Bringing Light Into all Ceremonies

WEDDING CEREMONIES

Vow Renewal Ceremony

Different and Same Sex Marriages

Baby Blessings

Memorial Services

Commitment Celebrations

We are committed to providing services in celebration of life and with the recognition

that each of us is unique and that "one size does not fit all".

Religious, blended belief, spiritual, non-religion specific and

secular (non-religious) ceremonies offered.

Our service is built around your needs, beliefs and choices. 

Personalizing Ceremonies

The most memorable ceremonies speak of a couple's personal and spiritual beliefs, hopes and dreams - ones that speak their hearts. The words of your ceremony proclaim and celebrate your emotional and spiritual bond as well as your legal commitment to each other.

Your ceremony may be civil, non-religion specific, contain and blend two differing traditions or religions, or be constructed about a common belief and have deep elements of love, romance, and spirituality. It can be filled with personal touches that relate to your lives as a couple.

Unique and personal additions to blend into a ceremony are: gifts of roses for family members, first gift as husband and wife, sharing ceremonies (wine, water, tea), children's ceremonies, candle lighting, handfastings, and so much more.

 

Ceremonies

Marriage ceremonies can be as short or as long as you desire. The most basic ceremony contains only the requirements to meet the laws of the state. The requirements are simple:

  1. Some form of vows acknowledging commitment affirmed by each This can be a simple “I Do” or a statement from their hearts and minds that clearly promises to respect the love that has brought them to this day or both.

  2. The legal officiant declaring them to be “husband and wife”, “partners in marriage,” "permanent life's companions" or any other words indicating a conscious change in state of being.

Always necessary is the presence of an officiant empowered by State Law to legally bind couples in marriage. If that particular state requires witnesses (some don't), then the witnesses must also be present. When witnesses and officiants sign marriage licenses they are basically testifying that they heard the legal marriage agreement take place.

When a ceremony is to be conducted outside of a religious abode, possibly at a catering hall, park, boat or backyard, the ceremony can be whatever the couple believes is appropriate for them.

The structure of a ceremony is simple:

1.   Opening Statements

These need to include a welcome to all your guests and some thoughts on what marriage means to the bride and groom.

We generally suggest that any Remembrances be stated at this time. It is difficult to feel celebratory when pronounced husband and wife right after mentioning losses. When your family and friends are welcomed into the celebration of your love as part of the opening statements, it is appropriate to welcome beloved departed family members as well.

Example of an opening statement:

Dear family and friends, you have been asked to be here today to share in the celebration of Nancy's and Dick's love and to bear witness to their vows, as they join in the eternal bond of marriage.

 

2.   Vows

Vows may be traditional or contemporary, taken from books or written by the bride and groom. There are “I Do or I Will” vows and vows which are generally repeated after the officiant. You can choose to only have “I Do’s”, to only have “Exchange of Vows” or both. You do not have to have the same vows as each other. You do not have to have the same vows as each other. When choosing “Exchange of Vows” most couples repeat after the officiant. The majority of couples feel comfortable repeating just a few words at a time.

Example:

{I, Richard, take you, Nancy,} {to be my wedded wife,} {to have and to hold,} {for better or for worse,} {for richer or for poorer,} {in sickness and in health,} {to love and to cherish from this day forth.}

Example of a vow written by a couple and presented in "repeat after me" format:

I promise to give my love honestly. I will listen to you when you need a friend and give you my strength when you are faced with challenges. Together we will face the happiness and trials life may bring our way. I offer you all that I am and will share my love with you as long as we both shall live.

 

3.   Ring Exchange

Example of a ring vow:

“I give you this ring as the pledge of my love and as the symbol of our unity.”

Not everybody has a ring vow, some couples choose to place the rings on without a statement.

 

Ring Blessings

This can be done before and/or after the rings are placed on the fingers.

Example:

These rings are not tokens; they are symbols of the faith, trust and love you hold for each other. May these feelings you share for one another on this day be always held within the circle of the ring. May these halos on your fingers bring you peace, joy, and ever-growing love.

 

4.   Closing Declaration of Marriage

The officiant needs to declare the bride and groom are now married.

Example:

Nancy and Dick, your vows have been witnessed by those who love you and you have exchanged symbols of your everlasting commitment.

I, therefore, have the great joy and honor to declare that you are now, and forever, husband and wife.

 

What else can be said at a ceremony?

Woven through the ceremony can be readings, benedictions, songs, religious traditions, cultural traditions and other pieces created especially for you. Over the years we have written pieces to include children, grandparents, the engagement ring, blessings for the pregnant bride, wedding prayers reflecting the couples personal aspirations, prayers for the family pet and other pieces.

Inter-faith ceremonies can mean many things. If a couple who come from different faiths have decided to wed they may desire to honor their own traditions and each others. Some couples will decide to have a spiritual wedding with no reference to religion. Others may choose two officiants each representing a religion of one of the partners. Many couples choose an officiant willing to use elements of each religion.

Candle lighting, breaking of the glass, St. Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians and a Psalm from the Songs of Solomon are a common mixture of Judeo-Christian ceremonies. A reading from the Koran and a reading from the Book of Common Prayer for the Muslim-Christian ceremonies shows the universality of love, respect, and faith. Hindu elements such as the garland of flowers and the seven steps have been woven in with candle-lighting and Christian prayers. Native American blessings and Celtic prayers, Chinese Tea Ceremony for the family and a Sign of Peace, these are all possibilities. The beautiful thing is that there is a common denominator; they are all metaphors for honoring the love that is shared.

In Mexico the Arras, the exchange of 13 coins representing the care of the home.

Smudging the space and the couple with sage is Native American and Victorian

Rose petals sprinkled around the couple as in Victorian times and Renaissance.

 

In China, the bride and groom drink wine and honey from goblets tied together with red string : the red color signifying love and joy.

 

In Japan, the bride and groom take nine sips of sake (rice wine); tradition states that after the first sip they are officially husband and wife,

 

Among the Navaho, the traditional bride's dress includes four colors, each representing a direction of the compass: black for the north, blue for the south, orange for the west, and white for the east. During the ceremony the couple would face east, in the direction from which the sun rises, to represent their new beginning.

 

“Jumping Over the Broom” may be a beautiful way to honor someone's heritage. In her book "Jumping the Broom", author Harriette Cole explains the origin and significance of this ritual. "The broom itself held spiritual significance for many African peoples, representing the beginning of homemaking for a couple. For the Kgatla people of southern Africa, it was customary, for example, on the day after the wedding for the bride to help the other women in the family to sweep the courtyard clean, thereby symbolizing her willingness and obligation to assist in housework at her in-laws' residence until the couple moved to their own home.”

It is a Scottish tradition for the groom to symbolically welcome the bride into his family or clan by draping a shawl or sash in his clan's tartan, fastened with a silver pin of traditional Scottish design, over her shoulders just after they have exchanged vows.

Cultural and religious traditions may be common to many, for instance, Scottish drape a shawl over the bride’s shoulders and Mexican and other Spanish cultures drape a shawl over the bride and groom together.

 

How long is a ceremony?

Ceremonies held outside of religious institutions are generally between 15 and 25 minutes, depending on the couple's choices of readings, music and other special touches. A ceremony composed of Opening Statements, Thoughts on Marriage, Vows, A Reading, Ring Exchange, Ring Blessing, Candle-Lighting, A Reading, Closing Benediction, Pronouncement of Marriage is about 20 minutes in length. Add the processional and recessional and you have a 30-minute wedding ceremony. However long or short your ceremony will be, let it be filled with loving words that will resonate through the years.

We hope this information provides you with a greater understanding of how beautifully meaningful your ceremony can be.

Baby Blessings
Celebrating and Welcoming the Newborn

 

Probably every culture around the globe performs some form of welcoming when a baby is born. For many people in our culture there are traditional welcomings such as the baby naming, baptism and christening. There are many families today that either are not active participants in a religion or cannot attend regularly. This is where wonderful, creative rituals can occur and become part of the family tradition.

Blessing a baby can be done anywhere the baby and their family want to celebrate. A belief in the power of a loving gathering of well wishers is all that is needed to start you on the path of a new ritual. Godparents are usually part of the proceedings, this is an opportunity for them to write and/or say something for the baby. There is no rule on how many godparents a baby can have.

 

Example:Do you, Patty and Brian, vow and promise to take as your spiritual child, Sierra Nicole, to nurture and protect, love and strengthen, keep from harms way and help to guide in goodness this new soul on earth?

We then have asked the rest of the gathering:
In the true sense of community, I ask each of us now to vow to take as our spiritual child, Sierra Nicole, to nurture and protect, love and strengthen, keep from harms way and help to guide in goodness this new soul on earth.

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