The meaningful stuff

So, we are lucky enough that the officiant that is marrying us has an awesome wedding ceremony we both love.

Wait, actually, let me back up a little.  T and I decided pretty quickly that we want what most people consider the basic, standard wedding ceremony.   Maybe even boring.  But to us, it’s not that at all.  We see it as using, and paying homage to, the words that our parents and grandparents and maybe even great-grandparents said to each other.  That’s meaningful.  I’m guessing this is probably an unpopular opinion, but we don’t really enjoy the whole “writing your own vows” thing.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  I honestly hate to say it, but I’ve heard very few self-written vows that sound good to me.  I think a lot of them wind up being a little self-indulgent and we don’t want, fifty years from now, our vows to each other to involve making each other cake twice a month or something stupid.  (Sorry if you wrote your vows.  To each his or her own!)

Anyway, this is the ceremony we will be using.  It’s a pretty general Christian ceremony.

  • Prelude/seating of guests
  • Seating of immediate family members
  • Processional (I will be walking down the aisle to The Prince of Denmark’s March, a.k.a. Trumpet Voluntary)
  • Greeting
  • Public declaration of intention:

T, will you have Brie to be your wife, to live together in the covenant of marriage?  Will you love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful to her as long as you both shall live?” Hopefully he then says, “I will,” and then vice versa.

  • Affirmation by the families/congregation:

Do you, the families of Brie and T, give your love and blessing to this new family?”  “We will.”

  • Invocation:

“We call upon God in thanksgiving for the two individual lives, for the meaning of the marriage covenant and we ask for God’s presence in the ceremony.”

  • Music, maybe.
  • Scripture reading: I John 4:7-12: (we chose this passage specially)

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”

  • Homily (basically a short reflection on marriage by the pastor)
  • Music again, maybe.
  • Exchange of vows

In the presence of God and this community,

I, T, take you, Brie, to be my wife;

to have and to hold from this day forward,

in joy and in sorrow,

in plenty and in want,

in sickness and in health,

to love and to cherish,

as long as we both shall live,

This is my solemn vow. (and vice versa)

  • Exchange of rings

Bless, O Lord, the giving of these rings,

May they who wear them live in love and fidelity,

and continue in your service all the days of their lives,

through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Groom to bride (and vice versa): I give you this ring, as a sign of the covenant we have made today.

  • Announcement of the marriage:

Now that T and Brie have given themselves to each other by solemn vows, with the joining of hands, and the giving of rings, I announce to you that they are husband and wife.  Those whom God has joined together, let no one tear asunder.  Blessed be the Lord our God now and forever, Amen.

  • Prayer of blessing
  • Benediction

The Lord bless you and keep you.

The Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious unto you.

The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace, forevermore.  Amen.

  • Recessional (Hornpipe from Water Music)

*Note: This ceremony was given to us by Dr. Timothy Stevens at Northwestern University.  I don’t want to take credit for his work!  Please credit him accordingly if you borrow this for any reason.

So, there you have it.  Yes, it’s traditional, but to us the ceremony is the serious, meaningful part of our wedding day.  I really love it, and we have omitted some things we don’t like (the unity candle, for example)** or feel necessary.  I read the vows and get chills–I want part of them engraved inside my wedding band if it’s possible. It was also important to us that our wedding incorporate our faith as Christians without the ceremony becoming too long or preachy.  The officiant says that this will run about 20-25 minutes long, which is what we wanted–long enough to be meaningful and to let us enjoy the beautiful chapel for awhile, but short enough that it’s not tiresome for our guests.

**T and I also feel that unity candles are the dumbest symbol on the face of the earth.  If the individual flames signify us as individuals, and the unity candle lit symbolizes our marriage, what sense does it make for a) the individual candles to be blown out after lighting the unity candle (we both plan to maintain separate identities, thanks) and b) the unity candle to get blown out and tossed in a closet moments after we leave the church?  None whatsoever.  Similarly, we are not replacing it with a “unity sand ceremony” that’s so popular now, because I think it’s really corny to let some $1.99 Hobby Lobby colored craft kit sand represent our marriage.  Wedding rings are symbolism enough for us, thanks.  (/end rant)

What do you think about traditional versus non-traditional wedding ceremonies?

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3 Responses

  1. With my wedding we went traditional all the way – but, like you, it was definitely what we wanted. We loved the symbolism behind all the traditions, and aside from picking out our scripture reading we didn’t do much to change it from the format our pastor gave us to look over. We had two scripture readings – and one was the one that you have picked out too 🙂

    A few weeks later Chris was the best man in a wedding where one of the readings was the book “Corduroy” (yes, the bear). We just didn’t really get it… at all. And we knew the bride & groom well! But it was their wedding and we kind of just said, eh, if it makes them happy and is meaningful to them, that’s what matters. We just thought about how we liked ours more then 😉

  2. I’m with you on the vows thing! I really like traditional ceremonies. I grew up Anglican and have a big soft spot for traditional Anglican ceremonies. Chris’ mom is a staunch reformed Baptist though and would die if we got married in the Anglican church 😛

  3. Love your plan on keeping it sweet, simple and traditional.

    Us? We got married on a beach in Florida with my daughter as my bridesmaid, my husband’s son as the best man, and just our parents.

    It was perfect, and including our honeymoon to Key West, for 10 days we only spent $2,000! Sweet!

    Best wishes!

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