Today you are surrounded by your friends and family, all of whom are gathered to witness your marriage and to share in the joy of this occasion which should be one of the most memorable and happy days of your life.
Life has no singular meaning so much as it is composed of many meaningful events, some of which can be specified and planned for. One of these events is marriage.
As you know, no minister, no priest, no rabbi, no public official can marry you. Only you can marry yourselves, by a mutual commitment to love each other, to work toward creating an atmosphere of care and consideration and respect. By a willingness to face the tensions and anxieties that underlie human life — you can make your wedded life come alive.
On this, the day of your marriage, you stand somewhat apart from all other human beings. You stand within the charmed circle of your love, and this is as it should be. But love is not meant to be the possession of two people alone. Rather, it should serve as a source of common energy, as a form in which you find the strength to live your lives with courage. From this date onward you must come closer together than ever before. You must love one another in sickness and in health, for better and for worse, but at the same time, your love should give you the strength to stand apart, to seek out your unique destinies, to make your special contribution to the world which is always part of us and really more than us.
The surest basis for marriage is friendship, the sharing of real interests, the ability to discuss ideas together and understand each other’s thoughts and dreams.
(Reading or Song – optional)
Today, as you join yourselves in marriage, there is a vast and unknown future stretching out before you. The possibilities and potentials of your married life are great and exciting.
( bride : ) and ( groom : ), we all hope you will remember that love and loyalty alone can avail as the foundation of a happy and enduring home. No other ties are more tender, no other vows more sacred than those you now assume. If you constantly work to keep these vows, your life will be full of joy and the home that you are establishing will abide in peace.
At this time I will try to speak of some of the things we wish for you. We wish for you a love that makes both of you better people, that continues to give you joy and zest for living, that provides you with energy to face the responsibilities of life.
We wish for you a home, not a place of stone and wood, but an island of sanity and serenity in this troubled world. We hope this home is not just a place of private joy and retreat, but rather serves as a temple wherein the values of your lives are generated and upheld. We hope your home stands as a symbol of the two of you living together in love and peace. We hope your home encompasses the beauty of nature, that it has within it the elements of simplicity, exuberance, silence, color, and a concordance with the rhythms of life. We wish for you a home with books and poetry and music, a home with all the things which represent the highest strivings of men and women.
We wish for your children to go forth to re-create the values you shall have instilled in them. We hope you will give your children the freedom to find their own way, that you stand by them when they need you and will stand aside when it is time for them to seek their personal destinies. But we hope you will pass on to your children the concept of family; which brings people close in times of joy, in times of sorrow, and in times of need.
Finally, we wish that at the end of your lives you will be able to say these two things to each other, “Because you loved me, you have given me faith in myself; and because I have seen the good in you, I have received from you a faith in humanity.”
(Reading or Song – optional)
The Marriage Vows
( bride ) and ( groom ), please join hands and give your vows.
TO GROOM: Will you, ( ), have this woman for your wedded wife, to live together in matrimony? Will you love her, comfort her, honor and keep her in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto her?
If yes, say “I Will.”
TO BRIDE: Will you, ( ), have this man for your wedded husband, to live together in matrimony? Will you love him, comfort him, honor and keep him in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto him?
If yes, say “I Will.”
TO GROOM: ( ), please repeat after me:
I, ( ), take thee, ( ) for my wedded 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. Receive this ring as a token of my love. May it always be a symbol of my eternal love and faithfulness to you.
TO BRIDE: ( ), please repeat after me:
I, ( ), take thee, ( ) for my wedded 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. Receive this ring as a token of my love, may it always be a symbol of my eternal love and faithfulness to you.
(Music, Lighting of Unity Candle – optional)
Pronouncement of Marriage
( bride ) and ( groom ) have joined together in holy wedlock, witnessed the same before God and this company of friends and family, given their love, each to the other, and declared this love by the giving and receiving of rings. By the power vested in me by the State of Minnesota, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss each other.