Optional Ceremonies

Hand Blessing Ceremony –

(choose one if desired)

[Bride], please hold [Groom's] hands palms up, so you may see the gift that they are to you. These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and vibrant with love, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as he promises to passionately love you and cherish you through the years, for a lifetime of happiness. These are the hands that will work along side yours, as together you build your future, as you laugh and cry, as you share your innermost secrets and dreams. These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes: tears of sorrow and tears of joy. These are the hands that will comfort you in illness, and hold you when fear or grief engulfs your heart. These are the hands that when wrinkled and aged will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch. These are the hands that will tenderly lift your chin and brush your cheek as they raise your face to look into his eyes: eyes that are filled completely with his overwhelming love and desire for you.
Optional: At this point while the groom’s hands are still on top, the officiant asks the groom to take a good long look at the position of his hands. As the groom looks down at his hands the officiant says, "because this is the last time you will have the upper hand".

[Groom], please hold [Bride's] hands palms up, so you may see the gift that they are to you. These are the hands of your best friend, smooth, young and carefree, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as she promises to passionately love you and cherish you through the years, for a lifetime of happiness. These are the hands that will massage tension from you neck and back in the evenings after you’ve both had a long hard day. These are the hands that will hold you tight as you struggle through difficult times. These are the hands that will comfort you when you are sick, or console you when you are grieving. These are the hands that when wrinkled and aged will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch. These are the hands that will give you support as she encourages you to chase down your dreams. Together as a team, everything you wish for can be realized.
Sand Blending Ceremony:

________ and ______ may your love always be as constant as the never-ending waves, flowing endlessly from the depths of the sea. Just as the waters touch and nourish the many shores of the earth, may your love be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Just as there will never be a morning without the ocean’s flow, there will never be a day without your love for each other. You have just sealed your relationship by the giving and receiving of rings. This beautiful union is symbolized through the combining of these two individual shells of sand. The first shell represents you ______, in all that you were, all that you are, and all that you will ever be, and the other shell represents you ______, in all that you were, all that you are and all that you will ever be. Each one holds its own unique beauty, strength, and character. They can stand on their own and be whole, without need of anything else. However when these two are blended together they create an entirely new and extraordinarily more intricate entity. Each grain of sand brings to the mixture a lasting beauty that forever enriches the combination. Please pour the sand into this common container to symbolize the union of your two lives. This container of sand now represents your new life together, although you are two separate people your lives are now entwined as one. Just as these grains of sand can never be separated and poured again into the individual containers, so will your marriage be a molding of two individual personalities, bonded together forming one heart, one love. The life that each of you experienced now, individually, will hereafter be inseparably united, for the two shall become one.

Family Sand Blending Ceremony:

We are all members of one family, God’s family. Today as ______ and ______ have sealed their commitment to each other with the exchange of rings they too make a commitment to their children. We recognize the significant role that ______, ______ , _______ and ______ play in this marriage celebrated today. They will now join ______ and ______ in this commitment to each other by contributing a part of each individual person into one blended family. Today, this relationship is symbolized through the pouring of these _____ individual shells/containers of sand, each representing a member of the family in all that they were, all that that are, and all that they will ever be. As each individual’s sand is poured into the family’s one united common container, the individual containers of sand will no longer exist, but will be joined together as one. Please pour the sand into this common container to symbolize the blending of your lives. Just as these grains of sand can never be separated and poured again into the individual containers, so will become the bond with your family.

Unity Candle Ceremony

(choose one)

______ and ______, you have just sealed your relationship by the giving and receiving of rings. You have committed here today to share the rest of your lives with each other. This beautiful union is now symbolized by the lighting of the Unity Candle. The center candle you are about to light is a candle of Marriage. Its fire is magical because it represents the light of two people in love. It is a candle of Unity because both must come together, giving a spark of themselves, to create the new light. This candle is also a candle of Commitment because it takes two people working together to keep it aflame. It has been said that life is like a flame, It has its own warmth, and its own brilliance. But it's in the union of Two, that something brighter, warmer, more wonderful takes place. ______ and ______ please light the center candle to symbolize the union of your lives. As you have lit this candle today, may the brightness of the flame shine throughout your lives. May the radiance of this one light be a testimony of your unity. May this candle burn brightly as a symbol of your commitment to each other. May it give you strength and joy in your bodies, minds, and spirits. The life that each of you experienced now, individually, will hereafter be inseparably united, for the two shall become one. May your union be forever blessed.
_____ and ______ your relationship was just sealed by the giving and receiving of rings. This beautiful union is symbolized through the lighting of the Unity Candle. The two distinct flames represent your lives to this moment; individual and unique. The center candle you are about to light is a candle of Marriage. Its fire is magical because it represents the light of two people in love. It is a candle of Unity because both must come together, giving a spark of themselves, to create the new light. This candle is also a candle of Commitment because it takes two people working together to keep it aflame. ______ and ______ please light the center candle to symbolize the union of your lives. As you have lit this candle today, may the brightness of the flame shine throughout your lives. May the radiance of this one light be a testimony of your unity. May this candle burn brightly as a symbol of your commitment to each other. May it give you courage and reassurance in darkness. Warmth and safety in the cold.
Family Unity Candle Ceremony:

It is only out of families that new families emerge. Today the family candles that burn in our midst symbolize your separate lives and these two families. ______ and ______ come to this moment from these two families, and the new emerges from the old… the present from the past. I ask that each of you take one of the lit candles and that together you light the center candle. Lighting the center candle represents that your two lives are now joined as one, and represents the joining together of your two families as one. As they move together, they form a new light, the light of their union, it burns separately but not alone. From now on your thoughts shall be for each other rather than for your individual selves. Your joys and sorrows shall be shared alike. Today a new family candle begins its glow.

The Red Rose Exchange

The Bride & Groom give each other a red Rose as their first gift as husband & wife. Two roses are all that is necessary. ______ and ______ your gift to each other for your wedding today has been your wedding rings - which shall always be an outward demonstration of your vows of love and respect; and a public showing of your commitment to each other. You now have the most honorable title that may exist between a man and a woman - the title of "husband" and "wife." In the elegant language of flowers, red roses are a symbol of love; the giving of a single red rose is a clear and unmistakable way of saying the words "I love you." For this reason it is fitting that the first gift you exchange as husband and wife would be the gift of a single red rose. Please exchange your first gift as husband and wife. You both have given and received one of the most valuable and precious gifts of life - one I hope you always remember - the gift of true and abiding love within the devotion of marriage. In every marriage there are times when it is difficult to find the right words, and the ones we love the most are the ones we can most easily hurt. There are times when it may be difficult to say "I'm sorry" or "I forgive you" or "I need you" or "I'm hurting." ______ and ______I would ask that wherever you may make your home, that you choose a special location. And at those times when words fail, that you leave a red rose at that spot you have both selected -- a rose that will say what matters more than all other words..."I still love you; The other should accept this rose for the words that cannot be found, and remember the love and hope that you both have shared today.

Rose Exchange (Shorter Version)

In the elegant language of flowers, red roses are a symbol of love, the giving of a single red rose is a clear and unmistakable way of saying the words "I love you." For this reason it is fitting that the first gift you exchange as husband and wife would be the gift of a single red rose. Please exchange your first gift as husband and wife. You both have given and received one of the most valuable and precious gifts of life - one I hope you always remember - the gift of true and abiding love within the devotion of marriage. ______ and ______ I would ask that wherever you may make your home, that you choose a special location. And at those times when words fail, that you leave a red rose at that spot you have both selected -- a rose that will say what matters more than all other words..."I still love you; The other should accept this rose for the words that cannot be found, and remember the love and hope that you both have shared today.

White Rose Ceremony

Groom (as he hands his bride a long-stemmed white rose): "_____, take this rose as a symbol of my love. It began as a tiny bud and blossomed, just as my love has grown and blossomed for you"

Bride (as she places the rose into a bud vase filled with water): "I take this rose, as a symbol of your love, and I place it into water, a symbol of life. For, just as this rose cannot survive without water, I cannot survive without you."

Bride: "And I will refill this vase with water each year, ready to receive your gift, in reaffirmation of the new life you have given me and the vows spoken here today".

Groom (as he and his bride join hands around the rose-filled vase): "And so, this rose will be a symbolic memory of my commitment to you this hour; I vow to be a faithful husband to you, to comfort you, honor you, and respect you and cherish you all the days of my life."

Bride (as they continue to hold the vase together): "And I commit myself to you, to be a faithful wife, to comfort you, honor you, respect you, and cherish you all the days of my life".

The Family Rose Ceremony

It is only out of families that new families emerge. Today the roses that were placed here from both of your mothers symbolize your separate lives and your two individual families. ______ . ______ and ______, you come to this moment from these two families, and the new emerges from the old… the present from the past. I ask that each of you take one of the roses and together place them in the center vase. The center vase with the roses signify that your two lives are now joined as one, and represents the joining together of your two families as one. From now on your thoughts shall be for each other rather than for your individual selves. Your joys and sorrows shall be shared alike. Today a new family makes its beginning. It is only out of families that new families emerge.

Mothers Rose Presentation

Marriage is a coming together of two lives and a celebration of the love of two people. But it is more. The love that ______ and ______ feel for one another is the flowering of a seed their parents planted in their hearts years ago. As they embrace one another in their love, so do they embrace the families which have been brought together on this happy occasion. As a sign of their love for their families, ______ and ______ would like to offer these symbols of eternal love, these roses, to their mothers, ______ and ______. ______ and ______ want you to know that your efforts were not in vain and that your love is very much appreciated, they thank you for everything you’ve instilled in them. These Roses are a promise that no matter how far apart you are that you are not forgotten and a reminder that you are always in their hearts and prayers.

Family and Friends Response (Placed after Couples Vows)

Marriage is the promise of hope between two people who love each other, who honor each other as individuals, and who wish to unite their lives and share the future together. In this ceremony, they dedicate themselves to the happiness and well-being of each other, in a union of mutual caring and responsibility. Therefore, it is all the more important that those of you here with _______ and ______ may stand as witnesses to the happiness which they have found together, and to the promises they have made to each other. As they join their lives in marriage, they also bring you together in a new relationship, creating new bonds of trust and ties of affection. Will all of you by God’s grace, do everything in your power to preserve this marriage? Will all of you, who have supported these two in friendship and love, now bestow your blessing upon them? If so please show them your support by saying, "We will". [We will]