“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to celebrate the marriage of Jennifer and Elaina. They feel very blessed that each one of you are here to share in the celebration of their marriage. Years ago this was not an option for them to even consider, and they would never have believed the amount of love and acceptance that their love would receive. Yet, although the world has changed, the ideals of love and home and family remain as timeless as the desire to protect and care for the one that we love… the one that we choose to call our own and hold above all others for a lifetime. As untraditional as Jennifer and Elaina may seem at a glance, our brides share some very traditional values. They believe that the promise of marriage is a sacred vow, a promise of the heart that is made for a lifetime.
In lieu of an opening reading, I would like to share with you just a few words written by Tim Keller:
“When over the years someone has seen you at your worst, and knows you with all your strengths and flaws, yet commits them self to you wholly, it is a consummate experience. To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.”
To have this kind of love from one another and from all of you, is a gift beyond compare in today‘s world.
Marriage is a promise that says “You will always come first in my life.” This is an ideal that Jennifer and Elaina already live by. Yet there is something about being able to make their promises of love and faithfulness publicly that truly makes their marriage real, and brings them more joy than words can express. So I will ask you now if you are prepared to make these promises.
Jennifer, Have you come here today of your own free will to take Elaina to be your wife, that you may live together as equal partners sharing all that life has to offer?”
Jennifer: “I have.”
“Will you love her, comfort her, honor and keep her all the days of your life?”
Jennifer: “I will.”
“Elaina, Have you come here today of your own free will to take Jennifer to be your wife, that you may live together as equal partners sharing all that life has to offer?”
Elaina: “I have.”
“Will you love her comfort her, honor and keep her all the days of your life?”
Elaina: “I will.”
“Living by these promises that you make today, may your lives together be blessed with love and laughter, wisdom and wonder”
Welcoming of the Guests
“It is not often enough in today’s world that we have the opportunity to gather all those who mean the most to us together in one place. Therefore, Jennifer and Elaina would like to thank you all for taking the time and making the journey and for all the preparations that were made on their behalf to ensure that they were surrounded by the love of family and friends as they made their marriage vows. To have all of you here with them… All of you who have a lifetime of even emotional investment in Jennifer and Elaina and their happiness… All of you whom they love most in this world… There are no words of appreciation and gratitude great enough to let you know how much your love and support means to Jennifer and Elaina. Many of you were there with them when they met as teenagers and have come a long way in the evolution of your own feelings as their love has grown. The fact that they know you have all come to the place where you are almost as happy to be here as they are themselves this means the world to Jennifer and Elaina. They thank you for your presence here today, and for being there for them through all the days that it has taken to make this one a reality.”
Jennifer and Elaina
“As many of you know Jennifer and Elaina have known one another for almost all of their lives. In their time together and in the years before their families have also gotten to know one another. As Jennifer described it “we are a big part of one another’s history, and the one person we had each held onto in our hearts for our entire lives“. The road hasn’t always been easy for them, but life is not a destination. It is a journey that has now come full circle, returning Jennifer and Elaina to where they began when they shared their first kiss at the tender ages of 15 and 17. For them it was that same crazy, excited, wonderful, scary, yet comfortable in so many ways… feeling that was familiar and somehow new. It was never Jennifer and Elaina love for one another that was in question… But how their love would affect the people that they cared for the most, their families, and so they went their own ways for a time. In imagining what their lives would have been like had they been together ever since the beginning, there is a sense of appreciation for the opportunity that they were each given to learn and grow on their own and to in essence become the people that they needed to be to have the kind of relationship that they now share. It has been said that a good relationship makes two people the best possible version of themselves that they can be. And this is the place that their past and their present have brought Jennifer and Elaina to in their lives.
When asked what they love most about one another and their relationship Elaina began by saying that Jennifer is very smart, with the strength of character to live her life genuinely. Elaina admires the way that Jennifer always thinks before she speaks and the selfless quality that shows how much she cares about the people in her life. When Jennifer loves, she loves with all of her heart and Elaina is honored to be one of those few lucky people who know what a great feeling it is to be loved by her. Jennifer is passionate and exuberant, she loves markers and glitter, and lives a life that in word and deed is as bright and wonderful as the cards she makes. To be the one whose voice Jennifer has chosen as the voice she will hear every day from now until forever is to Elaina truly a gift and a blessing.
Jennifer began her turn in admiration of Elaina’s drive, ambition, and her strength. Once she has set her mind to a goal there is nothing beyond her reach. Elaina is the one who supplies their relationship with a firm foundation. She is the architect of their future and it’s protector. Jennifer appreciates how hard Elaina is willing to work to make all of their dreams a reality. Jennifer has always found Elaina “fascinating”. She loves how smart and funny she is and the way she can laugh at her own jokes before anyone else. Elaina is straightforward, with her you always know where you stand, and as tough as she can be, Jennifer loves the softer, more vulnerable side, that she alone is privileged to share.
There is a spiritual intimacy that the bond of marriage provides that binds a couple closer than any spoken or written words can. Marriage is being one another’s first thought in the morning and in the evenings. Marriage is having the personal integrity to live by the values that they make this day. Marriage is the promise that will create a stable and loving home for their children. And marriage is also a promise to Jennifer and Elaina’s parents, a promise that the person they love will always be well cared for.”
“Loving God, We gather today as friends and family of these two beautiful people who shall this day be joined as one. You have given them the gifts of love, family, and dreams of a long and happy life together. May all that they share now deepen and grow through the years. May they continue to find comfort in each other’s presence, joy in each other‘s laughter, and a light in each other’s eyes to remind them always of the mystical union of spirit which is the ideal of marriage.”
“When Jennifer and Elaina’s personal sections were done, they felt that there were a few things missing from their story. Those thoughts were so beautiful and insightful that they have decided to share those words at this time.”
Jennifer speaks her heart
“Elaina, loving you has always felt like a fairytale, but it is so amazing to find that our story has a real happily ever after. I love hearing the sound of your laugh, feeling the warmth that comes from your smile, and being able to melt from the passion in your touch. I love how we can speak to each other with our eyes alone. Some of our best conversations have been said in silence! You always know what I am thinking before I even have a chance to say it and you always know what I need. Just a simple hug from you can make everything in life feel perfect. We are the perfect balance for one another, so much a like yet perfectly different. I believe that we are true soulmates, nobody in this world could ever love me, treat me, or understand me better than you do. I love that I am your #1, even before yourself, even before your gum and chapstick. Elaina, I love how you love me and I love how much I love you. There is no greater happiness for me then to be able to call you MY wife.”
“Elaina will you now tell Jennifer what is in your heart?”
Elaina speaks her heart
“Jennifer, I love that you are your own person. How you hold such strong values, how you look into my eyes like you are looking straight to my soul. I love how much you love me. You keep me balanced and I admire how everything you say, you mean from the bottom of your heart. I love your smile, the way you love life and even your competitive side. I love how much you love your family and I love listening to how you have grown into the beautiful woman you are now. I love how you know me so well and always listen to my every detail. I love how we reminisce, we laugh together then cry together then laugh that we are both crying. I love looking back at all of our memories and knowing how much we have grown together. I am so excited to have you beside me for the rest of our journey through this life.”
Presentation of the Rings
“May I have the rings please?
Officiant is given the rings
These beautiful bands are unbroken circles, symbols of eternity, with neither end, nor beginning. They are to remind you not only of the endless love you possess for one another this day, but of the precious gift of trust, honesty and commitment that you place in one another for all of your tomorrows. Jennifer and Elaina, from this day forward you will wear these rings as a sign that no matter where you go and what ever you do, there is someone in this world who loves you more than anything else, who whether near or far is always by your side. May these rings forever shine as a symbol of enduring strength and beauty in a sometimes fragile world.”
~ Ring Vows ~
“Elaina do you give yourself to Jennifer in marriage to love her as your wife and best friend from this day forward? Do you promise to encourage and inspire her, and to comfort her in times of sorrow and struggle? Do you promise to love her in good times and in bad, when life seems easy and when it seems hard, when your love is simple, and when it is an effort? Do you promise to cherish her, and to always hold her in highest regard, today and for all the days of your life?”
Elaina: “I do.”
“Will you now place the ring on your beloved’s finger and repeat after me?“
Elaina places the ring half way on to Jennifer’s finger
“You are my life, my love, and my best friend. All that I am, All that I do, All that I dream shall be ours together. Let this ring be a reminder to you of how much I love you, Not only on this precious day, But every single day of my life. Jennifer, I love you, I respect you, and I am truly honored to make you my wife.”
Elaina places the ring the rest of the way on to Jennifer’s finger
“Jennifer, do you give yourself to Elaina in marriage to love her as your wife and best friend from this day forward? Do you promise to encourage and inspire her, and to comfort her in times of sorrow and struggle? Do you promise to love her in good times and in bad, when life seems easy and when it seems hard, when your love is simple, and when it is an effort? Do you promise to cherish her, and to always hold her in highest regard, today and for all the days of your life?”
Jennifer: “I do.”
“Will you now place the ring on your beloved’s finger and repeat after me?”
Jennifer places the ring half way onto Elaina’s finger
“You are my life, my love, and my best friend. All that I am, All that I do, All that I dream shall be ours together. Let this ring be a reminder to you of how much I love you, Not only on this precious day, But every single day of my life. Elaina, I love you, I respect you, and I am truly honored to make you my wife.”
Jennifer places the ring the rest of the way onto Elaina’s finger
~ Pronouncement of Marriage ~
“Jennifer and Elaina, we hope that you will share the joy, peace, and rewards of a good marriage. Love each other with constancy, live joyously and laugh freely. Share with each other the great and small moments in life, for each moment is unique and irreplaceable. Remember always to be each other’s best friend and to keep your hands and your hearts forever reaching for one another.
It is my honor and privilege to pronounce you Legally Married! You may both kiss your beautiful Bride!
Couple kisses and exits to greet their guests!