. Each one holds its own unique beauty, strength, and character. They can stand on their own and be whole, without the need of anything else. These containers represent your lives to this moment; individual and unique. As you now combine your sand together, your lives also join together as one.

When the two are blended, together they represent an entirely new and extraordinary loving relationship. Each grain of sand brings to the mixture a lasting beauty that forever enriches the combination. The life that each of you have experienced until now, individually, will hereafter be inseparably united, for the two shall become one. Just as these grains of sand can never be separated and poured again into the individual containers, so will your lives be.

VARIATION:

An additional layer can be added on top by the minister, to represent God’s blessing to the union.

 

 

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Ceremony – Sand Blending – With Children

SPOUSE1 and SPOUSE2, today you are making a commitment to share the rest of your lives with each other and honor your children as well.

Your family relationship is symbolized through the pouring of these individual containers of sand; one, representing you, SPOUSE1 and all that you were, all that you are, and all that you will ever be, one representing you, SPOUSE2, and all that you were and all that you are, and all that you will ever be.

Each child also has a container, as they also will contribute to this marriage.  As this new family is formed, it will have a deep influence upon them as they will also influence the family. We realize that in order for the home to be a happy one, it is essential that there be love and understanding between the children and the adults being married.

Consider your containers of sand. Each one holds its own unique beauty, strength, and character. They can stand on their own and be whole, without the need of anything else. These containers represent your lives to this moment; individual and unique. As you now combine your sand together, your lives also join together as one. Each grain of sand brings to the mixture a lasting beauty that forever enriches the combination.

Just as these grains of sand can never be separated and poured again into the individual containers, so will your lives be.

 

 

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Ceremony – Sand Blending – 4 Layer

SPOUSE1 and SPOUSE2, today you are making a commitment to share the rest of your lives with each other. Your relationship will symbolized through this blending of sand.

I will pour the first layer of plain sand, to symbolize that the marriage is grounded on a strong, common foundation and an equal partnership.

Consider your own containers of sand now. Each one holds its own unique beauty, strength, and character. They can stand on their own and be whole, without the need of anything else. These containers represent your lives to this moment; individual and unique.

SPOUSE2, please pour a layer of your sand, showing your commitment to brining all of your individual gifts to this union.

Now, SPOUSE1, please pour a layer of your sand, showing your commitment to brining all of your individual gifts to this union.

Now, the two of you, pour together, to combine your sands.  

When the two are blended, together they represent an entirely new and extraordinary loving relationship. Each grain of sand brings to the mixture a lasting beauty that forever enriches the combination. The life that each of you have experienced until now, individually, will hereafter be inseparably united, for the two shall become one. Just as these grains of sand can never be separated and poured again into the individual containers, so will your lives be.

VARIATION:

A 5th layer can be added by the minister, plain or white sand on top of all the rest, to represent God’s blessing to the union.

 

 

 

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Ceremony – Sand Blending – Simple

SPOUSE1 and SPOUSE2, today you are making a commitment to share the rest of your lives with each other. Your relationship will be symbolized through the pouring of these two individual containers of sand; each representing all that you were, all that you are, and all that you will ever be.

Consider your containers of sand. Each one holds its own unique beauty, strength, and character. They can stand on their own and be whole, without the need of anything else. These containers represent your lives to this moment; individual and unique. As you now combine your sand together, your lives also join together as one.

When the two are blended, together they represent an entirely new and extraordinary loving relationship. Each grain of sand brings to the mixture a lasting beauty that forever enriches the combination. The life that each of you have experienced until now, individually, will hereafter be inseparably united, for the two shall become one. Just as these grains of sand can never be separated and poured again into the individual containers, so will your lives be.

 

 

 

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Ceremony – Wine Blessing

There are two ways to conduct this ceremony.  Either a single glass is poured by the officiant from one bottle of wine, or the couple could each hold a different bottle of wine (usually one white wine and one red wine) which they pour together into a single glass.  In the 2nd type of ceremony, language is added about how their lives will be joined and can never be separated again, like two wines. Below you see the simpler ceremony using one bottle.

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Officiant: A good wine, like a good marriage, is the result of many years of hard work. There is the unhurried nurturing of the vine and tender care of the grape, thoughtful mix of ingredients, patient fermenting — yielding the unique flavors of each passing year.

So let the blessing of this first glass of wine that you taste together celebrate all that has brought you to this moment, expressing hope and faith in the commitments you have made here today. And let it symbolize for you how sharing the partnership of marriage not only doubles the sweetness of life, but also lightens the burden of its bitterness by half.

[ The officiant passes the cup to spouse1, who holds it to spouse2’s lips for them to drink.  Spouse1 then passes the cup to spouse2, who holds it to spouse1’s lips for them to drink.]

 

 

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Ceremony – Handfasting of Six 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: I bid you look into each others eyes.

Officiant: [Spouse1’s Name], will you honor him?

Spouse1: I will.

Officiant: [Spouse2’s Name], will you honor her?

Spouse2: I will.

Officiant: [To Both] Will you seek never to give cause to break that honor?

Spouse1 & Spouse2: Yes.

Officiant: And so the binding is made. Join your hands. (First cord is draped across the Spouse1 and Spouse2’s hands.)

Officiant: [Spouse1’s Name], will you share his dreams?

Spouse1: I will.

Officiant: [Spouse2’s Name], will you share her dreams?

Spouse2: I will .

Officiant: [To Both] Will you dream together to create new realities and hopes?

Spouse1 & Spouse2: Yes.

Officiant: And so the binding is made. (Second cord is draped across the couple’s hands.)

Officiant: [Spouse1’s Name], will you share his laughter?

Spouse1: I will.

Officiant: [Spouse2’s Name], will you share her laughter?

Spouse2: I will.

Officiant: [To Both] Will both of you look for the brightness in life and the positive in each other?

Spouse1 & Spouse2: Yes.

Officiant: And so the binding is made. (Drape third cord across the couple’s hands.)

Officiant: [Spouse1’s Name], might you ever burden him?

Spouse1: I might…

Officiant: Is that your intent?

Spouse1: No.

Officiant: [Spouse2’s Name], might you ever burden her?

Spouse2: I might…

Officiant: Is that your intent?

Spouse2: No.

Officiant: [To Both] Will you share the burdens of each so that your spirits may grow in this union?

Spouse1 & Spouse2: Yes.

Officiant: And so the binding is made. (Drape fourth cord across the couple’s hands.)

Officiant: [Spouse1’s Name], might you ever cause him pain?

Spouse1: I might…

Officiant: Is that your intent?

Spouse1: No.

Officiant: [Spouse2’s Name], might you ever cause her pain?

Spouse2: I might…

Officiant: Is that your intent?

Spouse2: No.

Officiant: [To Both] Will you share each other’s pain and seek to ease it?

Spouse1 & Spouse2: Yes.

Officiant: And so the binding is made. (Drape fifth cord across the couple’s hands.)

Officiant: [Spouse1’s Name], might you ever cause him anger?

Spouse1: I might…

Officiant: Is that your intent?

Spouse1: No.

Officiant: [Spouse2’s Name], might you ever cause her anger?

Spouse2: I might…

Officiant: Is that your intent?

Spouse2: No.

Officiant: [To Both] Will you together take the heat of anger and use it to temper the strength of this union?

Spouse1 & Spouse2: Yes.

Officiant: And so the binding is made. (Drape sixth cord across the couple’s hands. Tie cords together while saying:)

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 – 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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