Highway to Happiness: Our Ceremony Begins

The great thing about having a friend perform your wedding ceremony is that it can be anything you want it to be. That’s also one of the down-sides, since it can literally be anything and where to begin can be a bit daunting (especially for a first-time officiant). The following ceremony has been cobbled together from half a dozen different sources (at least!), remixed and edited into something that suited us. I’ve transcribed the whole thing in this and the next post just in case someone finds something useful for creating their own ceremony.

All images via Pink Shutterbug Photography
All images via Pink Shutterbug Photography

Family and friends, we are all here today to celebrate the relationship of Jennifer and Todd and to be witnesses and supporters of the commitment they share with one another. Together we’re a group of the most important people in their lives and they’ve brought us here to publicly recognize that we’ve all played some special part in the love they share today.

Jennifer and Todd want me to thank you all for being here and to recognize how important each and every one of you is to their relationship. They would also like to recognize all of those who couldn’t make it here today as they are certainly missed but not forgotten on this day of celebration.

In marriage the little things are the big things. It is never being too old to hold hands. It is remembering to say ‘I love you’ at least once a day. It is never going to sleep angry. It is standing together and facing the world. It is speaking words of appreciation, and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways. It is having the capacity to forgive and forget. It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow. It is a common search for the good and the beautiful. It is not only marrying the right partner — it is being the right partner .

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It was during that last paragraph that L got choked up again and Mom scooted around us to hand her a tissue.

The road that has brought Jennifer and Todd here today hasn’t been easy. It’s been filled with challenges that they weren’t necessarily prepared for, both separately and together. But they’ve taken each one on and have used those experiences to strengthen, not weaken their love.

Freind-ficinant L: Do you, Todd, welcome Jennifer as your wife, offering her your love and encouragement, your trust and respect, as together you create your future?

Todd: I do

Friend-ficiant L: Do you, Jennifer, welcome Todd as your husband, offering him your love and encouragement, your trust and respect, as together you create your future

Jennifer: I do

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At this time, we invite selected family members to recite the four elemental blessings.

 

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Mama Leadfoot: These are the blessings of the elements of air: may you always share ideas, tell each other your dreams, and appreciate each other’s intelligence. The gift of air is communication.

Dr. Aunt: These are the blessings of the element of fire: may you always find inspiration in each other, find the energy you need to support each other, and have faith in your relationship. The gift of fire is passion.

MiL Road Trip: These are the blessings of the element of water: may you offer each other compassion, may you wash away hurts and share each other’s joy. The gift of water is love.

FiL Road Trip: These are the blessings of the element of earth: may you never want for food or shelter, may you thrive in health and enjoy the good things of the earth. The gift of earth is the material world.

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Jennifer and Todd, the vows that you are about to make are a way to share your love and commitment to each other in your own words. Sometimes poems, verses and quotes just don’t get the point across the way you need them to and the best option is just to do it yourself. These vows are your way of openly declaring your promise to one another as well as to all of those who are here in attendance today.

Jennifer, ladies first.

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Todd, before I met you I had come to the conclusion that marriage just wasn’t for me, that I just wasn’t any good at it. And you know full well that I didn’t change my opinion until several years together had passed. But you never pushed, never tried to convinced me, you just showed me day after day that you were different. That our relationship was different. And that when I was with you, I was different, too; different because I never had to be anything other than myself for you to love me.

Several years ago, the night before I was going to have surgery, I was understandably concerned about what was going to happen the next day. I admitted to feeling more than a little wobbly over it all. You pulled me close to you and you said ‘you can have some of my strength.’ Over the years you have continued to offer me a strong, broad shoulder to lean on when tired or sad. You always seem to make me laugh over the silliest things, and your calm, easy-going way helps balance my intense need for control. In your arms I feel safe and cherished. And I continue to be grateful for your willingness to go along with my latest, sometimes hare-brained, ideas.

Today I promise to do everything in my power to make you smile each day, to greet you with a hug and a kiss when we’ve been apart, and to always hold your hand as we face whatever the world has waiting for us just around the next curve. I will never tell you you have too many comics or games. I will always support your endeavors and encourage you to try new things.

With you I’ve learned the beauty of not planning everything out as far as the mind could see, of just letting the days come of their own accord and with no expectations. With you by my side I’ve accomplished things I’d onlly dreamed about, and am continually humbled by your faith in me.

It’s hard to believe that six years ago today you arrived at my apartment and forever changed what I knew to be true about my life. I’ve never been so happy to be wrong.

There were the expected chuckles at both “hare-brained ideas” (notably from my boss) and the end bit about being wrong, but there were also a number of audible sniffles during both of our vows and the rest of the ceremony. I was right there with them, though–I may not have teared-up myself, but I did have to take a couple of deep breaths at points to keep my composure.

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Jennifer, for many years now I have admired your beauty, your intelligence, your kindness, and for the way you always know how to make me feel so special. So on top of all the other vows I will make to you today, I also vow to always appreciate how lucky I am to have someone who makes me feel the way you do and to continue to try as hard as I can to make you feel as special as you make me feel, forever and ever.

And so…

  • I vow to fill your ‘I Love You’ bank every day.
  • I promise to keep a shoulder available if crying becomes necessary, and embracing arms for when it’s done.
  • I vow to snuggle with you as often as possible.
  • I promise to kill any insects that wander into our home.
  • I vow to never take your love for granted.
  • I promise to always respect you.
  • I vow to make you really really laugh out loud.
  • I promise to always try one bite of every meal you create (unless it’s make with peanut butter).

But most of all, I vow to love you under any circumstances; happy or sad, easy or difficult, through the sunshine and through the rain, for the rest of our days. I am an extremely lucky man, and I couldn’t imagine growing old with anyone else.

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I transcribed these from the notecards we used during the wedding but I could swear there was something about a monkey at every birthday in his vows, as well.

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