We draw upon the world’s secular and religious traditions, respecting the perspectives of both doubter and believer.
To some the heart of the ceremony is the vow. Write your own, or adopt or adapt from these below. Since you are different persons, your vows need not be identical. And since the vows are what you say to each other, it is best to speak them directly to each other, without me saying a phrase at a time and your repeating phrase by phrase. Memorizing the vows is usually best avoided. Prepare your vows on special paper for you to read, adding a visual symbol for all to see and enjoy, even as your guests hear you pledge yourselves to one another.
1. I, N, take thee, N, to be my wedded wife/ husband / sacred companion, 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, till death do us part. With my whole heart and complete devotion, I pledge you my love.
2. I take you to be the wife / husband / beloved of my days, the mother/ father / joint parent of my children. I give my love to you and promise to share with you all the expressions of that which is alive in me. In trust I give you freedom to be all that is within you, and in respect I cherish the uniqueness of your being. I unite my life with yours in joy and vow my understanding, honesty and concern in commitment to our life together.
3. N, I take you to be my wife / husband / holy companion for the rest of my days. I pledge to you my love, devotion and support as we share the joys and sorrows ahead of us. Let us together delight in our accomplishments, overcome all obstacles, and encourage personal growth so that our union may be enriched and fulfilled. Before God and in the presence of family and friends, I promise my total commitment and unbounded love to you.
4. I avow my love and respect for you, and I invite you to share my life as I hope to share yours. I promise always to recognize you as an equal partner. I will cherish and protect you, comfort and console you; share with you my hopes and worries, my fears and joys; confide in you and trust you; and in all ways consider your well-being as the path of faith and fulfillment toward the warm and rich life which we now envision, and to cherish you always.
5. I do not have the words to express either the joy I feel, or the hopes and yearnings that I have for us and for the world, as we set forth on our way into the future. I open to you all that is within me, my most private and personal thoughts, my most intimate my uncertainties, longings, enthusiasms. and ambitions. I come promising to be your life-long companion. I am thankful for the sense of family we both bring to our marriage and look forward to continuing that tradition. I promise care, communication, honesty, kindness and understanding, to make our a marriage a sacred bond.
6. I come to you neither innocent of the problems to share nor afraid of the struggle. I ask for your strength in my weaknesses, and offer my strength in return. We shall be secure in our individual beings, and faithful in our union. I pledge for eternity to cherish you, our marriage / union, and our faith.
7. As I vow faithfulness to you, I vow faithfulness to myself as well. The new freedom our marriage / union gives us is expansive; it enriches and enlarges all friendships; but that freedom is centered in our love. I promise to be honest with you, to share my faith and doubts, rest and wanderings, delights and agonies, as I want to share yours. I respect your freedom and personhood, encourage your creativity, and celebrate your privacy. But I also open my heart to that deep place beyond words and there learn with you the deepest meanings of life.
Before the ceremony itself begins, children may (with supervision if needed) light the candles on the altar table.
After the couple speak vows to each other, I might say:
Parenthood brings with it a lifetime of unique responsibilities and immeasurable rewards. As a married couple, do you celebrate and welcome this/these child/ren, [names] into your wedded union and enlarged family, expanding your love and commitment as parents to embrace them all fully?
What will you give them as a sign of your love and commitment?
WE OFFER THESE [GIFTS] AND OUR EMBRACE.
(You could speak individually as you might wish to each child as you present the necklaces.)
Children, do you accept these gifts and the love of Patrick and Krysti with joy?
HERE ARE OTHER IDEAS --