Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Rhode to The Rest of Our Lives: We Say "I Do"

When I left off, FI had just led me to the front of our ceremony space to get this thing started!

You may remember that we had originally wanted a very personal ceremony, and wanted someone very close to us to marry us, but after researching a little more, we realized that the laws in RI aren't the easiest to understand, and having a friend or family member officiate our ceremony was not going to be possible, due to timing.  

One of the stipulations that we had in hiring an officiant was that we had some control over our ceremony, and to our surprise, our officiant, Michael Kelleher, gave us free reign.

With that information, I spent hours and hours reading different ceremony texts, and compiling different parts to make something special and unique. 

Warning - This is going to be a long one!

Welcoming Address
"We are gathered here today to celebrate the love and wedding of Dylan and Amanda. Marriage is a sacred rite. An ancient rite.  And from what I gather, a day many of you have been waiting and hoping for—for a very long time.

I am up here today because almost seven years ago, Dylan and Amanda met on a trip to Lake Placid with the touring choir at College.  They spent one evening talking, and from that day forward, they decided that when the time came for them to take the next step, they wanted not only their love, but their friends and family to be center stage. This ceremony is a reflection of the personalities and wishes of Dylan and Amanda. We are all part of their story, and that is what brings us together, today."

"The bride and groom would like to recognize their parents on this occasion. The unconditional gifts of love and support that you have continually offered have inspired your children to become who they are today, and they thank you from the bottom of their hearts. Without you, this day would not be possible.

Today represents not only the joining of Dylan and Amanda as a couple, but also the joining of their families. Family, both biological, and created through the bonds of friendship, is truly the most important thing we have in this life. Dylan and Amanda are so lucky to have so many people here today, their families, joined together to bear witness to their union."

"Dylan and Amanda have also asked that we take a moment to honor those loved ones who are not with us today.  

And as we remember those who are not with us, we also recognize those who are still denied the civil right of wedded union, and forbidden the social and legal benefits of marriage.

We have come a long way toward treating all men and women as equals, and yet, we acknowledge that we have farther still to go, and more we can do to respect the choice to love, and be loved.

As you look at the beauty within the Botanical Center, please take a moment of silence for those we have recognized."

Reading 1
"Edmund O’Neill’s 'Marriage Joins Two People in the Circle of Its Love'

Marriage is a commitment to life, the best that two people can find and bring out in each other. It offers opportunities for sharing and growth that no other relationship can equal. It is a physical and an emotional joining that is promised for a lifetime.
Within the circle of its love, marriage encompasses all of life's most important relationships. A wife and a husband are each other's best friend, confidant, lover, teacher, listener, and critic. And there may come times when one partner is heartbroken or ailing, and the love of the other may resemble the tender caring of a parent or child.
Marriage deepens and enriches every facet of life. Happiness is fuller, memories are fresher, commitment is stronger, even anger is felt more strongly, and passes away more quickly.
Marriage understands and forgives the mistakes life is unable to avoid. It encourages and nurtures new life, new experiences, new ways of expressing a love that is deeper than life.

When two people pledge their love and care for each other in marriage, they create a spirit unique unto themselves, which binds them closer than any spoken or written words. Marriage is a promise, a potential made in the hearts of two people who love each other and takes a lifetime to fulfill."

Reading 2
"'The Art of Good Marriage' by Wilfred Alan Peterson

Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens.
A good marriage must be created.
In marriage the little things are the big things.
It is never being too old to hold hands.
It is remembering to say, “I love you,” at least once a day.
It is never going to sleep angry.
It is at no time taking the other for granted; the courtship should not end with the honeymoon, it should continue through the years.
It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.
It is standing together facing the world.
It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.
It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy.
It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.
It is not looking for perfection in each other.
It is cultivating flexibility, patience, understanding, and a sense of humor.
It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.
It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow old.
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.
It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal, dependence is mutual, and the obligation is reciprocal.
It is not only marrying the right partner, it is being the right partner."

Family and Friends' Vows
As Dylan and Amanda prepare to join their lives, it is important to understand that everyone present, and those who were unable to attend, have played a part in the story of their love, shaping these two who are standing in front of us today. And, you will continue to play a vital role in their continuing future.  So, I ask that friends and family please stand, and that you turn and acknowledge the bride and the groom, as they acknowledge you.

As family and friends, you form a community of support that surrounds Dylan and Amanda.  Each of you, by your presence here today, is being called upon to uphold them in loving each other.

Always stand beside them, never between them.  Offer them your love and your support, not your judgment.  Encourage them when encouragement is needed, and listen to them when they ask for advice.  In these ways, you can honor this marriage into which they have come to be joined today. 

Do you offer your love and support to strengthen their marriage and bless this family created by their union?

We do.

Bride and Groom's Vows
Dylan and Amanda, do you, with family and friends as your witnesses, present yourselves willingly and of your own accord to be joined in marriage?

We do.

Will you promise to care for each other in the joys and sorrows of life, and to share the responsibility for growth and enrichment of your life together?

We will.

Then please turn to each other and share the vows you have written.

***For the sake of keeping some part of our ceremony private and special, I am not going to include the vows that we wrote to one another.  You can see by the photos I have included how emotional our vows were, and how much love we were pouring out during our ceremony.***

Ring Exchange
Amanda, please repeat after me:

“Dylan, I give you this ring as a sign that I choose you to be my love, my partner, and my best friend, to the end of my days.  Please wear this, think of me, and know that I love you, always.”

Dylan, please repeat after me:

“Amanda, I give you this ring as a sign that I choose you to be my love, my partner, and my best friend, to the end of my days.  Please wear this, think of me, and know that I love you, always.”

Dylan, the engagement ring that you gave Amanda is a symbol of promise and intention. Now that the intention is realized and the promise fulfilled, please place the engagement ring on Amanda’s finger over her wedding band to symbolize that the love that brought you together will always protect and sustain your marriage.

Marriage License
Having exchanged rings and their promises to love, I ask that the Bride and the Groom please sign their respective names on their Marriage Certificate – the legally binding document which brings Dylan and Amanda together on their wedding day.

Dylan and Amanda have asked two special people to act as the Best Man and the Maid of Honor during their wedding ceremony.  At this time, I ask that the Best Man and Father of the Groom, please step forward, along with the Maid of Honor and Sister of the Bride.  I now ask that they please sign their respective names on the Marriage Certificate, as witnesses to the marriage ceremony held today.

Closing Remarks
With the signing of the Marriage Certificate by the Bride and Groom and their chosen witnesses, and the virtue of the authority vested in me under the Laws of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, I now pronounce you husband and wife!

You may now kiss the bride!

And with that, we were officially married!

Did you write your own ceremony? Do you remember every detail and moment of your ceremony, as I do ours?

All photos by Matt Ferrara Photography unless otherwise noted.


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