A hands-on approach to composing your service.
As most wedding guests would agree, the most beautiful and touching ceremony is one that seems to belong to, or perfectly fit, the bride and groom. While most couples today desire a personalized ceremony, the process of creating it on their own can be quite overwhelming. This task is much easier if you have some examples from which to draw ideas, therefore, I have identified three areas that may be of interest to you in designing your own ceremony. The first area expands on the concept of “love”. The second is an interesting piece on the notion of “commitment.” Lastly, I have found a poem that makes for a very meaningful statement as a “closing” for the ceremony.
The following piece on love has found it’s way into numerous wedding ceremonies and if it feels like it represents your relationship, feel free to include it in your ceremony too. Just substitute your name in the place of “Bride and “Groom”.
To the bride: “ “Bride”, “Groom” is a gift. But he is not a gift for you alone. You are asked to see the good in this man, to accept him for who he is and who he shall be. And to so love “Groom”, who is so honest, generous and sincere, that each soul he touches will be enriched by the life of a man who lives with such integrity. In this way, life’s purpose shall be accomplished in this relationship. May this man find everlasting happiness through the love that you both share.”
To the groom: “And so it is with you also, “Groom” that although “Bride” is a gift to you, she is not a gift intended for you alone. You are asked to so love this woman, that in your love, she might find herself, as she was created, so beautiful and strong and brave and true, that the entire world might be blessed by the presence of this woman who shines so. May she relax in your arms as she has never relaxed before.”
I’d like to share the thoughts of another couple with you as you prepare for your wedding ceremony. You couldn’t ask for a more romantic statement than the following: When I asked “Groom” what made “Bride” stand out, he responded, “Most people look at life as if their glass is half empty or half full. In my life, because of “Bride”, my glass is always completely full. She brings joy and love to everyone near her. Because of “Bride”, I wake up every morning inspired and positive. Her smile is brighter than the sun. Even on a rainy day, the sun still shines in our house. As beautiful as she is outside, it is no measure to how beautiful she is on the inside. I plan on my drinking from my glass forever.”
When “Bride” described, “Groom” she told me, “Groom” is the most loving, generous, and beautiful man I have ever met. We are constantly laughing, about everything or nothing at all. We understand each other perfectly. “Groom” is like all my favorite things about all my favorite people all wrapped up into one ideal man. He’s the greatest hits compilation in a life of music.”
The next piece is great for those individuals who may have had issues ending. The officiant says the following: “Since you are making a commitment today, let me share some thoughts on commitment:
A committing or being committed to.
Official consignment by court order of a person to prison or to a mental hospital.
A pledge or promise to do something.
A financial liability undertaken.
The act of sending proposed legislation to a committee.
I’ve always had trouble with the word “commitment” in conjunction with the word love. It’s been explained to me that when we use the word “commitment” in the conjugal or amatory sense, we are talking about a pledge.”
“I’ve always had trouble with the word “pledge” because, for me, it’s inextricably linked to fund raising for public television.”
“I like to think of loving not as a commitment, but rather as an agreement; an agreement that we must make new everyday. As in, I agree to help you. I agree to look out for you. I agree to trust you and be worthy of your trust. I agree to put up with your bad moods and to try to make you laugh. I agree to do the best I can...and if, on occasion, the best I can falls short, I will continue to grow and get better.”
“And so in this way, we can trade the grand and fearful panorama of a long term“commitment” for the simpler landscape of a single day. It somehow seems easier to pay attention to the details of a single day, to make the promise to the best we can for a single day. And so each day becomes a small mosaic of plans and trials and laughter and ideas and promises shared and promises fulfilled, and to this we add the words: Because I love you. I agree to do this. And because I love you, I will make this agreement new...everyday.”
Now everyone is anxiously waiting to hear you pronounced husband and wife. However, just before those anticipated words are spoken, you treat your guests to the following poem that may say a lot of who you are as a person.
“And now let me leave you with this last thought by Ralph Waldo Emerson, it describes the culmination of the joy “Groom”and “Bride”feel on this, the first day of their new life together.”
“...To laugh often, and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons; to earn the approbation of honest critics, and to endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of oneself; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm, and sung with exultation; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived; this is to have succeeded.”
I hope these pieces are helpful in your journey to create a meaningful ceremony. As you plan for your special day, also think back to the writings, poetry, even lyrics that have touched you throughout your life, and feel free to weave bits and pieces of these thoughts into your ceremony in your own unique way.
Opening photograph by Studio EMP