I’m not sure if I mention on my about me page that I am also a minister via the Unitarian Universalist Church which is non-denominational and accepts all spiritual paths as equal. The main goal of the Church is spiritual development of the individual and is not reliant on any one dogma or specific ideology.
That being said I have performed a number of weddings and I wanted to share what I wrote for the most recent couple for those looking at ceremonies for their own ceremonies. Please feel free to use whatever you like from it or use it as a template for your own service. This particular service was written especially for a couple who already had a child together, thus the emphasis on family and the bride felt it best to walk down the aisle by herself as she was already a mother.
(Music plays. The Bride walks down the aisle alone. Once she arrives at the podium we begin the service.)
We thank all of the family and friends who have gathered here to witness the marriage of____ and____. Together we will share their sacred passage as individuals uniting to become one family. This rite is as ancient and primal as our desire to give and receive love. And it is our great honor to be guests and witnesses in this joyous transformation.
Marriage is a sacrament – a sacred commitment meant to teach and make us grow. It’s success is measured through good communication, emotional support, helping one another through the good and bad times, being a light for each other in the darkness and inspiring one another to be better than either person knew they were capable of being. It requires deep kindness, acceptance, compassion, and at times forgiveness of each other’s weaknesses. This is not a sacrament for the selfish or weak hearted. Marriage is not about saving one another from an emotional abyss or being a knight in shining armor. It is about partnership and it requires two brave compassionate individuals being mirrors of each other’s souls, to stand and fight together through hardship, misunderstanding and miscommunication even when the world seems to conspire against the union. Marriage requires strength of character born of humility, understanding and love. And it requires the tenacity to work through any obstacle that might interrupt the balance of the partnership.
We are born into a family. But it is only through marriage that we get the opportunity to build our own family on a foundation of spiritual and emotional kinship. A chance to perfect and blend our respective family traditions and to start entirely new ones that fit our emotional needs.
Through the love of our partner we grow past our origins and our own roots, to learn about love between equals. It is through the great institution of marriage that we have the opportunity to be grounded and spread our wings, all at once – to love and be loved for who we are, and who we will evolve into being. Marriage gives us the chance to nurture another generation and experience the greatest spiritual lesson of all, unconditional love. But this ancient institution doesn’t just give us as individuals, couples and society stability and growth, it provides our children with a sense of security, and cohesion, giving them firm ground to stand on.
One of the gifts of marriage is its malleability. For everyone and every couple it is something different. Marriage can be whatever we need or want it to be. It is a cornucopia of possibilities we can configure anyway we want. It can give the gifts of family, nurturing, stability, grounding, love, compassion, a soft place to fall, a best friend to talk to, a lover to cuddle with at night, all of these and more – or none, if the couple wishes. It is the only institution which offers us everything our heart desires, gives us as much energy as we put into it, and is tailored by us to fit whatever needs or dreams we desire.
Some walk through the threshold of marriage with the cavalier and casual commitment of a first date, and others with the solemnity of an eternal, everlasting spiritual bond. To most, marriage is a partnership, a mirror to learn through, a chance at family, a dear one to love for as long as our life lasts and a best friend to have at the ready.
____and____ have selected this beautiful excerpt from The Alchemist to allow us to share in their vision of what love and marriage mean to them. Their good friend____ will do the reading:
“Put your selection here…”
We enter the sacred path of marriage to find deep everlasting companionship, love, and acceptance. In order to find this in another, both people must be willing to provide it for each other. We often get lost in the grind of our lives, and assume we understand one other. The most important lesson in marriage is withholding judgment, and keeping the heart open for the other’s truth. Human beings are complex and mysterious even to themselves, it’s best to always look upon each other as a great mystery to be unveiled. If a couple can do that, romance, compassion, openness and communication will come naturally and keep joy and love close at hand.
For____ and____ this day is a new beginning, a new frontier, a passage into another chapter of their lives. Today they become one family through love, choice and sacred vows. They have gone from walking two separate paths to sharing a common one. And have chosen to devote their hearts, minds and spirits to one another.
____ and____ have come together in the hope that the love which brought them to this union may go out beyond itself into the lives of others. Thus, we ask that the promise and hopes of this union be realized. May you both be granted the patience to listen, the capacity to understand, the compassion to give comfort, and the joy to laugh and to be yourselves. Let your marriage make a home, where neither person is ever lonely. Let it offer illumination and the excitement of shared discoveries. Let it be large enough to endure the difficult times. May life’s challenges bring you closer together and may you always be able to turn to each other.
____please repeat after me…
I choose you,____, to be my wife,* the mother of my children, * as my friend and love.* I will strive to give you the best of myself, * while accepting you the way you are*. I promise to respect your interests, desires, and needs, *and to realize that those are sometimes different, * but no less important than my own. * I will let you into my innermost fears and feelings, * secrets and dreams. * I promise to grow along with you, keeping our relationship alive and exciting. *And finally, I promise to love you in good times and in bad, * with all I have to give* and all that I am* — completely and forever.
And now____ please repeat after me…
I choose you,____, to be my husband, * the father of my children, *as my friend and love. * I will strive to give you the best of myself, * while accepting you the way you are. * I promise to respect your interests, desires, and needs, * and to realize that those are sometimes different, * but no less important than my own. * I will let you into my innermost fears and feelings, *secrets and dreams. * I promise to grow along with you, keeping our relationship alive and exciting. *And finally, I promise to love you in good times and in bad, *with all I have to give *and all that I am — *completely and forever.
A circle is the symbol of sun, the earth, the universe, of wholeness, perfection, peace and of unity. Like circles, your rings have no beginning and no ending. They are symbols of the growing relationship you have come to celebrate and confirm.
As a sign of your faithfulness, place the ring on her finger and repeat after me. *I take you____* as my wife through all of the experiences life holds for us, * in faith and love.
As a sign of your faithfulness, place the ring on his finger and repeat after me. *I take you____* as my husband through all of the experiences life holds for us, *in faith and love.
May your lives be blessed with the fulfillment of all of your dreams. And now having heard the vows you have made to each other, witnessed by your loved ones, by the power vested in me by the Unitarian Universalist Church, I now pronounce you husband and wife. Please do us the honor of sealing this sacrament with a kiss.
(you kiss each other)
I am honored to present the newlyweds, ____ and____!
(oh and the * are for pauses so the couple doesn’t get overwhelmed trying to remember the vows)
Peace and many blessings to all you fine people,