CONTEMPORARY NON RELIGIOUS CEREMONY
(This is a contemporary, non religious ceremony. You may change it anyway you wish or construct your own ceremony)
Good afternoon (morning/evening)! We are gathered here today, not to
witness the beginning of what will be, but rather what already is! We
do not create this marriage, because we cannot. We can and do, however,
celebrate with __________________ and ___________ and their friends and
families the wondrous and joyful occurrence that has already taken
place in their lives.
So let the ceremony begin!
The Celebration Of Marriage
Marriage is a supreme sharing of experience, and an adventure in the
most intimate of human relationships. It is the joyous union of two
people whose comradeship and mutual understanding have flowered in
romance. Today ___________ and__________ proclaim their love and
commitment to the world, and we gather here to rejoice, with and for
them, in the new life they now undertake together.
The joy we feel now is a solemn joy, because the act of marriage has
many consequences, both social and personal. Marriage requires "love,"
a word we often use with vagueness and sentimentality. We may assume
that love is some rare and mystical event, when in fact it is our
natural state of being.
So what do we mean by love? When we love, we see things other people do
not see. We see beneath the surface, to the qualities which 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 other. One who loves us, gives us a unique gift: a piece of
ourselves, but a piece that only they could give us.
We who love, can look at each other's life and say, "I touched his
life," or, "I touched her life," just as an artist might say, "I
touched this canvas." "Those brushstrokes in the comer of this
magnificent mural, those are mine. I was a part of this life, and it is
a part of me." Marriage is to belong to each other through a unique and
diverse collaboration, like two threads crossing in different
directions, yet weaving one tapestry together.
The secret of love and marriage is similar to that of religion itself.
It is the emergence of the larger self. It is the finding of one's life
by losing it. Such is the privilege of husband and wife - to be each
himself, herself and yet another; to face the world strong, with the
courage of two.
To make this relationship work, therefore, takes more than love. It
takes trust, to know in your hearts that you want only the best for
each other. It takes dedication, to stay open to one another, to learn
and grow, even when it is difficult to do so. And it takes faith, to go
forward together without knowing what the future holds for you both.
While love is our natural state of being, these other qualities are not
as easy to come by. They are not a destination, but a journey.
The true art of married life is in this an inner spiritual journey. It
is a mutual enrichment, a give and take between two personalities, a
mingling of two endowments which diminishes neither, but enhances both.
I would like to read to you a poem about this mingling, called "
Married Love," which was written by a medieval poet about seven hundred
years ago. In the English translation, it reads:
You and I
Have so much love,
That it burns like a fire,
In which we bake a lump of clay
Molded into a figure of you
And a figure of me.
Then we take both of them.
And break them into pieces,
And mix the pieces with water,
And mold again a figure of you And a figure of me.
I am in your clay.
You are in my clay.
In life we share a single quilt,
In death we will share one coffin.
As the poem shows us, mingling in marriage is a mutual dedication, a
cooperative venture in every sense. It is a relationship based on love,
respect, and a determination by both partners to adjust to each other
and support one another, in health and in sickness, in joy and in
sadness, in ease and in hardship.
(SOME COUPLES WILL REPLACE THE ABOVE "MARRIED LOVE" with " THE PROPHET "
Through this co-operation, we give ourselves, our lives and love. into
the hands of the one we love. We do so trustingly and generously. And
so, each of us receives a gift: the life and love of the other. We
receive this gift, not only from the one we love, but also from the
parents who brought us into the world, and from our friends and
families as well.
And so as _______________ and _________________s friends and family, we
are here to share with them this joy and hope, and to see them off on
the path they will walk together. May it be a path of blessedness,
bright with flowers of prosperity and spiritual awakening; a path of
ever deepening, ever broadening love that they will travel, arm in arm.
through out eternity.
_______________ and _______________ this celebration is the outward
token of your sacred and inward union of hearts, which the church and
temple may bless, and the state make legal, but which neither state nor
church can create nor annul. It is a union created by your loving
purpose and kept by your abiding will. It is in this spirit and for
this purpose that you have come here to be joined together.
(You may pick other vows or write your own)
______________ (Groom) , will you have this woman to be thy wedded
wife, to live together in marriage? Will you love her, comfort her, and
honor her, in sickness and in health, in sorrow and in joy, so long as
you both shall live?
_______________ (Bride) you take this man to be thy wedded
husband, to live together in marriage? Will you love him, comfort him.
and honor him, in sickness and in health, in sorrow and in joy, so long
as you both shall live?
(Ceremony of the Rings)
Traditionally, the marking- of the passage to tile status of husband
and wife is marked by the exchange of rings. These rings are a symbol
of the unbroken circle of love. Love freely given has no beginning and
no end, no giver and no receiver for each is the giver and each is the
receiver. May these rings always remind you of the vows you have taken.
(Each places the ring on the other’s finger and repeats this simple vow:)
"With this ring, I thee wed."
We will close with an Apache Blessing:
(Alternatively, you could use the Cherokee Prayer - Click here)
Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be the shelter for each other.
Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be the warmth for the other.
Now you are two persons, but there is only one life before.
Go now to your dwelling to enter into the days of your life together.
And may your days be good and long upon the earth.
________________ and _________________, remember to treat both yourself
and each other with respect, and remind yourselves often of what
brought you together.
Give the highest priority to the tenderness, gentleness and kindness
that your connection deserves. When frustration, difficulty or fear
assail your relationship – as they threatened all relationships at one
time or another – remember to focus on what is right between you, not
only the part that seems wrong.
In this way, you can ride out the times when clouds hide the face of
the sun in your lives – remembering that even if you lose sight of it
for a moment, the sun is still there.
And if each of you takes responsibility for the quality of your lives
together, your life together will be marked by abundance and delight.
(The Unity Candle and/or The Rose Ceremony may be added at this point
if you wish. Both are included on other sheets of the material sent to
you. You also may add the Cherokee Wedding Prayer - from the "SPECIAL
READINGS " section.
(You may also involve children in the unity candle ceremony - click here)
Inasmuch as you have consented together in this ceremony to live in
wedlock and have sealed your vows in the presence of this company and
by the giving of these rings, it gives me great pleasure to pronounce
that you are Husband and Wife.
Congratulations, you may kiss!