Welcome! Greetings to you my assembled Lords and Ladies, friends and family of Jim and Jenny, gathered in nobility to grant blessing and favor upon them this day. We are here to cheer, to celebrate and to bear witness to this covenant of love that is being made today before all of us assembled. Marriage is indeed a grand covenant, a special agreement between a man and a woman in love to join forces and pursue life as a couple rather than as individuals.
Shakespeare asks us to consider true love in his 116th Sonnet:
Let me not to the marriage of true minds Admit impediments. Love is not love, Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove. Oh, no! it is an ever-fixed mark That looks on tempests.. and is never shaken. It is the star to every wandering bark Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken. Love is not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks Within his bending sickle’s compass come. Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, But bears it out.. even to the edge of doom. If this be error and upon me proved, I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
This afternoon, family and friends, as we gather together we become the third party in this relationship. As Jim and Jenny make this covenant they are, by inviting all of us as witnesses, asking for our support and encouragement. Not just for these few minutes today, but most importantly for the journey ahead of them. And so your presence here today is important and necessary for their future.
Jim and Jenny have given a great gift to each one of here. They have known us and in knowing us have chosen us to bear witness. They have given us permission to assent to their decision. They have allowed our thoughts and beliefs regarding this union to matter to them. It is a trust, an honor and a privilege that they have allowed us to matter enough to them that they would seek our assent, our approval, our witness to this covenant. And it is our gift to them to return that trust, that honor and that privilege in acclaiming them here today.
LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP
Andrew Boyd says that we’re all seeking that special person who is right for us. But if you’ve been through enough relationships, you begin to suspect there’s no right person, just different flavors of wrong. Why is this? Because you yourself are wrong in some way, and you seek out partners who are wrong in some complementary way. But it takes a lot of living to grow fully into your own wrongness. It isn’t until you finally run up against your deepest demons, your unsolvable problems – the ones that make you truly who you are – that you’re ready to find a life-long mate. Only then do you finally know what you’re looking for. You’re looking for the wrong person. But not just any wrong person: the right wrong person – someone you lovingly gaze upon and think, “This is the problem I want to have.”
Jim and Jenny, today you publicly and officially declare your love for each other. Your love for each other is a choice. Marriage is certainly not just this ceremony, but it is an everlasting commitment to love. We live in a society where commitment has gone the way of the dinosaur, it’s very hard to find, and yet it is the very backbone of a long and healthy marriage. Today you are making one of the most difficult commitments of your life. A commitment of your entire beings, mind, soul and body to each other in this marriage agreement. And this commitment will require much of each of you, you will have to make tough choices every day of your life.
Will I be kind even when I feel like the other is rude?
Will I choose not to be proud even though I was right?
Will I keep my cool even though I can justify anger?
It’s true, and you two know it, love is full of choices, tough choices. In knowing you, I have seen that you have the commitment and the desire to love each other and make those tough choices. It is because of my personal conviction regarding your love for one another that I was pleased to be able to speak today.
C. S. Lewis wrote, “We picture lovers face to face but friends side by side; their eyes look ahead.” Today as you stand before us you will be both side by side and face to face and I present this posturing to you today as symbolic. Side by side as friends looking ahead at your goals and what is to come and face to face as lovers totally taken with each other in romantic love. You have many friendships, but they all must take second place to the friendship you have with each other. You truly need to be best friends. Today as you stand before your friends and family assembled, with your oath you are choosing to walk together as friends and lovers for the rest of your life. Jenny, is this your promise to Jim today? (yes) Jim, is this your promise to Jenny today? (Yes)
I quote Robert Fulghum to say you have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making promises and agreements in an informal way. All those conversations that were held riding in a car or over a meal or during long walks — all those sentences that began with “When we’re married” and continued with “I will” and “you will” and “we will” — those late night talks that included “someday” and “somehow” and “maybe” — and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding.
The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, “You know all those things we’ve promised and hoped and dreamed — well, I meant it all, every word.”
Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another — acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, and even teacher, for you have learned much from one another in these last few years. Now you shall say a few words that take you across a threshold of life, and things will never quite be the same between you. For after these vows, you shall say to the world, this is my husband, this is my wife.
Jim and Jenny have chosen elements of a traditional hand fasting ceremony as the means by which they wish to make their vows to one another. In Europe, until the mid 1700’s, few unions were sanctified in a church or synagogue. Rather, they were celebrated by a simple hand binding ceremony in which the two partners joined hands over the village anvil, in the fields or in the groves of trees. Today, we build upon this tradition. The couple linked hands, to form an infinity circle, symbolizing the entirety of the universe as represented in their relationship. Jim and Jenny, please join hands in the infinity circle.
Know now before you go further, that since your lives have crossed in this life you have formed ties between each other. As you seek to enter this state of matrimony you should strive to make real, the ideals which give meaning to both this ceremony and the institution of marriage. The promises made today and the ties that are bound here greatly strengthen your union; they will cross the years and lives of each soul's growth.
BLESSING OF THE HANDS
These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, for a lifetime of happiness. These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes: tears of sorrow and tears of joy. These are the hands that will comfort you in illness, and hold you when fear or grief racks your mind. These are the hands that will hold you tight as you struggle through difficult times. These are the hands that will give you support and encourage you to chase your dreams. Together, everything you wish for can be realized.
Prepare the cord Back in earlier years, the hands would be bound with whatever was available - vines, colorful cords, or scarf. Today we will use this scarf to symbolize the binding, or promises.
The first promise (binding)
Jim, Will you be Jenny's faithful partner for life? Yes
Jenny, will you be Jim's faithful partner for life? Yes
*To Both* Will you be each other’s constant friends and one true love?
Both answer: Yes And so the binding is made. *The cord is wrapped around the couple's wrist.*
The second promise (binding)
Jenny, do you promise to love Jim without reservation? Yes Jim, do you promise to love Jenny without reservation? Yes *To Both* Will both of you stand by one another in sickness and in health, in plenty and in want? Both answer: Yes And so the binding is made. *The cord is wrapped around the couple's wrist.*
The third promise (binding)
Jenny, will you stand together with Jim in your times of joy and sorrow? I will Jim, will you stand together with Jenny your times of joy and sorrow? I will *To Both* Will you share the burdens of each so that your spirits may grow in this union? Both answer: Yes, we will And so the binding is made. *The cord is wrapped around the couple's wrist.*
The forth promise (binding)
Jim will you always to be open and honest with Jenny, for as long as you both shall live? Yes
Jenny, will you always to be open and honest with Jim, for as long as you both shall live? Yes *To Both* Will you dream together to create new realities and hopes for this marriage? Yes And so the binding is made. *The cord is wrapped around the couple's wrist.*
The fifth promise (binding)
Jenny, Will you honor this man? I will Jim, Will you honor this woman? I will *To Both* Will you both seek to cherish and strengthen that honor? We will And so the binding is made. *The cord is wrapped around the couple's wrist.*
Binding of all promises
*Remove cord while saying:*
The knots of this binding are not formed by these chords but instead by your vows. Either of you may drop the chords, for as always, you hold in your own hands the making or breaking of this union.
FINAL VOWS AND BLESSING As you both have taken these vows before these witnesses assembled, I have one, final question for each of you.
Jenny, do you take Jim to be your husband and pledge to him all of your love and affection wholeheartedly and without reservation?
Jim, do you take Jenny to be your wife and pledge to her all of your love and affection wholeheartedly and without reservation?
Based on your confession of love for one another, by the vows you have made and through the assent of those assembled it is my great delight to announce you husband and wife! Jim, you may kiss the bride.
It is my honor at this point to bestow upon you my personal blessing.
May you both know great joy, deep peace and true love in the greatest possible measure. May you know one another truly and be truly known. May your strength combined be sufficient to all tests the world will offer and may your satisfaction be complete.
On a less serious note, the great philospher Dr. Seuss once said:
Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away! You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the couple who’ll decide where to go. You’ll look up and down streets. Look ‘em over with care.
About some you will say, “We don’t choose to go there. ”With your heads full of brains and your shoes full of feet, you’re too smart to go down, any not-so-good street. And you may not find any you’ll want to go down. In that case, of course, you’ll head straight out of town. It’s opener there in the wide open air, Out there things can happen and frequently do to people as brainy and footsy as you. And when things start to happen, don’t worry. Don’t stew. Just go right along. You’ll start happening too. OH! THE PLACES YOU’LL GO! You’ll be on your way up! You’ll be seeing great sights! You’ll join the high fliers who soar to great heights! You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have all the speed. You’ll pass the whole gang, and you’ll soon take the lead. Wherever you fly you’ll be best of the best. Wherever you go, you will top all the rest. Except when you don’t. Because sometimes, you won’t. You’ll get mixed up of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with so many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with great care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left. And will you succeed? Yes! You will indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.) KIDS, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS! So, be your name Buxbaum or Dowrie or Bassor Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea, you’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So … get on your way!”
I am proud to introduce to you for the first time….
The Lord and Lady Jim and Jenny Johnson