Thursday, September 22, 2011

Our Wedding

The Wedding Ceremony of Jessica Lynn & Scott Alan
Friday, June 10, 2005, 3:00 PM

(Welcome) (audience standing)
(Minister speaking) Welcome! We are gathered here today to celebrate one of life's greatest moments, to give recognition to the worth and beauty of love, and to add our best wishes to the words that will unite JESSICA and SCOTT in marriage.

The bond and covenant of marriage was established by God in creation, and our Lord Jesus Christ approved this manner of life by His presence, and first miracle, at a wedding. In fact, the Church is called “the Bride of Christ”, and Holy Scripture commends marriage to be honored among all people everywhere. The union of husband and wife in heart, body, and mind is intended by God for their mutual joy, and for the help and comfort given one another in prosperity and adversity. Therefore marriage is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, deliberately, and in accordance with the purposes for which it was instituted by God. I invite you all to feel perfectly free to smile and enjoy the pleasure, and privilege, that we have today to witness this wonderful pageant of love.

(Presentation of the Bride)
My duty requires me to ask a very important question:
“Who PRESENTS this woman to marry this man?”
(Response: Bride’s parents: "We do.") (Parents remain standing at front.)
(Minister asks SCOTT to go and stand next to JESSICA.)

(Audience Blessing of Bride & Groom)
SCOTT and JESSICA, as we worked on the plans for this great day, you told me that we’d have a very special group of people here today to celebrate with you. And because you have such good friends here, I have an important question to ask each one of you in the audience today: Do you, as parents, family members, and friends, give your blessing and support to SCOTT and JESSICA to be joined in marriage? If so, please respond together with a very warm, “WE DO!” (Audience response: "WE DO!") WONDERFUL! Would you all please take your seats. (pause)

(Introductory Remarks)
JESSICA and SCOTT, I know you really appreciate having your family and friends here today to celebrate with you, and two important people standing here in support of you, your Maid of Honor Natalie, and Best Man Ray. Each one here is very special to you, and I’m sure you have a lot of good memories together.

(Flowers Presented to 2 Mothers)
SCOTT and JESSICA, you have chosen at this time to honor your mothers with flowers. You have both said how truly blessed you are to have such wonderful parents.
(Bride & Groom present flowers.) (music playing)

(Declaration of Intentions)
SCOTT and JESSICA, I ask that you both remember to treat yourselves and each other with respect, and remind yourselves often of what brought you together today -- your special love. So it is appropriate that both of your intentions are considered: that decision you’ve made to be unit in marriage. Let that solemn and joyful decision, to be married to each other for life, be the commitment that holds the two of you together.

And so I ask you directly, SCOTT: Will you have this beautiful woman to be your wife, to live together in marriage? If that’s the intent, the desire of your heart, this great day and every day and night to follow, will you please tell JESSICA, “I WILL.” (SCOTT’S response: "I WILL.") So be it.

JESSICA, in turn I ask you about your intention: Will you have this wonderful man to be your husband, to live together in marriage? If that’s the intent, the desire of your heart, this great day and every day and night to follow, will you please tell SCOTT, “I WILL.” (JESSICA’S response: "I WILL.") So be it.

(Bible Commentary on Love)
Ladies and Gentlemen, we are gathered here today to celebrate the love that SCOTT and JESSICA have for each other. What is “love?” We can start with the Bible, which has quite a lot to say about “love.” Here are just a few points to consider.
First of all, the Bible tells us that “God is love” [I Jn. 4:8]. He is the one true definition of what love is. Everything about God --  Who He is and what He does -- is characterized by an infinite love, especially for us, His children.
Second, God loved each of us so much that He sent His only Son to die as payment for our sins [Jn. 3:16]. God showed His great love by rescuing us who believe in Him, and giving us a fabulous hope of eternity in Heaven with Him.
Third, we love God because He first loved us [I Jn. 4:19]. He has not allowed us to run away from Him, but has lovingly drawn us to Him in a wonderful, spiritual relationship. And even when we stray, He brings us back to Him.
Fourth, God’s Spirit, Who lives inside us, teaches us how to love others. God has given us His Spirit Who enables us to live lives full of love for each other. And Jesus said that our love is a sign to the world that we truly are His disciples.
And fifth, husbands are told to love their wives with the same intense love that Christ has for His Church [Eph. 5]. That kind of love is a very high ideal.

(Minister’s Message on Love)
On the romantic level, “love” isn’t just something that floats in the air. Instead it’s something very real that happens when two people meet each other, at the right place and time in their lives. They begin to see the other person as not just another ordinary human being, but as someone special and extraordinary, someone they want to spend more and more time with, and eventually don’t want to live without. They have the sense that destiny, perhaps forces greater than themselves, have brought them together, and that they were meant to be together. And JESSICA and SCOTT, I’m sure that’s how you feel today.

To love is to enter a whole new world; a world of togetherness; a world of sharing all that is dearest and deepest within your hearts. To love is to remember and keep alive forever all those unique qualities that drew you to one another in the beginning. To love is to constantly search for new ways to bring each other happiness. To make the most of the moments you share together. To love is to watch with wonder all the miracles of creation; to find beauty in all the simple things of life, and to realize how wonderful it is to be alive, to be happy, and most of all, to be together.And to love is to come together from the pathways of your past, and then move forward, hand in hand, along the uncharted roads of your future, ready to risk, to dream, and to dare. And to always believe that all things are possible when you have faith in God, and love for each other.

For when we love, we see things other people do not see. We see beneath the surface, to the qualities that make our beloved special and unique. To see with loving eyes is to know inner beauty. And to be loved is to be seen, and known, as we are known to no one else. Just as two very different threads woven in opposite directions can form a beautiful tapestry, so can your two lives merge together to form a very beautiful marriage.

SCOTT and JESSICA, to make your marriage work will obviously take a lot of love. Love should be the core of your marriage. And love is the reason you are here. But it also will take trust – to know in your hearts that each of you wants the very best for the other. It will take dedication – to stay open to one another; to learn and to grow together, even when this is not always so easy to do. It will take faith – to always be willing to go forward to tomorrow, never really knowing what tomorrow will bring. And it will take commitment – to hold true to the journey you are both now pledging to share together.

SCOTT and JESSICA, the commitment of marriage is one of the most important decisions you will ever make in your life. You are committing to share all that life has to offer, the good times and the bad, with patience and understanding. For your marriage to remain strong, the troubles of everyday life must not shake your faith in each other. There must be a strong sense of commitment and loyalty, a willingness to understand and accept each other’s strengths and weaknesses, an openness of communication, and to be great friends who really like each other as well as love each other.

I’d like to read a poem entitled “On Your Wedding Day.” “Today is a day you will always remember, the greatest in anyone's life. You'll start off the day just two people in love, and end it as ‘Husband and Wife.’ It's a brand new beginning, the start of a journey, with moments to cherish and treasure. And although there'll be times when you’ll both disagree, these will surely be outweighed by pleasure. You'll have heard many words of advice in the past, when the ‘secrets of marriage’ were spoken. But you know that the answers lie hidden inside, where the bond of true love lies unbroken. So live happy forever as lovers and friends; it's the dawn of a new life for you. As you stand here together with love in your eyes, from the moment you whisper, 'I do.' And with luck, all your hopes and your dreams can be real. May success find its way to your hearts. Tomorrow can bring you the greatest of joys, but today is the day it all starts.”

SCOTT and JESSICA, always remember that the greatest kind of love is unconditional love. It is easy to love someone who does nice things for you. It is also pretty easy to love someone you respect and admire. But there is something that goes beyond the words “I love you if…” or “I love you because….” Unconditional love says to the other person, “I love you anyway,” and “I will love you always, no matter what.” Now this is the rarest love of all, and it certainly has the most risk. But no marriage can last without it. It should never be given lightly. But once given, it should never be withdrawn. For example, when we pray the Lord’s Prayer (the “Our Father…”), we ask God to forgive us in the same way that we forgive others. SCOTT and JESSICA, by now I’m sure you’ve learned that neither of you are perfect. And unfortunately, in the future you will each make mistakes. But unconditional love says to the other person, “I forgive you; I still love you, and I will stay with you forever.”

And so SCOTT and JESSICA, I ask that you give the highest priority to the tenderness, gentleness, and kindness that your marriage deserves. When frustrations and difficulties arise, as they do in every relationship at one time or another, focus on what still seems right between you, not only the part that seems wrong. And if each of you will take responsibility for the quality of your life together, it will be marked by abundance and delight.

Remember also that if God should bless you with children, you will both have the responsibility to bring them up in a loving home. They will learn how to love others as they see you love each other, and how you love them.

(Wedding Vows)
SCOTT and JESSICA, you have now chosen to exchange your wedding vows. Please turn and face each other. (MH takes Bride’s flowers.)
SCOTT, please take both of JESSICA’S hands in yours, and as you look into the eyes of this beautiful woman, please share these vows you have chosen to her, repeating after me:
Take you, JESSICA,
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,
I promise to love cherish you.
And be faithful to you,
For as long as we both shall live.”

JESSICA, without letting go of this wonderful man, as you look into his eyes, please share these vows your have chosen to him, repeating after me:
Take you, SCOTT,
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,
I promise to love cherish you.
And be faithful to you,
For as long as we both shall live.”

(Ring Exchange)
The Bride and Groom have provided rings to symbolize these vows.
(Minister gets rings from the Best Man.)
Traditionally, the marking of the passage to the status of husband and wife is noted by the exchange of rings. SCOTT and JESSICA, these are powerful statements of love, a seal upon your wedding vows. Let them mark you as husband and wife, and wear them with joy. They are gifts, as you are gifts to each other. May these rings always remind you of the vows you have taken today.

(“Blessing of the Hands”)
Since your wedding rings will be placed on your hands, JESSICA has asked her Godmother Christine to read the “Blessing of the Hands.”
“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.”

SCOTT, please place this ring on JESSICA'S hand, and repeat after me:
(Minister hands HER ring to him.)
“I give you this ring,
As a symbol of my love;
I will love you today, tomorrow, and forever.”

JESSICA, please place this ring on SCOTT'S hand, and repeat after me:
(Minister hands HIS ring to her.)
“I give you this ring,
As a symbol of my love;
I will love you today, tomorrow, and forever.”

(Couple Lights Unity Candle)
SCOTT and JESSICA, you have chosen at this time to light your Unity Candle, symbolizing the uniting of your lives this day. But you will also keep your individual candles lit, as you will each maintain your own individuality. However, the focus of your lives will now become “we” instead of just “me” individually. From this day forward you will be both two persons and one union. You may come and light your candle.
(Bride & Groom light the Unity Candle.) (music playing)

(Benediction - Irish Blessing)
At this time SCOTT has asked his Godmother Carolyn to come and read a famous Irish Blessing:
“May God be with you and bless you; may you see your children's children, may you be poor in misfortune, rich in blessings. May you know nothing but happiness, from this day forward.”

SCOTT and JESSICA, today you have done a beautiful thing. You have shared a part of yourselves with your family and friends. And you have exchanged your solemn wedding vows and rings, which symbolize a lifetime of commitment. Therefore, in the presence of God and these witnesses, I now declare you to be husband and wife. What God has joined together, let no one separate. Congratulations! I now invite you both to seal this day with a KISS worthy of this great occasion. SCOTT, you may kiss your wife. (pause) (MH returns flowers to Bride.)

(couple faces the audience) It is my privilege to present to all of you,
Mr. and Mrs. Scott ******, as husband and wife!