Welcome! We are gathered here today to share in a celebration of love, and to join together forever the hearts of Anna and Donna. Today in the presence of family and friends, Anna and Donna will join their lives together, two beautiful spirits sharing the most sacred and tender of human relationships. They have invited us all here today to rejoice, celebrate and bear witness to this sacred union. They stand before you bound by their love for each other, and the desire to share this expression of their love with you and with the world. We, their families and friends, form a community of love that together we may support and encourage them with our abundance of prayers and blessings on this day and for all of their lives.
At this time I ask that you all join me in a prayer and blessing for Anna and Donna, as they begin the journey on their path of togetherness.
May God bless them and guide them on their journey together. May divine Holy Spirit fill their hearts with unconditional love and understanding. And may their continued kindness, compassion, trust and faith in each other and in God, be a constant example of the grace and beauty that the gift of love embodies for all of us.
1st Reading: "The Art Of Marriage" by Wilferd A. Peterson
A good marriage must be created.
In the art of 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 each day.
It is never going to sleep angry.
It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.
It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.
It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.
It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.
It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow.
It is finding room for the things of the spirit.
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.
It is not only marrying the right partner...It is being the right partner.
We come here today in a celebration and expression of love! Love is perhaps the greatest gift that God has given us, it is our inherent nature and our sole true purpose in life; to love one another. Love provides us with the core sustenance of life; it nourishes our spirits and fuels our souls. Love compels us, motivates us, brings joy to our hearts and truly gives us life. We can endure many things in this world but without being able to share and feel love our lives would be as an empty shell. When we are able to give and receive the gift of love, our life becomes full and energized and hopeful with unbounded possibilities, love truly is life. These two people that you see standing here before you, their souls have made a commitment to each other to love, support, and share life. This is not merely a legal or verbal commitment but a promise of the heart and soul. Today is about love and about celebrating love's purpose and importance in our lives.
Anna and Donna chose this beautiful site for their wedding because of their shared love of the beach and the ocean. Nature has always inspired a connection to something larger than ourselves. In marriage we gladly accept that love is the greatest thing in our lives and that through surrendering to it, we ourselves become infinite and limitless, like the ocean.
Anna and Donna have found the gift of this love and they are here today to share this gift with all of you. Their Journey began long before either of them had a thought that they would end up here today celebrating the joining of their loving hearts in marriage. Their relationship began years ago when from their first meeting they felt the pull and power of their connection. From that moment on no matter where their lives took them they always stayed in contact and felt the strong feelings that they shared. Finally a few years ago they took their relationship to a new level and have been together inseparable ever since. Their relationship has been a constant source of comfort, support, and love has evolved through the joys, changes and challenges of life into this beautiful loving, and committed partnership that you see here today as they stand before you ready to pledged their love to each other for all of their days, and they come before all of you who are their families and friends; you who hold their memories, their history, their pasts, their present, and now again they ask you to share and bear witness to a new chapter of their lives, as they share with you this gift of love they have found and the brilliant future that it holds for them. All of you, who Anna and Donna call family play an important role in their lives not just today, but every day and they would like to send out their heartfelt thanks to you for your continued love, support, and encouragement throughout their lives.
When I met with Anna and Donna, I asked them to tell me about their relationship, what they loved about each other, and what is important to them in marriage? What they shared with me and what I could see from spending time with them was that over the years they had grown together, that they provided balance for each other, that they had learned the communication, patience, understanding, passion, and laughter were vital to their relationship. But what holds all this together the core of their relationship is the strong love that they have for each other. A love that for each of them comes in many different and amazing ways;
For Donna, her love for Anna is strong and certain she knew early on that she was the one. She admires her kindness, her generosity, her strength and her passion for life. She is her best friend and the one person he wants to be with every moment. Donna loves how Sue can always make her laugh and lighten the mood. Anna is her compliment in every way, she is her love and her life, the one who brings her joy and happiness and the one who is always there to support her and love her.
For Anna, Donna is her love, her support and her strength. She just loves everything about her; her commitment, kindness, sensitivity, and loving nature. She admires her compassionate and caring nature. She knows that Donna understands her like no one else; and she knows she will always love her and support her no matter what. Anna truly respects and loves the person that Donna is; she is compassionate, and loving, truly beautiful inside and out. She is her love and her life and the one who helps her be the best person she can be.
Together they are best friends, and they compliment and balance each other perfectly! Anna and Donna have fun no matter what they are doing; as long as they are together they are happy!! Together they have generous and caring spirits, a strong sense of family values, a mutual respect, love and commitment to each other that is immeasurable. Anna and Donna's love has grown into a relationship that embraces all the values that create a strong and lasting Marriage.
Love is one of the truly innate parts of who we are, it is the reason that God put us here on this planet, to love each other, it is the gift that God has given us, and any expression of that love is truly a blessing that God can smile down upon. For his wish for us is to love and be loved that's all. Love is in and of all things, in all places and with all people. There are no rules for love, no restrictions or boundaries. There are no laws for love, no limits, our love and the capacity to love another human being is endless. Marriage has always been about family and community. Having you all here with them today is what truly makes their marriage real. To stand before all those we love most in the world, and promise to love another person openly and trustingly, without limits for a lifetime, is perhaps the bravest thing two people will ever do.
Donna and Anna come here at this moment to share with you the celebration, joy, and happiness that is in their hearts today as they take their relationship to a deeper level of commitment, a symbol of their dedication to each other, which is the joining of their loving spirits in marriage.
A wedding ceremony is an outward form. To be true it must be a symbol of something inner and real; a sacred personal union which nature might mirror, a church solemnize, or a state declare legal, but which only love can create and mutual loyalty fulfill.
I ask you both, as you stand in the presence of your family and friends, to remember that love, loyalty and compassion alone will avail as the foundation of a happy and enduring home. No other human ties are more tender, no other vows more sacred than those that you will now assume. If these sacred vows are honored and kept close to your hearts, and you endeavor to always live according to the best that is within each of you, your life together will be full of joy, peace and love.
Expression of Intent:
In the presence of God, family and friends, I ask you to state your intentions.
Anna and Donna, have you come here freely and without reservation to give yourselves to each other in marriage?
Will you love and honor each other as married partners for the rest of your lives?
Anna and Donna respond: I will.
Do you Donna, take Anna to be your wife (or partner in life or life partner). or to be your wife), your partner, your love and your best friend. Do you promise this day to share your life with her, to respect her, honor her, support her and love her, through life's challenges and celebrations will you stand by her side from this day and for all the days of your life? Response: I will
repeat for Anna
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 time 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 the highest regard. These things I give to you today, and all the days of my life.
Today...this day of your wedding.. is the occasion of the shedding of your solitary journeys in favor of bonding yourselves to one another... These rings are an ancient symbol, blessed and simple.... Round like the sun...like the eye...like arms that embrace... circles for love that is given, comes back around again and again...may these symbols remind you ...that your love... like the sun...illuminates...that your love...like the eye...must see clearly...and that your love...like arms that embrace...is a grace upon the world.
Exchanging of rings:
Donna : Anna, This ring I give you In token of my love and devotion, And with my heart, I pledge to you all that I am. With this ring, I marry you and join my life to yours.
Repeat for Anna
Officiant: In Ireland, until the mid 1700’s, few unions were sanctified in a church or synagogue. Rather, they were celebrated by a simple hand fasting ceremony in which the two partners joined hands over the village anvil, in the fields, or in the groves of trees. The couple would link hands to form an infinite circle, and then, their hands or wrists would be bound together, symbolizing the binding together of their two lives into one. It is from this practice that the expression "tying the knot" comes from. Anna and Donna have chosen this day to engage in a traditional hand fasting ceremony to commemorate their entering, together, into the union of marriage.
Hand fasting cord is taken from the altar.
Officiant: Anna and Donna this cord is a symbol of the lives you have chosen to lead together. Up until this moment, you have been separate in thought, word and action. As your hands are bound together by this cord, so too, shall your lives be bound as one. If you would, please turn to face each other, and join your hands.
The Bride and Groom’s hands and wrists are bound with Handfasting Cord.
Officiant: Just as your hands are now bound together, so too, are your lives. May you be forever one, sharing in all things, in love and loyalty for all time to come.
Officiant speaks over couple’s bound hands.
Officiant: These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow, and forever.
These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future. These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch, will comfort you like no other. These are the hands that will hold you when fear or sadness fills your mind. 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 help you to hold your family as one. These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it. And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.
Now that you Anna, and you, Donna, have promised to give yourselves to one another and to love each other through your sacred vows and through the giving and receiving of these rings, It gives me great honor and pleasure to now pronounce you you married.
The Kiss :
As the kiss is the messenger of the heart and soul, allow your souls to meet on your lips with this kiss.