Our ceremony was one of the aspects of our wedding that caused some discord during the planning process. I do consider myself to be traditional in most areas and our wedding had many traditional elements but also some modern twists. For example, we did a ‘first look’ which allowed us to see each other semi-privately before the wedding. It also allowed us time for photos before the wedding which was nice because the reception immediately followed. We also chose to write our own ceremony instead of using a traditional dialogue.
We did write our own vows. We did not hear or see each other’s vows before the ceremony so that was a nice element of surprise. Clay makes his living as a writer so it seems like the task was easier for him than it was for me! I am so glad we chose to use a unique ceremony with personalized vows. It made our day extra special and true to who we are as a couple.
We were inspired by bits and pieces of other DIY ceremonies available online. Below is the text from our ceremony. I hope that this is useful to someone who is looking for something less traditional. I would encourage anyone in my predicament, to follow your heart. It’s YOUR day.
Joey: Welcome, family, friends, and loved ones. We are gathered here today to witness one of life’s great milestones. Two families have come together to celebrate the creation of a new one, to make certain that Clay and Linda are surrounded by the people dearest to them as they take this first step into life-long commitment.
DEFINITION OF MARRIAGE
Joey: Marriage is a bold step into an unknown future. It is risking who we are for the sake of who we can be.
Each of us knows that a marriage is not created by a law or by a ceremony; rather it occurs in the hearts of two human beings. This ceremony is not magic, it will not create a relationship that does not already exist. But no one can claim these two have not already proven their commitment. For the past few years now, Clay and Linda have been inseparable, displaying a comfort with their shared intimacy. So, today, we are observing only an outward sign of an inward union that already exists between Clay and Linda, a symbol of how far they have come together and a promise that they will love each other above all others.
Joey: At this time, Hillary Nicholas will now enchant us with a reading.
Hillary comes to the microphone and reads The Apache Wedding Prayer:
Hillary: Now you will feel no rain,
for each of you will be shelter for the other.
Now you will feel no cold,
for each of you will be warmth for the other.
Now there is no more loneliness.
Now you are two persons,
but there is only one life before you.
May your days together be good and long
upon the earth.
DECLARATION OF INTENT
Joey: Do you, Clay, take Linda to be your lawfully wedded wife? Will you love her, laugh with her, comfort her, honor and protect her, and forsaking all others, be faithful to her as long as you both shall live?
Clay: I do.
Joey: Do you, Linda, take Clay to be your lawfully wedded husband? Will you love him, laugh with him, comfort him, honor and protect him, and forsaking all others, be faithful to him as long as you both shall live?
Linda: I do.
SUPPORT OF COMMUNITY
Joey:Everyone please rise.
Do you, who are present here today, promise to support Clay and Linda in their marriage, to be there for them during the bad times as well as the good, to never withhold your love or the joy of your companionship? If so, please respond with “we do”.
All: We do!
Joey: Thank you. You may be seated. If it takes a village to raise a child, it must take a multitude to nurture a marriage. And, rest assured, your blessings, presence, and encouragement are important to this union, not just for today, but for always.
EXCHANGE OF VOWS
Joey: The couple have chosen to write their own vows to one another. Clay, take it away.
EXCHANGE OF RINGS
Joey: You will exchange rings to serve as a reminder of the promises you have made. These wedding bands announce to the world that you have been found. When you look at them, remember all that you have in one another, remember that you do not walk through this life alone.
Clay, place this ring on Linda’s left hand and repeat after me.
Joey/Clay: With this ring, I thee wed. All of my heart’s affection, all that I am, all that I ever shall be and everything that is a part of me, I give to you now.
Joey: Linda, please place this ring on Clay’s left hand and repeat after me.
Joey/Linda: With this ring, I thee wed. All of my heart’s affection, all that I am, all that I ever shall be and everything that is a part of me, I give to you now.
PRESENTATION OF THE COUPLE/PRONOUNCEMENT
Joey: Look into each other’s eyes and contemplate the vows you’ve just spoken before friends and family. In the days and years to come, the person standing before you will be your joy and your pain, your refuge and your heartache, as you share all that is sweet and bitter in life.
Joey: At this time I invite Mr. Tom Lee up. Please join us in prayer.
Grandpa comes to the microphone and offers a prayer. Returns to his seat.
Joey: And, now the moment you’ve all been waiting for… As cousin, grateful friend, and officiant, by the power vested in me, it is my honor and privilege to pronounce you husband and wife.
Clay, you may kiss your bride.
Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. and Mrs. Clay Nicholas!