This humanist wedding ceremony script has a surprise Rick Roll

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Photos by Donna Murray Photography

We knew the minute we saw this humanist wedding ceremony script that Lauren and Sean wrote with their Humanist officiant, Leigh Bradley, that it had to be shared with y'all. If nothing else, the Rick Rolling is solid gold, but this one also includes several lovely readings and a “Three Things” section, where the couple share specific qualities that they love about each other.

Prelude and Welcome

Good afternoon to all of you joining us here today, and a special welcome to those of you joining us online from other cities, countries and time zones. A special thank you also to the latter for bothering to put on nice clothes today – at least on your top halves. It’s much appreciated.

Before we begin, would you please put your mobile phones onto flight mode so that our ceremony isn’t interrupted. Donna Murray is our photographer today. She will do a brilliant job of recording this wonderful occasion in pictures. Lauren and Sean are happy for you to take photographs to share with them later but please make sure that you don’t get in Donna’s way and please don’t post anything to social media until Sean and Lauren have had an opportunity to do so.

Everyone, please welcome our bridal party. (Music)

Welcome everyone! We are gathered today to witness the celebration of marriage of Lauren and Sean. I know they are delighted and honoured to be surrounded by so many of their loved ones, in person and virtually, as they make their commitment to each other, and formally join their lives. This day, this setting, is now a part of all your histories as you join this loving couple in today’s ceremony and celebration.

Father of the bride's candle symbolic gesture

I know Ninian, that it has given you a great sense of pride and pleasure to escort Lauren here today and that she feels that same sense of pride and pleasure in having you accompany her. I know also that John feels equally proud to see his son standing here on his wedding day. Lauren and Sean recognise that today is not only a celebration of their own love, but also a celebration of their parents, who have raised them and shown them what married life can be.

At this time, they would like to acknowledge the love and sacrifice that John, Josephine, Ninian and Catherine have given to make their children who they are today: a man and a woman who are ready to be committed, in a loving marriage of their own.

Lauren and Sean have chosen their mothers, Catherine and Josephine, to be the legal witnesses to their marriage, and they would now like to invite their fathers to step forward and light this candle, as a symbol of the union of the Dunlop and Cassidy families, through the marriage today of Lauren and Sean.

APPLAUSE!

Thoughts on Humanism

When considering the options open to them for their wedding ceremony, it was an easy choice for Lauren and Sean, they enjoyed the individuality and personality that a Humanist wedding offers and felt that Humanism represented their beliefs and the views of the world that brought them together. They hope you will enjoy sharing this special ceremony with them, which they have created themselves and which they feel represents them as a couple perfectly.

I would now like to invite Ross to come up for our first reading, which he has written himself at the request of the couple, and which they are hearing for the first time today.

Reading 

Advice after If by Ross Lang

So, now you have become a man, 

you see the road is not yet run;  

for today two paths become entwined, 

two people become one;

This is the start of life together,

And your journey’s just beginning;

And at it’s heart this life’s a game,

Now I offer you advice for winning:

If you can share your thoughts when they weigh heavy,

 and listen close when words are few;

 and know when silence is a virtue, 

and how to sense an embrace is due;

If you can spend your time and save your pennies, 

to enrich your present and your future shared; 

and know when moments lived are greater,

 than deadlines missed or meetings chaired;

If you can put aside your wants and needs,

and put the other first; 

and stand together side by side,

 through the best times and the worst

If you can mind you’re not alone,

With friend and kin to guide you; 

And know as family that we care,

and trust we’ll always be beside you; 

If you can fill your time on Earth,

with love in each and every minute; 

then this game called life is yours, 

because together, you will win it!

Thank you Ross.

APPLAUSE!

How We Met and the Story of the Proposal 

[Here's where you can insert your own story!]

Reading

Lauren and Sean asked me to read something today. They also said I could choose my own text. In fact, right now, they still don't know what I'm about to read.

At first, this just seemed like a magnificent opportunity for shenanigans. But seriously, how many couples would do that? They are completely comfortable in themselves and with each other. They don't need to select someone else's carefully crafted words about love to make their bond sound true and deep and special. 

We, your family and friends, have all found that completely obvious from about the first minute you got together. You're both also ridiculously smart and open and articulate and you're probably going to make us all cry with what you have to say for yourselves shortly. Even without this beautiful sunshine, and gorgeous setting, and the joy of all finally being together, and both of you looking Absolutely Stunning… Even without all that, anything I pick to read would sound profound and poetic and make us believe in true love. Because we already believe it, just from knowing you as a couple in daily life.

I actually tried really hard to find a passage that at your wedding wouldn't transform into something true and beautiful and meaningful – I just couldn't find it. Your love's too powerful, friends.

And this is… ALSO… an opportunity for shenanigans.

So I chose this:

I'm never going to give you up.
I'm never going to let you down.
I'm never going to run around and desert you

I'm never going to make you cry
I'm never going to say goodbye
I'm never going to tell a lie and hurt you

Thank you Chris.

APPLAUSE & LAUGHTER!

The Proposal

[Now insert your own proposal story!]

3 Things

One of the loveliest things I get to do as a celebrant is to ask my couples three things about the other that either attracted them to each other or they love about the other. Lauren and Sean are no strangers to the “three things” idea, as the last thing they do before falling asleep every night is to tell each other three things from their day that they are grateful for. They have therefore chosen to take this moment each to share three things that they are grateful for about the other. They have not yet heard each other’s responses.

Lauren – 3 things I am grateful for about Sean. 

1. I am grateful that I get to talk to Sean for the rest of our lives. I feel so at home in our conversations, and I am so lucky that I get to experience his insight, curiosity, humour and wisdom every day. I'm so glad to be marrying someone who is such excellent company.

2. I am grateful for our shared silliness. Whether we are buying the worst duvet cover imaginable, narrating the adventures of everybody's favourite superhero, Pants Man, or sharing custody of our imaginary adopted pocket-size Eldritch being (who is a precious boy and very much loved), our home is a place of laughter and fun, and it is my favourite place to be.

3. I am grateful for our differences. I love learning new ideas, new perspectives and new interests from Sean, and I love being able to share my own with him. I'm grateful that we are able to grow as individuals while we grow as a couple.

Sean – 3 things I am grateful for about Lauren. 

Sean’s 3 Things

I am grateful for both her passion and her deep wealth of compassion for other people. It comes across so earnestly in the way she speaks about those she loves, and even strangers. She has made me a better man. They are traits I desperately hope our children pick up from her.

I am grateful for her remarkable creativity. I find her ability to conjure up excitement out of the ordinary to be genuinely fascinating. She is simply incapable of boring me. Having heard this, I assure you that she is, right now, planning to challenge herself to find creative ways to bore me. 

Lastly, I am grateful for her ability to make any place at all feel like home. Her eyes can see value in little details I often miss, and she is forever using that attention to effortlessly make memories with me wherever we are. In doing this she leaves a tiny bit of home for me wherever she goes. 

Vows

Lauren and Sean are now going to make their vows to each other – promising each other how they are going to lead their lives together after their marriage today. They have chosen the words of Union by Robert Fulghum to describe the process of preparing their promises.

“Union” by Robert Fulghum

You have known each other for years, through the first glance of acquaintance to this moment of commitment.

At some moment, 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.

Just two people working out what they want, what they believe, what they hope for each other.

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.

You have learned that good company and friendship count for more than wealth, good looks or position.

And you’ve learned that marriage is a maze into which we wander — a maze that is best got through with a great companion.

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.

Vows 

Lauren 

Sean, I promise that from this day forward, no matter what comes our way or where we find ourselves, you will be loved and cherished. 

I promise to cheer you on when you’re facing your fears

I promise to back you fully in public, but be honest behind closed doors

I promise to see the very best in you, especially when you can’t

I promise to offer a safe space for bragging – I will always want to hear about how great you are.

I know that not every day will feel like our wedding day, but I promise always to remember why we chose to get married

I will keep these promises from this day until my last.

Sean

Lauren, I promise that from this day forward, no matter what comes our way or where we find ourselves, you will be loved and cherished. 

I promise never to miss an opportunity to celebrate the things that make you uniquely you

I promise always to consider you in every plan, big or small

I promise to be trustworthy, not only in my actions, but in my words, intentions and decisions. I promise to trust you in return. 

I promise to consider your family my family.

I promise to be mindful of the little moments of togetherness in the day.

I will keep these promises from this day until my last. 

Thank you, Lauren and Sean.

APPLAUSE!

Affirmation of the community

The union of Lauren and Sean has joined us together because we are each reflected in it. A new family has been created in our community, and we have come here today to welcome them and celebrate their new relationship. They would now like you, all their valued family and friends to confirm this.

To help you all out – the correct answer to the following question, in case you’re in any doubt, is “We do.”

Do you, who are the family and friends of this couple, affirm your continuing support of and love for Lauren and Sean as they stand poised on the threshold of their new life together?

‘We do’.

EXCHANGE OF RINGS and DECLARATION

Lauren and Sean are now going to exchange rings and make their legal declarations. All things in life are circular, the circle is the symbol of the sun, the earth and the universe, it is a symbol of wholeness and of peace. In the form of a ring may it stand for you as a symbol of your unending love for each other, looking both inwards and outwards, an embrace that binds without imprisoning, a support that inspires without limit. Each ring is made of precious metal, a symbol for offering each other the best one can give, each ring will be worn permanently, symbolising the lasting and everyday nature of your relationship.

Graham (Fraser), could you give Lauren and Sean their rings please. (These will need to be in a box and handed to each of you to take the ring for the other)

Lauren to take Sean’s ring and Sean to take the ring for Lauren.

Sean, could you please place the ring on the third finger of Lauren’s left hand and repeat after me.

I, Sean Cassidy, 

accept you Lauren Constance Dufresne Dunlop, 

in marriage as my wife.

I place this ring on your finger,

And sign my name next to yours, 

witnessed by our family and friends.

So that as time passes,

If our lives are forgotten,

Future generations will know 

by the record of our marriage

That for the short years 

that you and I walked the earth,

we chose to do so together.

Lauren, could you please place the ring on the third finger of Sean’s left hand and repeat after me.

I, Lauren Constance Dufresne Dunlop,

accept you Sean Cassidy, 

in marriage as my husband.

I place this ring on your finger,

And sign my name next to yours, 

witnessed by our family and friends.

So that as time passes,

If our lives are forgotten,

Future generations will know 

by the record of our marriage

That for the short years 

that you and I walked the earth,

we chose to do so together.

Thank you Sean and Lauren, and now following the declarations and vows you have made to each other in my presence and in the presence of both your witnesses and guests, as well as the giving and receiving of rings, I have the utmost pleasure in declaring you married and pronouncing you husband and wife. Sean and Lauren please share your first kiss as a married couple!

UPROARIOUS APPLAUSE!

Congratulations to you both, now we have some legalities to tend to as Sean and Lauren sign the marriage schedule and it is witnessed by Catherine and Josephine. While they do this, the couple have chosen a song to play that is very special to them. The lyrics talk about a tentative relationship in its infancy, but Lauren and Sean relate to the “peaceful, easy feeling” they felt when they first met, and continue to feel in each other’s company today. The song was often a feature of Lauren’s family gatherings in California growing up, and today’s recording has been provided by her talented cousin Aaron.

Signing of the schedule (Music)

Finale

So, it is done, they are married!

APPLAUSE!

I’m sure that you will all want to join me in offering our congratulations and good wishes to Lauren and Sean and that you will all always treasure the memory of the happiness of this day. 

Lauren and Sean; our wishes are for the happiness of today to go with you into the future as you move forward as a married couple and may all of your days be like the stars, bright and plentiful.

And now the vows and promises have been made, rings exchanged and all that’s left for me to say is it’s time to celebrate! 

Everyone, please welcome the newlyweds!

(Music)

APPLAUSE!

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