Sunday, September 19, 2010

Words to Be Wed By

This post is likely to do a few things:
1. Break a record as the longest post in Weddingbee history.
2. Help insomniacs finally get some sleep, due to fact #1
3. Assist someone in writing their own ceremony (that's my hope at least [though #2 would be nice too, since everybody needs to get some good sleep]).

When Mr. Pin Cushion and I set out to write out own ceremony, we were quite miffed with how to begin. We ended up relying on a variety of sources. We frequently looked to Mrs. Cherry Pie's post on her ceremony wording. We endlessly googled for ideas. And we used this book:

Lastly, we used our own noggins (and my dad's, as he was our officiant).

It took quite a few hours-long sessions at coffee shops, and lots of revisions, but in the end, we were beyond thrilled with how the ceremony turned out. Many guests told
us that the ceremony made them cry (which we took as a compliment!).

See? I was so happy with the ceremony that I almost ate my bouquet!
[Photo by our stupendous photographer, Kelty, of Steep Street Photography]

A few comments before I lay the whole ceremony out: 1) I am keeping our real names in the post (it became too complicated when everybody's names were changed [so no stalking, okay?]); 2) To help make things clearer, I've titled different sections in bold; 3) Our vows will be in another post; 4) I did not cut out the personal comments that my dad said about us, so I apologize to everyone who finds them boring or mushy (in which case, feel free to skip ahead or make gagging noises like we did in 7th grade).

Drum roll . . .


Welcome! Please be seated. My name is Joel. I am Kendra's father. I feel deeply honored that Chris and Kendra asked me to officiate at their wedding ceremony. I have witnessed their relationship from the beginning, when I picked Chris up from his house for their first date together. And now, ten years later, I am thrilled to be a part of their wedding.

On behalf of me, my wife Lorrie, Chris' parents' Rebecca and Michael, I would like to thank you all for coming to affirm and celebrate the bond of love between Chris and Kendra. They both feel that your presence here today makes this occasion extraordinarily special and that the
love and support from each of you has provided the stepping stones to this moment.

Chris and Kendra, on this, one of the most important days of your lives, you stand within a wondrous circle of love. You are surrounded by your dearest friends and family who are here to witness and participate in your marriage, as well as by the thoughts of those who cannot be here and would have greatly loved to share this experience with you.

We are gathered here today to witness and to celebrate the coming together of two lives. We have come to join this man, Chris, and this woman, Kendra, in marriage. This is a beautiful and joyous occasion because it acknowledges their commitment to each other in deep friendship and love. This union is the result of a ten-year relationship that has been tested, matured and evolved over time.

Family Thanking
Today represents not only the joining of Chris and Kendra, but also the joining of their families. They would like to say a few words of gratitude to their families.
Kendra: Rebecca, Michael, thank you for raising Chris to be the kind, inquisitive and passionate man that I have fallen in love with. Lauren and Alexis, thank you for protecting Chris and for being the other two peas in the pod.
Chris: Lorrie and Joel, thank you for the wonderful job you did raising Kendra. She i
s the most caring, loving and supportive person I know and she means the world to me. Kevin, thank you for looking after her and helping mold her into the woman she is today.

I would like to invite Chris' grandfather, Felton, to say a prayer for this occasion.

{Chris' grandfather
gives a prayer he wrote in advance}

Thank you for those beautiful words.

Words on Marriage
Marriage symbolizes the intimate sharing of two lives. This sharing must not diminish, but enhance the individuality of each partner. You do not shed your individuality, for that is what brought you together in the first place. Marriage is the loving declaration that you should be no other than yourself.

A lasting marriage is not stagnant. The relationship and each individual are continually growing and developing. Your understanding of each other deepens and evolves. It is not this ceremony or the state of being married that will truly join and hold you together, but your ongoing commitment to your relationship and to the kind of life you wish to make togeth
er. In this way, your marriage will not be just a symbol; it will be more than that. It will be an action, something you work actively on every day.

In marriage, we give ourselves freely and generously into the hands of the one we love, and in doing so, each of us receives the love and trust of the other as our most precious gift. But even as that gift is shared by two people who are in love, it also touches the friends and family members, who, in various ways, support and contribute to the relationship.

All of you are Chris and Kendra's community, and each of you has played some part in bringing them to this moment. The gathering together of this community is an important part of a wedding ceremony. Chris and Kendra are now taking a new form as a married couple, becoming part of their community in a new way.

Family & Friend Vows
Chris and Kendra, you do not enter into this marriage alone or without support. I have a special request of all those gathered here today. I call on everyone here to make a promise to support Chris and Kendra as they enter into marriage, to supply them wise council and words of encouragement if called upon by this beautiful couple.

As I ask the following questions, if you can make the promise to the couple, please respond with words, "We will."

Will you, gathered here today, support and aid in any way asked, t
o the best of your ability?
Will you guide them, the best way you can, using your accumulated wisdom?
If asked, will you supply them with words of encouragement and affirm your belief to them that they can overcome any and all obstacles that might come in their path?

Thank you all for your vows of commitment to this couple.

Words of Love
As a first demonstration of this commitment, Chris and Kendra have asked a few members of their friends and family to share their thoughts on
love and marriage. These people have helped shape and mold this couple's ideas of love.

{Chris' sister, Kendra's best friend's mom and Kendra's mom read pieces they had each previously written about love.}

Words about The Couple
The couple that stand before you today are mat
ure beyond their years. Perhaps they knew that ten years ago, as they spied each other out on the track field. Kendra thought to herself, "Hey, that geeky, gawky person is kinda cute." Chris must have thought the same thing. A small spark was present that day. Who could have predicted it would turn into the hot fire we witness today?

When Lorrie and I first met Chris, he was very quiet. We would talk with each other at night wondering what was going on in that young, intelligent brain of his. Lorrie, through experimentation relied on the age old adage that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. She discovered Chris' passion for sour cream potato chips. Whenever Chris would come visit, Lorrie made sure there was a fresh bag in the pantry.

Over time, while on numerous family outings, we discovered that Kendra had found a diamond in the rough. He as proven himself to be a gentle, generous, helpful and caring individual. His stamina is legendary-able to walk the streets of Washington DC for miles. One other interesting thing about him is he never gets cold. Even in snowy conditions he has no need for jackets of any kind. Strange. A father could ask for no better suitor for his daughter. Thanks Chris.

Kendra is our only daughter. In fact, she was the first girl born into the Kirkpatrick family in 23 years, breaking a run of 10 boys. When she was born, I was a little anxious. Coming from a family of 4 boys, I had no clue as to how to go about raising a girl. My fears turned out to be unfounded. Kendra has always been a delight to be around. She was socially
introverted as a child, but she has evolved into a confident, brilliant adult with a great sense of humor. She is extremely expressive and creative.

So, this couple here today presents a study in contrasts-Kendra, the vulnerable, sensitive female, and Chris, the quiet, dependable, grounded personality. Like all successful relationships, theirs contains a healthy balanced mixture of contrasts and similarities. The two of them are, in my opinion, perfectly matched.


We will now be joined by Chris' mother, Rebecca, reading from Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet.

You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness, and let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another, but make not a bond of love.
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup, but drink not from one cup.

Give one another of your bread, but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each of you be alone.
Even as the strings of a lute are alone, they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together.
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
and the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.

Chris and Kendra will now state the vows that they have written for one another.
{Vows to be discussed in another post . . .}

Exchange of the Rings
The ring is an outward and physical sign of the vows you have made today and of the inward bond that you share. Let these rings be a sign that love has a past, a present and a future, through you and within you.

Chris, take Kendra's ring. Place it on her finger and repeat after me:
As a ring has no end, neither shall my love for you. With this ring, I thee wed, and bestow upon thee all the treasures of my mind, heart and hands.

Kendra, take Chris' ring. Place it on his finger and repeat after me:
As a ring has no end, neither shall my love for you. With this ring, I thee wed, and bestow upon thee all the treasures of my mind, heart and

[Guest photo]

We will commemorate this union with an Apache Wedding Blessing:
"Now you will feel no rain,
For each of you will be the shelter to the other.
Now you will feel no cold,
For each of you will be warmth to the other.
Now there is no loneliness for you,
For each of you will be companion for the other.
Now you are two persons,
But there is one life before you.
Go now to your dwelling place to enter into the days of your togetherness.
And may your days be good and long upon this earth."

If anyone knows any reason why these two should not be joined in marriage, speak now and risk being thrown in the pond, or forever hold your peace. And now, Chris and Kendra, by the authority vested in me by the state of California, but more importantly, by the authority vested in me by the fact that I believe in the power of your agreement this day and the seriousness with which you make this commitment, it is my honor to pronounce you husband and wife.

Chris, you may now kiss your bride.
Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you the happy couple, Chris and Kendra!

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