The Beginning of a New Adventure

bh_gri_wd_1334I finally got to marry my best friend–the boy I’ve loved for more than 15 years.

I thought, instead of trying to put all my feelings into words again and again, I would share the words I put together for our wedding ceremony.

There was stress and craziness leading up to our big day, but one of my favorite parts was writing our ceremony and editing and improving it with help from my groom.

It really struck me how most people put so much time and effort into their reception and the party and the decorations and just leave the ceremony in the hands of their minister. When asked, many of my friends and family members couldn’t even recall the words of wisdom the officiant shared with them–just that it happened, most likely without a hitch, and then they were off to their reception.

Not that it wasn’t beautiful and meaningful to them–I believe it was–just that they were only really involved in selecting the participants and readings. Most of their time and effort went into other aspects of the big day.

I didn’t want that for us. Even though I was a little afraid others might not understand our wanting to have an outdoor wedding as opposed to one in a church, and a ceremony officiated by a very close friend as opposed to a minister who only perhaps knew one of us, I knew for years it would be the right choice for us and allow us to best represent what is important to us.

The day absolutely flew by–I could hardly keep up and in a blink of an eye it was over. But the ceremony was among my favorite moments because I was able to stop and hold hands with my husband and let everything else melt away for those 20 minutes. By writing the ceremony ourselves, we got to refine and put sincere thought into our vows to one another, and really consider what those promises should be and what they would mean for us as a couple and how we want to live out our lives together. Even though we had written them and even though I had practiced them, I still cried reciting them because they meant so much to me.

I enjoyed researching and putting together different snippets from different things I found online or noted leading up to the big day to create the final script. It ended up a beautiful representation of us, and our friend did a perfect job of guiding us through it.

If you want to use pieces of parts of it, please feel free–I borrowed from sources that allowed me to do so, and I offer you the same opportunity. Enjoy!

Opening Words and Welcome

Welcome friends, family and guests. All of you are here today because you have been part of Brian or Heather’s life. On behalf of the bride and groom, I want to welcome all of you. Today we will witness a marriage that many of us anticipated. In fact, many of us have been anticipating it for about eight years. Some of us might have been anticipating it even longer.

But what none of us could have anticipated is that this relationship, which began in a high school band room when Brian and Heather were very young, would evolve and grow to the joyful, sincere and loving companionship these two now share.

Many of you have watched, encouraged, participated, and supported their journey, which brings us to today. The day is finally here, and I know we are all excited to celebrate the beginning of Brian and Heather’s new adventure together as husband and wife.

Officiant’s Address

Those of you who have been part of Brian and Heather’s life for some time know they have had an amazing journey. I think sometimes Heather describes it as something you would expect to read in a book or see in a movie.

Although Brian probably doesn’t want me sharing his secret with everyone, I think you should know that deep down, he’s a romantic. He and Heather have been friends since they were teenagers, and their parents and friends can attest to the roller coaster ride we were all a part of as they made their way through high school and college—sometimes dating, sometimes ignoring each other—if you were there, you know what I’m talking about.

When Heather left to study abroad in Northern Ireland, something changed for both of them. As they each came into their own, they finally knew—or maybe finally admitted—that they were probably meant to be.

For those of you who have not heard the story, Brian sent Heather a special package while she was living abroad.

It included a recording of a song he wrote for her and a request they give their relationship another chance. That song led to months of emailing back and forth while she traveled. Brian actually ended up flying over to Northern Ireland at the end of her time there, where he asked her to be his girlfriend.

Seven years later Brian proposed above an Irish pub while they were vacationing in Canada, and now, eight and a half years later, Brian and Heather are finally standing here before you today, ready to embark on the next leg of their lifelong journey.

Brian and Heather, today you are going to make a verbal promise to one another before your family and friends. That promise—your wedding vow—is a reflection of the reality that already exists in your hearts and minds. Nothing I can say, and nothing you can say to each other, will ensure a long, happy, satisfying and committed marriage. Only your love for one another, and your integrity to make your commitment real, can do that.

I offer the words of author Wilferd A. Peterson in “The Art of Marriage,” who I think has captured the essence of that commitment. I hope you will consider these words, and refer to them again and again.

“A good marriage must be created. 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, at no time taking the other for granted.
The courtship should not end with the honeymoon, it should continue through all 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 in 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 expecting the husband to wear a halo or the wife to have the wings of an angel.
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.

It is not only marrying the right partner, it is BEING the right partner.
This is “The Art of Marriage.”

Readings

At this time we will hear the readings you have selected from members of your bridal party.

“A Marriage” by Mark Twain
A marriage makes of two fractional lives a whole;
It gives two purposeless lives a work,
And doubles the strength of each to perform it.

It gives to two questioning natures a reason for living
And something to live for.
It will give new gladness to the sunshine,
A new fragrance to the flowers, a new beauty to the earth
And a new mystery to life.

“Always Love Each Other” by Larry S. Chengges
If you can always be as close
And as happy as today,
Yet be secure enough to grow
And change along the way.

If you can keep for you alone
Your love as man and wife,
Yet find the time to share your joy
With others in your life.

If you can be as one
And walk through marriage hand in hand,
Yet still support the goals and dreams
That each of you have planned.

If you can dare to always go
Your separate ways together,
Then all the wonder of today
Will stay with you forever.

Parent Blessing

In marriages everywhere, two individuals leave the families that raised them to begin a new family. But the ties to our past—to those who love us and support us and wish us every happiness—remain.

These ties are very important to Brian and Heather, and they wanted to represent those ties in a meaningful way during this ceremony.

The couple asked each set of parents to prepare a blessing for their marriage but to keep those blessings private until today. So, Brian and Heather, it is my pleasure to share with you the thoughts, wishes and words your parents have prepared for you as you transition from two separate lives, to one new life together.

First, a blessing from Brian’s parents, Ann and Danny Griesbach. [Inserted Griesbach blessing]

Now, a blessing from Heather’s parents, Mike and Debbie Bing. [Inserted Bing blessing]

Unity Candle

With your parents’ blessings, I invite you to come forward and commemorate the joining of your lives with the lighting of your Unity Candle.

The two tapers, lit by your mothers, represent both your lives in this moment. They are two distinct lights, each capable of going their separate ways. As you join now in marriage, there is a merging of these two lights into one light. From now on your thoughts shall be for each other rather than your individual selves, and your plans will be mutual, your joys and sorrows will be shared. Your unity candle represents the union of your lives, and as this one light is no longer divided, neither shall your lives be divided, but united.

Vows

Brian and Heather, you are about to share your wedding vows with each other, in the presence of all of your family and friends.

First, I would like to share some words with you by Robert Fulghum, who wrote the following in his work called “Union.”

“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 two.

For after these vows, you shall say to the world, this is my husband — this is my wife.”

Brian, please turn to your bride, and repeat after me:

Heather,
I take you to be my faithful partner and my one true love.
I promise to listen to you and learn from you,
To give you my loyalty and companionship.
I vow to bring you happiness,
Celebrating our similarities and respecting our differences.
I promise to support your dreams,
And offer you encouragement and strength,
Through good times and bad.
Loving who you are now, and who you will become.
From this day forward,
I will be proud to be your husband and your best friend.

Heather, please repeat after me:

Brian,
I take you to be my faithful partner and my one true love.
I promise to listen to you and learn from you,
To give you my loyalty and companionship.
I vow to bring you happiness,
Celebrating our similarities and respecting our differences.
I promise to support your dreams,
And offer you encouragement and strength,
Through good times and bad.
Loving who you are now, and who you will become.
From this day forward,
I will be proud to be your wife and your best friend.

Exchange of Rings

Your rings are circles—symbols of eternity and completeness. Perfect, without beginning or end, and signifying the continuation of your love. Brian, please take Heather’s hand, and repeat after me:

Heather, I give you this ring,
As a sign of my love and faithfulness,
I ask you to wear it,
As a reminder of the vows we made today.

Heather, please take Brian’s hand, and repeat after me:

Brian, I give you this ring,
As a sign of my love and faithfulness,
I ask you to wear it,
As a reminder of the vows we made today.

Pronouncement

Brian and Heather, in the presence of family and friends who have joined you today, you have declared your love and commitment to one another. You have formed your own union, based on mutual love, loyalty, friendship, honor and respect.

Therefore, it is my pleasure, privilege and responsibility to officially acknowledge your union as “husband and wife.” Family and friends, please join me in celebrating by firing away as Brian and Heather officially seal their marriage with a kiss. Brian, you may now kiss the bride.

Final Blessing for Your Marriage

In closing, I share with you the words of a traditional Irish blessing:

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face, the rains fall soft upon the fields.
May the light of friendship guide your paths together.
May the laughter of children grace the halls of your home.
May the joy of living for one another trip a smile from your lips, a twinkle from your eye.
And, today, may the spirit of love find a dwelling place in your hearts.

Now, please turn and face your family and friends.

Introduction of Bride and Groom

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is with much love and excitement I present to you for the very first time:

Mr. and Mrs. Brian and Heather Griesbach!

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