Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Committment Ceremony for a Pair of Geezers

It was lovely. Our knees took a lot of punishment despite it being a two-scooter event, but oh, bless having those scooters.

Perhaps the most interesting event (well, to some) was a young man approaching my son and asking if he had his blessing to pop the question to my granddaughter last night. The answer was basically a version of "if you treat her right... then yes."

We're waiting to hear the result.

Following is a version of the ceremony. Much of it was lifted off the internet, with adaptations of our own. Obviously I can't repeat word for word the statements Steve and I said to each other since neither wrote ours down, but both of us talked about our meeting, growing friendship, and finally, nearly 30 years later, this. I'm writing it as generically as possibly, in case anybody wants to lift it from here for their own use/adaptation.

Steve & Heather’s Commitment Ceremony:

Enter (family member) to light tapers on candelabra holding unity candle set, then be seated and begin music.

Music: “Here Comes The Sun”
Enter officiator, then bridal party as couples. In this case, two attendants plus flower girl and ring bearer.

(Gesture to audience to be seated.)

Welcome and Call to the Celebration:

Welcome, you have all come today to witness and celebrate the drawing together of two separate lives. This may be the first ceremony of this type you have participated in or witnessed, or it may not, but its purpose and its heart is quite simple even as it is profound. We have come so that _____ and _____ may celebrate and consecrate their spiritual union. It is by their love that they will be united here today. And they wish to celebrate this passage in the presence of your love and support and to share their joy in each other with you, their family and their friends.

The Vision
Love is perhaps the most profound experience that we can have. The sensual part of love is one of life's greatest joys, and when this is combined with real friendship, both are infinitely enhanced. The day-to-day companionship, the pleasure in doing things together, or in doing separate things but delighting to exchange experiences, is a continuous and central joy that those in love share together.

Deep knowledge of another is not something that can be achieved in a short time, and real understanding of the other's feelings can develop fully only with years of intimacy. This wonderful knowledge of another person grows out of truly caring for the other so much that one wants to understand as completely as possible what the other is feeling. Thus it is possible to share not only joys and successes, but also the burden of sorrows and failures. To be known in this way is a priceless thing, because such understanding and acceptance makes it easier to live with profound intimacy, it can and must also enhance the individual strength of each of the partners. We must give ourselves in love, but we must not give ourselves away.

_____ and ______, your union offers you the highest and most intimate experience of love that we know. A growing bond of affection, trust and mutual concern can bring you into a fuller life than either of you could achieve alone. As you share with each other your individual differences, your life together can become richer, more complete, and more spiritually satisfying. A union in such a sense will entail a uniting on all the levels of your being: body and mind, heart and spirit. Then, the longer that your are together, the more you grow and develop together, the deeper will be your lives together in union.

Even now, love is calling for the best qualities deep within each of you, seeking to break down barriers of fear, selfishness, or anything that would keep you apart. This love opens a way of understanding and sensitivity and courage, enabling you to be more responsive to the desires and the needs of one another.

Remember always that love, loyalty, and trust are the foundations of a lasting and happy union. As you strive to fulfill the commitment that you declare to one another here, you life together can be increasingly full of joy, satisfaction, and peace. May you hold fast to the vision and the promise of this special day.

“Wedding Song” by Noel Paul Stukey

Declaration of Intention
Peter to the couple individually:______, do you take ______ as your partner in life, promising to tenderly care for him/her, to respect his/her individuality, to offer him/her your trust and be trustworthy, to balance togetherness with the need for space, to never let disagreements fester and to argue in private, to cherish him/her as he/she is, to love him/her with fidelity? (I do)

Steve’s Statement to Heather:

Heather’s Statement to Steve:

Commitment Vows
“Repeat after me:” I, _____, take you, _____, to be my beloved partner in life, to stand behind, beside and with you always, in times of celebration and in times of sorrow, in times of joy and in times of pain, in times of sickness and in times of health. I will joyfully embrace your family, your children and grandchildren as my family, children and grandchildren. I will live with you, grow old with you, love and cherish you as long as we both shall live.

Presentation of Ring: (1-ring ceremony)
(him) In giving you this ring, I join my life with yours, and pledge my everlasting love.
(her) In wearing this ring, I join my life with yours, and pledge my everlasting love.

Lighting of the Unity Candle:

Heather and Steve, these two candles now lit before you symbolize each of you as you are. The larger unlit candle symbolizes the power and the vision of your union together. Each of you brings a life of broad experience. You have each had a life of peaks and valleys, joys and sorrows. Joining your lives together does not mean that you lose your own identity. It means instead that you have chosen to join the strengths of each of your lives, that you choose to spend the rest of your lives together, facing with each other whatever your lives may hold. May these flames burn brightly and signify your love for each other.

Seven Blessings: (by family member)

May the power of your love bring you health and well-being throughout your lives.
May you have wisdom in the ordering of your common life that you may each be to the other a strength in need, a counselor in perplexity, and a companion in joy.
May you have the grace, when you hurt each other, to recognize your faults, and to seek each other's forgiveness.
May your life together be a vessel of divine love and a symbol of peace to our struggling world, that unity may overcome estrangement, forgiveness heal guilt, and joy conquer despair
May you be ever thoughtful and gentle, patient and forbearing, regardful of each other's feelings and opinions, and lenient to each other's infirmities.
Despite whatever challenges and struggles lie upon your relationship's path, may you always find life good and worth celebrating.
May you discover such deep fulfillment of your mutual affection that you may always be inspired to reach out in love and concern for others.

Presentation to Guests
______ and ______ will turn to each of you for support, love and guidance in the years to come. Will each of you do all that is in your power to encourage ______ and ______ in their commitment and to support them in the promises that they make here today ---- if so, please indicate by saying, "We will." (We will)

With the promises they have made to one another, and by the power of their love, ______ and ______ have been joined in a spiritual union. They are now partners sharing one life from this day forward.

Final Blessing:
Will you all join us now in repeating a blessing which is printed on the card at your tables:

Now you will feel no rain,
For each of you will be shelter to the other.
Now you will feel no cold,
for each of you will be warmth to the other.
Now you will feel no loneliness,
for each of you will be companionship to the other.
Now you are two persons, but there is one life between you.
So go now to your dwelling place
to enter into the days of your life together.
And may your days be good and long upon the earth.


Announcement: There will be a reception line forming over there (point), and as soon as you are through the line you may set out your food for the reception. Thank you all for coming this evening.

Music: “My Heart Will Go On”

(family member doing music) snuff candles, go through reception line

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