Moment of Remembrance
Ladies and gentlemen, before we celebrate this joyous occasion today, Ashley and Aaron would like you all to join with them in a moment to remember their grandparents who have passed, as well as those loved ones who are no longer with us. We know they are here in spirit, in our hearts and in our memories, sharing in the love and joy of this celebration, wishing our bride and groom a lifetime of happiness.
Guests are seated.
Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to celebrate the marriage of Ashley and Aaron, two people very much in love, appreciative and ready to begin this next step in their journey together. As you all know, our bride and groom originally planned this celebration for July of last year, however the world had other plans. This past year has taught us that when the world feels chaotic all around us, it’s love that remains the constant and sees us through challenging times. Ashley and Aaron became married last year, because they did not want to wait one more minute to begin their journey as married people, however it’s the opportunity to make their promises of forever in front of all of you that makes their union feel complete in their eyes, and brings their first year of marriage to a full circle.
Today we celebrate both Ashley and Aaron’s religions and spiritual paths, as we honor the many ways that their Jewish and Catholic backgrounds are alike in more ways than they are different, equally celebrating the values of love and of family. We stand here, in this beautiful setting, beneath a chuppah. In the Jewish tradition, a chuppah represents the home that Ashley and Aaron shall create. Its four poles symbolize the four pillars upon which a strong marriage is built: family, friendship, love and respect. As a shelter that is open on all sides, we see an invitation and a sign of welcome to those we love. The chuppah’s delicate structure reminds those beneath it, that the only thing real about a home is the people in it, who love and who choose to be together as a family. The journey they travel from this point forward will be as one, bringing with them all of the rich culture and beliefs that are part of who they are. Today we recognize that finding the one person, out of all seven and a half billion of us here on this earth, who makes your life sweeter and brighter… to be warmth in the cold and to love you for the parts of yourself that no one else will ever see… it is indeed worth celebrating! We begin with a prayer. We begin with a prayer.
Dear God, we thank you for the gift of love that you have bestowed upon Ashley and Aaron. We pray that they may find life’s deepest meaning and richest happiness. Temper their hearts with kindness and help them to remain sweethearts, partners, friends and guides, so that together, they may meet the cares and problems of life more bravely. May your blessings forever continue to shine upon them, granting them with prosperity and abundance, health and happiness, joy and peace in both the physical and spiritual world for all the days of their journey. Amen.
Welcoming of Guests
As you all know, family and friends are very important to our bride and groom. While I’m sure that you are all happy to be here with them, they wanted very much to express how deeply grateful they are to have every one of you here today, and in their lives. You are their nearest and dearest loved ones. All the time you have spent with them, conversations you have had, have helped our bride and groom reach this moment. We are especially grateful to have the opportunity to join together, safely and healthy, and for such a joyful occasion.
Aaron and Ashley are very thankful for the effort you have made to be here, thank you for presence today.
Reading: The Velveteen Rabbit
For our first reading today, Ashley and Aaron have selected an excerpt from “The Velveteen Rabbit,” because of its meaningful story about life and love, and the wonderful memories it inspires. They would be honored if Ashley’s mother Valerie would share these beautiful words with us today.
“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”
“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a someone loves you for a long, long time, not just play with, but Really loves you, then you become Real.”
“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.
“Sometimes,” said the Horse, for he was always truthful. “when you are Real, you don’t mind being hurt.”
“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”
“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get all loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand. Once you are real, you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always.”
Valerie, will you please join Ashley in the lighting of her Baptism candle. It is customary in Catholicism that this candle is lit to mark significant events in one’s life. This candle was lit when Ashley was baptized, received her first Holy Communion and made her Confirmation. Today, we honor the Sacrament of Marriage with this same flame. As Marcus Aurelius said, “The blazing fire makes flame and brightness out of everything cast into it.” Ashley and Aaron, may the same be true for your marriage.
Ashley and Aaron
Personal section removed for this posting
Seven Blessings Over Wine
Wine is an important part of religious observances from many different cultures. Seven is the most frequently used number in the Bible. It took seven days to form the earth, leaving the number seven to mark for us the path to creation. Since every marriage is celebrated as a new creation, it is customary that the bride and groom are bestowed with seven blessings, representing our hopes for Ashley and Aaron’s future. We now invite Aaron’s mother, Shelley, to offer these blessings.
Blessings are given over wine
May your marriage be as sweet as the fruit of the vine.
May you work together to build a relationship of substance and quality.
May the honesty of your communication build a foundation of understanding, connection and trust.
May you respect each other’s individual personality and philosophy, give each other room to grow and fulfill each other’s dreams.
May your sense of humor and playful spirit continue to enliven your relationship.
May you understand that neither of you is perfect: you are both subject to human frailties; but your love shall strengthen when you fall short of each other’s expectations.
May you continue to be best friends, better together than either of you are apart.
Bride and Groom drink
Presentation of Rings
May I have the rings please?
You are about to present each other with the gift of a wedding band, rings that you first exchanged one year ago. Wedding bands are unbroken circles, symbols of eternity, with neither end nor beginning. They are a visual reminder not only of the endless love you possess for one another this day, but also of the precious gifts of trust, honesty and commitment that you place in one another for all of your tomorrows. Aaron, your ring has special meaning as it was your grandfather’s ring, and you are aware that it carries with it the blessing from him, and from all the generations past. You will once again exchange these rings as a sign that no matter where you go, or whatever you do, there is someone in this world who loves you and whether you are near or far, they are always right by your side.
Aaron, you cherish Ashley for so many reasons. She is loving, kind and caring, always there to support and encourage you. Her adorable excitement over things like puppies, stuffed animals and ice cream remind you to let go of the stress of the day and to enjoy the fun things in life. Even after spending every moment together through a worldwide pandemic, Ashley greets you each day with enthusiasm, affection and that beautiful smile, always happy to see you, and you know how deeply you are loved.
There are certain things that Ashley needs from you in order to ensure that you have a long and happy life together. She counts on your loyalty, patience and unconditional support. Communicate with an open heart and an open mind, seeking to understand one another so that together you can overcome obstacles that life may throw in your path. Maintain the laughter, passion and sense of adventure so that the connection between you is always vibrant and meaningful.
Continue to do the things you already do, with words and with gestures both great and small that show Ashley how much you love her.
Aaron, do vow to fulfill these promises and do you renew your vow to Ashley as your wife?
Aaron: “I do.”
Please take a moment to speak the words you’ve written to share with Ashley today.
**Aaron’s words go here**
Please place the ring on Ashley’s finger and repeat after me?
Aaron places the ring half way on to Ashley’s ring finger
I, Aaron, renew my vows to you, Ashley, as my wife. You are my love and my best friend. I vow to love you and honor you, Respect and cherish you, For all the days of my life.
Aaron places the ring the rest of the way on to Ashley’s finger
Ashley, you admire Aaron because he is confident, smart and ambitious, always looking to better himself personally, professionally and intellectually. While doing that, Aaron motivates you to be your best as well, learning, understanding and seeing life with new perspectives. His thoughtful gestures, whether it’s cooking you breakfast, embracing your silliness or surprising you with ice cream from Friendly’s, you know that Aaron is always thinking of ways to make you smile. With Aaron in your world, you know that life will continue to be an incredible adventure.
There are certain things that Aaron needs from you in order to have a long and happy life together. He counts on your love, loyalty and support. Be patient and understanding, as sometimes Aaron will need some space and other times he will need your help to draw him out. Make mindful decisions, each and every day, to nurture your marriage so that it truly thrives. Continue to do the things you already do, with words and with gestures, both great and small, that show Aaron how much you love him.
Ashley, do you vow to fulfill these promises and do you renew your vow to Aaron as your husband?
Ashley: “I do.”
Please take a moment to speak the words you’ve written to share with Aaron.
**Ashley’s words go here**
Please place the ring on Aaron’s finger and repeat after me?
Ashley places the ring half way on to Aaron’s ring finger
I, Ashley, renew my vows to you, Aaron, as my husband. You are my love and my best friend. I vow to love you and honor you, Respect and cherish you, For all the days of my life. Ashley places the ring the rest of the way on to Aaron’s finger
Breaking of the Glass & Pronouncement
The Jewish tradition of breaking of the glass which marks the end of the ceremony, is a reminder of both the strength and the fragility of the spiritual bond that is marriage. It is a reminder to appreciate all that we have now, to embrace change, and to always hold the important things in life above all else. Ashley and Aaron, may your marriage last longer than it would take for all the broken pieces to reassemble by themselves, and may all of your troubles be as easily shattered. As the glass is broken in a moment, I invite everyone to shout “Mazel Tov,” or your own version of “congratulations and good luck.” Or, if you prefer, those of you that share their nerdy streak can feel free to shout, “May the Force be with you.”
Aaron and Ashley, my closing wish for you is this:
As you are both musicians and educators, I ask you to remember to learn the lessons about marriage that only music can teach you:
As in marriage, a wonderful piece of music takes us on a journey of emotions and makes us feel things on the deepest levels, not always easily, but meaningfully, each of you is the composer of your journey ahead.
The chords you play together may, at times, be dissonant; strive to resolve them, achieving balance and harmony in your relationship. Acknowledge the symbolic nature of rests and embrace opportunities to breathe. Their value lies in their ability to help craft and enhance life’s many phrases. Learn to read each other’s key signatures as they will tell you how to proceed, and continuously listen to make sure you are playing in tune with one another. You know that as skilled musicians, you must dedicate your effort towards mindful practice, listening and learning; marriage requires the same. Appreciate even the mistakes, as they are opportunities to learn and grow. Where there are broken strings and sticky valves, arguments or issues, attend to them, quickly. You are two distinct individuals, choosing to join as one. As every note, by itself, is important, but playing together creates a new timbre of richness and beauty.
As Shakespeare wrote: “If music be the food of love, play on.”
Aaron and Ashley, it is my honor to announce that you are once again, as your hearts already know you to be, Husband and Wife. You may celebrate by sharing a kiss!
Groom steps on glass
All: MAZEL TOV!
Bride and Groom kiss again then exit to greet their guests