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A Journey metaphor with optional readings (You can cut & paste elements from this ceremony into other ceremonies)

WELCOME STATEMENT

Minister:

Welcome! BRIDE and GROOM felt that it was important that you, their family and friends, be here with them today to celebrate their joining together as Husband and Wife. Each of you has touched their lives in some meaningful way, so they felt it was important that you share in the beginning of this exciting new chapter in their lives; so welcome, and thank you for being here today to celebrate this joyous event with them.

PRESENTATION:

Minister:
Who presents this woman to be married to this man?
(Father or escort of BRIDE replies: "I do." or “Her mother and I do.”)

OPENING PRAYER

Minister:

Since we are gathered here in the sight of God to witness and to bless this marriage of GROOM and BRIDE. It is appropriate that we begin with a prayer:


O Lord, this is a happy day for all of us because this is the wedding day of GROOM and BRIDE. They have come now before You, pledging their lives and their hearts to one another. We ask that they always be as true and loving as they are at this moment and that You fill their hearts with kindness and understanding. Help them to be sweetheart, helpmate, friend, and guide to one another; so that together they may meet everything that life has to offer. May their home be a place of love and harmony and bless this day, their wedding day, and walk beside them forever. Amen

OFFICIANTS STATEMENT
Minister:

It's wonderful that BRIDE and GROOM have fallen in love, that they feel so good about one another, so delighted, and encouraged, so known and supported, that they've chosen to risk to love for life, to take the great emotional leap of linking up with one another in the journey of life. For them, of course, today is absolutely wonderful. Out of the routine of ordinary life the extraordinary has happened. They had no idea that they would stumble on one another at (include here a bit of where and how you met), go through all the thrills and excitement of the initial delicious stages of romance, to discover the love of substance and depth they are consecrating with marriage today.They were so happy that they didn't even realize they were serious, that the love that so utterly captivated them, that made them feel so wonderful, was also a love of depth and substance.


Romance is play, but true love is intention, and it is their intention to love for life that we are celebrating today. But today is also a celebration for the rest of us, for it is also a pleasure for us to see love in bloom, to participate in the wedding of two people so confident in their love for each other and their decision join together as one. It lifts our spirits and to be in the presence of such a love, to bask in the sweet energies of two people who so obviously adore one another, who want to play together, laugh together, walk together for a lifetime.


Love untarnished, that is the gift that GROOM and BRIDE give us; love with garlands of ribbons and posies, love with infinite hope. Therefore, GROOM and BRIDE thank you. You've brightened our day. Thanks for letting us celebrate with you; thanks for showing us that love can bloom, that marriage is a worthy enterprise, and that happy, high-spirited people are overjoyed to undertake it.


And now, allow me say a few words of encouragement and direction to you two. First of all, a wedding is a happy occasion, flawless in its good humor, its joyful sense of well-being, but your marriage won't always be like this. For, as you live it out, you will discover that your relationship has moods and seasons, high times as well as lulls and dead-dog bone-dry gulches. From time to time, the delightful spirit of this wedding day will not be with you, when that occurs, you will have to reach for something deeper in yourselves, for the love that is stronger than feel-good; the love that is truer than fun, the love that requires energy as well as feasts on it. Your wedding is without question a happy occasion, but your marriage will be a many-textured thing. In it, both magic and sorrows will befall you.


You will intend one thing and end up doing another. You will imagine your darling to be a certain way and discover otherwise, that your spouse is a person unto him or herself. You will have clashes and discover things you did and did not want to know. You will rumple each other's spirits as well as bedclothes and hair. In moments of human weakness, you will say mean and terrible words to each other, but through your love, you will be able to forget them. You will betray one another in tiny and sometimes huge and perhaps devastating ways, but through your love, you will forgive one another and go on. These, the great and petty perils of marriage, are an invitation to refine your love and deepen it, to expand it beyond the light-spiritedness and laughter that enliven your hearts today and explore the more profound reaches of compassion, of tender caring, of selfless nurturing. These capacities are the maturing of love through time, love's highest calling and its finest work. And marriage is the summons to be open not only to these challenges but also to the opportunities, unexpected and not necessarily always welcome, that invite them into being.


Second, remember that a relationship is a progression. There's an old Chinese proverb that says, The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. For you, GROOM and BRIDE, your wedding today is an exquisite and beautifully choreographed first step. With it you are passing through a portal that will lead you to many places, including ones you can't possibly imagine. Wherever it takes you, there will be surprises, for this is the mark of a life-journey that you are undertaking today --- it will sometimes take you where you had not meant to go.


There is great joy to be found in such a surprising journey, with twists and turns, shades and possibilities beyond your wildest imaginings. Instead of resisting the changes, allow them to flower in you and know that they are leading you somewhere, that, separately and together, you are becoming more than you were. Don't expect every day to have the fanciful mood or the exuberant high spirits of this, your wedding day, but be excited, open-minded, curious, available, and inquiring about who you are becoming.


Know that your composite experiences are turning you into the highest form of yourselves, that you are becoming the best and the most, that you are doing the things that only you two together could possibly do.Therefore, along with celebrating the marvelous feelings of today, remember, especially when you are saying your vows, that you are also promising to love for the long and ambiguous future. If you can hold on to this intention, then instead of bowing down or bowing out when you've misplaced your delight, you can ride out the storms with confidence, knowing that the thunderhead -- clouded skies are temporary and not a reflection of your relationship as a whole.


READINGS (Optional: These readings my be deleted or substituted with other readings which may be read by someone other than the minister)

Minsiter:

In thinking of the life journey that BRIDE and GROOM are about to begin, they have chosen two readings that express the friendship and love they have found. An enduring love and substantive friendship that will equip them for the journey that lies before them. The first reading is titled Love Is Friendship Caught Fire” by Laura Hendricks:


Love is friendship caught fire; it is quiet, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection, and makes allowances for human weaknesses. Love is content with the present, hopes for the future, and does not brood over the past. It is the day-in and day-out chronicles of irritations, problems, compromises, small disappointments, big victories, and working toward common goals. If you have love in your life, it can make up for a great many things you lack. If you do not have it, no matter what else there is, it is not enough.


The second reading is titled “Loving the Wrong Person” From Daily Afflictions, by Daniel Boyd:


We’re all seeking that special person who is right for us. But if you’ve been through enough relationships, you begin to suspect there’s no right person, just different flavors of wrong. Why is this? Because you yourself are wrong in some way, and you seek out partners who are wrong in some complementary way. But it takes a lot of living to grow fully into your own wrongness. It isn’t until you finally run up against your deepest demons, your unsolvable problems – the ones that make you truly who you are – that you’re ready to find a life-long mate. Only then do you finally know what you’re looking for. You’re looking for the wrong person. But not just any wrong person: the right wrong person – someone you lovingly gaze upon and think, “This is the problem I want to have.”


EXCHANGE OF VOWS
Minister:

GROOM and BRIDE, in just a moment you will be exchaning your marriage vows. Before you do, I must remind you that the vows that you are about to make should not be undertaken frivolously, but with a great deal of consideration and respect. With that in mind, I am going to ask you each a question followed by your exchange of vows.


GROOM do you take BRIDE to be your wife; to live together in holy marriage, to love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others be faithful to her for as long as you both shall live?
(GROOM answers: "I do".)


Then please repeat these words to her after me:


I, GROOM, take you BRIDE to be my wife. To have and to hold from this day forward, I promise to be your true and loving husband, and to love and honor you always. I do this because I love you today I will love you tomorrow and I will love you forever.


BRIDE do you take GROOM to be your husband; to live together in holy marriage, to love him, comfort him, honer and keep him, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others be faithful to him for as long as you both shall live?
(BRIDE answers: "I do.")


Then please repeat these words to him after me:


I, BRIDE, take you GROOM to be my husband. To have and to hold from this day forward. I promise to be your true and loving wife. and to love and honor you always. I do this because I love you today I will love you tomorrow and I will love you forever.

RING EXCHANGE

Minister:
Throughout time, the ring has been a symbol of unending love, because like time, the ring has no beginning and no end. It is a circle -- the emblem of eternity. Wedding rings are made of precious metals, the purest metal, and the type that is least tarnished and most enduring; to show how lasting and imperishable are the vows which you have mutually pledged.


GROOM, do you have such a symbol of you love and devotion for BRIDE?

(GROOM answers: "Yes.")


Then, as you place the ring on BRIDE's finger, please repeat these words after me:
BRIDE, I give you this ring as a symbol of my love and as a reminder that I have chosen you to be the one to share my life.


BRIDE, do you have such a symbol of your love and devotion for GROOM?

(BRIDE answers: "Yes.")


Then, as you place the ring on BRIDE's finger, please repeat these words after me:
GROOM, I give you this ring as a symbol of my love and as a reminder that I have chosen you to be the one to share my life.


CLOSING PRAYER OF BLESSING

Minister:

Let us now ask God's blessing on this couple:
We ask you, Lord, to bless this couple whose lives are now joined in an unbroken circle, much like these rings that now encircle their fingers. I ask that they may find in one another, the love that all men and all women hunger to find. May they continue to grow in their understanding of this love, their understanding of one another, and their understanding of You too, Lord, for the rest of their lives. May these rings on their fingers symbolize the touch of Your spirit of love in their hearts forever. Amen

PRONOUNCEMENT

Minister:
GROOM and BRIDE, you have made your vows before each other; and, you have sealed your vows with the giving and receiving of these rings. So now, by the power vested in me by the State of (Insert State Name), I pronounce you HUSBAND AND WIFE and I invite you to kiss one another.


PRESENTATION

Minister:

Friends and family, it is my great pleasure and honor to present to you for the very first time, Mr. & Mrs. GROOM FIRST NAME + SURNAME.