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Sample Ceremony - Andrew & Jennifer (Sand Ceremony)

Procession

Giving of the Bride to the Groom (before ceremony)

Welcome
Friends and family, what a joy it is to welcome you here, for we have come to celebrate the miracle of love and to witness the union of this man and this woman into the bond and contract of Matrimony. ANDREW and JENNIFER, every experience you have ever had, everything you have ever done, and every twist and turn in life has miraculously brought you to this very moment as you now stand before these witnesses to take each other as husband and wife.

Charge to the Bride & Groom
I charge you both to remember that love and loyalty alone will stand as the foundations of a happy and enduring home. If the vows you make today are kept, your life together will be full of joy and peace, and the home which you make shall thrive through whatever the future may hold. In this new life together, I encourage you to always remember the thrill of your early love. Cherish the visions and hopes you have on this day, and do not let them be tarnished by common events or routine habit. I charge you both to make your love for each other a growing part of your lives, nurturing it every day in every way possible. But, it is also necessary to recognize that marriage is a relationship of two people, neither of whom are always at their best. During these hard and trying times, I implore you to always act with charity, understanding, and compassion toward one another. And finally, I charge you both to remember this day as the most important day in your lives--as the day in which you promised, before these witnesses and each other, that you will love each other no matter what for all the days of your lives.

Betrothal
ANDREW and JENNIFER, the two of you are about to become husband and wife. You are about to pledge everything you have and everything you are to each other. This is not a commitment that either of you should take lightly. The vows you are about to take do not come with an asterisk or fine print that says “unless I change my mind” or “unless I’m having a bad day” or “until it becomes too difficult.” The promises you are about to make to each other must be honored every moment of every day for the rest of your lives. But…these promises come with the greatest reward you could possibly imagine - true and honest love.

About Love
Every time a couple comes to me and asks me to marry them I ask them one simple question: “Why do you want to get married?” Almost every couple I’ve ever asked has answered my question the same way – “because we’re in love.” I then ask “But what happens when you’re no longer in love?” More often than not, they just stare at me blankly.

I invite you to ask any couple here today if they’re still in love. Most will answer that they are. But if you ask them if they’ve been in love every minute of every day that they’ve been together, I guarantee you that they will tell you there have been days that they haven’t been in love (and most wives will tell you that every single one of those days can be blamed on something their husbands did).

There is a difference between being IN LOVE, which the two of you are right now, and what REAL love actually is. Being IN LOVE is incredible – it’s your heart skipping a beat when you catch a glimpse of each other from across the room, it’s the anticipation you feel the moment before you kiss, it’s the longing you feel when the other isn’t around.

If you’ve ever been to a wedding, you’ve most likely heard the minister read the passage that says that “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

The Greeks, for whom this passage was written, actually have four words for love. One is sacrificial, one is passion, one is friendship, and one is fondness. The love that this passage refers to is not the “IN LOVE” passion kind or even the “friendship” or “affection” kind; it is the sacrificial kind.

It may be hard to imagine today, but there will days when you will not be IN LOVE. Some of those days will be easy – just those gloomy, cloudy, rainy kind of days. Other days will be harder – the lightning flashing, thunder crackling, river rising kind of days. There will be days when you feel so frustrated and angry with the other that you feel like simply giving up. There will be days you feel so hurt by the other that it feels as if your heart will tear in two. There will be days you feel so guilty for something you’ve done that you don’t feel worthy of being loved by the other. During these times, it is the sacrificial kind of love that will see you through.

Love is patient. It is choosing to endure what we do not want to endure for the good of the other. It is taking the full brunt of all the frustration and anger that has built up in the other; it is giving the other space and time when it is needed, and it is doing these things without even a single word in defense or in response.

Love is kind. It is seeing the other at their very worst and not passing judgment. It is not saying “I told you so.” It is not kicking the other when they’re down no matter how much they may seem to deserve it.

It does not envy. It is celebrating the good that comes to the other instead of begrudging them because it did not come to us.

It does not boast. It is not blowing our own horn or singing our own praise. It is being so completely enthralled by the other that we would rather listen to and learn about them and their day than share about ourselves.

It is not proud. It is not saying to the other ‘look how much I love you; I’ve done all of these things for you today. I’ve taken out the trash, I’ve mowed the lawn, I’ve vacuumed the carpet, I’ve done the dishes, I’ve folded the laundry, and I’ve cleaned the bathrooms because I love you.” It is doing those things quietly without wanting recognition because they will make the other happy.

It does not dishonor others. It is not building yourself up by tearing the other down. It is not sharing with your friends the shortcomings of the other no matter how funny they may be.
It is not self seeking. It is serving the needs of the other before serving the needs of your own self. It is remembering to say “yes, dear” instead of “but honey.”

It is not easily angered. It is understanding that what is said and what is done is not always what is meant. It is knowing that the other is human – mistakes are made.

It keeps no records of wrongs. This, of course, one only applies to the husband – wives are entitled to keep score for the duration of the marriage.

It always protects. It is creating a safe environment for the other; an environment in which each can be himself or herself openly and freely.

It always trusts. It is knowing that the other will love us no matter what.
It always perseveres. If both of you do all of these things, your love will see you through those times when you’re not IN LOVE.

With this knowledge of love, ANDREW, do you take JENNIFER to be your wedded wife, and in the presence of these witnesses do you vow that you will do everything in your power to make your love for her a growing part of your life? Will you continue to strengthen it from day to day and week to week with your best resources? Will you stand by her in sickness or in health, in poverty or in wealth, and will you shun all others and keep yourself to her alone as long as you both shall live? If so, answer “I Do.”

JENNIFER, do you take ANDREW to be your wedded husband, and in the presence of these witnesses do you vow that you will do everything in your power to make your love for him a growing part of your life? Will you continue to strengthen it from day to day and week to week with your best resources? Will you stand by him in sickness or in health, in poverty or in wealth, and will you shun all others and keep yourself to him alone as long as you both shall live? If so, answer “I Do.”

Please turn and face each other, taking the other’s hands in yours. I’d like you to take a moment to look down at the hands that each of you now hold.

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 temporarily comes your way. 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 give you support and encouragement to chase down your dreams. These are the hands that will hold you tight as you struggle through difficult times. These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it. These are the hands that will lift your chin and brush your cheek as they raise your face to look into eyes that are filled with overwhelming love for you. 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.

Sharing of Vows
ANDREW, please repeat after me.
From this moment, I, ANDREW, take you, JENNIFER, as My wife for life. I pledge to honor, encourage, and support you through our walk together. When our way becomes difficult, I promise to stand by you and uplift you, so that through our union we can accomplish more than we could alone. I promise to work at our love and always make you a priority in my life. With every beat of my heart, I will love you. This is my solemn vow.

JENNIFER, please repeat after me. From this moment, I, JENNIFER, take you, ANDREW, as My husband for life. I pledge to honor, encourage, and support you through our walk together. When our way becomes difficult, I promise to stand by you and uplift you, so that through our union
we can accomplish more than we could alone. I promise to work at our love and always make you a priority in my life. With every beat of my heart, I will love you. This is my solemn vow.

Exchange of the Rings
The wedding ring is a symbol of eternity. It is an outward and visible sign of an inward and invisible bond which unites two hearts in endless love. As a token of your love and of this bond, ANDREW please place the ring on the finger of your bride and repeat after me: JENNIFER, I give you this ring//as a symbol of my love//and faithfulness to you.

By the same token JENNIFER, please place the ring on the finger of your groom and repeat after me: ANDREW, I give you this ring//as a symbol of my love//and faithfulness to you.

Sand Ceremony
Today ANDREW and JENNIFER have chosen to commemorate their marriage through the celebration of the Sand Ceremony. This ceremony symbolizes the joining of two unique individuals into one inseparable union. Each will pour their own, separate containers of sand into one common vessel. Each grain of sand in their own container represents a unique and separate moment, decision, feeling or event that helped shaped each of them into the unique individuals that they are today. As they pour their sand into a common vessel, those separate and independent individuals will cease to exist. They will become one person, one heart, one soul, and one life, together, inseparable. ANDREW and JENNIFER just as the grains of sand can never be separated into their individual containers again, so will your marriage be."

Pronouncement
JENNIFER and ANDREW, you have chosen to enter into the promise of marriage with each other by pledging your love and devotion with your vows and sealing those vows with the exchange of the rings. Therefore, with the power vested in me by the State of Wisconsin, I now pronounce you Husband and Wife. You may now kiss your bride.

Presentation of the Bride & Groom
Friends and family, it is with great pleasure that I introduce to you
Jennifer & Andrew Lastname
Recession

 

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