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Wedding: Our Ceremony

by Meghann on February 1, 2013

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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

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Entrance of Officiant, Groom, and Groomsman

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DJ begins playing “Happy” by Secrets in Stereo

Entrance of Bridesmaids.

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Entrance of Flower Girl







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Entrance of Bride and her Father





Officiant begins…

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.)




First Reading

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.


Second Reading

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.


The Vows

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


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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

Recessional begins





Photo credit: Andrea Hubbell Photography

*Other wedding-related posts can be found here*

1 Michelle in Michigan February 1, 2013 at 1:16 pm

Thank you for walking us through your ceremony. It was very beautiful and looked just as I had imagined it in my head during all the planning. I had tears just like I do at any wedding I have attended!!! Congrats to you both, you looked beautiful.

2 Kristy @ Kristy's Health Revolution February 1, 2013 at 1:21 pm

I cannot read your wedding posts at work anymore! I cry every time. Your wedding was so lovely.
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3 Genelle February 1, 2013 at 1:23 pm

Love love the pinky promise and kiss! Your wedding looked beautiful and I love that you shared your script with us. Congratulations again on being newlyweds!!
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4 deva at deva by definition February 1, 2013 at 1:24 pm

I am crying at my desk again. Such a sap. You both look so happy, and I love your ceremony! Your wedding was so lovely.
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5 Angela February 1, 2013 at 1:26 pm

This is amazing! I love all the personal touches in your ceremony, especially the pinky promise. That picture of your flower girl kissing Derek is too cute! I would love to hear your vows, but completely understand your choice to keep them private. 🙂
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6 Mi-an dela Cruz February 1, 2013 at 1:31 pm

Awwww! Beautiful!!!

7 Maureen February 1, 2013 at 1:31 pm

Pinky promise?!?! TOO CUTE! I love it!
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8 Karen @ Runner Girl Eats February 1, 2013 at 1:36 pm

Aw all of these posts are so beautiful. Such a sweet wedding 🙂
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9 Amanda February 1, 2013 at 1:38 pm

Soooo many happy tears. This was absolutely beautiful 🙂
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10 Kaitlyn February 1, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Oh my goodness, this definitely had me tearing up! What a beautiful ceremony! I love that you took the time to mold it to what fit your relationship. I LOVE both of those poems! Congrats!!

11 Kaitlin @4loveofcarrots February 1, 2013 at 1:48 pm

your ceremony was so beautiful! it brought tears to my eyes!
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12 Ashley February 1, 2013 at 1:52 pm

I think the picture with your niece going towards her father is just the absolute cutest! I glad your vision came together for your perfect day!

13 Madi February 1, 2013 at 2:02 pm

The song happy makes me cry every.single.time. This is so so beautiful. Really and truly. you two look so happy ! Thanks so much for sharing with us!

14 erica February 1, 2013 at 2:11 pm

i’m loving all the recaps!

how sweet and adorable was the flowergirl love the pictures of her getting kisses! so cute! the kids are my favorite part of ceremonies because you never know what they’re going to do.
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15 Dena @ 40 Fit in the Mitt February 1, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Beautiful! You could really see the love in both your faces, Congrats and many many happy years for you both.
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16 Bethany @ Accidental Intentions February 1, 2013 at 2:15 pm

Seriously, how happy do you look?? So wonderful. I love that you took the time to put all this together, too — definitely a cool look into your day! I also think it’s super sweet that you wrote your own vows. I went to four wedding ceremonies this year, and all of them said the exact same vows. Not that that’s bad or anything…but I think writing your own vows makes it that much more personal and really hammers home the YOU are making that commitment, rather than you just repeating the same words thousands of other couples have said.
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17 Lauren @ Eat Like An Elephant February 1, 2013 at 2:17 pm

Awwww what a beautiful ceremony! I’ve never seen the pinky promise before so I think that is so so special. We also played Today Was a Fairytale at our wedding…perfect 🙂
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18 Annette @FitnessPerks February 1, 2013 at 2:39 pm

SO happy for you both!

19 Katie @ Talk Less, Say More February 1, 2013 at 2:44 pm

Such a beautiful ceremony – congrats!
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20 Sara @ fitcupcaker February 1, 2013 at 3:00 pm

It’s like I was there! What a great day!
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21 Anne February 1, 2013 at 3:06 pm

The pinky promise was my favorite. And, of course, your personally written vows. They were SO sweet.

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22 Sonia the Mexigarian February 1, 2013 at 3:26 pm

Aw, my gawd that was so cute. I especially love the poems!! Saving those for V-Day and our anniversary in July.

What a beautiful ceremony. <3 That pinky promise was so cute 🙂
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23 Monica February 1, 2013 at 3:27 pm

So beautiful 🙂
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24 Diana @ Twenty One(derful) February 1, 2013 at 4:17 pm

I am loving reading all of your wedding posts! Everyone there just looks so happy! I’m going to be Maid of Honor for my sister’s wedding next year so reading all of your wedding posts has really inspired me to make her wedding amazing.
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25 Melissa February 1, 2013 at 4:26 pm

Reading about your ceremony totally took me back to mine! Now I want to go watch the video again!

26 Mark February 1, 2013 at 4:41 pm

Oh, shoot–I was so looking forward to hearing your vows! I completely respect your privacy, though. Vows are just so personal and (for some) hard to write, I would have loved hearing your take on them. Looked like a beautiful ceremony and I love the dog poem! The portion your uncle read before the vows was a reading from my wedding! Love it.

27 Sara@RunningInPinkProject February 1, 2013 at 5:11 pm

Very sweet! That flower girl is a doll!!!
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28 Lindsay February 1, 2013 at 6:43 pm

Awww, totally tearing up! I’m such a sap. Did you hold back tears, if so, how?! I’m getting married in June & need advice on how not to choke on my words! Especially so people will understand me & not ruin my makeup!
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29 Jean February 1, 2013 at 6:44 pm

You don’t need me to tell you this, but your ceremony was so very beautiful!
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30 TorontoRunner February 1, 2013 at 7:12 pm

ahh such BEAUTIFUL pictures.
I am in love with the colour the men wore!
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31 Colleen February 1, 2013 at 8:27 pm

Thank you so much for sharing your lovely, sweet and special ceremony. We are celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary ourselves this october (20 years in a blink of an eye!) and the 2nd reading you chose should be a must read for all newlyweds. ‘ not only marrying the right partner, but being the right partner’. And you pinky swore, no do-overs now!! Many blessed happy healthy years for you and that cutie pie flower girl’s Uncle Bubba.

32 kalli February 1, 2013 at 8:36 pm

just beautiful! xoxoxoxo

33 Amanda @ Let Me Be What's Underneath February 1, 2013 at 8:38 pm

Your ceremony sounds (and looks) like it was absolutely beautiful!!! Thanks with for sharing with us all! 🙂
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34 Elise @ Expeditions of Elise February 2, 2013 at 12:27 am

The pinky promise is my favorite part of that ceremony…couldn’t think of a better way to seal a promise!

35 Elizabeth- My Neon Running Shoes February 2, 2013 at 8:13 am

You are stunning. Love your hair 🙂
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36 Blogging Runner February 2, 2013 at 11:27 am

What a beautiful wedding, everyone looks stunning and happy. I hope you enjoyed every single minute!!
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37 amyt February 2, 2013 at 12:03 pm

LOVE it!!! Absolutely beautiful!!

38 Michelle February 2, 2013 at 4:51 pm

Such a precious ceremony! And nice arm definition in those pinky promise pics. 🙂 You are strong inside and out, and that’s why I have enjoyed following your blog.

39 Caitlin February 4, 2013 at 5:00 pm

I love how you showed us every single part of this and lined the pics up with the script! A new way to recap a wedding!
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40 Jessica February 6, 2013 at 11:13 am

Sorry I am just getting around to reading this. What a sweet and beautiful wedding. Congrats again. The day sounds like a beautiful day!

41 Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed February 9, 2013 at 3:35 pm

This was soooo great to read, I felt like I was there! This will be wonderful to have in the future when everything becomes a little hazy over time, you can revisit this post and relive it all over and over again 😀
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42 Jennifer G. March 1, 2013 at 4:45 pm

Thank you for sharing your ceremony story, I was in tears reading this. Such beautiful pictures of a wonderful couple! I loved the pinky swear. All the best to you both!
p.s- I’m stealing that first reading “Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog” I laughed so hard I cried!

43 Ryan Hupfer May 4, 2013 at 9:06 pm

Hey guys, I’m putting together a ceremony for my friends and wanted to let you know that this was super helpful. I really like the poems you used and the overall casual feel you brought to it. Just enough to be respectful of the importance of the day and just enough fun to keep it light. That’s a tough balance so nice job.

The photos are great and the pinkie swear is classic. I hope you’re both doing great and here’s to an awesome life together!

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44 Alison June 6, 2013 at 9:46 am

Thank you so much for posting your script. I am currently writing one for my own wedding in August and used your wording as a starting point. Thanks!!

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