This is not the first cycle of their lives together. Rather than a new beginning, this ceremony represents to Scott and Jenny a new season. Just as spring is a time of planting, and summer is a time of growth, this cycle represents the harvest of growth, maturity and abiding respect. Past success, failure, disappointment and joy simply nourish this harvest, providing a rich and stable place from which to grow together as the cycle of life continues.
And now, each in your own way, join me in prayer...
This is a holy place, for here life is touched by love and love by life--joy radiates like the warmth of a fire. Here now, between Jenny and Scott, lies hidden all the future of their lives together. May that future be blessed with deepening love. May they trust each other wholly, as they trust themselves, so that together they are equal to the needs of their tomorrows. May they be at home wherever they dwell, and gather wisdom from all the seasons of their lives. So will it be.
Reading By Paul:
Song by Allen Ginsburg
The weight of the world
Under the burden
under the burden
the weight we carry
Who can deny?
in human -
looks out of the heart
burning with purity -
for the burden of life
but we carry the weight
and so must rest
in the arms of love
must rest in the arms
of love -
be mad or chill
obsessed with angels
the final wish
- cannot be bitter,
the weight is too heavy
- must give
for no return
in all the excellence
of its excess.
The warm bodies
in the darkness,
the hand moves
to the center
of the flesh,
the skin trembles
and the soul comes
joyful to the eye -
I always wanted,
I always wanted,
to the body
where I was born.
Misty: This wreath symbolizes the marriage that Jenny and Scott celebrate here today. We, their friends and family, will create a visual symbol of their vows. A wreath that will decorate their home, as love decorates their lives. This wreath will help them remember the love shared by all of us here today.
The ivy in this wreath is a traditional symbol of Matrimony and Friendship. The circular shape of the wreath mirrors the rings that Scott and Jenny will exchange and symbolizes the never ending devotion that they pledge to each other on this day. Ivy does not "feed upon" the tree or stone to which it clings. Nothing can separate the vine from a tree it embraces, and if the tree falls the ivy holds fast. But the ivy is held to the soil by its own roots. It steals nothing from its companion, and though the two die on the same spot, they die in their own time, making their own independent gestures. Today Scott and Jenny cement the bond that they share as they continue to grow as individuals.
(Paul places larkspur): These are branches of larkspur, a traditional symbol of humor and levity.
(Matt places dock): This is dock, a symbol of patience. Matt adds them with a wish that Scott and Jenny never lose patience and humor. These qualities sustain their relationship through even the roughest times and enrich their daily lives.
(Justin places tarragon): Justin brings tarragon, which symbolizes the unselfish regard with which they should treat one another, today and always.
(The Animal places violets and snowdrops): Animal adds violets and snowdrops, which symbolize faithfulness and hope. Jenny and Scott will need these traits throughout their lives together. Their faith and trust in one another will be strengthened as time goes on. Without hope, there is no success, but Scott and Jenny's hope will create their joys.
(Molly places rosemary): This rosemary symbolizes remembrance. Molly adds it to the wreath with the wish that Jenny and Scott never allow each other to forget the way they feel today, and that they will always recall the romance and passion they felt on the day of their meeting.
(Hilary places roses): The roses Hilary carries symbolize the passion, the beauty and the unity that Jenny and Scott feel today. May they always take the time to find the beauty around them and the passion within them, and to feel the strength their unity provides them. May they always recall and honor the vows they make this day.
Reading by Molly:
Sonnet 116 by William Shakespeare
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O, no! It is an ever-fix'd mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom...
Misty: This bond, this joining, is not meant to be a fetter. A joining is a partnership, not two people becoming one. Two minds cannot fuse, two souls cannot merge, two hearts cannot keep to the same time. If two are foolish enough to try this, one must overwhelm the other, and that is not love, nor compassion, nor responsibility. You are two who choose to walk the same path, to bridge the differences between you with love. You must remember and respect those differences and learn to understand them, for they are part of what makes you come to love in the first place. Love is patient, love is willing to compromise - love is willing to admit wrong. There will be hard times; you must face them as bound warriors do, side by side, not using the weapon of your knowledge to tear at each other. There will be sadness as well as joy, and you must support one another through grief and sorrow. There will be pain - but pain shared is pain halved, and joy shared is joy doubled, and you each must sacrifice your own comfort to share the pain of the other. And more, you must do all this and manage to keep each other from wrong actions, for a joining means that you also pledge to help one another at all times. You must lead each other by example. Guide and be willing to be guided. Being joined does not mean that you accept what is truly wrong; being joined means that you must strive both to remain in the light and the right. You must not pledge yourselves thinking that you can change each other. That is rankest folly, and disrespect, for no one has the right to change another. You must not pledge yourselves thinking that there will be no strife between you. That is fantasy, for you are two and not one, and there will inevitably come conflict that it will be up to you to resolve. You must not pledge yourselves thinking that all will be well from this moment on. That is a dream, and dreamers must eventually wake. You must come to this joining fully ready, fully committed, and fully respectful of each other.
[to Scott] Repeat after me:
I, Scott Christiansen, in the name of the spirit that resides within us all, by the life that courses within my blood and the love that resides within my heart, take thee, Jenny Sweaney, to my hand, my heart, and my spirit, to be my chosen one. To desire thee and be desired by thee, to possess thee, and be possessed by thee, without sin or shame, for none can exist in the purity of my love for thee. I promise to love thee wholly and completely without restraint, in sickness and in health, in plenty and in poverty. I shall not seek to change thee in any way. I shall respect thee, thy beliefs, thy people, and thy ways as I respect myself and mine.
[to Jenny] Repeat after me:
I, Jennifer Lynn Sweaney, in the name of the spirit that resides within us all, by the life that courses within my blood, and the love that resides within my heart,take thee, Scott Christiansen to my hand, my heart, and my spirit to be my chosen one. To desire and be desired by thee, to possess thee, and be possessed by thee, without sin or shame, for naught can exist in the purity of my love for thee. I promise to love thee wholly and completely without restraint,in sickness and in health, in plenty and in poverty, in life and beyond. I shall not seek to change thee in any way. I shall respect thee, thy beliefs, thy people, and thy ways as I respect myself and mine.
Misty: The rings please.Scott, I have not the right to bind thee to Jenny, only you have this right. If it be your wish, say so at this time and place your ring in her hand.
Scott: It is my wish.
Misty: Jenny, if it be your wish for Scott to be bound to you, place the ring on his finger. (She places ring on Scott's left ring finger)
Jenny, I have not the right to bind thee to Scott, only you have this right. If it be your wish, say so at this time and place your ring in his hand.
Jenny: It is my wish.
Misty: Scott, if it be your wish for Jenny to be bound to you, place the ring on her finger. (He places ring on Jenny's left ring finger)
[picking up cord] This cord binds your hearts and hands together. This cord may stretch but is never broken; as I bind these two together, binding their hands as they bind their souls, let nothing break them apart. Scott, place your hand over hers. [he does] Scott, your hand is over Jenny's not to be dominant, but to be protective of her. Jenny, your hand is under Scott's not to be submissive, but to be supportive of him. [ties wrists together]
Everyone here is witness to this joining which you, Jenny and you, Scott, have chosen freely and in love. Go forward into a bright future together.
Now you need no longer fear the storm, for you find shelter in each other. Now the winter cannot harm you, for you warm each other with love. Now when strength fails, you will be the wind to each other's wings. Now the darkness holds no danger, for you will be the light to each other's path. Now you will defy despair, for you will bring hope to each other's hearts. Now there will be no more loneliness, for there will always be a hand reaching out to aid you when all seems darkest. Where there were two paths, there is now one. May your days together be long upon the earth, and each day blessed with joy in each other.
By the power vested in me by the State of California, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the groom! [they kiss]
Ladies and Gentlemen, I now present the Newlyweds!
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