weddings and vow renewals

The Wedding Ceremony of Kate and Douglas 

style: formal, traditional, church setting,  Unitarian Universalist elements, young couple

Processional 

Opening Words 

Dearly beloved, we are here gathered to witness the joining of this man and this woman in marriage: which is an honorable estate, instituted in the necessities of our being, and dedicated to the happiness of persons and the welfare of society; an estate not by any to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, discreetly, and in all sincerity and joy. To be true, this outward form must be a symbol of that which is inner and real: a sacred personal union, which a congregation may bless and the state make legal, but which only love can create, and mutual loyalty fulfill.  To endure, the marriage of two persons must be a consecration of each to the other, and of both to the wider community of which their lives are part.

As we stand here at the altar of life, where life is touched by love, and love by life, we share with these two who are taking their marriage vows, their newfound happiness. We see the door open for comradeship and mystery, for growth and fulfillment. So we pray that they may each bring their whole and best self to the other. May they bring intelligence as well as faith, to the task that is set before them. May they maintain enduring trust and respect, remembering that to understand all is ever to forgive all.

Chalice Lighting

May the light we now kindle inspire us to use our powers to heal and not to harm, to help and not to hinder, to bless and not to curse, and to serve one another in the spirit of freedom.

Interrogation

Doug, will you freely choose Kate as your wife, to live with her in love and loyalty from this moment forward? 

I will

Kate, will you freely choose Doug as your husband, to live with him in love and loyalty from this moment forward? 

I will 

Presentation of the Bride

Who presents this woman to be married to this man?

Father of the bride: Her mother and I do.

With this affirmation, let us joyfully proceed with your wedding. 

Family and Friend Recognition

At this time Kate and Doug would like to honor their families and friends. To their parents: they thank you for the values you gave them and the many sacrifices you made while raising them. You have been a source of inspiration in their lives, and they honor you today. To their friends gathered here, and to those who cannot be here, they value your friendship, and hope that these friendships will grow in the coming years.

Reading: Aidan 

-from The Divine Comedy by Dante translated by Stephen Mitchell 

The Love of God, unutterable and perfect,

            flows into a pure soul the way that light

            rushes into a transparent object.

The more love that it finds, the more it gives

            itself; so that, as we grow clear and open,

            the more complete the joy of loving is.

And the more souls who resonate together,

            the greater the intensity of their love,

            for, mirror-like, each soul reflects the others."

Reading 

Ralph Waldo Emerson, adapted from his essay "Love"

 Love is the dawn of civility, and grace and passion remakes the world. It makes all things alive and significant. Every bird on the boughs of the trees sings now to his heart and soul. Almost, the notes are articulate. The clouds have faces and the trees, the weaving grass and the flowers have grown intelligent.

 Love prays. It makes covenants with the Eternal. The world rolls; the circumstances vary every hour. At last the lovers discover that all which drew them together--those once sacred features, that magical play of charms--had an intended end, like the scaffolding by which the house was built, and the enlarging of heart and soul, from year to year, is the real marriage.

Thus we are put in training for a love which continually grows. And we need not fear that we can lose anything by the progress of the soul. The soul may be trusted to the end. That which is so beautiful and attractive as these relations must be succeeded and supplanted only by what is more beautiful, and so on forever.

Homily: 

Kate and Doug, marriage is a commitment to life--to the best two people can find and bring out in each other. It offers opportunities for sharing and growth that no other human relationship can equal. It is a physical, emotional, and spiritual joining that is promised for a lifetime.  Within the circle of its love, marriage encompasses some of life's most important relationships. A wife and a husband are each other's best friend, confidant, lover, teacher, listener, and critic. There may come times when one of you is heartbroken or ill, such that the love of the other will resemble the tender caring of a parent for a child.  Marriage can deepen and enrich every facet of life. Happiness can be fuller; memories fresher; commitment stronger; even anger can be felt more keenly and it can pass away more quickly. A marriage that endures can understand and forgive the mistakes that life is unable to avoid. May you create a marriage that encourages and nurtures new life, new experiences, and new ways of expressing your love for each other through all the seasons of life.  In pledging to love and care for each other you are creating a unique commitment that will bind you closer than any spoken or written words can do. May you long remember that marriage is a promise made in the heart that takes a lifetime to keep. 

Charge to the Couple

You are about to enter into a union which is most sacred and most serious, requiring of those who enter into it a complete and unreserved giving of self. It will bind you together for life in a relationship so close and so intimate that it will profoundly affect your whole future. That future, with its hopes and disappointments, its successes and its failures, its pleasures and its pains, its joys and its sorrows, is hidden from your eyes.

Love can make it easy, and perfect love can make it a joy. May, then, this love with which you join your hands and hearts never fail, but grow deeper and stronger as the years go on. 

Vows

Do you, Doug take Kate to be your wife,

to have and to hold, from this day forward, 

for better for worse, for richer for poorer, 

in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish,

for as long as you both shall live?

I DO

Do you, Kate take Doug, to be your wife,

to have and to hold, from this day forward, 

for better for worse, for richer for poorer, 

in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish,

for as long as you both shall live?

I DO

Ring Presentation

What symbols do you offer that you will fulfill these vows?

These rings.

Ring Prayer:

The band of gold is a symbol of the purity and sacredness of marriage. 

The ring, from ancient times, has been a symbol of eternity. 

So may your marriage be eternally filled with love and mutual respect. 

May these rings be a symbol of your faith in each other. 

May they always remind you of your love, each for the other. 

Not as a bond but as a pledge, may these rings encircle you fingers, 

as your love does each other. 

May these rings be forever symbolic of the unbroken circle of love. 

Ring Pledge

Doug, please place the ring on Kate's hand with these words:

With this ring I thee wed, and with it I pledge my honor, my love and my life.

Kate, please place the ring on Doug's hand with these words:

With this ring I thee wed, and with it I pledge my honor, my love and my life.

Prayer

Out of this tangled world, O God, you have drawn together these two souls, and bound them firmly with the swift sure bonds of love. 

Their destinies shall now be woven of one design, and their sorrows and their joys shall not be known apart. 

As they grow in mutual understanding, may their joy stand triumphantly against the storms of circumstance which beat against all doors. 

From the rich encouragement of their love, may they complete together the unfinished pattern of their true selves. 

Even as they have chosen each other from all those they have known, so let the days and years of their togetherness deepen the joy of that choice, and make it abidingly true. Amen.

Declaration of Marriage: 

Kate and Doug, you have chosen one another from the many men and women of the earth, you have declared your love and purpose before this gathering. You have made your pledges each to the other. With a joyful heart, I now pronounce you husband and wife.

Closing Blessing: 

May the road rise to meet you.

May the wind always be at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face,

And the rains fall soft upon your fields.

And through all the days of your life together

May God hold you in the palm of His hand.     -Irish Blessing, adapted

Recessional

 

WEDDING CEREMONY OF KARA AND JAMES

style: casual, outdoor, participatory, do-it yourself, creative ritual, young couple 

Processional

WELCOME

Good afternoon, and welcome! My name is Rev. Lissa Gundlach. On behalf of Kara and James, I welcome you to this special moment in their lives. When two people gather together with their families and friends to participate in a wedding ceremony, it is to celebrate what in fact has already occurred. Emotionally, they have been married before today, but they are here now to publicly declare the love already present and guiding their relationship into the future. This public declaration is neither an end nor a beginning, but rather a time of momentary pause before continuing and changing and growing over the months and years to come.

 It is fitting and appropriate that you, the families and friends of Kara and James are here to witness and participate in their wedding, for the ideals, the understanding, and the mutual respect which they bring to their marriage, have their roots in the love, friendship and guidance given to them by you. Marriage makes us aware of the changes wrought by time, but the new relationship will continue to draw much of its beauty and meaning from the intimate associations of the past. Let us celebrate the now and future of their love.

In the act of marriage the fabric of two families becomes interwoven. The resulting tapestry draws on the richness of traditions, memories, and relationships that have been nurtured for years. Some threads in the tapestry are woven fine by those who are no longer with us but whose legacy of love lives on through Kara and James. Some threads glimmer with the joy of the gathered community who have travelled so far to be here today.  The couple lovingly recognizes and thanks their families for their love and acceptance. It is you who have nurtured them and brought them to this time and place. This couple have come out of your family circles and have been guided by your belief in the importance of marriage and family. They are living expressions of your love. They have been blessed by your affection and wizened by your counsel. It is their desire to link your two family circles while honoring the heritage of each.

RECOGNITION OF FRIENDS AND FAMILY 

And to all of the friends and loved ones gathered- You have been a source of inspiration in their lives along the journey of their relationship, and they honor you today. They thank you for your friendships- your loyalty, humor, creativity, and support sustain them. 

Kara and James, a community of family and friends is made through the mutual exchange, the giving and receiving of love. In your marriage may you always remember the blessings of this, your beloved community.

READING, e.e. cummings

And now I'd like to invite James' brother forward to share a poem: 

now all the fingers of this tree(darling)have

hands,and all the hands have people;and

more each particular person is(my love)

alive than every world can understand

and now you are and i am now and we're

a mystery which will never happen again,

a miracle which has never happened before--

and shining this our now must come to then

our then shall be some darkness during which

fingers are without hands;and i have no

you:and all trees are(any more than each

leafless)its silent in forevering snow

--but never fear(my own,my beautiful

my blossoming)for also then's until

tree planting ceremony

Kara and James, today we gather to witness and to celebrate your love which has grown and deepened its roots over the years. The fierce beauty of your relationship has radiated out and touched all of our lives, gathering all of us into this beautiful space out of all of the corners of your lives. Like a tree, your roots are already deep and spread wide across this earth. I invite you now to join me in planting a tree to symbolize the continued growth of your love as they become each other's family today.

Love is the essence of human experience and emotion. It is the root of all and everything we, as humans, do. Love richens our experience, and fills our lives with meaning. It gives us a firm base from which to grow, to learn, and change.

Let your relationship and your love for each other be like this tree you nurture today.

 Let it grow tall and strong. 

 Let it stand tall during the harsh winds and rains and storms, and come through unscathed. 

 Like a tree, your marriage must be resilient. 

 May your roots run deep and wide, intricately supporting your union. 

 Like the sheltering branches of the tree may your marriage provide shade and sanctuary. 

And just like the tree you are planting, marriage requires constant nurturing and nourishment

Kara and James, would you please water the sapling?

(Kara and James water the sapling.) 

Remember to nourish each other, with words of encouragement, trust, and love. This is needed on a daily basis so you each can grow and reach your fullest potential - just like this tree. In your marriage, may you live open to all the seasons of time as you build a home and a family together.

Kara and James, are you ready to exchange your vows?

 

EXCHANGE OF RINGS AND VOWS

You have chosen these rings as a symbol to fulfill these vows. May these rings be symbols of the love and devotion that you share. May they remind you of the beauty of the universe and of the gift of your life together. As in the circle of the ring, may your love encircle each other.

Will you please join hands.

Kara, please repeat after me:

I, Kara, take you, James to be my husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, as long as we both shall live. I choose you as my husband--my friend, my love, the father of our children. I will be yours in plenty and want, in failure and triumph. I will cherish you and respect you, comfort and encourage you, and together we shall live, freed and bound by our love.

Kara takes the ring and places it on James’ finger. 

James, please repeat after me: 

I, James, take you, Kara to be my wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, as long as we both shall live. I choose you as my wife--my friend, my love, the mother of our children. I will be yours in plenty and want, in failure and triumph. I will cherish you and respect you, comfort and encourage you, and together we shall live, freed and bound by our love.

James takes the ring and places it on Kara’s finger.

PRONOUNCEMENT 

By virtue of the words spoken in celebration of your relationship, I now pronounce you husband and wife!

You may seal your union with a kiss!! 

CLOSING WORDS

With abiding confidence and affection, we send you forth upon your journey of life together: to laugh for joy, to suffer pain, to seek, to serve, to find. So be it. 

RECESSIONAL 

 

 

WEDDING CEREMONY OF 

ANGHARAD AND VANESSA

style: casual/ intimate (restaurant), same-sex, Jewish elements, original vows, thematic with music, participatory, couple in their 30s

"Forever" –Ben Harper

Not talkin' 'bout a year
No not three or four
I don't want that kind of forever
In my life anymore
Forever always seems
to be around when it begins
but forever never seems
to be around when it ends
So give me your forever
Please your forever
Not a day less will do From you

People spend so much time
Every single day
Runnin' 'round all over town
Givin' their forever away
But no not me
I won't let my forever roam
and now I hope I can find
my forever a home
So give me your forever
Please your forever
Not a day less will do
From you

Like a handless clock with numbers
An infinite of time
No not the forever found
Only in the mind
Forever always seems
to be around when things begin
but forever never seems
to be around when things end
So give me your forever
Please your forever
Not a day less will do
From you

Prelude

Welcome: Good afternoon!!

And welcome to the marriage of this incredible couple, Angharad and Vanessa. Angharad and Vanessa, welcome to your wedding. It’s really here!! I’m Lissa Gundlach and I’m honored to be officiating as a member of your community of family and friends. Today we gather to witness and to celebrate your love which has grown and deepened its roots over the years. Your days are spent with one another in a rhythm of minutes, hours and days that are familiar.  On this most special day, you’ve invited us all here to help you set apart this time from the ordinary rhythms of time. “We’ve decided on forever, and forever begins...” said your exuberant invitation to this event. Forever begins now, with this moment, with you, with us. With your love, which has radiated out and touched our lives, gathering all of us into this beautiful space out of all of the corners of your life. Forever begins as you as you commit to one another in a new, expansive way that stretches in front of you with endless possibilities.

Chuppah Blessing: Angharad and Vanessa, you stand today under a Chuppah created just for you. In the Jewish tradition, the Chuppah is a sanctuary, sheltering the love and tenderness of your union, supported by all the friends and family who hold you up in joy and struggle. It is a symbol of the home you will create together—its openness encourages authentic sharing and shuns secrets.  In your marriage, may you live open to all the seasons of time as you build a loving home together.

MOMENT OF REMEMBRANCE:
As we revel in all of the abundance and  blessings of this day, we remember those who have passed on before this day, but whose legacy of love continues to sustain you. You have had brave, beautiful teachers who taught how to love, some gathered here and some who guide you eternally. From your teachers, you know that to love is to share it with others in celebration, to eat and to drink, to sing, dance and play music, to laugh and cry. 

Angharad and Vanessa, your wedding celebration honors that legacy of love in every way. To remember this intention throughout the evening, Vanessa will you light a candle of memory as we pause for a moment of silence. 

CANDLE OF MEMORY LIT, MOMENT OF SILENCE

Out of the silence, let’s breathe together into the legacy of love of which you both are a part, remembering all the generations which support your union. May their hopes for your living and loving be joined with ours in joyfully blessing this day. 

Community Affirmation 

Angharad and Vanessa, as you imagine living and loving forever together, I know your community of friends, family and loved ones is central. Your community has helped you create every detail of this day. Going forward, we will support you in all of your days, not just the special occasions we set apart. You have reflected on how we might best support your marriage. 

From that reflection, I will share some specific ways we can support your marriage, I invite you to pledge your support with the affirmation: “We will.”   Are you ready?

To Angharad and Vanessa’s friends and family gathered, will you promise to support and nurture their marriage, in joy and struggle, celebrating life’s milestones and easing life’s transitions?
We will.

Will you promise to help them to imagine a future together as a part of new families, circles of friends, and beloved communities?
We will.

Will you promise to support and nurture your friendships, individually and together, in joy and struggle, through listening, compassion, and patience?
We will. 


Will you promise to inspire with your creativity and courage, encouraging each to follow their dreams?

We will.   

Will you take risks, seek new adventures and savor existence with them as they live their lives together?

We Will!!!  

Angharad and Vanessa, will you accept this support from your gathered community? Please answer with “We will”
We will.

Angharad and Vanessa, we have pledged our support and guidance for you as you live and love. Community is built mutually, by the free exchange of giving and receiving. In joy and struggle, may you always return to this beloved community of friends and family that surround you.

Words on Living and Loving

Angharad and Vanessa, as faithful partners, you stand here in this place, before your friends and loved ones, after a long history together. Your relationship has already grown and changed so much since you met one another. You have companioned one another through a number of life transitions, including law school, grad school, parenting two fabulous cats, emerging new careers and apartments too numerous to count.

And so you came today to declare your love for each other and to celebrate with us, inviting us to share as you reflect with each other about this thing you are calling forever. So what exactly is forever?

At some point long ago, maybe not so long after Sarah Lawrence, forever might have seemed like a lofty romantic goal somewhere far off in the distance, reaching towards a vague destination you might want to strive for when you were older, more mature. Back then, you may have imagined the extremes of forever-- the fairy tale of a dream come true relationship or the nightmarish prison of an unhappy relationship. 

Forever is the farthest possible landscape of time imaginable. It’s hard to wrap our minds around it, and so we reach for the words of musicians and poet to make meaning of it. Ben Harper sings in your processional, “Like a handless clock with numbers/ an infinite of time...Give me your forever... Not a day less will do.”  

The poet e.e. cummings writes: 

Forever is to give,

And on forever’s very now we stand.

Nor a first rose explodes, but shall increase

Whole truthful infinite immediate us. 

These poetic words express that soaring sense of what you stand on the brink of today. Whole. Truthful. Infinite. Immediate. Us. 

Angharad and Vanessa, no longer in the youth of your relationship, you have grown and matured to a place where you are ready to pledge yourselves to a forever that is deep and bold. With this pledge you make to one another, you willingly enter into a kind of forever that is of your own making. In the days ahead, you will craft your own forever as you have done these many years, hewn out of the daily-ness of your love into a seasoned love that is real, not aspirational. Today you freely chose one another knowing what forever means to you now, and are curious about how forever will evolve and change with the years.

For you both, marrying each other today means that you pledge yourselves to a forever that is dynamic and wide open, but bounded with shared intentions and common commitments. While you will lean into the mystery of unfolding time together, you know that you have decided to share your life together in ways that carve out a path for you- the path of creating a home, career, and someday, becoming parents. Relish the tasks of these paths with a sense of joy, play and flexibility as you make decisions that will shape your lives. Let go of the details sometimes to appreciate all you have accomplished and to appreciate what you have created together.  Listen to one another’s different perspectives, putting aside your assumptions to create a path together that is even more bold and beautiful than you could have imagined individually.  So too as your forever unfolds, take time to tend to the inner path of your forever which are not as clearly defined-the path of healing, creativity and transformation. Encourage one another to grow and to heal, to find sanctuary in one another and in the home you create.  

So your forever, this forever, begins here, with you, with me, with this amazing group of people who bless you, and love you, and wish you nothing but happiness. I now invite you to speak your love to one another as you prepare to exchange your vows.


What I love about you:
Angharad to Vanessa
Vanessa to Angharad

Original Vows Exchange:

Angharad:  Vanessa, you are my best friend and my love. Today I choose you and the forever of marriage. Loving what I know of you, trusting what I don’t yet know, I take you to be no other than yourself. I promise to try my best to make you happy every day. I promise to laugh with you. I promise to be my best self for you and to challenge you to be your best self too.  I promise to support you, to be there for you through the very best and the very worst. Although we may not always agree, I promise to be on your side, no matter what. I promise to be sensitive to your needs. I promise to be open with you and tell you the truth, and to listen to you when you tell me the truth. I promise to put us first, you and me and the family we are creating.  

Vanessa: Angharad you are my best friend and my love. Today I choose you and the forever of marriage. Loving what I know of you, trusting what I don’t yet know, I take you to be no other than yourself. I promise to try my best to make you happy every day. I promise to laugh with you. I promise to be my best self for you and to challenge you to be your best self too.  I promise to support you, to be there for you through the very best and the very best. Although we may not always agree, I promise to be on your side, no matter what. I promise to be sensitive to your needs. I promise to be open with you and tell you the truth, and to listen to you when you tell me the truth. I promise to put us first, you and me and the family we are creating.  

Angharad and Vanessa, as you exchange your vows, you have chosen these rings as a symbol of your faith in each other. May they always remind you of your love for each other.

Angharad, please place the ring on Vanessa’s finger and repeat your ring vow after me:
With this ring, I make these promises to you. May this ring be a constant reminder to always treat each other with patience, generosity and kindness. 

Vanessa, please place the ring on Angharad’s finger and repeat your ring vow after me:
With this ring, I make these promises to you. May this ring be a constant reminder to always treat each other with patience, generosity and kindness. 

Pronouncement: 
Angharad and Vanessa, you have spoken your vows to one another and exchanged rings. May all your loved ones, those present, and those here in spirit, continue to rejoice in the love that has united you as you face all that life will bring you. By the witness of your gathered community, I now pronounce you married as you begin your forever together. May you carry love forward. May love carry you forward. You’ve decided on forever, and forever begins now... with a kiss!!!               

Closing words:

One more thing!! We end your wedding ceremony with the breaking of the glass. As the glass shatters, it symbolizes the frailty of human relationships and the brokenness of the world. The fragility of life reminds us of our responsibility to work towards healing and wholeness, in our lives and in the world.  Therefore, to break this glass is an act of hope in the ongoing work of living and loving. As this glass shatters, so may your marriage never break.

BREAK THE GLASS

MAZEL TOV!! CONGRATULATIONS!!

Postlude

 

WEDDING CEREMONY OF 

JACK AND LARRY

            with Cantor Angela Buchdahl of Central Synagogue

style: formal/intimate setting (restaurant), long-term couple in their 50s/ 60s, same-sex, Jewish elements/ joint clergy officiation, original vows, participatory 

Welcome (Reverend Lissa Gundlach)

Good afternoon! And welcome to the wedding ceremony of love and commitment of Jack and Larry. My name is Reverend Lissa Gundlach and it is my joy to officiate as a minister and member of their All Souls, New York City community. I will be joined by Cantor Angela Buchdahl of New York's Central Synagogue, who will help us to celebrate your marriage with song, prayer and ritual.  Jack and Larry, today we gather to witness and to celebrate your love which has grown and deepened and today seeks this joyful celebration. The world is gifted with your love, which has radiated out and touched our lives, gathering all of us together out of all of the corners of your lives.  As they have for all of your 19 years together, your days are spent with one another in a familiar rhythm of minutes, hours and days that are familiar.  On this most special day, you have invited us to help you set apart this time from the ordinary rhythms of time. We’ve come to delight in happiness with you and to revel in the joy of this moment as you affirm your love and commitment in the company of your family and loved ones.

 

Jack and Larry, In the Jewish tradition, the Chuppah is a sanctuary, sheltering the love and tenderness of your union. The Chuppah symbolizes the happy home you have created—its openness encourages authentic sharing and shuns secrets. In your life together, the refuge of nature has been as much of a home for you as the bustling city. The natural world brought you together, uniting your souls in connection with its timeless rhtythms. So let this chuppa also symbolize the home you find with one another in nature. Let its pillars be like the silvery white trunks of the birch trees which have brought you refuge and serenity. Let its canopy be like the sheltering branches which reach far and wide. Let its anchor be the roots that connect you deeply, to each other and to the earth. In your partnership, may you live open to all the seasons of time, remembering to tend the homes of your souls, the natural world, and the city you both love so well. 

Remembrance of those lost/not present (Rev. Gundlach)

As we revel in all of the abundance of this day, we remember those who have passed on before this day or are unable to be with us today, but whose legacy of love continues to sustain you. You have had brave, beautiful teachers who taught how to live well, to love boldly, to seek justice, and to practice gratitude for the gift of each and every day, never taking the simple gifts of life for granted. Particularly, we want to lift up cherished grandparents; parents; aunts and uncles; brothers and sisters; and friends who have died. We lift up those unable to come due to illness. If you feel so moved, I invite you call out a name of someone whose blessing and loving presence you would like to bring into this occasion. Knowing that love’s legacy is transcendent, May the blessings all of whom we have lifted up join us in joyfully blessing this day. With gratitude for the life we share, Amen. 

I would now like to Introduce Cantor Angela Buchdahl of New York City's central synagogue to offer our prayer:

Prayer (Cantor Angela Buchdahl;  accompanies her singing with her guitar) Hashkiveinu (Jewish prayer song)

Reading (Reverend Gundlach)

A Reading from the Prophet Kahlil Gibran

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 one of you be alone,

Even as the strings of a lute are alone though 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.

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.

 

Marriage Address/Wedding Homily (Reverend Gundlach) 

Jack, Larry, you are not unfamiliar to this moment. On November 1, 2012 in a small civil ceremony, you were joined together as legally wedded spouses in a marriage ceremony presided over by your friends, New York State Supreme Court Justices Rosalyn Richter and Marcy Kahn. Today, we who are gathered here celebrate your marriage, your love for each other, and the love and friendship that surrounds you. Jack And Larry, you are joined here today by a vibrant community who celebrates you in this moment and have celebrated you over the incredible 19 years you have been committed to one another. You both have shown over the course of your lives together that the radiant love nurtured in your partnership has inspired you continuously to give of yourselves as you so generously serve others. The wise scholar Cornel West often says “Justice is what love looks like in public.” Your love for each other is demonstrated by how you have chosen to live your lives. It is in your service to your communities where your values are lived, your love is strengthened, and justice is made real. As you prepare to exchange your vows, please remember that beloved community is built mutually, through the giving and receiving. As you move into new stages of life, may you remember to care for one another as you have cared for others. As you cross this threshold into a new phase of your relationship, may you find yourself on solid ground with one another, even as your world continues to shift and change with the years. May your marriage continue to be a kind of greenhouse in which to grow courage and take risks, a laboratory in which to practice compassion, a sanctuary to honor vulnerability. I now invite Cantor Buchdahl and members of your community of loved ones to offer you these seven blessings.

 

Seven Blessings (Cantor Buchdahl)

1. Friendship: 

2. Love: 

3. Humor:  

4. Family:  

5. Trust: 

6. Happiness:  

7. Gratitude:  

Wedding Vows (Rev. Gundlach)

You each grew up in a world where it was difficult to be who you were meant to be.  You met in midlife, coming from different parts of the country and different cultures.   The spark of connection in a mountain retreat in New Mexico was “a little miracle” that has brought us all here today.  Despite the odds, you grew this relationship into a loving partnership for the past 19 years.  Today, what do you promise each other?

LARRY:  Jack, I am very grateful for the wonder of who you are, the beauty of your soul, how lucky I am to have found you and the life and love we share.  I vow to love, honor and cherish you until the day I die.

JACK:  Larry, you have brought to my life the care and constancy that has healed old wounds and the joy and love that have nourished my spirit.  For all that you have given me and continue to give, I vow to cherish and love you, and be by your side for the rest of our lives. 

SHARED VOW: 

Larry, please repeat after me.

I, Larry, pledge to you, Jack, a life of giving and hoping, 

a life of growing and loving. 

I shall share with you both my work and my play. 

I shall be with you in your tears and your laughter. 

Just as I will bring my sorrows and my joys to you. 

I embrace you as my spouse and I pledge to you my honor, my faith, and my love.

And Jack, will you repeat after me.

I, Jack, pledge to you, Larry, a life of giving and hoping,

a life of growing and loving. 

I shall share with you both my work and my play. 

I shall be with you in your tears and your laughter. 

Just as I will bring my sorrows and my joys to you. 

I embrace you as my spouse and I pledge to you my honor, my faith, and my love.

 

Ring Exchange (Rev. Gundlach)

Lissa holds rings, all hold them together and bless them.

May these rings be symbols of the love and devotion that you share.

May they remind you of the beauty of the universe and of the gift of your life together.

You may exchange rings.

As in the circle of the ring, may your love encircle each other. 

With these rings exchanged today, you have pledged your commitment to one another with the witness of your community, which we today celebrate as lasting and true and the state of New York has made legal. I want to invite Cantor Buchdahl to share our final blessing: 

 

Final Benediction (Rev. Gundlach & Cantor Buchdahl jointly)

 And now in our going may God bless us and keep us...

Breaking of Glass (Cantor Angela Buchdahl)

Break the “bulb” and kiss!

Recession (Vivaldi, Allegro of Four Seasons)

 

 

             VOW RENEWAL

style: 10-year vow renewal of couple in their 50s, each with previous marriages, outdoor/ intimate/ casual 

Eva- Marie and Ronnie, ten years ago you learned that marriage is a sending forth into the faithful promise of the unknown.  With a declaration of your love for one another, you began your marriage. Today, you will choose one another once again, with the same passion and promise you pledged that beautiful day ten years ago. Let us recall to mind the words that were spoken on that day, the vows that were made and the bonds which were forged. Those words, those vows and those bonds have been a foundation for your marriage. The life that you have lived together these past ten years has been filled, no doubt, with its bright spots as well as its struggles. Today, you will celebrate your love and remind one another of your vows, promises and your bond over these past ten years. We remember the fond memories as well as the struggles, and we pray that your love will continue to grow sure and strong in the coming years to meet whatever challenges may come. 


Will you join me in prayer:

Prayer:

Spirit of life and love, God of many names and one abundant love,

Bless our gathering with peace and kindness.

As we joyfully celebrate this rite of passage, 

Remind us too of the cycle of life and death of which we are a part, 

As the seasons change around, 

Bind us back to the earth’s rhythms, 

Mindful of our own ever-changing lives, 

Refresh us for the work we are called to do in the world. 

Draw us nearer to our sources of strength, beauty and love. 

In all the seasons of our lives. 

May our prayer be to rest in the enduring joy of this day, today and forever more. 

 

A reading from 1st Corinthians 13: 

Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. 

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 

Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect; but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away. 

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I gave up childish ways. 

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood. 

So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 

 

“THE WILD ROSE” – BY WENDELL BERRY

Sometimes, hidden from me in daily custom and in ritual
I live by you unaware, as if by the beating of my heart.
Suddenly you flare again in my sight
A wild rose at the edge of the thicket where yesterday there was only
shade
And I am blessed and choose again,
That which I chose before.

 

Memory Sharing/ Comments 

I now invite you to share memories with one another of your marriage ceremony ten years ago. What memories might illuminate your life going forward? What memories might you want to let go of to invite more forgiveness and love into your life? 

Renewal of vows: 

Ronnie, do you once-again choose Eva-Marie on this day, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, as long as you both shall live?

I do 

Will you be hers in plenty and want, in failure and triumph? And will you cherish and respect her, comfort and encourage her?

I will. 

Eva-Marie, do you once-again choose Ronnie on this day, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, as long as you both shall live?

I do 

Will you be his in plenty and want, in failure and triumph?

And will you cherish him and respect him, comfort and encourage him?

I will. 

 

Ring Blessing:

What symbols did you offer to one another on your day of marriage?

These rings. 

May these rings be a symbol of your faith in each other. May these rings be symbols of the love and devotion that you share.  As you give, receive, and wear these rings, remember the vows you made on your wedding day.  May your love continue to be as beautiful each day you share as it was on its first day of celebration, today, and evermore.

 

I want to close with a blessing from the Rev. Richard Gilbert

"For A Wedding" – Rev. Richard Gilbert

What accidents of fate,

What elements of choice,

What mystery of humanness

Have brought you here

We do not know.­

But you are here

Because your yesterdays have brought you 

And your tomorrows promise you happiness.

 

You are here, not alone, but in a community of love. 

Here, present and absent,

Are those actors in the drama of your lives. 

Those who have helped create who and what you are. 

They form a company, seen and unseen, of those who wish you well. 

For you are a part of what they are, 

and they are a part of what you are. 

We live not to ourselves alone. 

 

You are here because you share a history of love 

And a future of growth.

Your being here is not a culmination

But a beginning--the beginning of a center of intimacy 

Which will nourish your lives henceforth.

 

Here today you re-form a covenant,

You exchange pledges and vows,

For humans are promise-keeping creatures-­

Beings who need the on-goingness of relationships, 

Who need a past, a present, a future.

 

I wish you well,

For it is no easy pilgrimage on which you have embarked. 

Many fall by the side of the road, 

Injured, exhausted, alive no more. 

Many choose different paths 

In some unknown future.

 

The way is filled with promise and possibility, 

With problem and peril.

Still, you continue the journey with joy, 

You continue with hope in your hearts, 

And that is as it should be.

May your journey be made in gentleness.    

May your pilgrimage abound with promise.

May the roads you choose to walk together

Be the paths of peace and plenitude.

May you exchange strength of spirit

With those who walk beside you.

The time is at hand.

You must be on your way.

Benediction: 

So Ronnie and Eva-Marie, may your days be good and long upon this earth, and may an ever expanding circle of love surround you always. May your home be a place of safety, joy and beauty.

And now in our going, may God bless us and keep us. May the light of God shine upon us, and out from within us and be gracious unto us and grant us peace. For this is the day we are given, let us rejoice and be glad in it! Congratulations!