I still get goosebumps thinking back to our ceremony. It was short, sweet, and beautifully “us.” If I could, I would go back and relive that part of the day over and over again and never grow tired of it.
Admittedly, I panicked a little bit in the weeks leading up to the ceremony. Since neither Derek or I are particularly religious (and this would be my uncle’s first ceremony as an officiant), we were basically starting from scratch. Derek and I sat down with my uncle back in November to work out an outline of how we saw the ceremony going, then with a little help from wedding blogs, Google, and a few friends (many thanks to Caitlin, Callie, and Anne for all of their help), we slowly pieced together a ceremony script that fit our needs.
The final script is shared below (minus our vows, which we wrote ourselves and didn’t share with each other until the alter, they were personal and something we want to keep between our wedding guests and ourselves). I’ll write another post of what was going through my head during the ceremony, but wanted to share the script since reading other couples’ wedding scripts helped so much in my own wedding planning. It’s a little long, so feel free to just scroll through the gorgeous photos Andrea took, I think those tell the story just as well.
Seating of Grandmothers & Mothers
Entrance of Officiant, Groom, and Groomsman
DJ begins playing “Happy” by Secrets in Stereo
Entrance of Bridesmaids.
Entrance of Flower Girl
Entrance of Bride and her Father
You may all be seated.
Welcome, friends and family. Derek and Meghann have invited us here today to share in the celebration of their marriage. We come together not to mark the start of a relationship, but to recognize a bond that already exists. This marriage is one expression of the many varieties of love. Love is one, though its expressions are infinite.
Declaration of Intent
Officiant says to Meghann
Meghann – will you have this man to be your husband; to live together in the covenant of marriage? Will you love him, comfort him, honor and keep him, in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, be faithful to him as long as you both shall live?
Meghann answers I will.
Officiant says to Derek
Derek – will you have this woman to be your wife; to live together in the covenant of marriage? Will you love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, be faithful to her as long as you both shall live?
Derek answers I will.
Officiant to the congregation
Will all of you witnessing these promises do all in your power to uphold these two persons in their marriage? If so, please answer, “We will.”
Audience answers We will.
The Presentation of Giving in Marriage
Who gives this woman to be wedded to this man?
Father of the bride, responds: Her mother and I do.
(Dad shakes Derek’s hand, kisses Meghann on the cheek, sits down.)
The Bride and Groom have asked Liz to share a poem entitled “Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog,” by Taylor Mali
Liz comes forward to read poem
Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog, by Taylor Mali
First of all, it’s a big responsibility,
especially in a city like Tampa.
So think long and hard before deciding on love.
On the other hand, love gives you a sense of security:
when you’re walking down the street late at night
and you have a leash on love
ain’t no one going to mess with you.
Because crooks and muggers think love is unpredictable.
Who knows what love could do in its own defense?
On cold winter nights, love is warm.
It lies between you and lives and breathes
and makes funny noises.
Love wakes you up all hours of the night with its needs.
It needs to be fed so it will grow and stay healthy.
Love doesn’t like being left alone for long.
But come home and love is always happy to see you.
It may break a few things accidentally in its passion for life,
but you can never be mad at love for long.
Is love good all the time? No! No!
Love can be bad. Bad, love, bad! Very bad love.
Love makes messes.
Love leaves you little surprises here and there.
Love needs lots of cleaning up after.
Sometimes you just want to get love fixed.
Sometimes you want to roll up a piece of newspaper
and swat love on the nose,
not so much to cause pain,
just to let love know Don’t you ever do that again!
Sometimes love just wants to go for a nice long walk.
Because love loves exercise.
It runs you around the block and leaves you panting.
It pulls you in several different directions at once,
or winds around and around you
until you’re all wound up and can’t move.
But love makes you meet people wherever you go.
People who have nothing in common but love
stop and talk to each other on the street.
Throw things away and love will bring them back,
again, and again, and again.
But most of all, love needs love, lots of it.
And in return, love loves you and never stops.
Speech by Officiant
All of you are present today because you, in one way or another, have been part of Meghann or Derek’s life. On behalf of the bride and groom, a hearty welcome to all. Today we witness a marriage that has been almost eight years in the making. Meghann and Derek’s love grew as they grew, both as individuals and as a couple. For a few years, life put them on different paths. But as we all know, true love always prevails, no matter what the distance or circumstance, and the powerful connection that drew them together as college students brought them back together as adults. They stand before you today, ready and willing to fully commit to one another, as husband and wife, as forever friends, as soulmates and confidantes.
Now Derek and Meghann would like to invite Maria forward to read “The Art Of Marriage” by Wilferd A. Peterson
Maria comes forward to read poem
“The Art Of Marriage” by Wilferd A. Peterson
Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens.
A good marriage must be created.
In the art of marriage 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.
It is 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 looking for perfection in each other.
It is cultivating flexibility, patience,
understanding and a sense of humour.
It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.
It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow.
It is finding room for the things of the spirit.
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.
It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal,
dependence is mutual and the obligation is reciprocal.
It is not only marrying the right partner, it is being the right partner.
It is discovering what marriage can be, at its best.
Derek and Meghann, 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. For after these vows, you shall say to the world, this – is my husband, this – is my wife.
Meghann, ladies first.
Meghann reads vows
Derek reads vows
Meghann and Derek, please seal your vows with a pinky promise
Exchanging of Rings
May I have the rings, please?
(Tyler gives rings to Andy)
Derek, Please place this ring on Meghann’s finger and repeat after me: Meghann, I give you this ring, as a daily reminder of my love for you.
Derek repeats: Meghann, I give you this ring, as a daily reminder of my love for you. (slips ring on)
Meghann, please place the ring on Derek’s finger and repeat after me: Meghann, I give you this ring, as a daily reminder of my love for you.
Meghann repeats: Derek, I give you this ring, as a daily reminder of my love for you. (slips ring on)
You have made your marriage vows to one another, witnessed by your friends and family. You have sealed your vows with a pinky promise and the giving and receiving of these rings. So now, by the power vested in me, I pronounce you husband and wife.
Derek, you may kiss your bride.
It is my great honor and privilege to present to you, Mr. and Mrs. Derek and Meghann Russell!
DJ plays “Today Was a Fairytale” by Taylor Swift
Photo credit: Andrea Hubbell Photography