The Ceremony Text

"Echo Park" - Joseph Arthur

Good afternoon, everyone! Darren and Katrina have asked you all here today to witness their declaration of love and commitment, and to share their joy. Marriage is a supreme sharing of experience, and an adventure in the most intimate of human relationships.

Because of the significance of this day, Darren and Katrina have written this ceremony themselves, pieced together from articles and writings they found to be the most meaningful.

In 2003, the Supreme Court of the state of Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage and, in doing so, wrote a fantastic declaration outlining the significance of this sacred union. "Marriage is a vital social institution. The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support. Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family. Because it fulfills yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution, and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life's momentous acts of self-definition.

It is undoubtedly for these concrete reasons, as well as for its intimately personal significance, that civil marriage has long been termed a 'civil right.' Without the right to choose to marry, one is excluded from the full range of human experience."

Darren and Katrina stand before you today not only to celebrate their love, but because they want to hear from you, that you will always be their friends, and will always support and encourage them as they discover the commitment and dedication needed to make marriage work. That is why you are here today.

In this spirit of encouragement, the bride and groom have asked their friend Eric to give a reading. Eric, if you'll please come forward.

A Lovely Love Story, by Edward Monkton
The fierce Dinosaur was trapped inside his cage of ice. Although it was cold he was happy in there. It was, after all, his cage.

Then along came the Lovely Other Dinosaur.

The Lovely Other Dinosaur melted the Dinosaur’s cage with kind words and loving thoughts.

"I like this Dinosaur," thought the Lovely Other Dinosaur. "Although he is fierce he is also tender and he is funny. He is also quite clever though I will not tell him this for now."

"I like this Lovely Other Dinosaur", thought the Dinosaur. "She is beautiful and she is different and she smells so nice. She is also a free spirit which is a quality I much admire in a dinosaur."

"But he can be so distant and so peculiar at times," thought the Lovely Other Dinosaur.
"He is also overly fond of things. Are all Dinosaurs so overly fond of things?"

"But her mind skips from here to there so quickly," thought the Dinosaur. "She is also uncommonly keen on shopping. Are all Lovely Other Dinosaurs so uncommonly keen on shopping?"

"I will forgive his peculiarity and his concern for things," thought the Lovely Other Dinosaur. "For they are part of what makes him a richly charactered individual."

"I will forgive her skipping mind and her fondness for shopping," thought the Dinosaur. "For she fills our life with beautiful thoughts and wonderful surprises. Besides, I am not unkeen on shopping either."

Now the Dinosaur and the Lovely Other Dinosaur are old.

Look at them.

Together they stand on the hill telling each other stories and feeling the warmth of the sun on their backs.

And that, my friends, is how it is with love. Let us all be Dinosaurs and Lovely Other Dinosaurs together.

For the sun is warm.

And the world is a beautiful place.

Darren and Katrina, you’ve come before this gathering of family and friends to proclaim your love and devotion to each other. This celebration is the outward token of the sacred and inward union of hearts, which the church may bless and the state make legal, but which neither state nor church can create. 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.

The bride and groom have written their own vows, which they will now recite for each other.
(vows read)

Reading 2
I'd like now to invite Darren's grandmother Roberta forward for the next reading.

"The Art of A Good Marriage" by Wilferd Arlan Peterson

Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens.
A good marriage must be created.
In marriage the little things are the big things.
It is never being too old to hold hands.
It is remembering to say "I love you" at least once a day.
It is never going to sleep angry.
It is at no time taking the other for granted;
the courtship should not end
with the honeymoon, it should continue through the years.
It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.
It is standing together facing the world.
It is forming a circle of love that gathers the whole family.
It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice,
but in the spirit of joy. It is speaking words of appreciation
and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.
It is not looking for perfection in each other.
It is cultivating flexibility, patience,
understanding and a sense of humor.
It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.
It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow old.
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.
It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal,
dependence is mutual and the obligation is reciprocal.
It is not only marrying the right partner, it is being the right partner.

Exchanging of rings
Marriage is another word for "trust." Maybe "trust, plus." It is two people full of doubts, shortcomings, and love holding hands and jumping together. It's a risk, fraught with the potential to fail, and that makes it beautiful. Three-legged races, where two people hop, stumble, get back up, and maybe hit a stride until they fall again. It's funny, frustrating, and the wedding ring is a symbol for the rope tying two legs together.

May we have the rings please?

Darren/Katrina, do you vow to always keep your love as pure as it is today? Do you promise to be there for Katrina/Darren in laughter and tears, in sickness and health, in comfort and fears, in poverty and wealth? Do you promise to be there for her/him for all her/his life, come what may?

Answer: I do


 Please join hands...(sometimes a scarf is wrapped around the couple's hands during the handfasting)

These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as you promise to love each other. These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch, will comfort you like no other. These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief fills your mind These are the hands that will wipe the tears from your eyes. These are the hands that will help you to hold your family as one. These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it. And finally, these are the hands that even when wrinkled and old, will still be reaching out for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness, with just a touch...

Blessing and/or Prayer/Pronouncement
 As a ceaseless reminder of this hour, and of the promise you have made to each other, these rings and the binding of your hands also speak of the oneness you now experience as husband and wife.

Please join me in prayer.

Father, our hearts are filled with great happiness. Darren and Katrina come before you, pledging their lives and their hearts to one another. Grant that they may be ever true and loving, living together in such a way as to never bring heartache into their marriage. Temper their hearts with kindness and help them to be sweethearts, helpmates, friends and guides, and together may they meet the cares and problems of life more bravely. Let them remember the values of each other as individuals, and never take each other for granted. And as time takes away their youthful charm, may they find contentment in the greater joys of rich companionship. May their home truly be a place of love and harmony where your  Spirit is ever present. Bless their wedding day, we pray, and walk beside them through all their life together. May their love continue through life and finally blend into the life eternal.

May the grace of Christ attend you, the love of God surround you, and the Holy Spirit keep you, that you may live in faith, abound in hope, and grow in love, both now and forever.

Because they have so affirmed, in love and knowledge of the other, so also do I declare that Darren and Katrina are now husband and wife.

"You're My Best Friend" - Queen