Our Wedding: The Ceremony, Part I

The Marriage Celebration of Kathryn and Ryan

“Simple Gifts,” Elder Joseph Brackett, Jr.
“Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring,” Johann Sebastian Bach


Opening Prayer
“Wedding Prayer” by Robert Louis Stevenson
Lord, behold our family here assembled.
We thank you for this place in which we dwell,
for the love that unites us,
for the peace accorded us this day,
for the hope with which we expect the morrow,
for the health, the work, the food,
and the bright skies that make our lives delightful;
for our friends in all parts of the earth.

– Celebrant: Kathryn, will you have this man to be your husband; to live together in the covenant of marriage? Will you love him, comfort him, honor and keep him, in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, be faithful to him as long as you both shall live?
– Kathryn: I will.
– Celebrant: Ryan, will you have this woman 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?
– Ryan: I will.
– Celebrant: Will all of you witnessing these promises do all in your power to uphold Kathryn and Ryan in their marriage?
– People:  We will.

Presentation of the Bride
– Celebrant: Who gives this woman to marry this man?
– Mother of the bride: She comes of her own accord, with the full support of her father and me.*


“On Marriage,” Khalil Gibran
You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another, but make not a bond of love.
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together.
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

Ruth 1: 16 – 17
And Ruth said, Entreat me not to leave you, or to return from following after you. For where you go, I will go; and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. / Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.

An excerpt from The Gift, Hafiz
Even after all this time the sun never says to the earth, “You owe me.” Look what happens with a love like that, it lights the whole sky.

Marriage Address

Wedding Vows
(Face each other, hold hands.)
– Ryan: I, Ryan, take you, Kathryn, to be my 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, all the days of my life. This is my solemn vow.
– Kathryn: I, Kathryn, take you, Ryan, to be my 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, all the days of my life. This is my solemn vow.

Exchange of Rings
(Let go of hands.)
– Groom: Kathryn, I give you this ring as a symbol of my vow, and with all that I am, and all that I have, I honor you in the name of God.
– Bride: Ryan, I give you this ring as a symbol of my vow, and with all that I am, and all that I have, I honor you in the name of God.

(Celebrant joins the right hands of the couple.)
May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord make his face to shine upon you.
May God give you grace not to sell yourselves short. Grace to risk something big for something good.
Grace to remember that the world is too dangerous a place
for anything but truth,
And too small for anything but love.
May God take your minds and think through them.
May God take your hands and work through them.
May God take your lips and speak through them.
May God take your hearts and set them on fire.*

Declaration of Marriage
Ryan and Kathryn, with the blessing and support of your families and friends, by the vows you have made to one another, by the strength of your covenant, and in the presence of God, it is my pleasure to pronounce you Husband and Wife. You may kiss your bride.

“The Holly and the Ivy,” Cecil Sharp


*Thank you to Joanna Goddard for inspiring this presentation of the bride, and to Reverend Liz Jones for this blessing.


  • Jen says:

    I read your blog every day and I love it! I have to say I have never left a comment even though I really love each and every post and all of the beautiful inspiration from all of these weddings! But this post really touched me and is absolutely beautiful for you to share your vows and what happened at your wedding. I LOVED this sharing of your ceremony and celebration of the blessing of marriage. Thank you!

  • MeitsMo says:

    Amen to Jen- this post is so touching, thank you SO very much for sharing. All your hard work and research really came full circle, this ceremony sounds so powerful and special. Thank you for the inspiration!

  • beautiful! and thank you, I am in the middle of preparing our ceremony, this is going to help me loads!

  • I know, like Jen, I read this all the time but I’ve never commented. But this is possibly my favourite post of yours – so amazing! My weddings in 4 months and I’ve not thought about the ceremony at all – but this made me imagine what it will be like saying those vows, amazing!

  • infamousqbert says:

    oh! i just love your “presentation of the bride” portion! i 100% understand why people still want their parents to walk them down the aisle, but the whole concept of someone owning the bride and giving her away makes me kind of ill. we had our officiant make a statement about the fact that we both came into the marriage fully independently and of our own accord. i just think it’s wonderful when people find a way to take an old, meaningful, but somewhat outdated tradition and tweak it to make it fit with our more modern world.

  • I so agree- I wanted to see more full ceremonies when I was looking for ideas when writing mine. Thanks for sharing yours. It is very personal and very sweet!

  • This is really beautiful. I have goosebumps. we are having a tradition catholic wedding, so we can’t change too much from the procedure and routine, but we do have a voice in our readings and some music. I’m curious to find out how they do the presenting of the bride. I also think it was a beautiful touch to your ceremony. xo

  • Beth Marie says:

    Hi Kathryn! I have been a big fan of this site for a while, and I have found it extremely inspiring. The posts about your own wedding have been both inspiring and extraordinarily helpful! This is SUCH a great resource. Thanks for being willing to share.

  • Thanks for posting this. I think all too often brides get so caught up in the “pretty details” they forget to think about the ceremony. As I plan my own ceremony for my June wedding I am curious about the passage from Ruth, (which I think is beautiful by the way) – did it bother you at all that the context of the passage is regarding a woman and the loyalty to her mother in-law? How did your pastor interpret this? I am sure you are VERY busy but I’d love to hear feedback. Your wedding was gorgeous and I’m so happy you’ve shared it with us.

  • Kaylie says:

    I’m wondering if you would share how you went about creating your ceremony programs in a separate post. I know you said you had some of your readings printed in the program so guests could follow along, and we’d like to do that too without printing a novel for everyone! How big were your programs and did you design and print them or have someone else print them? Thanks!

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