When you want to focus on equality and feminism, it can be hard to find a wedding ceremony script that holds water. This one ROCKS our egalitarian socks. See our whole archive of ceremony scripts here.
You can find the unabridged, fully annotated script here.
Friends, welcome. Thank you for being here. We have been invited here to share this special day with E and S. Adichie said ‘love is a string of coincidences that gather significance and become miracles.' S and E don't know why God blessed them to meet each other and to fall in love, but God did bless them.
Marriage is that blessed path wherein two equals ‘join in their strength,' forming a partnership in which ‘there is none called the least, or the greatest.'
E and S would like to thank their parents for their love and support. They would also like to thank all of you for what you've meant to them throughout their lives. They are grateful you're here. They are what they are “because of who we all are.”
Today, we gather with them as they embark on this new part of their journey together. Life's journey is dynamic; it is a journey ‘of becoming.' While life is often challenging, with love we can ‘gladden the hearts of those who are traveling the often dark journey with us.” Because we have love, ‘life, even amidst pain and” struggle, becomes beautiful. As the late, great Bob Ross told us, ‘It's amazing what you can do with a little love in your heart.'
People like to talk about love. The Wikiquote page on love has almost as many words as all the Gospels combined. There are more than 10,000 Wikipedia articles with ‘love' in the title. It seems that ‘some people wanna fill the world with silly love songs' and other lovey-dovey-ness. But there's nothing wrong with that, so we're gonna have some readings on love.
William Blake, ‘Love seeketh not …'
Serving each other is integral to love. ‘Love is mutually feeding each other, not one parasitically living on another.' Love calls us to abandon “the scales that obscure our vision,' scales of selfishness that obscure ‘our equal humanity.' Love rejects “the notion that we're ranked rather than linked.' Love says, ‘I'll walk with you.” Love does not keep score and demand, “Pay me that thou owest.” Rather it invites us to say, ‘Please tell me how I can love you better.' The love between S and E will continue to grow as they care for each other.
Emily Dickinson, ‘If I can stop one …'
As we ‘look at others with the eyes of compassion,' we shall not live in vain, but shall be inspired to ‘strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees.' As E and S strive to comfort each other amid the difficulties of life — and as we all so strive—life will become so much better.
Marriage unites a couple ‘so they are no longer two, but one.' The partners are on the same team, ‘for in love there are no penalties and no payments, and what is given is indistinguishable from what is received.' The partners like each other, but marriage calls for more than mere liking, more than simply people who find each other's attributes pleasing—after all, in marriage, partners pledge to stick with each other for better or for worse, in sickness and in health. Throughout the changes that life brings, even ‘when old age and wrinkles cover' them, S and E are to remain true to each other.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning, ‘Sonnet XIV'
Love ‘is like a delicate tree; it needs continuous nurturing.' May E and S (and all of us) ever learn to love better.
Helen Keller writes about the moment she came to understand love: ‘The beautiful truth burst upon my mind—I felt that there were invisible lines stretched between my spirit and the spirits of others.' S and E are grateful to feel these connections, both with each other and with all of you.
E and S, you are about to make some important commitments to each other. You will vow to be each other's companion and constant friend, each other's ēzer kenegdo. You will pledge to share life together, to be a team, to care for each other, to support each other, to be faithful to each other, to be there for each other.
S and E, do you promise to keep these vows from this day forward?
This is a great day. But it is not an end. Mandela notes, ‘I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But my walk is not yet ended.'
Today we celebrate this glorious vista, but there is much more to come. We are excited to see E and S take this step, and we are excited for what the future holds for them. S and E, I give you—and all of us—an injunction attributed to Mother Teresa. It is a demanding challenge, but striving for it will enrich our lives: ‘Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.'
And now, E and S, ‘I declare you united by the ties of marriage.' ‘May God bless this marriage that it may be a sign of compassion, a seal of happiness here and hereafter,' ‘an ever-fixed mark that looks on tempests and is never shaken.' Besáos.