For our ceremony, we decided we wanted a simple civil ceremony with certain twists that were just us. I contacted Dard Aller, who was the hotel-recommended officiant, to get his standard ceremony. I asked him if I could tweak it, which he consented to. Originally timed, it came out to 8 minutes. Apparently it lasted a bit longer than that. I have no clue what the final count was.
“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. “Pooh,” he whispered.
“Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s paw, “I just wanted to be sure of you.”
Marriage is more than the joining in the bonds of matrimony of two persons. In its right relation, it is the uniting of two souls who are already attuned to each other. It is, as Pooh and Piglet point out, being truly sure of one another. When such a true bond already exists between two people, it’s fitting an outer acknowledgment be made. This acknowledgment is the prime object of this gathering and this ceremony.
We are here to bear witness to the entry into the closer relationship these two people… of you two beloved friends who are already close in spirit. Today, exactly three years after you first realized you shared a special bond, you are now taking into your care and keeping the happiness of the one person whom you love best. You are adding to your life not only the affection of each other, but also the companionship and the blessing of a deep trust. You’re agreeing to share strengths, responsibilities and love, and to always be sure of the other.
Leigh and Christen chose the location of Hawaii as a symbolism of compromise. Here they welcome their families and friends who’ve come from half a world apart to join them as they are united in this bond. Both believe compromise is one of many vital building blocks for a strong relationship, as it is the coming together of two entities which may start far apart and must communicate, trust and respect in order to grow together and meet in the middle. It is about equality and fairness, not tugging more one way or the other, but rather ending in a pleasing common ground.
I would like to share with you a blessing for your marriage.
May your marriage bring you all the exquisite excitements a marriage should. May life grant you also patience, tolerance and understanding.
May you always need one another… not so much to fill your emptiness as to help you to know your fullness.
May you want one another, but not out of lack.
May you entice one another, but not compel one another.
May you embrace one another, but not encircle one another.
May you succeed in all important ways with one another, and not fail in the little graces.
Look for things to praise, often say, “I love you”, and take no notice of small faults.
May you have happiness and may you find it in making one another happy.
May you have love, and may you find it in loving one another.
Reading of “Litany” by Billy Collins
“You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker,
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.
However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter,
or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.
It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
maybe even the pigeon on the general’s head,
but you are not even close
to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.
And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner
nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.
It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.
I also happen to be the shooting star,
the evening paper blowing down an alley
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.
I am also the moon in the trees
and the blind woman’s tea cup.
But don’t worry, I’m not the bread and the knife.
You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
not to mention the crystal goblet and – somehow – the wine.”
In paying tribute to their love for one another,
Christen and Leigh have requested we
Recognize and honor those who are no longer with us in person
But grace us with their presence in spirit
We also honor those
Who are still refused the right to be wed
And are denied the social and legal benefits of marriage
While there have been great strides made
There is more to be done to reach the goal of true equality
And recognize the bond of love between any two people
As you soak in the serenity of the sea before you,
Please take a moment of silence for those we have recognized.
[Moment of silence]
Reading of Excerpt from “Still Life with Woodpecker.”
“Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won’t adhere to any rules. The most any of us can do is to sign on as its accomplice. Instead of vowing to honor and obey, maybe we should swear to aid and abet. That would mean that security is out of the question. The words “make” and “stay” become inappropriate. My love for you has no strings attached. I love you for free.”
Leigh, do you give yourself totally to loving Bride, striving to do whatever you can to help her to feel happy and secure, treating her with kindness, understanding and respect for all the days before you?
Christen, do you give yourself totally to loving Groom, striving to do whatever you can to help him to feel happy and secure, treating him with kindness, understanding and respect for all the days before you?
Christen and Leigh read their own vows.
Leigh and Christen, nothing in life is easier than to say words, but nothing is harder than to actually live those words, day after day. What you decide here today, really needs to be reconfirmed tomorrow and the tomorrow after that, and an endless string of tomorrows after that. At the end of this ceremony in just a few moments, legally you will be husband and wife, but you still must decide every day that stretches before you, that you want to continue to grow in your marriage. Make such a decision and then keep on making it for when all is done at the periphery of life, the two things that matter the most are to love and to be loved.
Officiant says: “I’d like to draw your attention to the box in front Leigh and Christen. They have written letters to each other expressing their feelings as they begin their marriage. We will include these letters in the box along with a bottle of wine. Together we will seal this box, and on the happy occasion of their anniversary, they will open the box, read the letters, drink the wine, and add new letters to the box. As time passes the wine will age, like their relationship. But the box and its contents will represent the past, the present and the possibility of what lies ahead. As they go forth in their ever-evolving bond, they will have a chronicle of where they have been and the anticipation of where they are going. Each time they open the box, they will be in a new time and living new experiences, but they will continually be brought back to the essence of this day and the commitment they are making to each other.
Christen will you commit yourself to this undertaking?”
Officiant: “Leigh will you commit yourself to this undertaking?”
Officiant: “please seal the box together.”
May I have the rings, please.
These rings, by their circular shape are a symbol: they’re a symbol of the love that you feel in your hearts and that you give to each other this day, but they’re also a very important symbol of the unending love that will continue to exist in your lives and in your marriage, as evidenced by the phrase “Forever + Ever” which you have had stamped on them. And as you place this ring upon her finger repeat after me:
“Bride, with this ring, I commit myself to love and adore you forever and ever.”
“Groom, with this ring I commit myself to love and adore you forever and ever.”
Your two lives are now joined in one unbroken circle. Where ever you go, may you always return to one another in your togetherness. May you find in each other the love which all persons long for. May you grow in understanding and in compassion. May the home you enjoy together be such a place of sanctuary that many will find there a friend.
Leigh and Christen, under the authority of the State of Hawaii, and in the name of love forever and ever, I do now pronounce you to be husband and wife.
Would you like to seal your vows with a kiss?
I now present to you Groom and Bride, husband and wife.