Wedding Words

Simple ways to enhance and bring more meaning to your wedding ceremony

Sample Readings

A collection of words, poems and readings to enhance your wedding ceremony. Readings enhance your ceremony by telling your love story, or putting into words the emotions you feel towards the person in which you are about to make the spectacular journey of love.They can range from Religious and serious to romantic, funny and lighthearted. Readings can be done by family or friends to enhance your ceremony experience and allow for someone special to have a key role in your ceremony. Officiants, ministers, celebrants and justice of the peace use readings as a way to communicate with you also bits of advise and encouragement for the road ahead.

Sample Vows

Oh the promises of love and forever. Uniquely different and special to each person who utters those magical words. Whether you have the gift of gab or a great search engine. Vows are a very personal decision to many couples.
While some write, recall and recite their own words of love, Others want to say as little as possible or be lead in the vow portion of their ceremony. What ever your preference is, the internet is full of inspiration.
Your vows can be quirky or funny. They can incorporate a theme. Vows can be religious or non religious. In legal marriages it is the promise that you make to one another. Vows should be taken seriously even if they are in rhyme or sign language. Because the person you are making the vows to will be hanging on your every word in teary eyed breathless anticipation, waiting to say theirs back to you.

Unity Ceremonies

Unity ceremonies are common in all types of ceremonies. They are no longer just for religious weddings. The symbolic act of joining two items into one be it light, flames, blood, sand, hands, knot tying or hand fasting, is an important part of many couples ceremonies. The belief is that the symbolic act of merging two souls, families, partners, people, friends, or individual loves, will carry over into the marriage and two people that started alone will leave the ceremony as one unit, husband and wife.
Unity ceremonies do not only join the bride and groom but their two sets of families, friends, and many times children. Find the ceremony that best fits you. Multiple unity ceremonies are sometimes done. The end result is the same.

Wedding Traditions

Brides, grooms and their families and friends all have ideas of what should and should not be included in your wedding. Many times there are things put in a wedding just because it was seen somewhere else. Not necessarily that it has any meaning to the couple. So I have compiled a small list of some popular wedding traditions and their meanings and sample wording that accompanies the tradition. I am aware there are many traditions in every culture and the interpretation of such is still left solely up to the couple. I will continue to periodically add more traditions as I come across them. Use the ideas to enhance your wedding day and make it truly spectacular.

Sample Ceremony Readings

Picking the words that connect with you and your beloved can be well…overwhelming. Sometimes the feelings are so deep and momentous that finding accurate words to express how much you care for someone can be difficult. Ceremony readings provide several elements to a wedding. They can help you find the words that say how you feel about the journey you are bout to embark on called marriage. They set the tone for your ceremony, outside of your vows, can encourage and guide you in the ways of successful marriages and love, or they can be Prayers and well wishes for your future, they can also bring a light, fun mood or convey a desired theme. Here a few popular readings…

Traditional Shoshone Indian Love Poem

Fair is the white star of twilight, and the sky clearer

at the day’s end, but she is fairer, and she is dearer

She, my heart’s friend.

Fair is the white star of twilight, and the moon roving

to the sky’s end; but she is fairer, better worth loving

She, my heart’s friend.”

Aztec Indian Wedding Poem

I know not whether thou has been absent:

I lie down with thee, I rise up with thee,

In my dreams thou art with me.

If my eardrops tremble in my ears,

I know it is thou moving within my heart.

Traditional Wedding Prayer of the Great Plains Indian

0 Morning Star!

When you look down upon us, give us peace and refreshing sleep.

Great Spirit!

Bless our children, friends, and visitors through a happy life.

May our trails lie straight and level before us.

Let us live to be old.

We are all your children and ask these things with good hearts.

Cherokee Blessing

God in heaven above,

Please protect the ones we love.

We honor all that you created

As we pledge our hearts and lives together.

We honor Mother Earth —

And ask for our marriage to be abundant,

And to grow stronger through the seasons

We honor fire —

And ask that our union be warm and glowing with love in our hearts.

We honor wind —

And ask that we sail through life safely and calm as in our father’s arms.

We honor water —

To clean and soothe our relationship that it may never thirst for love.

With all the forces of the universe you created,

We pray for harmony and true happiness

As we forever grow young together.

Excerpt from Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Doubt thou the stars are fire;

Doubt that the sun doth move;

Doubt truth to be a liar;

But never doubt I love.

From The Prophet by Kahil Gibran

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.

But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:

To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.

To know the pain of too much tenderness.

To be wounded by your own understanding of love;

And to bleed willingly and joyfully.

To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;

To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;

To return home at eventide with gratitude;

And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise on your lips.

I Ching

When two people are at one

in their inmost hearts,

they shatter even the strength of iron or bronze.

And when two people understand each other

in their inmost hearts,

their words are sweet and strong,

like the fragrance of orchids.

Corinthians 13:4-8

Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude.

Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

A Love Like This, Dan Fogleberg

And now the lonely days are done

And with each rising of the sun, love begins anew

And if you ever ask me why

I know that my love will never die I’ll say these words to you

Of all the souls I’ve ever known

Mine sings to yours and yours alone and yours sings just to me

In all this world I’ll never find

A heart that could beat as close to mine and this time I can see

A love like this is so hard to find

And so many never do

And loves like this, when they even exist

Are precious and few, you know they’re precious and few

Down the miles, through the years

Yours is the star by which I steer, the brightest star I’ve known

And when I feel all hope is gone, yours is the love that leads me on

The light that guides me home

The light that guides me home

Your light will guide me home

The Key to Love, Author Unknown

The key to love is understanding …

as it is the little things that say so much by themselves.

The key to love is forgiveness ….

to accept each others faults and pardon mistakes,

The key to love is sharing …

Sharing and acing your good fortunes as well as the bad, together;

both conquering problems, forever searching for ways

to intensify your happiness.

The key to love is giving …

Giving without thought of return,

but with the hope of just a simple smile,

and by giving in but never giving up.

The key to love is respect …

Respect realizing that you are two separate people, with different ideas;

that you don’t belong to each other,

that you belong with each other, and share a mutual bond.

The key to love is inside us all …

It takes time and patience to unlock all the ingredients

that will take you to its threshold;

it is the continual learning process that demands a lot of work …

but the rewards are more than worth the effort …

and that is the key to love.

Carl Sandburg

I love you. I love you for what you are,

but I love you yet more for what you are going to be.

I love you not so much for your realities as for your ideals.

I pray for your desires, that they may be great,

rather than for your satisfactions,

which may be so hazardously little.

A satisfied flower is one whose petals are about to fall.

But the most beautiful rose is one,

hardly more than a bud,

wherein the pangs and ecstasies of desire are working for larger and finer growth.

Not always shall you be what you are now.

You are going forward toward something great.

I am on the way with you and . . I love you.

Ogden Nash

Geniuses of countless nations

Have told their love for generations

Till all their memorable phrases

Are common as goldenrod or daisies.

Their girls have glimmered like the moon,

Or shimmered like a summer moon,

Stood like a lily, fled like a fawn,

Now the sunset, now the dawn,

Here the princess in the tower

There the sweet forbidden flower.

Darling, when I look at you

Every aged phrase is new,

And there are moments when it seems

I’ve married one of Shakespeare’s dreams.

The Colour of My Love, David Foster, Arthur Janov

I’ll paint a sun to warm your heart

Knowing that we’ll never part.

I’ll draw the years all passing by

So much to learn, so much to try.

I’ll paint my mood in a shadow blue,

Paint my soul to be with you.

I’ll sketch your lips in shaded tones,

Draw your mouth to my own.

I’ll trace a hand to wipe your tears

And trace a look to calm your fears.

A silhouette of dark and light

To hold each other oh so tight.

I’ll paint the stars in the evening sky,

Draw the light into your eyes,

A touch of love, a touch of grace,

To softly fall on your moonlit face.

And with this ring our lives will start,

Let nothing keep our love apart.

I’ll take your hand to hold in mine,

And be together through all time.

Sonnet 116 by William Shakespeare

Let me not to the marriage of true minds

admit impediments. Love is not love

which alters when it alteration finds,

or bends with the remover to remove:

Oh, no! It is an ever-fix’d mark.

That looks on tempests and is never shaken;

it is the star to every wandering bark,

whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.

Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

within his bending sickle’s compass come;

love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,

but bears it out even to the edge of doom.

If this be error and upon me prov’d,

I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.

Fidelity by D.H. Lawrence

Man and woman are like the earth, that brings forth flowers

in summer, and love, but underneath is rock.

Older than flowers, older than ferns, older than foraminiferae,

older than plasm altogether is the soul underneath.

And when, throughout all the wild chaos of love

slowly a gem forms, in the ancient, once-more-molten rocks

of two human hearts, two ancient rocks,

a man’s heart and a woman’s,

that is the crystal of peace, the slow hard jewel of trust,

the sapphire of fidelity.

The gem of mutual peace emerging from the wild chaos of love.

Judy Bielicki, Melbourne, Australia

It is often said that it is love that makes the world go round. However, without doubt, it is friendship which keeps our spinning existence on an even keel. True friendship provides so many of the essentials for a happy life — it is the foundation on which to build an enduring relationship, it is the mortar which bonds us together in harmony, and it is the calm, warm protection we sometimes need when the world outside seems cold and chaotic. True friendship holds a mirror to our foibles and failings, without destroying our sense of worthiness. True friendship nurtures our hopes, supports us in our disappointments, and encourages us to grow to our best potential. {Bride’s Name} and {Groom’s Name} came together as friends. Today, they pledge to each other not only their love, but also the strength, warmth and, most importantly, the fun of true friendship.

Touch the Air Softly by William Jay Smith

Now touch the air softly, step gently, one, two …

I’ll love you ’til roses are robin’s egg blue;

I’ll love you ’til gravel is eaten for bread,

And lemons are orange, and lavender’s red.

Now touch the air softly, swing gently the broom.

I’ll love you ’til windows are all of a room;

And the table is laid, And the table is bare,

And the ceiling reposes on bottomless air.

I’ll love you ’til heaven rips the stars from his coat,

And the moon rows away in a glass-bottomed boat;

And Orion steps down like a river below,

And earth is ablaze, and oceans aglow.

So touch the air softly, and swing the broom high.

We will dust the grey mountains, and sweep the blue sky:

And I’ll love you as long as the furrow the plough,

As however is ever, and ever is now.

Love’s Coming by John Shaw Neilson

Love’s Coming

Quietly as rosebuds

Talk to the thin air,

Love came so lightly,

I knew not he was there.

Quietly as lovers

Creep at the middle moon,

Softly as players tremble

in the tears of a tune;

Quietly as lilies

Their faint vows declare

Came the shy pilgrim:

I knew not he was there.

Quietly as tears fall

On a warm sin,

Softly as griefs call

In a violin;

Without hail or tempest,

Blue sword of flame.

Love came so lightly

I knew not that he came.

Oath of Friendship — Anon., China, 1st Century B.C.

I want to be your friend

For ever and ever without break or decay.

When the hills are all flat

And the rivers are all dry,

When it lightens and thunders in winter,

When it rains and snows in summer,

When Heaven and Earth mingle

Not ’til then will I part from you.

What is Love? by Walter Rinder

Love is just not looking at each other and saying “You’re wonderful”.

There are times when we are anything but wonderful.

Love is looking out in the same direction.

It is linking our strength to pull a common load.

It is pushing together towards the far horizons, hand in hand.

Love is knowing that when our strength falters, we can borrow the strength of someone who cares.

Love is a strange awareness that our sorrows will be shared and made lighter by sharing;

that joys will be enriched and multiplied by the joy of another.

Love is knowing someone else cares that we are not alone in life.

The Passionate Shepherd to His Love by Christopher Marlowe

Come live with me and be my love,

And we will all the pleasures prove

That valleys, groves, hills, and fields,

Woods or steepy mountain yields.

And we will sit upon the rocks,

Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks,

By shallow rivers to whose falls

Melodious birds sing madrigals.

And I will make thee beds of roses

And a thousand fragrant posies,

A cap of flowers, and a kirtle

Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle;

A gown made of the finest wool

Which from our pretty lambs we pull;

Fair lined slippers for the cold,

With buckles of the purest gold;

A belt of straw and ivy buds,

With coral clasps and amber studs:

And if these pleasures may thee move,

Come live with me and be my love.

The shepherds’ swains shall dance and sing

For thy delight each May morning:

If these delights thy mind may move,

Then live with me and be my love.

How do I love thee? by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height

My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight

For the ends of Being an Ideal Grace.

I love thee to the level of every day’s

Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.

I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;

I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.

I love thee with the passion put to use

In my old grief’s, and with my childhood’s faith.

I love thee with a love I seemed to lose

With my lost saints,–I love thee with the breath,

Smiles, tears, of all my life!–and, if God choose,

I shall but love thee better after death.

Love’s Philosophy by Percy Shelley

The fountains mingle with the river,

And the rivers with the ocean;

The winds of heaven mix forever,

With a sweet emotion;

Nothing in the world is single;

All things by a law divine

In one another’s being mingle:-

Why not I with thine?

See! the mountains kiss high heaven,

And the waves clasp one another;

Now sister flower would be forgiven

If it disdained its brother;

And the sunlight clasps the earth,

And the moonbeams kiss the sea:-

What are all these kissings worth,

If thou kiss not me?

Sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate:

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,

And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;

And every fair from fair sometime declines,

By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d;

But thy eternal summer shall not fade

Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;

Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,

When in eternal lines to time thou growest:

So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,

So long lives this and this gives life to thee.

The Art of a Good Marriage by Wilferd Arlan 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 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.

To Love is Not to Possess by James Kavanaugh

To love is not to possess,

To own or imprison,

Nor to lose one’s self in another.

Love is to join and separate,

To walk alone and together,

To find a laughing freedom

That lonely isolation does not permit.

It is finally to be able

To be who we really are

No longer clinging in childish dependency

Nor docilely living separate lives in silence,

It is to be perfectly one’s self

And perfectly joined in permanent commitment

To another–and to one’s inner self.

Love only endures when it moves like waves,

Receding and returning gently or passionately,

Or moving lovingly like the tide

In the moon’s own predictable harmony,

Because finally, despite a child’s scars

Or an adult’s deepest wounds,

They are openly free to be

Who they really are–and always secretly were,

In the very core of their being

Where true and lasting love can alone abide.

Somewhere I have never traveled By E.E. Cummings

somewhere I have never traveled, gladly beyond

any experience, your eyes have their silence:

in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,

or which I cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me

though I have closed myself as fingers,

you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens

(touching skillfully, mysteriously) her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, I and

my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,

as when the heart of this flower imagines

the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals

the power of your intense fragility: whose texture

compels me with the color of its countries,

rendering death and forever with each breathing

(I do not know what it is about you that closes

and opens; only something in me understands

the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)

nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands

Blessing of the Apaches

Now you will feel no rain,

For each of you will be shelter to the other.

Now you will feel no cold,

For each of you will be warmth to the other.

Now there is no more loneliness,

For each of you will be companion to the other.

Now you are two bodies,

But there is one life before you.

Go now to your dwelling place,

To enter into the days of your togetherness.

And may your days be good and long upon the earth.

Pathways by Rainer Maria Rilke

Understand, I’ll slip quietly

away from the noisy crowd

when I see the pale

stars rising, blooming, over the oaks.

I’ll pursue solitary pathways

through the pale twilit meadows,

with only this one dream:

You come too.

Thoughts on Marriage By Mark Twain

A marriage…makes of two fractional

lives a whole;

it gives to two purposeless lives

a work, and doubles the strength

of each to perform it;

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,

and a new mystery to life.

The Creation of Man and Woman

(Genesis 1:26-28, 31a)

God said, “Let us make man in our own image, in the likeness of ourselves, and let them be masters of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven, the cattle, all the wild beasts and all the reptiles that crawl upon the earth.” God created man in the image of himself, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them. God blessed them, saying to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and conquer it. Be masters of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven and all living animals on the earth.” God saw all he had made, and indeed it was very good.

The Creation of Woman

(Genesis 2:18-24)

The Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make him a helpmate.” So from the soil the Lord God fashioned all the wild beasts and all the birds of the heaven. These he brought to the man to see what he would call them; each one was to bear the name the man would give it. The man gave names to all the cattle, all the birds of heaven and all the wild beats. But no helpmate suitable for man was found for him.

So the Lord God made the man fall into deep sleep. And while he slept, he took one of is ribs and enclosed it in flesh. The Lord God built the rib he had taken from the man into a woman, and brought her to the man. The man exclaimed: “This at last is bone from my bones, and flesh from my flesh! This is to be called woman, for this was taken from man.” This is why a man leaves his father and mother and joins himself to his wife, and they become one body.

Prayer of the New Spouses

(Tobit 8:4-9)

Tobias rose up from the bed and said to Sarah, “Get up, my sister; you and I must pray and petition our Lord to win his grace and his protection.” She stood up and they began praying for protection and this was how he began:

“You are blessed, O God of our fathers; blessed, too, is your name for ever and ever. Let the heavens bless you and all things you have made for evermore. It was you who created Adam, you who created Eve his wife to be his help and support; and from these two the human race was born. It was you who said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; let us make him a helpmate like himself.’ And so I do not take my sister for any lustful motive; I do it in singleness of heart. Be kind enough to have pity on her and on me and bring us to old age together.”

Love is as Strong as Death

(Song of Songs 2:8-10, 14, 16a; 8:6-7a)

A reading from the Song of Songs:

I hear my Beloved

See how he comes

leaping on the mountains,

bounding over the hills,

My Beloved is like a gazelle,

like a young stag.

See where he stands

behind our wall.

He looks in at the window,

he peers through the lattice.

My Beloved lifts up his voice,

he says to me,

“Come then, my love,

my lovely one, come.

My dove, hiding in the clefts of the rock,

in the coverts of the cliff,

show me your face,

let me hear your voice;

for your voice is sweet

and your fact is beautiful.”

My beloved is mind and I am his.

He said to me:

Set me like a seal on your heart,

like a seal on your arm.

For love is strong as Death,

jealously relentless as Sheol.

The flash of it is a flash of fire,

a flame of the Lord himself.

Love no flood can quench,

no torrents drown.

A Really Good Wife and a Joyful Husband

(Sirach 26:1-4; 16-21)

A reading from the book of Sirach:

Happy the husband of a really good wife;

the number of his days will be doubled.

A perfect wife is the joy of the husband,

he will live out the years of his life in peace.

A good wife is the best of portions,

reserved for those who fear the Lord;

rich or poor, they will be glad of heart,

cheerful of face, whatever the season.

The grace of a wife will charm her husband,

her accomplishments will make him stronger.

A silent wife is a gift from the Lord,

no price can be put on a well-trained character.

A modest wife is a boon twice over,

a chaste character cannot be weighted on scales.

Like the sun rising over the mountains of the Lord

is the beauty of a good wife in a well-kept house.

The Love of Christ

(Romans 8:31b-35, 37-39)

With God on our side who can be against us? Since God did not spare his own Son, but gave him up to benefit us all, we may be certain, after such a gift, that he will not refuse anything he can give. Could anyone accuse those that God has chosen? When God acquits, could anyone condemn? Could Christ Jesus? No!! He not only died for us — he rose from the dead, and there at God’s right hand he stands and pleads for us. Nothing therefore can come between us and the love of Christ, even if we are troubled or worried, or being persecuted, or lacking food or clothes, or being threatened or even attacked. These are the trials through which we triumph, by the power of him who loved us. For I am certain of this; neither death nor life, no angel, no prince, nothing that exists, nothing still to come, not any power, or height or depth, nor any created thing can ever come between us and the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The Greatest of These is Love

(1 Corinthians 12:31-13:8a)

Be ambitious for the higher gifts, and now I will show you a way that is better than any of them.

If I speak with human eloquence and that of angels as well, but speak without love, I am nothing more than a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

If I have the gift of prophecy, knowing and understanding all of life’s mysteries — and if I have faith great enough to move mountains; but am without love, I am nothing.

If I give away to the needy all that I possess, and if I even suffer martyrdom, but am without love, I gain nothing.

This love of which I speak is always patient and kind. It is never jealous. It is never boastful or conceited. It is never possessive or selfish. It does not take offense and is not resentful. It takes no pleasure in the failings of others, but rather delights only in the truth.

This love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading to its hope. It will outlast anything. It is, in fact, the one thing that still stands when all else has fallen away. This love will not come to an end.

Live in Love and Thanksgiving

(Colossians 3:12-17)

A reading from the letter of Paul to the Colossians:

You are God’s chosen race, his saints; he loves you, and you should be clothed in sincere compassion, in kindness and humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with one another; forgive each other as soon as a quarrel begins. The Lord as forgiven you; now you must do the same. Over all these clothes, to keep them together and complete them, put on love. And may the peace of Christ reign in your hearts, because it is for this that you were called together as parts of one body. Always be thankful.

Let the message of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you. Teach each other, and advise each other, in all wisdom. With gratitude in your hearts sing psalms and hymns and inspired songs to God; and never say or do anything except in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

God is Love

(I John 4::7-12)

A reading from the first letter of John:

My dear people, let us love one another since love comes from God and everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Anyone who fails to love can never have known God, because God is love. God’s love for us was revealed when God sent into the world his only Son so that we could have ave life through him; this is the love I mean: not our love for God, but God’s love for us when he sent his Son to be the sacrifice that takes our sins away.

My dear people, since God has loved us so much, we too should love one another. No one has ever seen God; but as long as we love one another God will live in us and his love will be complete in us.

What God Has United, Man Must Not Divide

(Matthew 19:3-6)

A reading from the holy gospel according to Matthew:

Some Pharisees approached him, and to test him they said, “Is it against the Law for a Man to divorce his wife on any pretext whatever?” He answered, “Have you not read that the Creator from the beginning made them male and female and that he said, ‘This is why a man must leave father and mother, and cling to his wife, and the two become one body?’ They are no longer two, therefore, but one body. So then, what God has united, no human being may divide.”

Love, the Greatest Commandment

(Matthew 22:35-40)

A reading from the holy gospel according to Matthew:

To disconcert him, one of them put a question, Master, which is the greatest commandment of the Law?

Jesus said, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all you soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second resembles it: You must love your neighbor as yourself. One these two commandments hand the whole Law and the Prophets also.”

Remain in My Love

(John 15:9-12)

A reading from the holy gospel according to John.

Jesus said to his disciples: “As the Father as loved me, so I have loved you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my own joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you.”

Love One Another as I have Loved You

(John 15: 12-16)

Jesus said to his disciples:

“This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you. A man or woman can have no great love than to lay down one’s own life for one’s friends. You are my friends, if you do what I command you. I shall not call you servants any more, because a servant does not know his master’s business; I call you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have learnt from my Father. You did not choose me, no, I chose you; and I commissioned you to go out and to bear fruit, fruit that will last; and then the Father will give you anything you ask him in my name.”

I Love You by Larry S. Chengges

I love you

Not only for what you are,

But for what I am

When I am with you.

I love you,

Not only for what

You have made of yourself,

But for what

You are making of me.

I love you

For the part of me

That you bring out;

I love you

For putting your hand

Into my heaped-up heart

And passing over

All the foolish, weak things

That you can’t help

Dimly seeing there,

And for drawing out

Into the light

All the beautiful belongings

That no one else had looked

Quite far enough to find.

I love you

Because you have done

More than any creed

Could have done

To make me good.

And more than any fate

Could have done

To make me happy.

You have done it

Without a touch

Without a word,

Without a sign.

You have done it

By being yourself,

Perhaps that is what

Being a friend means,

After All.

A Jewish Blessing

Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord

We bless you out of the house of the Lord

Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with singing.

O God supremely blessed, supreme in might and glory, guide and bless this bridegroom and bride.

Unto Thee, O God and Father, we lift our souls ion praise. All creation declares Thy glory; through human beings, fashioned in Thine image, Thou hast revealed Thy majesty. Within his heart Thou hast implanted the ennobling influences of love and devotion. Thou Who art the Source of life and of joy, bless the covenant which this bridegroom and bride now seal in Thy name. Be with them in this sacred hour and in all the days to come. Amen.

Wine sharing:




Blessed art Thou,

O Lord our God,

King of the Universe,

Creator of the Fruit of the vine.

From the Book of the Essences:

Blessed is the child of light

who is pure in heart,

for that person shall see God.

For as the heavenly Father has given you

his Holy Spirit,

and your earthly mother has given you

her holy body,

so shall you give love

to all your brothers and sisters.

And your true brothers and sisters are those

who do the will of your heavenly Father

and your earthly mother.

Let your love be as the Sun

which shines on all the creatures of the earth,

and does not favor one blade of grass

for another.

And this love shall flow as a fountain

from person to person,

and as it is spent

so shall it be replenished.

For love is eternal.

Love is stronger

than the currents of deep waters.

Love is stronger than death.

And if human beings have not love,

they build walls between themselves

And the creatures of the earth.

From Buddha’s teaching: Unlimited Friendliness

This is what should be done by the man and woman who are wise, who seek the good, and who know the meaning of the place of peace.

Let them be fervent, upright, and sincere, without conceit of self, easily contented and joyous, free of cares; let them not be submerged by the things of the world; let them not take upon themselves the burden of worldly goods, let them be wise but not puffed up, and let them not desire great possessions even for their families.

May all beings be happy and at their ease. All beings, whether weak or strong – omitting none – in high, middle, or low realms of existence, small or great, visible or invisible, near or far way, born or to be born.

Even as a mother watches over and protects her only child, so with a boundless mind should one cherish all living beings, radiating friendliness over the entire world, above, below, and all around without limit. So let them cultivate a boundless good will toward the entire world, unlimited, free from ill-will or enmity.

Standing or walking, sitting or lying down, during all their waking hours, let them establish this mindfulness of good will, which is the highest state. Those who are perfect will never again know rebirth.

From The Prophet, by Kahil Gibran: On Friendship

Your friend is your needs answered.

He is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving.

And he is your board and your fireside.

For you come to him with your hunger, and you seek him for peace.

When your friend speaks his mind you fear not the “nay” in your own mind,

nor do you withhold the “ay.”

And when he is silent your heart ceases not to listen to his heart;

For without words, in friendship, all thoughts,

all desires, all expectations are born and shared, with joy that is unacclaimed.

When you part from your friend, you grieve not;

For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his

absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.

And let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit.

For love that seeks aught but the disclosure of its own mystery is not love

but a net cast forth: and the only unprofitable is caught.

And let your best be for your friend.

If he must know the ebb of your tide, let him know its flood also.

For what is your friend that you should seek him with hours to kill?

Seek him always with hours to live.

For it is his to fill your need, but not your emptiness.

And in the sweetness of friendship let there by laughter, and sharing of pleasures.

For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.

From The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis

Love is a great thing, a great good in every way; it alone lightens what is heavy, and leads smoothly over all roughness. For it carries a burden without being burdened, and makes every bitter thing sweet and tasty. Love wants to be lifted up, not held back by anything low. Love wants to be free, and far from all worldly desires, so that its inner vision may not be dimmed and good fortune bind it or misfortune cast it down. Nothing is sweeter than love; nothing stronger, nothing higher, nothing wider; nothing happier, nothing fuller, nothing better in heaven and earth; for love is born of God…

Love keeps watch is never unaware, even when it sleeps; tired, it is never exhausted; hindered, it is never defeated; alarmed, it is never afraid; but like a living flame and burning torch it bursts upward and blazes forth…

Love is quick, sincere, dutiful, joyous, and pleasant; brave, patient, faithful, prudent, serene, and vigorous; and it never seeks itself. For whenever we seek ourselves, we fall away from love. Love is watchful, humble, and upgrade; not weak, or frivolous, or directed toward vain things; temperate, pure, steady, calm, and alert in all the senses. Love is devoted and thankful to God, always trusting and hoping in him, even when it doesn’t taste his sweetness, for without pain no one can live in love.


Go placidly amid the clamor of life, and remember the peace to be found in silence.

Speak your truth quietly, listen to others, but avoid loud and aggressive people who vex the spirit.

Do not compare yourselves with others – there will always be greater and lesser persons and you may become vain and bitter.

Enjoy your achievements as well your plans.

Keep interest in your own careers. They are a real possession.

Be cautious in your affairs, for the world is full of trickery, but do not let this bind you to virtue in others – many strive for high ideals and life is full of heroism.

Be yourselves especially – do not feign affection and do not be cynical about love, for in the face of all greed and disenchantment, love is as perennial as grass.

Grow older, gracefully surrendering the things of yours when the time comes.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.

Do not allow yourselves to become distressed by imaginings, many fears come out of fatigue and loneliness.

Have self-discipline but be gentle with yourselves.

You are the children of the Universe, no less than the trees and the stars.

You have a right to be here, and whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the Universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive him to be and whatever your labors and aspirations.

In the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your souls and be true to them.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is till a beautiful world.

Go honestly. Strive to be happy.

What is Marriage? (Anonymous)

What is marriage?

Marriage is more than the exchange of rings

and the sharing of a household;

It is much more than just living together.

It is the desire to truly want to know and

understand another human being;

to feel and share in that person’s

happiness, as well as their pain.

Marriage is to never feel alone;

but rather, to know that you always

have a friend; a partner in life that

you can laugh and cry with.

To know that you always have that

special someone to share your

innermost thoughts and fears,

and know that you will be heard.

Marriage is helping your partner to be

the absolute best that they can be,

while still being able to experience

your own need and goals.

Marriage is love;

true love that goes far beyond passion;

It is a love that you can reach for

in times of crisis as well as joy,

and know it will be there

to comfort and to share.

Love Is by Susan Polis Schutz

Love is

being happy for the other person

when they are happy

being sad for the other person when they are sad

being together in good times

and being together in bad times

Love is the source of strength

Love is

being honest with yourself at all times

being honest with the other person at all times

telling, listening, respecting the truth

and never pretending

Love is the source of reality

Love is

an understanding that is so complete that

you feel as if you are a part of the other person

accepting the other person just the way they are

and not trying to change them to be something else

Love is the source of unity

Love is

the freedom to pursue your own desires

while sharing your experience with the other person

the growth of one individual along side of

and together with the growth of another individual

Love is the source of success

Love is

the excitement of planning things together

the excitement of doing things together

Love is the source of the future

Love is

the fury of the storm

the calm of the rainbow

Love is the source of passion

Love is

giving and taking in a daily situation

being patient with each other’s needs and desires

Love is the source of sharing

Love is

knowing that the other person

will always be with you regardless of what happens

missing the other person when they are away

but remaining near in heart at al times

Love is the source of security

Love is

the source of life

Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.

Where this is hatred, let me sow love;

Where there is injury, pardon;

Where there is doubt, faith;

Where there is despair, hope;

Where there is darkness, light

And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,

grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled

as to console;

to be understood as to understand;

to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Marriage Joins Two People by Edmund O’Neill

Marriage is a commitment to life

to the best that two people can find

and bring out in each other.

It offers opportunities for sharing and growth

that no other human relationship can equal,

a joining that is promised for a lifetime.

Within the circle of it’s 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.

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 for a child.

Marriage deepens and enriches every facet of life.

Happiness is fuller; memories are fresher; commitment is stronger.

Marriage understands and forgives the mistakes life is unable to avoid.

It encourages and nurtures new life, new experiences,

and new ways of expressing love through all seasons of life.

When two people pledge to love and care for each other in marriage

they create a spirit unique to themselves,

which binds them closer that any spoken or written words.

Marriage is a promise, a potential

made in the hearts of two people who love,

which takes a lifetime to fulfill.

Unique wedding readings

“Carrie’s Poem” from Sex and the City

His hello was the end of her endings. Her laugh was their first step down the aisle

His hand would be hers to hold forever. His forever was as simple as her smile

He said she was what was missing. She said instantly she knew

She was a question to be answered. And his answer was “I do”

Two Fragments by Sappho

Love holds me captive again and I tremble with bittersweet longing

As a gale on the mountainside bends the oak tree I am rocked by my love

From “Goodridge Vs. Department of Health” by Massachusetts Supreme Court Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall (a political statement, or just a lovely definition of civil marriage?)

Marriage is a vital social institution. The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support; it brings stability to our society. For those who choose to marry, and for their children, marriage provides an abundance of legal, financial, and social benefits. In return it imposes weighty legal, financial, and social obligations….Without question, civil marriage enhances the “welfare of the community.” It is a “social institution of the highest importance.”

Marriage also bestows enormous private and social advantages on those who choose to marry. Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family…. Because it fulfils yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution, and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life’s momentous acts of self-definition.

“To Diego and Frida” (Tina Modotti’s toast) from the movie Frida

I don’t believe in marriage. No, I really don’t. Let me be clear about that. I think at worst it’s a hostile political act, a way for small-minded men to keep women in the house and out of the way, wrapped up in the guise of tradition and conservative religious nonsense. At best, it’s a happy delusion – these two people who truly love each other and have no idea how truly miserable they’re about to make each other. But, but, when two people know that, and they decide with eyes wide open to face each other and get married anyway, then I don’t think it’s conservative or delusional. I think it’s radical and courageous and very romantic.


Address 1

Marriage is not only a commitment between lovers; it is also an agreement between two friends. Allow each other time to be an individual, respect each other’s wishes as well as their dreams. Selfishness has no place in a lasting relationship. Happiness is what each of you should seek for the other. Ask less for yourself than you are willing to give. Love can be shown by a word or touch or two thoughts entwined as one. In every relationship, trust is very important; never break that trust. True marriage is more than joining the bonds of marriage of two persons. In its right relation, it’s the uniting of two souls already attuned to each other. When such a true bond already exists between man and woman, it is fitting that an outer acknowledgment be made. This acknowledgment is the prime object of this gathering and this ceremony. We are here to bear witness to the entry into the closer relationship of husband and wife of these beloved friends who are already one in spirit.

Address with ring explanation 2

You are now taking into your care and keeping the happiness of the one person in all the world whom you love best. You are adding to your life not only the affection of each other, but also the companionship and blessing of a deep trust as well. You are agreeing to share strength, responsibilities, and to share love.

At the end of this ceremony, legally you will be husband and wife, but you still must decide each and every day that stretches before you, that you want to be married. Make such a decision and keep on making it, for the most important thing in life is to love and be loved.

May you always need one another, not so much to fill the emptiness as to help each other know your fullness. May you want one another, but not out of lack. May you embrace one another, but not encircle one another. May you succeed in all important ways with each other, and not fail in the little graces. Look for things to praise, often say ‘I love you’ and take no notice of small faults. May you have happiness, and may you find it in making one another happy. May you have love, and may you find it in loving one another.

This ring by its shape is a symbol of the undying love that exists between you. The substance of which it is composed is a symbol of purity, which shall ever characterize your mind and hearts in all your relationships together.

Address 3

The union of husband and wife in heart, body, and mind is intended by God for their mutual joy, for the help and comfort given one another during prosperity and adversity, and when it is God’s will, for the procreation of children and their nurture in the knowledge and love of the Lord. Therefore, marriage is not to be entered unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, deliberately, and in accordance with the purpose for which it was instituted by God.

More Readings


They say they will love, comfort, honor each other to the end of their days. They say they will cherish each other and be faithful to each other always. They say they will do these things not just when they feel like it, but even—for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health—when they don’t feel like it at all. In other words, the vows they make could hardly be more extravagant. They give away their freedom. They take on themselves each other’s burdens. They bind their lives together… The question is, what do they get in return?”

“They get each other in return… There will always be the other to talk to, to listen to… There is still someone to get through the night with, to wake into the new day beside. If they have children, they can give them, as well as each other, roots and wings. If they don’t have children, they each become the other’s child.”

“They both still have their lives apart as well as a life together. They both still have their separate ways to find. But a marriage made in heaven is one where a man and a woman become more richly themselves together than the chances are either of them could ever have managed to become alone.”

—Frederick Buechner


“Many human relationships are like the interlocking fingers of two hands… Human relationships are meant to be like two hands folded together. They can move away from each other while still touching with the fingertips. They can create space between themselves, a little tent, a home, a safe place to be.”

“True relationships among people point to God. They are like prayers in the world. Sometimes the hands that pray are fully touching, sometimes there is distance between them. They always move to and from each other, but they never lose touch. They keep praying to the One who brought them together.”

—Henri Nouwen

Sample Wedding Vows

The vows or promises you make to your beloved on your wedding day are some of the most important words you will say. They are the things you say with love and devotion that you intend to carry out throughout your life together. Vows are your dreams spoken aloud, your love exposed, raw and real, your moment during the hustle and bustle of the busy day that is your wedding day to really express from your heart, what the person standing next to you, in front of you, means to you. And then everyday after, the words you will try to live up to and keep alive in your marriage.

Gone are the days when both parties recite the same vows. What speaks to her heart may not be the same as what speaks to yours. Feel free to be creative when choosing your vows. Here are a few samples to give you inspiration.

Contemporary Vows

These vows will be more than just the standard legal vows , a mix of religious and non religious with a touch of personality.

I, ___, take you, __, as my best friend for life. I am so in love with you that I want to promise to stand by you through thick and thin, good and bad, joy and sorrow. I want to spend the rest of my life hearing your thoughts and seeing your dreams. I promise to do my best to make our lives better and better from this day on because I am so amazed by you, so in love with you. This is my solemn vow.

From this moment, I, __, take you, __ as my best friend for life. I pledge to honor, encourage and support you through our walk together. When our way becomes too difficult, I promise to stand by you and uplift you, so that through our union we can accomplish more together than we ever could alone. I promise to work at our love, never taking it for granted, and always making you a priority in my life. With every beat of my heart, from this moment on, I take you to be my partner, I will love you. This is my solemn vow.

I, __ take you, __ as the love of my life. I vow to be patient with you and the circumstances in our lives. I vow to be kind to all people we come across. I vow not to be boastful of our love or about our accomplishments, yet I will be forever thankful. I promise to be proud of you and supportive. I will not be proud in love for though I will strive for perfection, I know I can never reach it. I promise not to be quick to anger, but to think before I speak and act. I vow not to keep a record of wrongs, but to always keep the happy memories alive. Through God, our love will never fail.

I, __, choose you, __, as my, everything. I vow to love you through sickness and health, through the good and the bad, through richer and poorer. You are everything I need. At this moment, I know all of my prayers have been answered and that all of my dreams have come true. This is the moment I have waited for all of my life. I promise to give you my all and I know that I could not ask for more from you. I love you and always will. To you, I make this solemn vow.

___, we have already been through a lot together, and I believe God has been preparing us for this moment and for our future together. I promise to keep the good memories alive, and to let the bad ones die. I vow not to let the sun go down on our anger, and to treat each morning as a new day and opportunity to love you, the gift I have been given, even more. I will not forsake you or these vows that we have made, but rather strive to show you my love each and every day for the rest of our lives. This is my promise to you.

___, When you need someone to encourage, I want it to be me. When you need a helping hand, I want it to be mine. When you long for someone to smile at, turn to me, I will share your smiles. When you need someone to lean on, I will give you my shoulder. When you have something you want to share, Share it with me, Today, I choose you to love, share, encourage, and help for the rest of my life.

I (name), take you (name) to be my (husband/wife), my partner in life and my one true love. I will cherish our union and love you more each day than I did the day before. I will trust you and respect you, laugh with you and cry with you, loving you faithfully through good times and bad, regardless of the obstacles we may face together. I give you my hand, my heart, and my love, from this day forward for as long as we both shall live.

Non Traditional Vows

Some couples want to steer clear of the traditional wedding vows that are often exchanged at wedding vows. Go ahead, declare your love a little differently. The sample vows below can help you express what you really feel.

Sample One

On this day, (month, day, year), I, (name), join myself to you (name), before this company. May our days be long, and may they be seasoned with love, understanding and respect.

Sample Two

To marry the person you have set your heart upon is a joy unparalleled in human life. (Name), take this ring as a sign of my faith and my commitment to our love, and share this joy with me today.

Sample Three

Where there has been cold, you have brought warmth; where my life was dark, you have brought light. (Name), I pledge before this assembled company to be your (husband/wife) from this day forward. Let us make of our two lives, one life, and let us always honor and respect each other.

Sample Four

I came to this place today as a (man/woman) standing alone; I will walk from it by your side. Today I cross the threshold with you and enter into a new and lasting lifetime commitment. (Name), I commit myself to you as your (husband/wife).

Sample Five

(Name), our miracle lies in the path we have chosen together. I enter this marriage with you knowing that the true magic of love is not to avoid changes, but to navigate them successfully. Let us commit to the miracle of making each day work – together.

More samples

In storybooks, kids make tin can telephones with string stretched through side yards, so that best friends can stay connected even after playtime is over. When you and I met, I almost instantly felt a similar kind of string connecting our hearts, and over the past two years I’ve felt that string growing stronger. Today, as we tie the knot, we are taking that tender string and making it a strong rope, holding each other near and safe no matter where we are in the world. I promise you that through I years together I will constantly work to strengthen our tie to one another, and to increase my already enormous love for you. I will be true and strong and no matter what, always connected to you.

My dear beloved. Today I am yours and you are mine, forever. My love for you is so strong that it feels limitless, boundless, able to weather any storm. I promise today to you that should storms come, I will be your shelter. I will comfort you if you are sick, keep you warm if you are cold, and find laughter and joy with you if times are hard. This is my promise to you, for now and forever.

[name], this is the start of our new life together. Tomorrow we will be a married couple, off on a brand new adventure. And like any good adventure, there are sure to be beautiful new things we’ve never seen before, unknown wonders we could never anticipate and exciting challenges. But even when our strength is tested, I know that we will persevere and our adventure will be even more wonderful than the journey that brought us to this place. I promise to always stay faithfully by your side, to be honest, loving and true, and most importantly to always, just in the nick of time, help you escape from fiery pits, imminent avalanches, or crocodile-infested rivers before the end credits roll.

I feel like the luckiest woman in the world today, getting to marry such an amazing person. You are warm, kind, so smart, generous, loving, strong, and protective. And as lucky as I feel, I know that luck is what you make it. This is a relationship that we have built together, step by step, growing and nurturing it into the most beautiful love. I can’t wait to find out what tomorrow may bring, to discover the ways I know I will feel even luckier and more grateful than I am today. I take you to be my partner, staying loving and true both in times of unexpected fortune and in times of unanticipated hardship, working by your side to make a lifelong love and marriage.

Because of you, I laugh, I smile, I dare to dream again. I look forward with great joy to spending the rest of my

life with you, caring for you, nurturing you, being there for you in all life

has for us, and I vow to be true and faithful for as long as we both shall live.

(Name), I take you to be my wife/husband from this time onward,

to join with you and to share all that is to come, to be your faithful husband/wife,

to give and to receive, to speak and to listen, to inspire and to respond;

a commitment made in love, kept in faith, and eternally made new.

I love you. You are my best friend. Today I give myself to you in marriage.

I promise to encourage and inspire you, to laugh with you, and to comfort you in times of sorrow and struggle.

I promise to love you in good times and in bad, when life seems easy and when it seems hard,

when our love is simple, and when it is an effort. I promise to cherish you, and to always hold you in highest regard These things I give to you today, and all the days of our life.

The sun smiles on us today, our wedding day, and how can it not, for

our love is stronger than forever and our hearts beat together as one.

I promise to be a true and faithful partner from this day forward, in

all life’s circumstances, as we face them together. In the joys and

sorrows, the good times and bad, in sickness or in health, I will always

be there for you, to comfort you, love you, honor and cherish you, now

and forevermore.

Religious Vows (Non Denominational)

The following vows are wonderful examples of words you can use in a religious or spiritual based wedding

Sample One

(Man) ______, as we stand before both God and man, making public our commitment to one another, I wish to make it known that I recognize first of all God’s authority over my life which is exercised from His loving heart. He has chosen me to be one of his own, and He is now my life. I recognize also that He has blessed me and entrusted to me your life as a free gift that I have not earned. In recognition of these things, ____ I purpose to love you with His love, to provide for your needs through His enablement, and to lead you as He leads me, as long as He give us life together, regardless of the circumstances. As Psalm 34:3 expressed my heart when I asked you to marry me, so it expresses my heart now: “O magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt His name together.”

(Woman) On this special day, _ ____, I am reminded of the verse James l:17 which says, “Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Lights with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” With a gift such as you, I know that many new responsibilities face me. In I Corinthians, it explains “It is required of a steward to be found trustworthy.” I cannot do this on my own strength, ____ ___, but by God’s grace and power working within me I desire to be trustworthy as your wife by following your leading submissively, even as unto Christ, loving and serving you in all circumstances as long as He give me life on this earth.

Sample Two

(Man) I love you, ______, and I thank the Lord for the love that has bound our hearts and lives together in spiritual fellowship of marriage. I will love, honor and cherish you always. As we enter upon the privileges and joys of life’s most holy relationship, and begin together the great adventure of building a Christian home, I will look to Christ as Head of our home as I have looked to Him as Head of the Church. I will love you in sickness as in health, in poverty as in wealth, in sorrow as in joy, and will be true to you by God’s grace, trusting in Him, so long as we both shall live.

(Woman) I love you, ___ ___, and I thank the Lord for the love that has bound our hearts and lives together in spiritual fellowship of marriage. I will love, honor, cherish and obey you always. As we enter upon the privileges and joys of life’s most holy relationship and begin together the great adventure of building a Christian home, I will look to you as head of our home as I have looked to Christ as Head of the Church. I will love you in sickness as in health, in poverty as in wealth, in sorrow as in joy, and will be true to you by God’s grace, trusting in Him, so long as we both shall live.

Sample Three

(Man) I, _ _____, take you __ ____, to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, or the Lord comes for His own, and hereto I pledge you my faithfulness.

(Woman) I, _ ____, take you _ _____, to be my wedded husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love land to cherish, till death do us part, or the Lord comes for His own, and hereto I pledge you my faithfulness.

Sample Four

(Man) I _____, take you ______, to be my wedded wife. To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness or in health, to love and to cherish ’till death do us part. And hereto I pledge you my faithfulness.

(Woman) I, _____, take you ______, to be my wedded husband. To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, ’till death do us part. And hereto I pledge you my faithfulness.

Sample Five

(Man) ______, I love you. Today is a very special day. Long ago you were just a dream and a prayer. This day like a dream come true the Lord Himself has answered that prayer. For today, ______, you as my joy become my crown. I thank Jesus for the honor of going through time with you. Thank you for being what you are to me. With our future as bright as the promises of God, I will care for you, honor and protect you. I lay down my life for you, _____, my friend and my love. Today I give to you me.

(Woman) ______, I love you and I know you love me. I am confident that God has chosen you to be my husband. It is my prayer and desire that you will find in me the helpmeet God designed especially for you, and in confidence I will submit myself unto your headship as unto our Lord. Therefore, _____, I pledge to you my life as an obedient, faithful and loving wife. Whither thou goest I will go, whither thou lodgest I will lodge, Thy people shall be my people, And thy God my God.

I, [Groom’s name], take you [Bride’s name], to be my wife, my partner in life and my one true love.

I will cherish our friendship and love you today, tomorrow, and forever.

I will trust you and honor you, I will laugh with you and cry with you.

I will love you faithfully, Through the best and the worst, Through the difficult and the easy.

What may come I will always be there. As I have given you my hand to hold So I give you my life to keep

So help me God

I, [Bride’s name], take you [Groom’s name], to be my husband, my partner in life and my one true love.

I will cherish our friendship and love you today, tomorrow, and forever

I will trust you and honor you, I will laugh with you and cry with you.

I will love you faithfully, Through the best and the worst, Through the difficult and the easy.

What may come I will always be there. As I have given you my hand to hold So I give you my life to keep

So help me God

Groom: I, _____, take you, ______, to be my wedded wife. With deepest joy I receive you into my life that together we may be one. As is Christ to His body, the church, so I will be to you a loving and faithful husband. Always will I perform my headship over you even as Christ does over me, knowing that His Lordship is one of the holiest desires for my life. I promise you my deepest love, my fullest devotion, my tenderest care. I promise I will live first unto God rather than others or even you. I promise that I will lead our lives into a life of faith and hope in Christ Jesus. Ever honoring God’s guidance by His spirit through the Word, And so throughout life, no matter what may lie ahead of us, I pledge to you my life as a loving and faithful husband.

Bride: I, _____, take you, ______, to be my wedded husband. With deepest joy I come into my new life with you. As you have pledged to me your life and love, so I too happily give you my life, and in confidence submit myself to your headship as to the Lord. As is the church in her relationship to Christ, so I will be to you. _____, I will live first unto our God and then unto you, loving you, obeying you, caring for you and ever seeking to please you. God has prepared me for you and so I will ever strengthen, help, comfort, and encourage you. Therefore, throughout life, no matter what may be ahead of us, I pledge to you my life as an obedient and faithful wife.

Groom: ______, I love you and I know that this love is from God. Because of this, I want to be your husband so that we might serve Christ together. Through all of the uncertainties and trials of the present and future, I promise to be faithful to you and love you. I promise to guide and protect you as Christ does his church, as long as we both shall live. God’s Word gives us the perfect example of this love in Christ’s death for the Church. I shall try always, with God’s help, to show you this same kind of love, for I know that in His sight we will both be one.

Bride: ______, I love you. I prayed that God would lead me to his choice. I praise Him that tonight His will is being fulfilled. Through the pressures of the present and uncertainties of the future I promise my faithfulness, to follow you through all of life’s experiences as you follow God, that together we may grow in the likeness of Christ and our home be a praise to Him.

I, (name), take you, (name), to be my [opt: lawfully wedded] (husband/wife), my constant friend, my faithful partner and my love from this day forward. In the presence of God, our family and friends, I offer you my solemn vow to be your faithful partner in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, and in joy as well as in sorrow. I promise to love you unconditionally, to support you in your goals, to honor and respect you, to laugh with you and cry with you, and to cherish you for as long as we both shall live.

Romantic Vows

I (Name) affirm my love to you, (Name) as I invite you to share my life. You are the most beautiful, smart, and generous person I have ever known, and I promise always to respect you and love you. With kindness, unselfishness and trust, I will work by your side to create a wonderful life together. I take you (Name) to be my lawful (wife/husband), to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health for as long as we both shall live.

(Name), from the moment I first saw you, I knew you were the one with whom I wanted to share my life. Your beauty, heart, and mind inspire me to be the best person I can be. I promise to love you for eternity, respecting you, honoring you, being faithful to you, and sharing my life with you. This is my solemn vow.

(Name), today I take you for my (wife/husband). I promise to love you without reservation, comfort you in times of distress, encourage you to achieve all of your goals, laugh with you and cry with you, grow with you in mind, and spirit, always be open and honest with you, and cherish you for as long as we both shall live.

(Name), today I take you to be my (husband/wife). Together we will create a home, becoming a part of one another. I vow to help create a life that we can cherish, inspiring your love for me and mine for you. I vow to be honest, caring and truthful, to love you as you are and not as I want you to be, and to grow old by your side as your love and best friend.

Vows for Soulmates and TwinFlames

It’s believed by some, that in the whole universe there is one person specially created for another and only that person is your perfect match. The other half to your very soul. The peace and serenity to your very being. The one that knows you like no other on earth or any other life time will know you. Your soul mate. It is also believed that the joining of soul mates in marriage is a much deeper bond that transcends common marriage laws and traditions but is an eternal bond that is carried from one life to the next or into death. My belief is that these types of vows are not right for every couple and I do not offer them to all of my couples. So I am only putting a few here. I will not be adding additional ones because I want to keep the beauty and the importance of these vows available to the couples that truly believe they have met their soul mate and understand the deep and eternal meaning associated with the words that are spoken. Also most of the vows are created after I have met the couple. SV3 was actually written as I made this section.

These vows are not just for first time marriages as sometimes it may take a while to find your “one”

*It is believed by some, that when you find your soul mate, uttering these words, you are joined in an ancient and eternal way with the person whom you recognize as your soul mate. It is a binding that is recognized by the heart, soul and spirit, much more permanent and deeper than the ritual vows used for most ceremonies.

*Anam Cara is Gaelic for Soul friend

Both parts can be said or only one part. The Anam Cara is usually seen in Celtic weddings or added to traditional ceremonies where one or both of the couple is of Irish descent.

Anam Cara

The Original Vows

Today I recognize you, my Anam Cara

And ask that you become a part of me, in sacred kinship.

With you I will share my innermost self, my mind and my heart

With you I have lost all fear and have found the greatest courage.

I have learned to love and let myself be loved.

With you, I have found a rhythm of grace and gracefulness.

Love has reawakened in my life, a rebirth; a new beginning.

With you my Anam Cara, I am understood, I am home.

There is no more you and I. Now there is only us. I eagerly accept you into my life as my true Anam Cara. The one made just for me. I will honor and care for you, provide for you. I will see to your every happiness and desire. I will lend you my strength, my love and my devotion. Knowing without error, it will always be returned. My breath is your breath, my thoughts are your thoughts, and my love is your love. You are my Anam Cara, until my dying breath. And then, and only then will I release you back to the heavens from which you were sent.

More Soulmate and Twinflame Vows


My very soul has cried out and your soul has answered with beauty and love, making me complete. I believe you were made just for me and I for you. I take you into my care and responsibility for as long as there is breath in my body. To love you as no other, to cherish you above all else and provide for your happiness. From this day forward I can do no other. There is no other for me. You are mine and I am yours.


I take you today not just as my husband (or wife) but as the essence of what my heart desires, the promise of happiness and fulfillment, the sacrifice of love and honor and the commitment to a faithful eternity. Accepting of our differences, as well as our strengths, I belong to you for the rest of my life and any others that I may experience. I acknowledge you as my soul mate. I place my heart, and soul into your hands for safe keeping. With you I know now I am complete.


Through distance and time I have waited for you. Knowing that you were there waiting for me to find you. And in this time and space we have found each other. Today, in the presence of our family and friends I am publicly declaring that I acknowledge you as the one created just for me. You are my soul mate. You are my friend, my beloved and the very essence of each breath I take. From this moment on, into whatever futures lie before us I will dedicate my very existence to making sure you are loved, honored, treasured and taken care of. I will be there when you are sick, and also when you are well, during times of happiness and sadness, whether we are penniless or well off and I promise to be faithful to you and only you for the rest of my days on this earth and into the next life. Your very life is the rhythm of my heart and I shall forever love you and honor you, recognizing you as my soul mate, my partner in life, my miracle.


I vow to make a home with you, to live a life with you and be a part of you

I vow to create a life you will cherish, I vow to inspire a love for love and life

I vow to be your love, your soul mate, and your wife

This I vow until forever is just a memory in eternity, and eternity has disappeared in to infinity


And I vow to make a home with you, to live a life with you and be a part of you

I vow to create a life you will cherish, I vow to inspire a love for love and life

I vow to be your love, your soul mate, and your husband

This I vow until forever is just a memory in eternity, and eternity has disappeared in to infinity

Traditional Vows

I take you, (Name), to be my wife/husband and I promise before God and all who are present here to be your loving and faithful husband/wife, as long as our lives shall last. I will serve you with tenderness and respect, and encourage you to develop God’s gifts in you.

I, (Name), take you, (Name), to be my wife/husband; and I promise before God and these witnesses to be your loving and faithful husband/wife; in plenty and in want; in joy and in sorrow; in sickness and in health; as long as we both shall live.

Celtic Vows

“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”

Ye are Blood of my Blood, and Bone of my Bone. I give ye my Body, that we Two might be One.

I give ye my Spirit, `til our Life shall be Done. You cannon possess me for I belong to myself

But while we both wish it, I give you that which is mine to give

You cannon 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 of my meat and the first drink from my cup

I pledge to you my living and my dying, each 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 our grievances”

“This is my wedding vow to you This is the marriage of equals.”

I vow you the first cut of my meat, the first sip of my wine, from this day it shall only your name I cry out in the night and into your eyes that I smile each morning;

I shall be a shield for you back as you are for mine, no shall a grievous word be spoken about us, for our marriage is sacred between us and no stranger shall hear my grievance.

Above and beyond this, I will cherish and honor you through this life and into the next.

Child Vows

With families being less traditionally defined that in the past, many marital partners having children already, or the bride being with child at the time of the wedding ceremony, my daughter mentioned to me a few years back that she thought it would be a good idea to have the parents make vows to the children as well to help bring the family together as a cohesive loving unit. These tiny additions to your vows will not only make your children more confident of the union, but will act as a public gesture of acceptance as well.

Child vow #1

Officiant to Bride and Groom: Is your love for each other broad enough to include ______ and deep enough to honor their/her/his presence in this marriage and to pledge yourselves to love and care for them/her/him?

Bride and Groom: We will.

Child Vow #2

Officiant to Child/Children: You are a vital part of this new marriage. Bride and Groom give you their unconditional love and honor your presence in their lives. _____________ you will have a share in this union, for your life/lives will be touched by the covenant being made here today. Your participation is requested to help develop the bonds of a new family.

As _______ and _______ have exchanged their pledges in holy union, we ask from you also a pledge, that you will join together to weave a fabric of mutual help and comfort, of challenge and support, and that you will help create a home and a way of life in which all of you may grow into the fullness of the best people you can be. Will you now pledge to do your best to help make a happy and successful home for all of you by your love and cooperation?”

Child/Children: We will. Officiant: And so it is.

Child vow #3

Groom: “(children’s names), I want you to know that I dearly love your mother. We have become very good friends over the weeks and months and we have learned to love each other. As you have so graciously shared this wonderful woman with me, so will I share the love I feel for her with you.

Together, we will learn much more about each other. I promise also to be fair and to be honest, to be available for you as I am for your mom, and in due time, to earn your love, respect and true friendship. I will not attempt to replace anyone, but to make a place in your hearts that is for me alone. I will be father and friend, and I will cherish my life with all of you. On this day when I marry your mom, I marry you, and I promise to love and support you as my own.”

Bride: “(children’s names), I want you to know that I dearly love your father. We have become very good friends over the weeks and months and we have learned to love each other. As you have so graciously shared this wonderful man with me, so will I share the love I feel for him with both of you. Together, we will learn much more about each other.

I promise also to be fair and to be honest, to be available for you as I am for your dad, and in due time, to earn your love, respect and true friendship. I will not attempt to replace anyone, but to make a place in your hearts that is for me alone. I will be mother and friend, and I will cherish my life with both of you. On this day when I marry your dad, I marry you, and I promise to love and support you as my own.”

Child Vow #4

Officiant: There are young adults (children) who will share in this marriage. The gathering of this new family will have a deep influence upon them. It will both complicate and enrich their lives. They will also have much to contribute to this new 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 young adults (children) and the (pause dramatically) more experienced adults being married today. Please all join hands.

Groom and Bride- Is your love for each other broad enough to include (insert child(ren) names, and deep enough to honor their presence in this marriage and to pledge yourselves to love and care for them? (Both must answer yes or we will)

Responsive child vow #5:


(Children’s names), do you promise to love your mother and her new husband?

Children respond: “I do.”

Do you promise to support their marriage and your new family?

Children respond: “I do.”

Do you promise to accept the responsibility of being their children, and to encourage them, support them, and accept them just as our heavenly Father accepts us?

Children respond: “I do.”


(Children’ names), do you promise to love your father and his new wife?

Children respond: “I do.”

Do you promise to support their marriage and your new family?

Children respond: “I do.”

Do you promise to accept the responsibility of being their children, and to encourage them, support them, and accept them just as our heavenly Father accepts us?

Children respond: “I do.”

Traditional Wedding Pledges along with Children #6

One can opt for the traditional and original wedding vows. In that case a few changes can be made to include the children in the vows. Let’s see how to go about doing that.

1. Groom: I, ___, take thee, ____, to be my wife and thy children to be my children, and before God and these witnesses I promise to be a faithful and true husband and loving father.

Bride: I, _____, take thee, ____, to be my husband and thy children to be my children, and before God and these witnesses I promise to be a faithful and true wife and a loving mother.

2. Groom: I, ____, take thee, ____, to be my wedded wife and the mother of my children, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, ’til death do us part, according to God’s ordinance; and thereto I pledge thee my troth.

Bride: I, _____, take thee, _____, to be my wedded husband and the father of my children, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, ’til death do us part, according to God’s ordinance; and thereto I pledge thee my troth.

3. Groom: In the Name of God, I, ____ with the permission and acceptance of my children, take you, ______, to be my wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death. This is my solemn vow.

Bride: In the Name of God, I, _______ with the permission and acceptance of my children, take you, ________, to be my husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death. This is my solemn vow.

Example #7 Children’s Vows

I have pledged my love to you and promised to be a faithful husband.Now I want to add another, different kind of vow. I promise to love (Children’s Names) for all of our days and to treat them as if they were my own. I gladly accept the obligations that go along with this pledge. I love (Children’s Names) and want them to be part of my life.

Example #8 Children’s Vow Children’s Unity Candle Ceremony

(Bride’s and Groom’s Names) light the candles which represent love for each other and for (Child’s Name).From the uniqueness of these separate flames, they kindle a larger and brighter flame which represents the union between (Groom’s, Bride’s and Child’s Names). The side candles remain burning to symbolize the continuing importance of the individual integrity within the marriage relationship. The greater height of the center candle depicts their belief that together they can become more than either could alone

Earth Vows

I, bride, choose you groom, to be the companion of my heart,

secure in the knowledge that you are my constant friend and spiritual partner.

In this sacred moment, I affirm to you my commitment walk the path of life together with you

as your wife and partner, to embrace your love and your pain.

to laugh with you in times of joy, and be compassionate in times of sorrow.

I promise to do my best to be present with you, to share my truth as honestly as I can

to take responsibility and ask for what I need and listen to you, respect you and support your dreams.

With an open heart, I welcome the opportunities to grow with you in mind, body and spirit.

I will to continue learn ways to love you so you feel loved. I am grateful to (God) for leading me to this moment.

My heart is happy knowing I am sharing this journey with you.

I, Groom, take you, Bride, to be my wedded wife, knowing in my heart that you will be my constant friend,

my faithful partner in life. I promise to learn to love you more with each new sunrise.

On this special day, I affirm to you in the presence of God and all these witnesses

my sacred promise to stay by your side as your husband in sickness and in health,

in joy and in sorrow, as well as through the good times and the bad.

I further promise to love you without reservation, honor and respect you, provide for your needs as best I can,

protect you from harm, comfort you in times of distress, grow with you in mind and spirit,

always be open and honest with you, and cherish you for as long as we both shall live.

Ring Vows

The ring finger of the left hand, the side of the body that holds the heart, has been used for the wedding band because for centuries people believed that there was a vein that ran directly from that finger to the heart. (of course we know this is not true)They also believed that the words spoken during the placing of the wedding band – symbol of perfection, completion and eternity – would resonate over and over again, like the

circumference of the band itself, through to the heart and soul of both giver and the receiver of that most monumental of all promises.The promise of a lifetime as husband and wife.”


Ring Vows (Platinum)

Bride _____ and Groom _______ have chosen bands that are not identical but

rather complementary, representative of each of them as individuals

within their relationship. They are both classic unbroken circles,

symbols of eternity, with diamonds almost as bright and beautiful as

the love they share, made of platinum. As the rarest and purest of

all the precious metals platinum has both a durability and a

flexibility that make it the perfect choice to symbolize the promise

of a lifetime. For although the ring will age as years pass, it will

never lose it’s luster nor it’s mass. This is because it is within

the nature of platinum, and of love, to mold itself around all the

bumps and scrapes that life may bring and to still shine on as a

beacon of truth, and beauty in a sometimes fragile world.”


ALTERNATIVE, EARTH, RING VOW and EXPLANATION (spoken only by the officiant)

The ring, a circle, is one of nature’s simplest forms. The arc of

the rainbow, the halo of the moon and the smallest of raindrops

simulate the circle. A circle is the symbol of the sun and the earth

and the universe.

“Please exchange the token of your love you have provided for each other”

It is a symbol of perfection and of peace. In

these rings is the symbol of unity, in which your lives are now

joined, so that wherever you go, you will always return to one

another and to your togetherness. As the circle turns again upon

itself, so does marriage turn upon itself for its refreshment and

renewal. May these rings remind you always of the vows you have

taken here today.”


The Circle is a perfect figure, without beginning, without end, with no area of weakness. It is a symbol of the Cycle of Life, of birth, death, and rebirth. This shall serve as a physical reminder of your vow, and that all things begin and end and begin anew. When you are engulfed in anger or in sadness, look to your hand and let these rings shall serve to remind you that life goes on, that moments pass, yet your love is constant. When life brings you it’s greatest joys look then to your hand as well, and remember that the Wheel turns forever onward, and it is love that turns the Wheel.”


My Love for you, freely given, has no beginning and no end, just as this ring has no beginning or end. As a token of my love, may this ring always remind you of the vows you have spoken and the love that you have promised.


(Name), this ring is a token of my love. I marry you with this ring, with all that I have and all that I am


(Name) I will forever wear this ring as a sign of my commitment and the desire of my heart.


(Name) I give you this ring as a symbol of my faithfulness, and as I place it on your finger, I commit my very heart and soul to you, I ask you to wear this ring as a reminder of the vows we have spoken on this our wedding day


I give you this ring, wear it with love and joy. As this ring has no end, neither shall my love for you. I choose you to be my (husband/wife/partner/soul mate)this day and forevermore


______, with these rings we unite our hearts in tenderness and devotion. We will honor each other’s cultures as we join customs to form a trusting relationship. We will protect, support and encourage each other through life’s joys and sorrows as we create a loving future. We promise to establish a home for ourselves and our children shaped by our respective heritages; a loving environment dedicated to peace, hope, and respect for all people. From this day forward our lives will be intertwined forever, blessed in faith, filled with compassion, understanding and love.

_____, Our love has opened windows to the worlds we lived in as children. I have found profound respect for your heritage; but I am not part of it. We have vowed to live our adult lives together. Our marriage will be a new creation. Now I promise to build bridges of understanding, and share the best of myself with you, your family and your friends.


1.______, I promise to give you the best of myself, and to ask of you no more than you can give, I promise to accept you the way you are. I fell in love with you for the qualities, abilities and outlook on life that you have, and won’t try to reshape you in a different image, I promise to respect you as a person with your own interests, desires, and needs and to realize that those are sometimes different, but no less important than my own. I promise to keep myself open to you, to let you see through the window of my personal world into my innermost fears and feelings, secrets and dreams. I promise to grow with you, to be willing to face change as we both change to keep our marriage alive and exciting. And finally, I promise to love you in good times and through the bad, stand faithfully by your side or behind you, whichever you need most, honor the words and promises that we have shared with one another this day, with all I have to give, and all I feel inside, in the only way I know how, completely and forever.

2. ______, I would like to promise to always be patient, honest and compassionate with you. To always put you before my own needs. But we both know there will be times when I fail at this promise. For I am human just like you and am perfectly imperfect at times. But during those times I can promise you that the love I have for you will see us through, I will work hard to honor the vows of our marriage, to be faithful and kind, considerate and compassionate, be faithful to you and myself and (our children), to lead a life that is honorable and fulfilling with you by my side. I promise to remember that you are enough, that our love is enough and that no matter what the days before us bring, I will face them boldly with you, beside you, because of you. I choose you this day and everyday going forward to be my wife/husband/partner/spouse for as long as our love lasts.

3. _______, I know you, intimately, realistically and lovingly. You know me the same. When I am at my best and am at my worst, when I can’t see past an issue or am down on myself, when anxiety or depression colors my view in a haze of doubt and paralyzes me, you are there to provide the light to guide me out. And I will be your light as well. I promise to love you through your strengths and faults. Not just because or in spite of them. I will appreciate all of the little things that you do every day to show me that you care for me. I promise to remember that you are my anchor, my steady rock upon which I can build my life and secure my happiness and let my love for you be free. And I in turn will mirror that for you. I will be all the things you need me to be as best as I can. I promise to communicate with you although I know it will sometimes be hard, or embarrassing. I promise to always try to make decisions together, as a team, as a couple. I promise to shower you with praise more than point the finger. I promise to be faithful to you. I won’t stop loving you as we age and our bodies and appearance change. I will remind myself that we have made a life together, a good life, a fulfilling life and I can’t wait to start this journey into our togetherness with you.

4. ________, Our relationship has been rocky. But we have worked past all of the doubts and complications, the misguided actions and realized that the love we share is greater than our problems. We have reconnected in a real way, behind closed doors where the beauty of our love and relationship happens. Away from judgement and negative, toxic thoughts and backward thinking that bombard us and try to push us apart. I know without a doubt now, in my whole heart , my whole being, that I can be the man/woman you need me to be. I know that I can’t envision my life without you and that I cannot bear to cause you pain. From this day forward, you are who I choose to love, to honor, to care for and be faithful to. I will be there when you need me and even when you don’t know that you need me. I will work hard to be a good provider, a friend and a responsible caring (husband/wife/partner) in our marriage. I will be by your side when you are well and when you are sick and when I have trouble deciding how best to love you I will turn to you to show me the way. I will share all that I have whether we are rich, poor or somewhere in between, because I trust you. I will be a good steward over our finances and plan with you for our future. I will try to honor our health because I don’t want to miss out on any time I have with you. If you will have me this day knowing me as you do, I certainly will have you as my love, my life, and my heart from this day through the rest of my life.

Unity Ceremonies

An important element in many ceremonies is the unity ceremony. The symbolic act of uniting two or more into one. This can be creatively accomplished through words or acts. Below I will share some of the more popular ones seen in weddings, commitments and vow renewals. Unity ceremonies are not required or necessary. Readings, poems and songs are sometimes done during the lighting of the unity candle. Having soft music play is also a good option.

Lighting of the Unity Candle

Lighting the unity candle consists of two taper candles and 1 large center candle. The larger center candle represents the unity of the couple as it is lit together by the couple from the individual tapers they each hold, representing their single lives before marriage. It is a time when parents of the couple or children can be involved. If the parents are in attendance, I would ask the parents to light one of the tapers and hand it to their child. Below are sample readings that would accompany the candle lighting. Make sure your venue provides a small table for the ceremony or you can rent a unity candle stand. (Check with your venue for their rules on open flames)

1. This candle you are about to light is a candle of Marriage. Its fire is magical because it represents the light of two people in love. This candle before you is a candle of Commitment because it takes two people working together to keep it aflame. This candle is also a candle of Unity because both must come together, giving a spark of themselves, to create the new light. As you light this candle today, may the brightness of the flame shine throughout your lives. May it give you courage and reassurance

in darkness, warmth and safety in the cold, and strength and joy in your bodies, minds, and spirits. May your union be forever blessed.

2. From every human being there rises a light that reaches straight to heaven. And when two souls are destined for each other and find each other, their streams of light flow together and a single brighter light goes forth from their united being. (Baal Shem Tov)

3. Groom and Bride will light the unity candle, as a symbol of their marriage. The candles from which they light it, represent each of them in the fullness of their individuality. They come as individuals and do not lose their identity, rather they create through their commitment the relationship of marriage. Therefore, three candles remain lit. One for each of them and one for their marriage, as symbols of their commitment to each other and to a lasting and loving marriage.

4. Poem by Harold Douglas

Soft mists embrace two golden flames, Alone they search the night.

Two souls adrift in dreams of love, They seek to claim the light.

The path is long from which they came, But sure they are it’s right.

Two flames embrace in dreams of love, Two Souls – Two Hearts Unite.

5. Groom and Bride, you have exchanged vows and rings expressing your desire to be united as one in a Christ-honoring marriage. As you enter marriage, may the light of his presence in your life and works through you be seen as a light in the darkness. May that truth be reflected as you now take the flames from two separate candles and blend them into the one center candle. May the Lord unite you with one faith, one hope, and one love.

6. The path to happiness, is so narrow that two cannot walk it unless they become one. As you light the center candle together you are saying goodbye to your individual lives and opening yourselves to the beauty of oneness, together as husband and wife.

Heart Lock Ceremony

(Couple names) Have pledged their lives and love to each other by the vows spoken, The holding of hands and the giving and receiving of rings. To further symbolize their commitment to one another (the couple) wishes to once more symbolize their commitment with a Heart Lock Ceremony.

The padlock represents the durability, strength and absolute dedication of the love they share. Please unlock your heart lock as you open yourself to the love of your life with compassion and courage, freeing your feelings to be accepted by one another. Now attach the locks to the (tree of life, chain, each other’s lock, etc) and close it. What was separate is now one. You are now whole and complete. Your separate lives are now Locked in love.

(if Keys) Please take the key(s) and secure the lock(s). You are now joined in unity in a symbolic gesture of wholeness, trust and complete love. Locked into a lifelong partnership of loyalty, friendship, and the beauty of love.

For Soulmates/Twin Flames – You are symbolically aligning and locking your souls together to become one inseparable entity in this life time and all future lives. The locks symbolize that you are forever joined together with an eternal promise to find one another, love one another and be united because no one else can compliment or complete you.

At this time you can choose to throw away the key(s) and be intrinsically joined or place the key(s) in a special lock box should the need arise to be released from your vow (for example if death shall visit you or love no longer lasts between you).

Sand Ceremony

An idea I use to make the sand ceremony a little more special is to have the parents pour a small layer of sand on the bottom of the vase to represent the foundation. I also encourage the couple to bring sand from their home state or city if possible.

Sample readings


Today [name] and [name] wish to participate in the sand ceremony. Similar to the unity candle, it indicates the joining of their lives, their hearts and their souls.

[Name] and [Name], these vessels of sands of various colors symbolize your individual spirits, and that of your families. Each container is unique, representing who you are. As these containers of sand are poured into a larger container, the different colors will join together to form something quite beautiful.”

Officiant: “Just as these grains of sand can never be separated, our prayer for you is that your lives together would be longer than the time it would take to separate the individual grains of sand. You are united today, not only in marriage, but as family.”


Bride and Groom, you have just sealed your relationship by the giving and receiving of rings and the exchange of a kiss, and this pledge is a relationship promise between two people who agree that they will commit themselves to one another throughout their lives. The most beautiful example of this partnership is the marriage relationship. You have committed here today to share the rest of your lives with each other. Today, this relationship is symbolized through the

pouring of these two individual containers of sand one, representing you, Bride and all that you were, all that you are, and all that you will ever be, and the other representing you, Groom, and all that you were and all that you are, and all that you will ever be. As these two containers of sand are poured into the third container, the individual containers of sand will no longer exist, but will be joined together as one. Just as these grains of sand can never be separated and poured again into the individual containers, so will your marriage be.”

Stone Ceremony

Different color stones are put in a vase or an art- deco planter (picked out and provided by the parents or children) by the couple, children or family members participating. Then curly bamboo is placed in the stones and either at the ceremony or later dirt and/or water can be poured, by the parents or couple. You can choose wording to fit which process you use. Stone ceremonies are great for earth based ceremonies.

Sample Words

Would Bride and grooms parents please come forward to participate in the Stone Ceremony with Bride and groom?

“As a newly-combined family, you have chosen the Stone Ceremony to celebrate your uniting as a family. Each of you selected a different color of stones to mix together and unite your family as one. I now ask that you each, one at a time, put your stones into the very special vase chosen by your parents.”

“As each family member’s color joins everyone else’s color, it will not only unite you as a family, but it will also keep its individuality as well! This is a symbol of joy and long life, within a rainbow of stones.”

“When light hits this glass vase at this outdoor ceremony, the effect will be absolutely stunning! When you take this special vase home today, place it in a permanent spot in your home, right in front of a window, so that the colors can truly shine forever, and remind you of this special day!”

Another take on the stone ceremony

You can also choose flat stones and write words like trust, honor, love, etc and put them in a (square) glass vase so that the words can always be seen.

Parents please come forward with the vessel you have chosen for the bride and groom.

Please place your stones in the vase. The square represents the walls of the home being built, the stones the individual lives and stacking them shows the building relationship and love of this family you are all now a part of. Placing them together lovely indicates the new togetherness you will have as a family unit. May your new unity as one family be as easy to see as the glass encasing these stocks, as tough against strife and adversity and the stones themselves and may your uniqueness be a positive attribute to a healthy, loving and successful future. This lovely monument to your wedding day can be forever displayed in a place in the home you are building together.

Celtic Stone Ceremony – couple holds stone with their names on it as they say their vows, setting them in stone.

Rose Ceremony

“Your gift to each other for your wedding today has been your wedding rings – which shall always be an outward demonstration of your vows of love and respect; and a public showing of your commitment to each other.”

“You now have what remains the most honorable title which may exist between a man and a woman – the title of “husband” and “wife.” For your first gift as husband and wife, that gift will be a single rose.”

In the past, the rose was considered a symbol of love and a single rose always meant only one thing – it meant the words “I love you.” So it is appropriate that for your first gift – as husband and wife – that gift would be a single rose.”

“Please exchange your first gift as husband and wife. In some ways it seems like you have not done anything at all. Just a moment ago you were holding one small rose – and now you are holding one small rose. In some ways, a marriage ceremony is like this. In some ways, tomorrow is going to seem no different than yesterday. But in fact today, just now, you both have given and received one of the most valuable and precious gifts of life – one I hope you always remember – the gift of true and abiding love within the devotion of marriage.”

“Bride and Groom,, I would ask that where ever you make your home in the future – whether it be a large and elegant home – or a small and graceful one – that you both pick one very special location for roses; so that on each anniversary of this truly wonderful occasion you both may take a rose to that spot both as a recommitment to your marriage – and a recommitment that THIS will be a marriage based upon love.”

“In every marriage there are times where it is difficult to find the right words. It is easiest to hurt who we most love. It is easiest to be most hurt by who we most love. It might be difficult some time to find the words to say

“I am sorry” or “I forgive you”; “I need you” or “I am hurting”. If this should happen, if you simply can not find these words, leave a rose at that spot which both of you have selected – for that rose than says what matters most of all and should overpower all other things and all other words.”

“That rose says the words: “I still love you.” The other should accept this rose for the words which can not be found, and remember the love and hope that you both share today”.

“Bride and Groom, if there is anything you remember of this marriage ceremony, it is that it was love that brought you here today, it is only love which can make it a glorious union, and it is by love which your marriage shall endure.”

Hand Ceremony

This is best for those couples that do not want to have to worry about the extra supplies needed for the more traditional unity ceremonies. The hands ceremony can be shortened to fit the couple without losing the meaning. For example if they don’t plan on having children that portion would be excluded.

Sample reading (I make a personalized one to fit each of my couples)

“Bride, please face Groom, and hold his hands, palms up, so you may see the gift that they are to you.”

“These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and vibrant with love, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as he promises to love you all the days of his life”.

”These are the hands that will work along side yours, as together you build your future, as you laugh and cry, as you share your innermost secrets and dreams”.

”These are the hands you will place with expectant joy against your stomach, until he too, feels his child stir within you.”

”These are the hands that look so large and strong, yet will be so gentle as he holds your baby for the first time”.

”These are the hands that will work long hours for you and your new family.”

”These are that hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, for a lifetime of happiness”.

”These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes: tears of sorrow and tears of joy.”

”These are the hands that will comfort you in illness, and hold you when fear or grief wrack your mind.”

”These are the hands that will tenderly lift your chin and brush your cheek as they raise your face to look into his eyes: eyes that are filled completely with his overwhelming love and desire for you.”

”Groom, please hold Bride’s hands, palms up, where you may see the gift that they are to you. These are the hands of your best friend, smooth, young and carefree, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as she pledges her love and commitment to you all the days of her life.”

”These are the hands that will hold each child in tender love, soothing them through illness and hurt, supporting and encouraging them along the way, and knowing when it is time to let go.”

”These are the hands that will massage tension from you neck and back in the evenings after you’ve both had a long hard day.”

”These are the hands that will hold you tight as you struggle through difficult times.”

”These are the hands that will comfort you when you are sick, or console you when you are grieving.”

”They are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, for a lifetime of happiness.”

”These are the hands that will hold you in joy and excitement and hope, each time she tells you that you are to have another child, that together you have created a new life.”

”These are the hands that will give you support as she encourages you to chase down your dreams. Together as a team, everything you wish for can be realized.”

Shortened Hand Blessing

”God, bless these hands that you see before you this day. May they always be held by one another. Give them the strength to hold on during the storms of stress and the dark of disappointment. Keep them tender and gentle as they nurture each other in their wondrous love. Help these hands to continue building a relationship founded in your grace, rich in caring, and devoted in reaching for your perfection. May Bride and Groom see their four hands as healer, protector, shelter and guide. We ask this in your name, Amen.”

Flower Ceremony

Each member participating in the ceremony takes a flower, usually roses to the front of the ceremony space. They place the flowers on a small table or in two small vases. If using vases the brides family, children or friends place in one vase and the groom’s family, children or friends place their flowers in a separate vase. Later in the ceremony (possibly after the vows) the bride and groom go over to the table and place the flowers in a larger vase mixing the flowers or they make a bouquet together. The officiant can then read a poem or reading describing the significance of what is happening and/or soft music can be played. Preferably something touching and that has meaning to the couple. The arrangement can then be used on the head table of the reception or pressed or preserved to be placed in the home of the couple.

sample reading

A flower starts out as a seed. Just as love does. Its an inkling of the potential to bloom into something lasting and beautiful. Flowers, not unlike love, need nurturing, attention and care to bloom and grow into its full potential of beauty. Just like a gardener planting seeds with the expectation of the wonderful surprise of the blossom, You all taking part in this ceremony today have planted an important seed into this relationship and will need to continue your important role each and everyday supporting and encouraging growth, love, trust, encouragement and most importantly love between (bride) and (groom). (if using specific flowers describe the flowers meaning)

The officiant can add Stock (bonds of affection) or Ivy (continuity, fidelity) to weave throughout the flowers.

Bread Ritual

Have a small loaf of yeast bread on the altar, and as you begin, break off two small bites of the bread and hand them to the couple.

“Here we have bread… a simple part of a meal… composed of simple ingredients: flour, water, yeast, salt. But without any one of these elements, the bread would not be a success. Without flour, the bread would have no substance. Without water, the flour would not bind together, and the bread would fall apart. Without yeast, the bread would be flat, tough, and hard. Without salt, the bread might look fine, but it would be lacking in taste and savor.

“So it is with a marriage: perhaps simple on the face of it, but take away any one of the essential components–love, sharing, trust, and companionship–and the marriage will be unpalatable and unpleasant. As you eat the bread I have given you, keep in mind that neglecting any of those four essential ingredients can ruin a marriage relationship. Keep the recipe for your marriage complete, and it will satisfy you both.”

(Of course, you will need to take any gluten intolerance into account!)

Peanut Butter Jelly Time

One of my all time favorite unity ceremonies. The bride and groom made a petit pb&J and each took a bite. I described the properties of the bread and ingredients as they related to marriage. A unity ceremony is the symbolic merging of two things representing the couple.

Wedding Traditions

Including wedding traditions in your ceremony

Here are some traditions that you may want to incorporate into your own wedding, vow renewal or commitment ceremony. Wedding traditions should tie into your faith, belief system, lifestyle or theme.There are many wedding traditions in every culture and you can find more information on the web. Here I am listing just a few for inspiration and will periodically add more. Visit often for more inspiration.

Honoring the dead

When a bride and or groom has had a significant loss they may choose to honor the deceased in a variety of ways during their wedding ceremony. Because this is a highly emotional decision, I find that less is more. It is important to find a safe balance between honoring them and not letting it overwhelm your ceremony. A single rose left on an empty chair, as the bride or groom come up the aisle is chosen most often. However, a small table with pictures and a poem like the one I used when my brother passed or lighting a single memorial candle or having a vase with the deceased favorite flowers(read more here)

For Wedding Memories of those that could not be with us

I thought of you with love today

But that is nothing new

I thought about you yesterday

And days before that too

I think of you in silence

I often speak your name

All I have are memories

And your picture in a frame

Your memory is my keepsake

With which I will never part

God has you in His keeping

I have you in my heart

1. Although we can’t see you

We know you are here

Smiling down, watching over us

As we say “I DO”

Forever in our hearts

Forever in our lives

And so we say our vows

In loving memory of you.

2. Although death has separated us physically, faith and love have bound us eternally.

Though we cannot see you, we know you are here.

Though we cannot touch you, we feel the warmth of your smile, as we begin a new chapter in our lives.

Today we pause to reflect upon those who have shaped our character,

molded our spirits and touched our hearts.

May the lighting of this candle be a reminder of the memories we have shared,

a representation of the everlasting impact you have made upon our lives.

3. In Loving Memory of those who could

not be with us to share our special day

For those we have loved and lost along the way,

A flame to remember them burns here today.

For the laughter, smiles and memories remain,

Together today their presence sustains.

Never forgotten and loved forever more,

Today their blessings flicker and soar.

4. What Is A Family? By Mary C. Fairbanks

What is a family, how do they start?

They start with a seed planted deep in your heart.

They come with a chorus full of great sound,

They come with great love, wherever it’s found.

Where did my family start, when will it end?

It started with two people, friend meeting friend.

It won’t end too briskly, it won’t fade away.

As you will soon learn on this wonderful day.

Our family can be anyone who wants in

Anyone who’ll stand by you through thick and through thin.

It won’t be contagious, hard work it will take,

But, if you link hands a firm circle you’ll make.

I invite you to join me and grab my right hand,

And circle around these two friends where they stand.

Come up and show them one family exists,

On their joyful day full of family bliss.

Join hands all around them and bless them with love,

As Our Heavenly Father has done from above.

For, families are fragile and may not survive,

Unless they have Angels to keep them alive.

This family is strong, we won’t break the bond.

We pledge to continue, this group will stand strong.

We stand hand to hand, we stand heart to heart,

And promise that never will we fall apart.

As mountains surround us, as rose petals drop,

As sunsets sleep vivid, our love will not stop.

This circle reminds us that family we’ll stay.

It’s our promise to you, on your special day.

5. If Roses Grow In Heaven Arthur Unknown

If roses grow in heaven, Lord please pick a bunch for me, Place them in my mother’s arms And tell her they’re from me. Tell her I love her and miss her, And when she turns to smile, Place a kiss upon her cheek And hold her for a while. Because remembering her is easy, I do it everyday, But there’s an ache within my heart Because I am missing her today! In loving memory of:

6. The Day is Done Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The day is done, and the darkness

Falls from the wings of Night,

As a feather is wafted downward

From an eagle in his flight.

I see the lights of the village

Gleam through the rain and the mist,

And a feeling of sadness comes o’er me

That my soul cannot resist:

A feeling of sadness and longing,

That is not akin to pain,

And resembles sorrow only

As the mist resembles the rain.

Come, read to me some poem,

Some simple and heartfelt lay,

That shall soothe this restless feeling,

And banish the thoughts of day.

Not from the grand old masters,

Not from the bards sublime,

Whose distant footsteps echo

Through the corridors of Time.

For, like strains of martial music,

Their mighty thoughts suggest

Life’s endless toil and endeavor;

And to-night I long for rest.

Read from some humbler poet,

Whose songs gushed from his heart,

As showers from the clouds of summer,

Or tears from the eyelids start;

Who, through long days of labor,

And nights devoid of ease,

Still heard in his soul the music

Of wonderful melodies.

Such songs have power to quiet

The restless pulse of care,

And come like the benediction

That follows after prayer.

Then read from the treasured volume

The poem of thy choice,

And lend to the rhyme of the poet

The beauty of thy voice.

And the night shall be filled with music,

And the cares, that infest the day,

Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs,

And as silently steal away.

Releasing Ceremonies

(Butterflies or Doves, balloons etc)

{When Releasing Butterflies, Doves, White Pigeons, Lady Bugs, balloons etc please do your homework. There are consequences to every action we take. Great article and comments}

Purpose-The act of letting go. The symbolism of unity (as in dove or pigeon releases) The carrying away of wishes you want to come true.


Sample Wording for Release of Butterflies

According to an American Indian Legend –

If anyone desires a wish to come true they must first capture a butterfly and whisper that wish to it.

Since a butterfly can make no sound, the butterfly can not reveal the wish to anyone but the Great Spirit who hears and sees all. In gratitude for giving the beautiful butterfly its freedom, the Great Spirit always grants the wish.

So, according to legend, by making a wish and giving the butterfly its freedom, the wish will be taken to the heavens and be granted.

We have gathered to grant this couple all our best wishes and are

about to set these butterflies free in trust that all these wishes will be granted.


You have given me wings with which to fly

Now I breathe in deep and spread them wide

as we lift off from the silken petals

into the wind where the butterflies glide.

Throwing Shells into the sea

After the bride and groom have been pronounced husband and wife. they each take a shell. then the bridal party takes a shell and so on until each member at the wedding has one. then they all march down tot he edge of the sea.

A wish is thought and then guests, family and bride and groom throw the shell into the sea to carry away the wishes made for and by them. I usually encourage my couples to write words on the shells like their wedding date, honor, faith, love, trust. It is believed that the ocean or sea is keeper of the wish and grants them throughout the marriage. Also those that find the seashells will be blessed in their marriage.

Simple Release ceremony [done right before the ceremony]

if you are coming out of a bad, hurtful or just want to release any negative energy I offer a small ritual that can be done within - minutes before the actual ceremony in the privacy of your dressing room or at the top of the aisle before you walk into your new wedding life.

The Blessing Stones

Similar to the Shell ceremony,

When a wedding is outside and near water, Blessing or Wishing stones are either gathered at the site or provided by the couple not only for themselves but for the wedding party and guests as well. After the ceremony all follow the bride and groom’s recessional to the water, make a wish or blessing for them and cast their stone into the water. The ripples that are made represent the love and good wishes for not only the couple, but for all the world… as our ripples cross and re- cross one another’s, so do our love and good wishes touch and retouch all around us and those with whom we come into contact.

Jumping The Broom very popular with all cultures

“Jumping the Broom” is a symbol of sweeping away the old and welcoming the new, or a symbol of new beginnings.

Jumping the broom has become one of the most popular African traditions at weddings-traditional and African-centered. History tells us that the ancestral roots of this ritual began deep in the heart of Africa. It’s original purpose and significance has been lost over the years because of the association with slavery.

This broom ceremony represents the joining of two families, it’s showing respect and pays homage to those who came before us and paved the way. Therefore it should be practiced with honor for your ancestors and the beauty of our rich heritage. During the slave “transitions” we were not allowed to practice many of the traditional rituals of our past therefore, much of our heritage was lost during this time. However, a few were considered harmless and allowed.

In some instances, Brooms were waved over the heads of the marrying couple to ward off evil spirits and sweep away past wrongs. Sometimes the couple would then step over or “jump” over the broom. This symbolized the wife’s commitment to clean the courtyard and her overall commitment to the house. It also represented who was to be the decision maker in the house.

Today “Broom Jumping” is a ritual, handed down from generation to generation to remind us of a time when our vows were not legally sanctioned. During slavery, our ancestors sought the legitimacy of marriage by jumping over the broom and into the bonds of domesticity. For our ancestors, this small ritual was a legal and bonding act connecting them with the heritage of the home land and giving legitimacy, dignity and strength to their unions. In their eyes this union was now sanctioned by “the almighty”

It is said that broom jumping comes from an African Tribal Marriage Ritual of placing sticks on the ground representing the couple’s new home together, I have also heard it said that the spray of the broom represents all of us scattered and the handle represents the almighty who holds us together…… You decide

Today’s ceremony can be performed at the wedding, after the pronouncement of the couple, as man and wife or at the reception, just after the bridal party enters the reception area. Should you decide to incorporate this wonderful tradition in you wedding remember to do it with the honor and dignity it represents. Jumping the broom is about incorporating your past, and giving it a place of honor in your new life. Therefore combine it with your personality and style. It should be an uplifting and spiritual addition to any ceremony.

Sample Words for the broom jumping ceremony

1.As (bride) and (groom) jump the broom, they physically and spiritually cross the threshold into the land of matrimony. It marks the beginning of making a home together. It symbolizes the sweeping away of the old and the welcoming of the new; the sweeping away all negative energy, making way for all things that are good to come into your lives. It is also a call of support for the marriage from the entire community of family and friends. The bride and groom will now begin their new life together with a clean sweep!

2.Please count with me to three as the bride and groom leap happily into their future

3.The straw end represents the brushing away of all their old cares and worries. The strong wooden handle represents the strength of your commitment to each other, and the straight, unconditionally committed path you will follow together in marriage. The bride and groom have chosen this ceremony to signify their entrance into a new life and their creation of a new family by symbolically “sweeping away” their former single lives, former problems and concerns, and stepping over the broom to enter upon a new adventure as husband and wife.

Jewish Wedding Traditions

Breaking Glass

In many Jewish wedding ceremonies after the couple is pronounced, a glass or light bulb wrapped in cloth is crushed by the groom. There are many reasons given for this practice, unfortunately none of them are celebratory. The breaking of the glass is a reminder of temperance needed in life and marriage, and the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. The breaking of the glass can also be seen as the fragility of life which can be broken any minute. It reminds us of the need to care for one another;for just as glass can be shattered easily, so can the marriage bond can be shattered with a single act of infidelity or repeated acts of emotional irresponsibility.

*Some sectors of Jewish religion are outraged at the practice and do not allow it because shouting Mazel Tov (Congratulations) is in direct contradiction to the reasoning of the practice.

The Chuppah

The wedding canopy, Huppah, Chuppah, in which the couple stands or sits under, symbolizes the new home the bride and groom, or couple are making

The Seven Blessings (Sheva Brachot)

Blessings are made for the couple. In some instances family members or close friends are called to recite the blessings which is considered a great honor. Usually spoken in Hebrew by a Rabbi, the seven blessings are translated below :

1.”Blessed are You, LORD, our God, sovereign of the universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.”

2.”Blessed are You, LORD, our God, sovereign of the universe, who created everything for His Glory.”

3.”Blessed are You, LORD, our God, sovereign of the universe, who creates man.”

4.”Blessed are You, LORD, our God, sovereign of the universe, who creates man in your image*, fashioning perpetuated life. Blessed are You, LORD, creator of man.”

5.”May the barren one exult and be glad as her children are joyfully gathered to her. Blessed are You, LORD, who gladden Zion with her Children.”

6.”Grant perfect joy to these loving companions, as you did your creations in the Garden of Eden. Blessed are You, LORD, who grants the joy of groom and bride.”

7. “Blessed are You, LORD, our God, sovereign of the universe, who created joy and gladness, groom and bride, mirth, song, delight and rejoicing, love and harmony and peace and companionship. Soon, LORD our God, may there ever be heard in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem voices of joy and gladness, voices of groom and bride, the jubilant voices of those joined in marriage under the bridal canopy, the voices of young people feasting and singing. Blessed are You, LORD, who causes the groom to rejoice with his bride.”

Sharing of Wine

Usually a decorative goblet or chalice is used. The goblet is referred to symbolically as the ‘cup of life’. Because wine has sweet properties and bitter properties it is a symbol of happiness, joy, hope, peace, love and delight. This same wine also holds some bitter properties that are symbolic of disappointment, sorrow, grief, despair, and life’s trials and tribulations. Basically it represents the Life Journey the couple will make in their marriage. Drinking from the cup with an open heart and willing spirit invite all of the challenges and experiences that happen in a marriage into their life.

*This ceremony can also be used as a Unity ceremony by simply having the groom pour a red wine into a bowl and the bride pour a white wine into the same bowl and what happens is a mix of the wines creates a sort of blush or rose wine the couple shares and then serves to the guests at the cocktail hour or during the reception.

Signing of the marriage contract

Typically done prior to the wedding ceremony. The groom agrees to be bound by the terms of the Ketubah (marriage contract). It can then be read in the language it is written or in translation during the wedding ceremony or a shortened version can be used for non-religious or secular weddings.

*It is believed that the marriage contract is a legal binding document.

Knot Ceremony

Knot ceremonies are used in many ceremonies, religious, civil and secular. This tradition is seen mainly in Celtic ceremonies. There are a lot of different versions of this ceremony. Sometimes the knot ceremony is actually a braiding of ropes. Knot ceremonies are also used in place of traditional unity ceremonies or in addition to them. The mothers of the couple usually gift the rope or cord for the knot ceremony and the couple ties a lover’s knot (pictured below). The lover’s knot is sometimes called an infinity knot.

The Cord of 3 strands

The Cord of Three Strands symbolizes the joining of one man, one woman, and God into a marriage relationship. Marriage takes three; you, your soon to be spouse, and God. It was God who taught us to love. By keeping Him at the center of your marriage, His love will continue to bind you together as one throughout your marriage. Believed to symbolize God’s sacred union in Marriage, the ropes are usually attached to a ring and three cords in the colors of gold, purple and white are affixed to the ring. During the ceremony the bride braids the cord with the groom holding the ring all while the officiant describes the ceremony and usually accompanies with a biblical or spiritual reading or Prayer. The braided cord can then be displayed in the couples home and many times comes in a decorative box for just that purpose. See sample below.

Sample Reading-

Each strand has a significant meaning.

The gold strand represents God and His majesty.

The purple strand represents the groom and his life.

The white strand represents the bride and her life.

In braiding these three strands together, bride and groom, have demonstrated that their marriage is more than a joining of two lives together. It is a unity with God as well. They have chosen to allow God to be at the center of their marriage, woven into every aspect of it. As Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 reads, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

Handfasting, Bindings

Hand fasting and bindings are seen in religious and non religious as well as pagan or secular ceremonies. It can be considered a unity ceremony but is really more of a tradition. Some use an extended ceremony as the main part of the ceremony incorporating vows, ring exchanges and blessings. Hand bindings are not legal ceremonies in and of itself. Under certain rules in some European countries there are countries that accept the practice. Whenever I incorporate a hand-binding in a legal ceremony, I counsel the couple that the legal vows will be done first so that there is no reason for the ceremony not to be legal and all other traditions are done thereafter. If the ceremony is of a non legal nature then the components can be done as the couple wishes.

Usually in a hand-binding a series of questions are asked by the officiant and answered by the couple and then a ribbon, cord, rope or set of colored ribbons are draped across the couples hands which are clasped (right hand to right hand)

Short Handfasting

Here is a sample of a compressed version of the questions that can be incorporated into any wedding. Sometimes couples don’t want to incorporate the ritual of the binding due to how it may be perceived by their family and guests. I have modified the wording so it still allows the beauty of the words but without the stigma that is associated with pagan traditions in a traditional wedding. You can do this with or without doing the bindings.

Do you both come willingly and without unwanted persuasion to this decision?

Do you both intend to be faithful, loving and trustworthy, one to another?

Do you both promise to care for each other and not to purposely or willfully harm the other?

Will you both seek to be honest and communicate with each other at all times?

Will you both support each other in times of distress and in times of joy?

Will you both seek to be a good steward over your belongings?

Will you temper your words and actions with love?

Then by your words shall you each be bound this day and every day forward for as long as you both allow love to last between you. In the face of reality, situations and people change. However, your union is not doomed to failure. By the promises you have made and the vows you are about to take, you are preparing yourselves for a beautiful future together.

Full hand Binding Ceremony

With full awareness, know that within this circle you are not only declaring your intent to be hand fasted before your friends and family, but you speak that intent also to your creative higher powers.

The promises made today and the ties that are bound here greatly strengthen your union; they will cross the years and lives of each soul’s growth.

Do you still seek to enter this ceremony?

Yes, We Seek to Enter.

In times past it was believed that the human soul shared characteristics with all things divine. It is this belief which assigned virtues to the cardinal directions; East, South, West and North. It is in this tradition that a blessing is offered in support of this ceremony.

Blessed be this union with the gifts of the East. Communication of the heart, mind, and body Fresh beginnings with the rising of each Sun. The knowledge of the growth found in the sharing of silences.

Blessed be this union with the gifts of the South. Warmth of hearth and home The heat of the heart’s passion The light created by both To lighten the darkest of times.

Blessed be this union with the gifts of the West. The deep commitments of the lake The swift excitement of the river The refreshing cleansing of the rain The all encompassing passion of the sea.

Blessed be this union with the gifts of the North Firm foundation on which to build Fertility of the fields to enrich your lives A stable home to which you may always return.

Each of these blessings from the four cardinal directions emphasizes those things which will help you build a happy and successful union. Yet they are only tools. Tools which you must use together in order to create what you seek in this union.

I bid you look into each others eyes.

[Groom’s Name], Will you cause her pain?

I May (What was actually said was an emphatic yes)

Is that your intent?


[Bride’s Name], Will you cause him pain?

I may

Is that you intent?


*To Both*

Will you share each other’s pain and seek to ease it?


And so the binding is made. Join your hands

*First cord is draped across the bride and grooms hands*

[Bride’s Name], Will you share his laughter?


[Groom’s Name], Will you share her laughter?


*To Both*

Will both of you look for the brightness in life and the positive in each other?


And so the binding is made.

*Second chord is draped across the couples hands*

[Bride’s Name], Will you burden him?

I may

Is that your intent?


[Groom’s Name], Will you burden her?

I may

Is that your intent?


*To Both*

Will you share the burdens of each so that your spirits may grow in this union?


And so the binding is made.

*Drape third chord across the couples hands*

[Bride’s Name], will you share his dreams?


[Groom’s Name], will you share her dreams?


*To Both*

Will you dream together to create new realities and hopes?


And so the binding is made.

*Drape fourth chord across the couples hands*

[Groom’s Name], will you cause her anger?

I may

Is that you intent?


[Bride’s Name], will you cause him anger?

I may

Is that your intent?


*To Both*

Will you take the heat of anger and use it to temper the strength of this union?

We Will

And so the binding is made.

*Drape fifth chord across the couples hands*

[Bride’s Name], Will you honor him?

I will

[Groom’s Name], Will you honor her?

I will

*To Both*

Will you seek to never give cause to break that honor?

We shall never do so

And so the binding is made.

*Drape sixth chord across the couples hands*

*Tie chords together while saying:*

The knots of this binding are not formed by these chords but instead by your vows. Either of you may drop the chords, for as always, you hold in your own hands the making or breaking of this union.

*Once chords are tied together they are removed and placed on altar* or small table

Thirteen Coins

Popular in Tawainese, Filipino and Hispanic weddings, this wedding custom may have originated in Spain and consists of the groom giving the bride thirteen gold coins or arras to represent his commitment to support her. In Spain, thirteen represent Christ and his twelve apostles. The symbolism is often explained by the officiant that the Groom pledges his ability to support and care for his bride. The arras and the madrina de arras, an ornate box or gift tray that holds the coins often become a part of the family heirloom.

Love Letter Ceremony

This is a romantic, emotional and sentimental way to honor the love between you as a couple. (this ceremony kit is available in Wedding Supplies) Watch the video to see how to incorporate it into you wedding ceremony.

Crossed Broom and Sword or Lightsabers for Star Wars fans

Another old tradition is for the couple to jump over a crossed broom and sword (held by the best man and the maid of honor). This symbolizes the cutting of ties to their parents and the ties being swept away. They can also be held up over the couples head as the head down the aisle after the ceremony

Family Medallion or Family Ring Ceremony

Research shows that children accept a parent’s remarriage more easily when they feel included in the wedding plans and are given a special symbol of being embraced by a new family. So as an alternative to including children in the Unity Candle Ceremony, by giving the Family Medallion, ring or other piece of jewelry as a gift to a child during the wedding service, it provides a message of love and affirmation. When used during the wedding, the Family Medallion is given to each child after the couple is pronounced husband and wife. Couples may choose to present Family Medallion pendants, rings, lapel pins or other jewelry during the wedding service or as a special gift. This presentation is appropriate for children of all ages, even adult children. Children often attach the same emotional importance to their Family Medallion as the bride and groom place on their wedding rings.

The Family Medallion symbol includes three equally merged circles. Two circles represent the marriage union while the third symbolizes the importance of children within the family.

Sample Reading-

The Officiant will say:

“Family and Friends, Bride and Groom now wish to give Child or children a Family Medallion (or rings), not

only as a symbol of their commitment to them, but also as a symbol of their bond as a family.”

“Do you Bride and groom, promise to honor and protect Child/Children,

and to provide for them to the best of your ability?”

Bride and Groom… “We do.”

Officiant: “Do you promise to make their home a haven, where trust, love, and laughter are abundant?”

Bride and Groom… “We do.”

Officiant will then say:

“And do you make these promises lovingly, and freely, and vow to honor them all the days of your lives?”

Bride and Groom… “We do.”

(After this vow, the Family Rings/gifts are presented to child/children.)

The Officiant will say:

“And now, Child/Children, do you promise to love and respect your parent’s new husband/wife?”

Children… “We do.”

Officiant: “Do you promise to support their marriage and new family?”

Children… “We do.”

Officiant: “Do you promise to accept the responsibility of being their children, and to encourage them and support them in your new life together?”

Children… “We do.”

Marriage is so much more than a certificate…it starts in the heart

Traditions by Culture

Japanese Wedding Traditions

The ceremony

Civil ceremony – jinzenshiki and the traditional ceremony – shizenshiki

Sake Ceremony

A neat Japanese tradition of San-San-Kudo which translates to three three nine, is where the sake, a rice wine (you could substitute a non-alcoholic drink) is poured into three special cups of different sizes. Using the smallest of the cups, one partner takes three sips. Then the other partner does the same. They repeat this with the medium and large cups for a total of nine sips. At the end of the sake ceremony, both families drink a cup of sake, which represents the union of the bride and groom and unification of the two families. Drinking the wine is a sign that the marriage vows are sealed. You could do this to further the idea of two becoming one and bring the family together or you could just do it with the two of you.


Changing into different outfits though out the ceremony is a common practice. In Japan, brides may wear a colorful silk kimono or a shiromuku, a formal gown passed down over the ages and still used today as traditional bridal dresses. Some Japanese brides choose to wear a modern wedding gown. In Japan, white symbolizes purity, elegance and “new beginning”. Only very traditional Japanese brides don white face makeup, painted red lips, and a wig with expensive combs and decorative ornaments. After the wedding, the bride will change into the irouchiakake, a beautiful silk kimono with red, gold, silver, and white colors. This kimono usually features a crane which symbolizes a long life. Near the end of the reception, the bride changes into the furisode, a kimono with wide sleeves worn by an unmarried woman. The tradition symbolizes the last time she will wear the furisode. The groom usually wears a men’s kimono called haoiri-hakama or a tuxedo.

1000 Paper Cranes

This custom of making 1,000 paper cranes symbolized good fortune, fidelity and longevity.

The formalized gift giving practice is referred to as Oshuugi


This is essentially a money gift. The guests are sometimes informed of how much to provide the couple based on their relationship with the bride and groom and the colorful or decorated envelope used to provide the gift in is called Shugi-Bukuro. (Example- work colleagues and associates give $200, close friends give $300, family gives $500) The banknotes should be in a number that is not easily divided, they should be new without any creases or folds to signify new beginnings, the envelope is collected by an attendant prior to the ceremony or reception as you sign the register.

Hikidemono or parting gifts worth $50 or more. (Guests bring a special envelope with money (Shugi-Bukuro) based on their income and relation to the couple. in return the couple provides an equally worthy gift

Kohaku manjyu, round steamed buns with bean paste filling, which are often presented in pairs to guests, one red bun and one white bun.

Hispanic Wedding Traditions

El Lazo

As part of the ceremony to symbolize unity, an extra-long strand of rosary beads or Lazo is placed in a figure eight shape around the necks of the couple after they have exchanged their vows. The symbolism of the lazo is to show the union and protection of marriage. Sometimes, key members of the wedding party are responsible for “lassoing” the Bride and Groom together after they kneel for the wedding prayer. Sometimes a white satin cord or rope is draped around the shoulders of the Bride and groom. Tradition requires the couple to wear the lasso for the remainder of the service. This act is symbolic of their love, which should bind the couple together everyday as they equally share the responsibility of marriage for the rest of their lives. Mothers of the couple usually provide El Lazo or Lasso. I have seen wedding Lassos made from flowers as well.

Irish Wedding Traditions

The Claddagh

In Ireland, the most popular style of wedding rings is the Claddagh. This ring depicts two hands holding a heart which is topped with a crown. The hands represent friendship, the heart love, and the crown loyalty. This ring has several legends surrounding it dating back to medieval times. One tale behind the Claddagh refers to a man in ancient Galway who was engaged to be married when he was taken prisoner by pirates to a far away land. During that time he taught himself the art of jewelry-making. When he finally returned home, he was so happy to find that his wife-to-be had never married that he created the now famous Claddagh wedding band for his wife

Celtic Knot

Incorporating beautiful intricate Celtic designs in your wedding is a wonderful way to acknowledge your Irish ancestry. The Celtic love knot is a pattern created by using continuous, unending lines that intertwine. The design represents eternity, unity, and fidelity.


While most brides wear traditional wedding dresses, There are several designers that specialize in traditional Celtic wedding dresses. Designers can embroider your gown with Irish symbols like the Celtic knot. Handmade Irish lace is gorgeous and can be used on your veil and/or dress. Irish linen handkerchiefs are also a charming way to incorporate Irish culture and work well to dry those happy tears.

Native American Indian Wedding Traditions

Washing Ceremony

One custom in particular requires the bride and groom to wash their hands to cleanse away evil and previous lovers. This is one of many significant Native American wedding rituals. A common theme among American Indian tribes involves Mother Earth and the Great Spirit.

Blanket Ceremony

The Blanket Ceremony is one of the oldest and most endearing wedding traditions among some Native American tribes. This ritual entails using two blue blankets to represent the couple’s past lives. The couple are wrapped in blue blankets and led to a sacred circle of fire. The officiant or spiritual leader blesses the union and the couple shed the blue blankets and enveloped by relatives in a single white blanket which represents their new life. Under the white blanket, it’s customary that the couples embrace and kiss. The white blanket is usually kept and displayed in the couple’s home.

Wedding Vase Ceremony

The Cherokee and the Pueblo Indians use a special double-sided pottery wedding vase to sip a sweet corn liquid during the ceremony. Together, the couple moves in directions from north to south and east to west, to offer their blessings to all the earth. Wedding vases come in a wide assortment of colors and materials.


The bride may wear a white dress or a beautiful long leather dress with beading and traditional colors woven into the fabric. The traditional colors of Native Americans include White for east, Blue for south, Yellow for west, and Black for north. These four colors represent the four points of the earth. Native American brides may also wear moccasins and a wreath made of maize which symbolizes fertility.

African, African American Wedding Traditions

Tying the Knot

In some African tribes, the bride and groom have their wrists tied together with cloth or braided grass to represent their marriage. Today’s modern couples may choose to have the officiant or a close friend tie their wrists together with a piece of kente cloth or a strand of cowrie shells during the ceremony while stating the wedding vows.

Libation Ceremony

To honor their ancestors, some Africans pour Holy water, or alcohol, onto the ground as prayers are recited to the ancestral spirits. Some African American couples choose to incorporate a libation ceremony as an opportunity to honor those that have recently passed away.

Jumping the broom

This is a well-known tradition whose origin is up for debate. During the slavery era, since African slaves were forbidden to marry in America, they would make a public declaration of their love and commitment by jumping over a broom to the beat of drums. Today, this ritual’s significance is agreed upon to be a symbol for the start of the couple making a home together. It has become very popular for African-American couples to “Jump the broom” at the conclusion of their wedding ceremony. The broom, often handmade and beautifully decorated, can be displayed in the couple’s home after the wedding

Tasting of the 4 elements - very popular with my clients

In this Yoruba ritual, the bride and groom taste four flavors that represent different emotions within a relationship. The four flavors typically used are sour (lemon), bitter (vinegar), hot (cayenne), and sweet (honey). By tasting each of the flavors, the couple symbolically demonstrates that they will be able to get through the hard times in life, and, in the end, enjoy the sweetness of marriage.

Kola Nut

The Kola nut is most often used for medicinal purposes in Africa. It is also essential in most African weddings. The Kola nut symbolizes the couple’s willingness to always help heal each other. In Nigeria, the ceremony is not complete until a kola nut is shared between the couple and their parents. Many African-American couples incorporate the sharing of a kola nut into their ceremonies, and then keep the nut in their home afterwards as a reminder to always work at healing any problems they encounter.

Crossing Sticks

A lesser-known African-American wedding tradition involves crossing tall wooden sticks to represent both the life force within trees and the first two pieces of wood the couple will use to build their home together.

By crossing the sticks, a couple demonstrates their wish for a strong and stable marriage. We also recommend personalizing this tradition by using sticks adorned with flowers or ribbons, or wooden sticks painted in the couple’s wedding colors.

For an outdoor wedding, especially a beachside ceremony, Claudia suggests adding a colorful touch of drama. “We can tie sheaths of fabric to the sticks. The fabric can match the color palette of the wedding or can have the couple’s initials printed on them. The sight of the fabric, billowing in the wind, creates a stunning backdrop to the ceremony and adds an exciting flair while honoring the sacred tradition


Adrinka Symbols


Wearing an African-inspired gown with Adinkra symbols woven into the fabric is a special way to incorporate African tradition in your wedding. Adinkra symbols are common in Western African societies; specifically Ghana, a country situated on the Atlantic between Togo and the Ivory Coast. Adinkra symbols were adapted by the Asante people of Ghana. The symbols represent different concepts or ideas. Adinkra symbols can be found everywhere in Ghana including fabrics, walls, pottery and logos. Some common Adinkra symbols used in weddings include, Akoma, Me Ware Wo, Gye Nyame, and Osram Ne Nsoromma. Akoma is a heart symbol that signifies patience and tolerance. Gye Nyame signifies the supremacy of God. Me Ware Wo symbolizes commitment and perseverance. Osram Ne Nsoromma stands for the harmony that exists in the bond between a man and a woman.

There are over 100 Adinkra symbols. Some are very appropriate for a wedding, like the Akoma, a heart-shaped symbol representing patience and tolerance. Also appropriate for the wedding is the Akoma Ntoso, or “linked hearts,” which represents understanding and agreement. Couples who are more religious might want to include the Nyame Nti, shaped to suggest the branches of a tree and symbolizing faith and trust in God.

Adinkra symbols, and Egyptian ankhs as well, also can be added to the bride’s gown, for example, by embroidering them in silver and gold threads on the hem, bodice, or train of the gown.

Cowrie Shells

Cowrie shells, indigenous to West Africa represent fertility and prosperity. Cowrie shells are a significant favorite used in bridal attire. Use of the shell design in favors, food serving, cakes and decoration or table centerpieces express the tradition.

Ring Shout

This is a ceremonial dance, a form of spiritual Christian worship, done anytime before or after the ring exchange is completed, and a few members of the wedding party gather around the couple singing, clapping, stomping , beating drums, sticks, brooms, tambourines in a counterclockwise circle. It has many meanings but the most important is that it symbolizes our journey into freedom and pays homage to mother Africa.


Couples can light African/black unity candles, A white or ivory candle for the couple to light the candles. The Unity Candle Colors should be:

red ( the blood that our ancestors shed for us ), black ( our race ) and green (growth, wealth).

Moroccan Wedding Traditions

The Hamman

Pre wedding ceremony party in which the bride is given a milk bath and the use of a black soap to purify the bride

Henna ( Asian and Middle Eastern)

The Nekkacha, a specialist paints the hands and feet of the bride and her party. The bride’s hands are painted with intricate designs which are usually floral and geometrical designs to ward off evil spirits.


The dowry is paid before a notary and is spent on the bride’s trousseau and new furniture. The jewelry she receives must be made of gold (rings, bracelets, necklaces and earrings). During the engagement period, (which usually lasts six months to two years) the prospective groom sends his bride-to-be gifts of cloth, gowns and perfume on feast days. Five days before the wedding, a mattress, blankets, and other necessities are carried into the bridal chamber. The bride is given a bath in the hammam. Her female wedding attendants, called negassa, closely supervise. She is applied make up (including henna-stained designs) to her hands and feet. She is then dressed in her embroidered wedding finery of white robes. She is then placed behind a curtain, symbolizing her transition to a new life.


Greek Wedding Traditions

Holy Trinity

The symbol of the Holy Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is an important aspect of the Greek Orthodox religion and is incorporated symbolically within the wedding celebration. Many of the ceremony rituals are performed in series of threes.


The Koumbaros is an honored guest that participates in the wedding ceremony. Traditionally, the Koumbaros is the groom’s godfather. Today, he is usually the best man. He assists with the crowning of the couple and the exchange of the rings three times between the bride and groom before it is placed on the bride and groom’s third fingers.


Stefana are metal crowns or floral wreaths, sometimes attached with ribbon, are placed on the heads of the bride and groom as a symbol of God bestowing his blessings in the form of crowns. The crowns are generally connected by a ribbon to symbolize the couple’s eternal bond as husband and wife

Circle Dance

The famous Kaslamantiano or “Circle dance”, involves two circles that form around the bride while guests throw money at the musicians and break dishes for good luck.

Jamaican Wedding Traditions

The elaborate preparations for the ceremony included cooking great amounts of food for the reception and the baking of several cakes. On the wedding day, the cakes were carried to the wedding location by a procession of married women wearing white dresses and head-ties. No one spoke during this solemn procession, and the cakes themselves were covered by white lace so that the bride did not see them until the day of the wedding.

Before the ceremony, ring games were played and food was consumed in great quantities. The festivities lasted until daybreak, when those in attendance would then pray for the couple before they left to prepare themselves for the wedding ceremony. If the ceremony was held in a church, it usually followed the parameters of an English wedding. The groom wore a new suit and the bride wore a white dress and veil.

The reception was held at the groom’s house in a booth that was built specifically for the event. Usually constructed of coconut boughs and decorated with flowers, the booth was an extension of the home. Usually, the reception followed a standard order, including the cutting of the cake, the toasting of the couple, the eating of a lot of delicious food and a great deal of dancing. The reception usually lasted until the afternoon, with the attendants playing games and singing songs.

It didn’t end there, though. On the Sunday after the wedding, known as Tun T’anks Sunday, the wedding party went to church. After services, the assembly then visited the bride’s parents’ home for a second reception, usually even bigger than the first party. More food and cakes were served. The top layer of the cake was given to the minister who performed the ceremony, and the second layer went to the newlywed couple.

Throughout the evening, other traditions were followed. Participants bid on the bride and groom, with the collected sum then given to the bride. The end of the evening was highlighted by a dance, usually played by a fife, banjo and guitar. Quadrille was the common dance, with one of the sets composed of family members including the bride, the groom, their parents, the maid of honor and the best man.

Gifts were given by all those in attendance, and were usually animals or other provisions. After this last reception, the couple would venture to their new home, where they rested for a week. The couple was excused from working in the fields; instead, family members visited to bring food and provide advice.

Grief Poems for weddings and funerals


River of Sorrow

by Todd Nigro

Drinking from the waters of sorrow

sustains a different kind of life.

This river is hidden

from the rest of the world.

Tears drip from my chin and fall into

an endless flow of liquid love.

This river sparkles with beauty.


Tis a Fearful Thing

by Yehuda HaLevi (1075 – 1141)

‘Tis a fearful thing

to love what death can touch.

A fearful thing

to love, to hope, to dream, to be –

to be,

And oh, to lose.

A thing for fools, this,

And a holy thing,

a holy thing

to love.

For your life has lived in me,

your laugh once lifted me,

your word was gift to me.

To remember this brings painful joy.

‘Tis a human thing, love,

a holy thing, to love

what death has touched.


The Thing Is

by Ellen Bass

to love life, to love it even

when you have no stomach for it

and everything you’ve held dear

crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,

your throat filled with the silt of it.

When grief sits with you, its tropical heat

thickening the air, heavy as water

more fit for gills than lungs;

when grief weights you like your own flesh

only more of it, an obesity of grief,

you think, How can a body withstand this?

Then you hold life like a face

between your palms, a plain face,

no charming smile, no violet eyes,

and you say, yes, I will take you

I will love you, again.



by Beulah B. Malkin

I built a tiny garden

In a corner of my heart

I kept it just for lovely things

And bade all else depart

And ever was there music

And flowers blossomed fair;

And never was it perfect

Until you entered there


I Am Learning How To Live

by Jamey Wysocki

I am learning how to live

In a new way

Since that day

You were taken away.

I am learning how to live

With the things left unsaid

Knowing I got to say them

With every tear that I shed.

I am learning how to live

By embracing the pain

Knowing that you live on

Through the memories that remain.

I am learning how to live

Knowing I will never again see your face

And I have peace knowing

You’re in a better place.

I am learning how to live

Knowing you’re in God’s care

It gives me the strength to move on

And makes the pain much easier to bear.


The Sailing Ship

by Luther F. Beecher (1813–1903)

What is dying?

I am standing on the seashore.

A ship sails to the morning breeze

and starts for the ocean.

She is an object

and I stand watching her

Till at last she fades from the horizon,

And someone at my side says,

“She is gone!” Gone where?

Gone from my sight, that is all;

She is just as large in the masts,

hull and spars

as she was when I saw her,

And just as able to bear her load

of living freight to its destination.

The diminished size and total loss

of sight is in me, not in her;

And just at the moment when someone

at my side says, “She is gone”,

There are others who are watching her coming,

And other voices take up a glad shout,

“There she comes” – and that is dying.



by G W (Bill) Marshall

Oh,little man your stay was short

You never knew this world of distress,

But you brought loving comfort,

To where God chose to bless.

In our quiet times together alone,

I shall always cherish until that day

When death shall find me and atone,

And we both are home to stay.

I shall await and always look forward,

For looking back brings only tears

And you are now safe with the Lord,

Awaiting when I finish my years.

G W Marshall / 12 September, 2013


Smile for the Ages

by Todd Nigro (Ellie’s Dad)

Ellie, each day with you was special,

it’s hard to express,

I loved your voice, smile, laugh,

and your sweet tenderness.

Your joyful, playful spirit

was such a contagious one,

A minute in your presence

was bursting with fun.

I always enjoyed our adventures

playing on the beach,

It’s heart breaking to realize

you’re not within my reach.

You were so amazing

and beautiful in so many ways,

Sincere, giving, and loving

through all of your days.

I wish I could hug you right now,

why did you have to go?

These days are hard without you,

but this you should know,

When the day comes to join you

in that heavenly place,

A beautiful smile for the ages

will be on my face!


Safely Home

by Author Unknown

I am home in heaven, dear ones;

Oh, so happy and so bright.

There is a perfect joy and beauty

in this everlasting light.

All the pain and grief is over,

every restless tossing passed;

I am now at peace forever,

safely home in heaven at last.

Did you wonder I so calmly

Trod the valley of the shade?

Oh, but Jesus’ love illuminated

Every dark and fearful glade.

And He came Himself to meet me

in the way so hard to tread;

And with Jesus’ arm to lean on

could I have one doubt or dread?

Then you must not grieve so sorely,

for I love you dearly still.

Try to look beyond death’s shadows;

Pray to trust our Father’s will.

There is work still waiting for you,

so you must not idly stand.

Do it now, while life remaineth;

you shall rest in Jesus’ land.

When that work is all completed,

He will gently call you home;

Oh, the rapture of that meeting;

Oh, the joy to see you come!



by Washington Gladded

In the bitter waves of woe,

Beaten and tossed about,

By the sullen winds that blow,

From the desolate shores of doubt,

Where the anchors that faith has cast

Are dragging in the gale,

I am quietly holding fast

To the things that cannot fail.


Ellie’s Eyes

by G W (Bill) Marshall / January 21, 2013

I see Heaven’s wonder in her face,

And the love of God in her eyes,

That only visited this lowly place,

And then return above the skies.

Such understanding in a child,

And compassion only angels share,

Is best kept where it’s not defiled,

While angels watch her waiting there.

There is a promise of His reward,

For those who turn away from sin,

But a sinless child has His accord,

For salvation has e’er been within.

The beauty of Heaven’s nightly skies,

Where His endless worlds may rise,

Is like the depths of her curious eyes,

Where beyond her soul never dies.


I’m Free

by Shannon Lee Moseley

Don’t grieve for me, for now I’m free.

I’m following the path God has chosen for me.

I took His hand when I heard Him call;

I turned my back and left it all.

I could not stay another day,

to laugh, to love, to work or play.

Tasks left undone must stay that way;

I’ve found now peace at the end of the day.

If my parting has left a void,

then fill it with remembered joys.

A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss;

Oh yes, these things, I too will l miss.

Be not burdened with times of sorrow,

look for the sunshine of tomorrow.

My life’s been full, I savored much;

good friends, good times, a loved ones touch.

Perhaps my time seems all too brief;

don’t lengthen your time with undue grief.

Lift up your heart and peace to thee,

God wanted me now – He set me free.


Second Sowing

by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

For whom

The milk ungiven in the breast

When the child is gone?

For whom the love locked up in the heart

That is left alone?

That golden yield

Split sod once, overflowed an August field,

Threshed out in pain upon September’s floor,

Now hoarded high in barns, a sterile store.

Break down the bolted door;

Rip open, spread and pour

The grain upon the barren ground

Wherever crack in clod is found.

There is no harvest for the heart alone;

The seed of love must be




God’s Lent Child

by Author Unknown

I’ll lend you for a little while,

a child of mine, God said

For you to love the while he lives

and mourn for when he’s dead.

It may be six or seven years,

or forty-two or three

But will you, till I call him back,

take care of him for me?

He’ll bring his charms to gladden you

and should his stay be brief

You’ll always have his memories

as a solace in your grief.

I cannot promise he will stay,

since all from earth return,

But there are lessons taught below

I want this child to learn.

I’ve looked this whole world over

in my search for teachers true

And from the folk that crowd Life’s lane

I have chosen you.

Now will you give him all your love

and not think the labour vain,

Nor hate me when I come to take

this lent child back again?

I fancy that I heard them say

“Dear God, thy will be done.

For all the joys this child will bring

the risk of grief we’ll run.

We will shelter him with tenderness,

we’ll love him while we may

And for all the happiness we’ve ever known,

we’ll ever grateful stay.

But should the angels call him

much sooner than we’d planned

We will brave the bitter grief that comes

and try to understand.”



Author Unknown


That’s what we ask.

The truth is,

we may never be able

to know for sure why.

But we do know

that there is no single

“should have done” or

“could have done”

or “did” or “didn’t do”

that would have changed that why.

All that love could do was done.


If I Could

by G W (Bill) Marshall / Dec 08, 2012

If I could but see, again your face,

Oh how much my heart would race,

And nothing could ever efface,

The mem’ry of our last embrace.

If I could climb to Heaven’s gate

And just look in to watch awhile,

Then I know I could joyfully wait,

If I could see your happy smile.

If I could hear the song you sing

And your laughter bless my ears,

Then grief would lose its sting

And a smile would dry my tears.

But faith would lose its esteem,

And Heaven’d lose its stealth,

So we must be denied this dream,

If Heaven is to keep its wealth.


The Nightingale

by Vivian Ross

My beautiful Mother, my Angel

Precious nightingale,

you are now free in Heaven

to sing and praise our Lord

without a worldly care.

I hope that GOD in all His Might

will in a dream let me see

how HE now in His arms

holds and fills you with

Eternal Joy and Peace.

To see you laugh

and hear you sing

in God’s presence

is my dream.

18. The Angel of Patience Elizabeth Akers Allen

Beside the toilsome way

Lonely and dark, by fruits and flowers unblest,

Which my feet tread sadly, day by day,

Longing in vain for rest.

An angel softly walks,

With pale sweet face, and eye cast meekly down,

The while from withered leaves and flowerless stalks

She weaves my fitting crown.

A sweet and patient grace,

A look of firm endurance, true and tried,

Of suffering meekly borne, rests on her face

So pure — so glorified.

And when my fainting heart

Desponds and murmurs at its adverse fate,

Then quietly the angel’s bright lips part,

Murmuring softly, “Wait!

‘Patience!’ she sweetly saith, —

The Father’s mercies never come too late;

Gird thee with patient strength and trusting faith,

And firm endurance, — wait!”

Angel! behold, I wait,

Wearing the thorny crown through all life’s hours, —

Wait till thy hand shall ope the eternal gate,

And change the thorns to flowers!

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