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Sample Ceremony - Matthew & Lynsey (Readings from Mr. Rogers & The Velvetine Rabbit)

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 Matthew and Lynsey.

Who has the honor of presenting Lynsey to be married to Matthew? (Her father answers "I Do")

Lynsey & Matthew, every experience you have ever had, everything you have ever done, everything you have ever learned, and every twist and turn on the path of life has brought you to this moment as you now stand before these witnesses to take each other as husband and wife. New experiences lie before you with opportunities to grow deeper in love with each other. As you walk hand in hand into the future, cherish each moment as a gift; a gift given to strengthen the bond between you.

Matthew and Lynsey have chosen a very special and unique selection to be shared with each other and all of you. It takes us back to our childhoods as we sat on the floor, eyes glued to the TV, watching Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.

Fred Rogers did an incredible job of taking two things that we as adults struggle to understand – unconditional friendship and unconditional love – and put them into words and phrases so simple that any child could understand them.

It's you I like
It's not the things you wear.
It's not the way you do your hair,
But it's you I like.
The way you are right now,
the way down deep inside you,
Not the things that hide you
Not your toys--they're just beside you.
But it's you I like.
Every part of you--
Your skin, your eyes, your feelings
Whether old or new.
I hope that you'll remember
Even when you're feeling blue
That it's you I like, it's you yourself
It's you. It's you I like.
You know, perhaps the familiar saying is true – everything we really need to know we learned in Kindergarten (or from Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood). When you look at each other, it doesn’t matter what you have, what you wear, what you do, what you look like or any of the other things on which we as adults tend to judge each other. As husband and wife, you see far beyond all of those things – you see each other for who you really are and you love each other simply for being who you are. That is unconditional love.

With unconditional love, you’ll find that you’ll always need one another, not so much to fill the emptiness as to help each other know your fullness. You’ll always want one another, but not out of lack. You’ll always embrace one another, but not encircle one another. With unconditional love you will succeed in all important ways with each other, and not fail in the little graces. Look for things to praise, often say 'I love you' and take no notice of small faults. Doing this you will have happiness, and you will also find happiness in making one another happy. Doing this you will have love, and you will also find love in loving one another.

Lynsey and Matthew have unconditional love for each other. They have carefully chosen the vows that they are about to share with each other to try to put into words how they will honor that love and each other. From this day forward they promise each other these things:

I will laugh with you in times of joy and comfort you in times of sorrow.
I will share in your dreams, and support you as you strive to achieve your goals.
I will listen to you with compassion and understanding,
and speak to you with encouragement.
I will help you when you need it, and step aside when you don't.
I will remain faithful to you for better or worse, in times of sickness and health.
You are my best friend and I will love and respect you always.

Lynsey, do you make these vows to your groom before these witnesses on this your wedding day? If so answer, I Do.

Matthew, do you make these vows to your bride before these witnesses on this your wedding day? If so answer, I Do.

May I please have the rings?

The wedding ring is the outward and visible sign of an inward and invisible bond which unites two loyal hearts in endless love. The ring is a circle that has no end and symbolizes the never-ending love that exists between you. The precious metal of which the ring is composed is a symbol of the value that each of you hold for the other. May these rings always reflect the light of your love throughout your life together.

And now as a token of your love and of your deep desire to be forever united in heart and soul, you Matthew, may place a ring on the finger of your bride and repeat after me: "Lynsey, I give you this ring as a symbol of my love and faithfulness to you."

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

Matthew and Lynsey, the rings you now wear on your finger are real. The vows you’ve made to each other are real. The love you share for each other is real. The second passage you’ve chosen for your ceremony today talks about what “Real” means and it comes from “The Velveteen Rabbit” by Margery Williams.

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."
Matthew and Lynsey, today your relationship begins its journey into becoming Real. What you have shared up to this point has been friendship and companionship and love...but it has not been truly Real…not yet. What will make your love Real is what you do from here forward. Real love is walking beside each other no matter what life brings and it is embracing the twists and turns that life brings your way. Real love is committing yourself to the other for as long as you both shall live.

To symbolize this commitment you’ve chosen the traditional early Celtic marriage ritual of Handfasting. It was traditionally recognized as a binding contract of marriage between a man and a woman before weddings became a legal function of the government or a responsibility of the church.

After the wedding vows and ring exchange, the couple’s hands are bound together with a cord that is tied in knot signifying the joining of their lives in a sacred union.

Please hold each other’s hands. This cord is a symbol of the life you have chosen to live together. Up until this moment you have been separate in thought, word and deed. But, as this cord is tied around your hands, so shall your lives become tied. With this cord I bind you to the vows that you have made to one another. With this knot I tie you heart to heart, together as one.

{The Officiant wraps the cords loosely around the Bride’s and Groom’s hands and says}

The knot of this binding is not bound by the cord, but rather by your own vows of love. For, as always, you hold in your own hands the making or breaking of this union. May this knot always be a reminder of the binding together of two hands, two hearts and two souls into one. And so are you bound, each to the other, for all the days of your lives.

{Cords are then removed and given to the Best Man or Maid of Honor}

Matthew and Lynsey; you have consented together in wedlock and have pledged your faithfulness each to the other. You have symbolized this pledge with the giving and receiving rings and the tying of the knot. Therefore, with the authority vested in me by the State of Wisconsin, I pronounce you husband and wife together. You may now kiss your bride.

The Newlyweds: Matthew and Lynsey!