Secular Wedding Ceremony with Self-Written Vows

The Marriage Ceremony of Jess and Alan

SEE JESS AND ALAN’S WEDDING FEATURE RIGHT HERE.

 

PRELUDE MUSIC & GUEST SEATING

“Here Comes The Sun”
Alan’s Grandma escorted by Alan’s Uncle
Jess’ Grandparents

 

ENTRANCE OF BOB AND ALAN (AND ALAN’S GROOMSMEN)

 

OPENING ANNOUNCEMENTS

Officiant: Hello everyone. On behalf of Jess and Alan, I’d like to welcome you to this very special time. My name is Bob and I’ve had the pleasure of working with Jess and Alan to create this ceremony. It is a deeply personal ritual that honors and celebrates their past – as well as their hopes for the future. To help us all be more present, we invite you to double check your cell phones and electronic devices to make sure they are silenced.

Thank you.

 

PROCESSION / MUSIC
“Sweet Disposition”
Alan’s Parents
Jess’ Mom escorted by Jess’ Grandpa
Bridesmaids

“Fix You”
Jess escorted by her Father

 

OPENING RITUAL: Welcoming to the Family

 

Jess and Father walk to first row.

Officiant: Jess and Alan have arrived together to make a commitment of marriage with one another. Who gives Jess’s hand in to marriage this day?

Jess’s Father: “Her mother and I do.”

 

WELCOME

Officiant: Jess and Alan invite us to be with them at this unique moment in their relationship. They have known each other for four years. They are already building a life together. But today is special, for today they commit to building a future together. Today, they commit to remembering that love is stronger than anything that would seem to separate them. Today, they marry their lives and hopes into a common vision upon which their life will be built.

For two people to take this step together is a momentous occasion, and is celebrated as such – in many traditions. And whatever our backgrounds and current beliefs, I propose that here – today – we acknowledge one simple truth – and it is this: Jess and Alan have found something bigger than their individual selves, something even bigger than their shared life. There are many names. And there are many expressions. They call it Love.

And what a gift it is that they found one another. Or, perhaps better said, what a gift it is that life put them together in a way that would allow them to nurture a friendship as a foundation for their love. A year of working together and traveling the country allowed them time to not only realize their differences, but to appreciate them and learn from them.

Jess was more reserved and focused, while Alan was more the “life of the party” kind of guy. Jess was more thoughtful and more of a planner; Alan was more, shall we say, spontaneous. Jess was more punctual; Alan was, in his words, “notoriously not punctual.”

Though many may have seen them as opposites, in fact, they were perfect for one another. And life gave them time to realize it. Jess and Alan, who spent a year working together as the “dynamic recruiting team,” ended up recruiting the other person’s best traits, and ultimately, each other’s endearment and love. They said, “Out of all the people in the world, we found our soulmate.”

And so today, their marriage truly honors and celebrates one of Life’s greatest gifts: the love shared between people. This evening, Jess and Alan invite us into their hearts, into their hopes, and into their commitment.

We all come here today as a loving witness to this special moment. We are all essential. May we be the joyful and supportive presence in which their lives together are transformed and united. May their relationship be so blessed. And in return, may the power and sincerity of their choice be an inspiration to us all. May we be reminded today of that light, that spirit of compassion within each of us. Thank you.

 

HONORING OF FAMILY

Officiant: The blessing of their relationship began many years ago through the caring and wisdom of some people very important to Jess and Alan. They wish to thank their parents.

You have guided, accompanied and loved Jess and Alan. They are who they are in part because of you. You have shared in their moments of joy and challenge, supporting and encouraging them. You have offered your best skill and wisdom in teaching the art of love. Without you, this marriage would not, could not be possible.

In particular, they told me: “We grew up in homes where family was the most important thing. We learned that if you build family, then you always have people to rely on, to trust, to share life with. And now we want to make sure that tradition goes forward.”

Jess and Alan also see the longevity of your relationships and hope to one day look back upon having built a relationship as strong as yours.

And I know they are grateful for this inspiration and all you’ve offered – because it has led to this moment of much love. Thank you.

 

APPRECIATION OF SUPPORT

Officiant: Jess and Alan also appreciate all of you being here. They see you as their extended family; as an entire community of support for this day and for years to come.

You have been invited here as witness to their marriage. To be witness is an honor – for what more of a gift can truly be offered than our most sincere, authentic, open-hearted presence to one another? And today, they invite you to be an on-going presence in their lives – through everything that comes their way.

When we want to celebrate, it is so much sweeter when we have others to share the moment with. When we face challenges, it is so much less bitter when we know others are there to support us, offer wisdom, and sometimes a helping hand.

And today, Jess and Alan ask you to be with them through it all. They know your presence here today is an expression of your support for many years to come.

 

RITUAL OF UNITY: Taking Hands in Marriage

Officiant: Jess and Alan, you have traveled many miles together thus far. But you will now travel just a few steps like no others. With these steps toward one another comes a commitment to traveling the rest of your lives together.

As two halves which love has brought together to share this journey of life, I invite you to reach out to one another to take hands in marriage.

Feeling these hands, knowing:

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 grief 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 tenderly hold your children.
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.

 

REFLECTION ON LOVE AND MARRIAGE: Readings

Officiant: For inspiration on their journey, Jess and Alan have selected these reflections on love and marriage.

They will be read by Mallory and David.

(If multiple readings, all readers come up at the same time, get the microphone from Bob, stand side by side while doing their readings, then both sit down at the same time. This will save time instead of them getting up and down individually.)

(I typically suggest that readers come to stand in front of where the groom is standing, and that he come over next to the bride for the time of the reading, so that you can both easily see the readers.)

Excerpt from The Bridge Across Forever by Richard Bach (Read by Mallory):
A soul mate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are; we can be loved for who we are and not for who we’re pretending to be. Each unveils the best part of the other. No matter what else goes wrong around us, with that one person we’re safe in our own paradise. Our soul mate is someone who shares our deepest longings, our sense of direction. When we’re two balloons, and together our direction is up, chances are we’ve found the right person. Our soul mate is the one who makes life come to life.

Excerpt from Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (Read by David):
The future belongs to hearts even more than it does to minds. Love, that is the only thing that can occupy and fill eternity. In the infinite, the inexhaustible is requisite.
Love participates of the soul itself. It is of the same nature. Like it, it is the divine spark; like it, it is incorruptible, indivisible, imperishable. It is a point of fire that exists within us, which is immortal and infinite, which nothing can confine, and which nothing can extinguish. We feel it burning even to the very marrow of our bones, and we see it beaming in the very depths of heaven…
What a grand thing it is to be loved! What a far grander thing it is to love!

 

THE MEANING OF OUR MARRIAGE

Officiant: “Our soul mate is the one who makes life come to life.” Jess and Alan – from the beginning you have truly made each others’ lives come to life. And over your years together, you’ve discovered ways to nurture each others’ lives and the love between you. When I asked you about the most important aspects of your relationship and marriage, you told me: supportive teamwork, daily expressions of love, and playfulness.

You told me, “We are a team, so we’re only as strong as the other person. To that end, we to build each other up through affection, love, and emotional support. We are compliments to one another. We have different strengths and weaknesses, and are only our best selves together.”

Jess and Alan, you cheer one another on to be your best selves. To see more of what’s possible for the other person than you could imagine yourselves. To challenge each other to grow into a more powerful vision of yourselves. And with this as a foundation for your relationship, you have the strength, you said, “to see every challenge in life as an obstacle that we’ll face together, and we feel empowered to take on bigger and bigger challenges because we know we have the other person in our corner.”

This is how you are creating your family, Jess and Alan. This is how you are building trust. This is how you are building a life. You’ve bought and renovated a home; maintained busy work schedules, and become doting parents to your puppy, Velvet. And through it all, you’ve been inseparable.

Jess and Alan, you are truly building a family – with the big things like buying a home together but even more so with the small things like creating meals together. These small things, shared day after day, become the true substance of a marriage – not just because they are shared but because you choose to share them. And as you continue to choose to share love, to support one another, and to have fun together, I’m sure you will enjoy many wonderful years together.

 

DECLARATION OF INTENT

Officiant: Jess and Alan, you know that there are challenges as well as joys – and marriage is a commitment to be there for one another through them both.

And so this is a powerful step – one that is not entered into lightly. So I ask you, here in the witness of your loved ones, do you come here today freely, with conviction in your whole heart, mind, body and spirit, to enter into marriage? If so, please say “yes.”

And you have chosen to do so with vows of marriage and an exchange of rings.

 

PERSONAL COMMENTS

Officiant: We begin your expressions of commitment with some personal comments you’ve created about one another. I asked Jess and Alan to send me some comments about the other person without showing it to one another. They are now hearing what the other has said for the first time, along with all of you.

Jess, this is what Alan said about you:
(Personal Comments)

Alan, this is what Jess said about you:
(Personal Comments)

 

VOWS OF MARRIAGE & EXCHANGE OF RINGS

Officiant: Jess and Alan, it is with these loving comments that you begin your vows of marriage to one another.

Alan, will you please offer your vows?

Alan: Today I choose you, Jess, to be my wife, my partner and my one true love.

It’s hard to know exactly what you’re looking for until you find it. Fate took her time, but after twenty-nine years, six months, and seventeen days, I am finally here, hand in hand with you and ready to take the leap into the great unknown. Because a life at your side is the only life I’ll ever want or ever need.

Every night I go to sleep just so I can wake up next to you and stare into your beautiful brown eyes. It’s those eyes that sooth me after a long, tough day. It’s those eyes that light up and make me smile, laugh, and remember how rich life can be. It’s those eyes that spur me to love the ones who are important, to fight for the things that matter, and to be the best version of myself that I can be. It’s those eyes, that with one simple look, inspire me to believe that everything is possible. You’re my whole thing, today, tomorrow, and forever.

Today, Jess, I give you myself in marriage and in life. I will make you feel loved everyday as my partner and my equal. I will be faithful to you, keeping you anchored as the center of my universe. I will work hard to be a man that you are proud to call the father of your children. I will listen to you with an open heart and an open mind. I will be honest with my actions and my words. I will celebrate your successes, consul you through your challenges, and be your rock when you need me most. You are, and always will be, the love of my life.

Officiant: Jess, will you please offer your vows?

Jess: Today, I take you Alan to be my husband, my partner in life and my one true love. I am standing here to give you all of me, without a single doubt or reservation because for me, you are it.

It is impossible to put into words all of the reasons why I love you, All of the things that make me so sure that you’re the only one on this earth I could spend forever with. But what I can say, is that when I met you everything changed.

You walked into my life with your contagious energy, irresistible charm and most of all kind and loving heart, and the world opened up. In the time since I first sat down next to you, you’ve become my best friend, my source of light and laughter, The one I can open up to, the one I can dream with and the one who grounds me.
You inspire me to be better, and with you by my side I believe that anything is possible. But, most of all you’ve taught me what it means to give yourself completely to someone else; to love that person with every ounce of your being and to show them every day.

I am committed to loving you more each and every day. I promise to forever be faithful and honest, and to support you no matter what. There is no obstacle that we cannot overcome together and I will encourage, comfort and cherish you through thick and thin.

You are my whole thing; You are more than I could have ever dreamed of and I will be yours forever.

 

EXCHANGE OF RINGS
(I suggest that the rings be in a single ring box, if possible, or in two separate ring boxes. This helps keep them extra safe. And this way the person holding them can take out the box, open it up, and present it to you for you to take the ring out of the box. This eliminates the step of the person holding the ring having to actually handle it, and that means one less opportunity for the ring to drop.)

Officiant: As a lasting memory of the love and commitment you express to one another today, you will also exchange rings. The circle has no beginning nor end. May it remind you that you are now a part of a love that has always been, and always will be.

John, may we have Alan’s ring for Jess?

Alan, place the ring on her finger and repeat after me:

I give you this ring, and with it, all that I have and all that I am.

John, may we have Jess’s ring for Alan?

Jess, place the ring on his finger and repeat after me:

I give you this ring, and with it, all that I have and all that I am.

 

DECLARATION OF MARRIAGE

Officiant: Jess and Alan – you know that a real marriage is not created by law, ritual or ceremony; rather it something happens in the hearts of two human beings, and grows through the daily choice to express love and share life with one another.

Jess and Alan, having been created for one another and finding one another among all of Humanity, having fallen in love and nurtured your relationship so that it will last a lifetime. You have joined your hands and hearts and sealed them with sacred words and rings. And so it shall be from this day forward, you are officially husband and wife.

 

KISS

Officiant: You may now kiss the bride!

 

PRESENTATION

Officiant: Now turn and to be greeted by those who’ve gathered to support you today.

Friends and Loved ones, may I now present to you for the first time as husband and wife, Jess and Alan Weeth!

Primary Attendant Gives Bouquet
Jess and Alan receive applause and walk out.

 

RECESSION / MUSIC

Couple
Wedding party in pairs.
Parents

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Jess and Alan will join everyone after photos.
In the meantime, they invite you to enjoy hors d’ouerves on the terrace.
And have a wonderful evening!

 

POSTLUDE MUSIC

“Home” by Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros