(made by myself with pieces taken from multiple different ceremony examples)
[OFFICANT] __bride__ and __groom__ , Before we start, take a breath and take a look around you. You are surrounded by your family and friends, all of whom are gathered to witness your exchange of vows and to share in the joy of this occasion. Let this be a statement of what you mean to each other and the commitment of marriage you will make.
(to the audience) The Bride and Groom have chosen to incorporate the ancient Celtic ritual of Handfasting in their wedding ceremony today. Handfasting is a declaration of intent where the couple clearly states that they are marrying on their own free will.
__bride__ and __groom__ , know now before you go further that since your lives have crossed in this life, you have formed eternal bonds. As you seek to enter this state of matrimony you should strive to make real ideals that give meaning to this ceremony and to the sanctity of marriage. With full awareness, know that within this circle you are declaring your intent before your friends and family as witnesses.
The promises made today and the ties that are bound here greatly strengthen your union and will cross the years and lives of each soul’s growth. Do you seek to enter this ceremony?
[BRIDE AND GROOM] Yes
[OFFICIANT] Then let us begin.
You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, 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. 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. 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. (-Union from The Beginning to End by Robert Fulghum)
Declaration of Intent:
Groom, I have not the right to bind you to your Bride, only you have this right. If it be your wish, say so at this time
[GROOM] It is my wish.
Bride I have not the right to bind you to your Groom only you have this right. If it be your wish, say so at this time and place your ring in his hand.
[BRIDE] It is my wish.
[OFFICIANT] For thousands of years,
Lovers have exchanged rings as a token of their vows
Let these rings be a sign that love has a past, a present, and a future
Through you and within you
Bride, please take the ring, place it on Groom’s finger and repeat after me:
I, (brides full name), with all the life that courses within my blood and the love that resides within my heart, take (grooms’s full name) to my hand, my heart, and my spirit, to be my chosen one. I promise to love you wholly and completely without restraint, in sickness and in health, in plenty and in poverty, in life and beyond, where we shall meet, remember, and love again. I shall not seek to change you in any way. I shall respect you, your beliefs, and your ways as I respect myself.
Groom, please take the ring, place it on Bride’s finger and repeat after me:
I (grooms’s full name),with all the life that courses within my blood and the love that resides within my heart, take thee, (brides’s full name) to my hand, my heart, and my spirit, to be my chosen one. I promise to love you wholly and completely without restraint, in sickness and in health, in plenty and in poverty, in life and beyond, where we shall meet, remember, and love again. I shall not seek to change you in any way. I shall respect you, your beliefs, and your ways as I respect myself.
[OFFICIANT] (holds up engagement ring)
The engagement ring is a symbol of a promise and intention. Now today, the intention is realized and the promise is fulfilled. So Groom, would you please place the engagement ring on Bride’s finger over her wedding band, symbolizing that the love that brought you together will protect and sustain you.
[BRIDE AND GROOM] (Hold hands. As the following is recited, the couples hands are wrapped with cords)
[OFFICIANT] As this knot is tied, so are your lives now bound together.
The bond of marriage is not formed by these cords, but rather by the vows you have made. For always you hold in your own hands the fate of this union. Above you are stars and below you is earth. Like stars your love should be a constant source of light, and like the earth, a firm foundation from which to grow.
May these hands be blessed this day. May they always hold each other. May they have the strength to hang on during the storms of stress and the dark of disillusionment. May they remain tender and gentle as they nurture each other in their wondrous love. May they build a relationship founded in love, and rich in caring. May these hands be healer, protector, shelter, and guide for each other.
Today, the bride and groom have received the blessing of their family and friends, made vows, and exchanged rings. Therefore, it is my pleasure to now pronounce them husband and wife.
You may now kiss your bride!