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Our Wedding Ceremony

For those of you interested in the full text of our wedding ceremony, here you go! Please feel free to steal/adapt whatever bits you like for your own wedding, and let me know all about it!

PROCESSIONAL: (SEA OF LOVE - sung by Trey and Alice)

1. (beach) Shane (if he's not too shy)
(lighthouse) P.J.

[When Shane & P.J. meet in the middle, P.J. should take the rings from Shane and hold onto them. Shane will go sit with his parents. If Shane doesn't want to do it, P.J. will just have the rings from the start.]

2. (beach) Brenda
(lighthouse) Lindsay

3. (beach) Julia
(lighthouse) Cindy


Please be seated.

At the request of the two stage managers standing in front of me, and the others scattered in this crowd, I ask that you take a moment to silence your cell phones and unwrap your candies now.
(Pause while people do so.)

On behalf of Julia and Cindy, I would like to thank you all for being here this afternoon - for taking the time and making the journey, and for all the effort it has taken - not only to be a part of this special day, but such an important part of their lives. You are those whom they love most in the world. You have supported them as individuals and as a couple, and now through your presence here, you show your willingness to support them in their marriage. They want you to know how grateful they are to have you in their lives.

A wedding ceremony is a formal declaration of the love that already exists between two people; the vows Julia and Cindy will share today represent promises already made to one another in a life already built together; and the intention that these "already"s are also "always-will-be"s.

(to Cindy & Julia)
Four years ago, through fate, luck, and exceptional timing, you gravitated towards one another at an opening night party. No one introduced you - you simply found each other, and said, "Yes." From that moment of "yes" to this moment of "yes", you have been making promises and agreements in everything you do. All those conversations you held riding in the car or sitting on the beach or over pancakes after one of those many, many karaoke nights - 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 things, and more, are what truly makes a wedding. What we are celebrating today is not the beginning of a marriage, but this marriage-already-in-progress.


Before Cindy and Julia exchange their vows, it's crucial that we recognize that they are not exchanging them in a void. All of us here represent the many threads and facets of their lives gathered together in one moment. We are not just witnesses to these promises, but members of the new family being created by this marriage.

Each of you, by your presence here today, is being called upon to support Cindy and Julia in loving one another;
to offer them your love;
to listen to them when they ask for advice;
to encourage them when encouragement is needed;
to celebrate with them when life is joyful;
and to stand beside them when the going gets - as the going does - rough.

In this spirit, Julia and Cindy ask all of you now: Do you support their marriage and accept the new partner into your life as family and a friend of your own? If so, please say "We do."

GUESTS: We do.
[Families need to start this, loudly and clearly.]

Thank you all.


Marriage is a serious commitment. These two mature and thoughtful people do not enter into it lightly.

When you love someone, you do not love them all the time in exactly the same way. That is impossible. Yet that is what most of us expect. We forget the ebb and flow of life and of love and of relationships. We insist on permanence, on duration, on continuity. But in love, as in life, the only stability is in change, in growth, and in freedom.

Julia and Cindy, as you know, no one can officially marry you - only you can marry each other. The vows that you are about to make to one another are a way of saying, “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. Up until now you have been many things to each other - acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, and even teacher - for you have learned much from one another in these last few years. Now you will say a few words that take you across a threshold of life; for after these vows, you will say to the world, "This is my wife."

Nothing is easier than standing here and saying these words and nothing is more difficult than living them day to day. What you promise today must be renewed and reaffirmed tomorrow and all the tomorrows to come.

Having considered all of these things, I will ask that you join hands and make your vows to each other.

(Cindy & Julia hand flowers to Lindsay & Brenda, and hold hands.)
(P.J. will ready these quietly, and Cindy/Julia will repeat - loudly enough for everyone to hear!)

Julia, please repeat after me.

Cindy, today I choose you to be my wife.
I accept you as you are, with all your faults and all your strengths;
And I offer myself, as I am, in return.
On this journey together, I pledge to you
that I will treat you as an equal partner;
that I will challenge you to reach your greatest potential;
and that I will care for you, stand beside you, and share with you
all of life's adversities and all of its joys.
I promise to love, encourage, and respect you in all you do
from this day forward.

Cindy, do you accept Julia's promise and take her as your wife?

I do.

And now, Cindy, please repeat after me.

Julia, today I choose you to be my wife.
I accept you as you are, with all your faults and all your strengths;
And I offer myself, as I am, in return.
On this journey together, I pledge to you
that I will treat you as an equal partner;
that I will challenge you to reach your greatest potential;
and that I will care for you, stand beside you, and share with you
all of life's adversities and all of its joys.
I promise to love, encourage, and respect you in all you do
from this day forward.

Julia, do you accept Cindy's promise and take her as your wife?

I do.


This is the point in the ceremony when people usually talk about the wedding bands being a perfect circle, having no beginning and no end. But we all know that these rings have a beginning. Rock is dug up from the earth. Metals are liquefied in a furnace at a thousand degrees. The hot metal is forged, cooled, and then painstakingly polished. Something beautiful made from raw elements. Love is like that. It comes from humble beginnings, made by imperfect beings. It is the process of making something beautiful where there was once nothing at all.

(As with vows, Cindy & Julia will repeat after P.J. Or maybe we will memorize this part? Anyway. P.J. hands Cindy's ring to Julia...)

(as she places ring on Cindy's finger)
With all that I am, with all that I will become, with this ring, I marry you.

(P.J. hands Julia's ring to Cindy.)

(as she places ring on Julia's finger)
With all that I am, with all that I will become, with this ring, I marry you.

You will be reminded each day of your commitment to this marriage by the wearing of your wedding ring. See how it sparkles today, reflecting every facet of your love for each other. When you glance down at your ring, let it inspire you to take a look at your relationship too. If it's looking a little worn, see if your marriage needs a little polishing. And when it's twinkling in the sunlight, remember this moment and the beautiful life you've created throughout your years together.


And now, Ari will share an excerpt from The Little Prince.

The Fox said to the Little Prince, "Go and look again at the roses. You will understand now that yours is unique in all the world. Then come back to say goodbye to me, and I will make you a present of a secret."

The Little Prince went away, to look again at the roses.

"You are not at all like my rose," he said. "As yet you are nothing. No one has tamed you, and you have tamed no one. You are like my Fox when I first knew him. He was only a Fox like a hundred thousand other Foxes. But I have made him my friend, and now he is unique in all the world."

And the roses were very much embarrassed.

"You are beautiful, but you are empty," he went on. "One could not die for you. To be sure, an ordinary passerby would think that my rose looked just like you-- the rose that belongs to me. But in herself alone she is more important than all the hundreds of you other roses: because it is she that I have watered; because it is she that I have put under the glass globe; because it is she that I have sheltered behind the screen; because it is for her that I have killed the caterpillars (except the two or three that we saved to become butterflies); because it is she that I have listened to, when she grumbled, or boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing. Because she is my rose.

And he went back to meet the Fox.

"Goodbye," he said.

"Goodbye," said the Fox. "And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."

"What is essential is invisible to the eye," the Little Prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.

"It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important."

"It is the time I have wasted for my rose--" said the Little Prince, so that he would be sure to remember.

"Men have forgotten this truth," said the Fox. "But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. You are responsible for your rose..."

"I am responsible for my rose," the Little Prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.

{The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Chapter 21: The Little Prince Befriends the Fox}


Thank you, Ari.

I probably don't need to remind you that you've come here on Independence Day weekend. We stand here on the Third Coast of America, on the banks of Lake Michigan from which the land stretches west to the Pacific and east to the Atlantic. We have the unique perspective, here in the middle of the nation, to see America for what it is, laid out before us. Amidst all the fireworks and BBQs and running from here to there, what is the freedom that we're celebrating? Because freedom for some is not freedom at all. But that's ok. Because to those who might oppose why we're here today, I have one thing to say: you've already lost. Our generation doesn't care. Despite all the sham and drudgery in this world, we realize that love, where it can be found, should be revered, protected, and consecrated. Period.

So, although the state and federal governments will not recognize it for a few more years, we pronounce you married now. Today, we are the legislators who will issue the marriage license, by the power vested in our Commonwealth, and we are the enforcers of the law who will hold Cindy and Julia to their vows in the years to come.

(Lindsay and Brenda will get the certificate from Ronnie & Jose who are holding it in the front row. And they will hold it while we sign.)

Julia, Cindy, I will ask you to sign your names to the marriage license, issued by this community that surrounds you.
(Cindy & Julia sign.)

Friends, family - I invite you to sign this marriage into being as you leave the ceremony today.
(P.J. signs. Cindy & Julia hold license while Lindsay & Brenda sign?)

Julia and Cindy, you have joined yourselves together today and for every tomorrow ahead. May your love be as beautiful on each day that you share as it is on this day of celebration. May the challenges of your life together be met with courage and optimism. May you learn from your failures and grow in your achievements. May you always see and encourage the very best in one another. May your lives be filled with laughter, imagination, trust, friendship, and love.

By the power unlawfully seized by me, in defiance of the State of Illinois' laws prohibiting marriage equality, it is my great pleasure to declare you MARRIED!

(Cindy and Julia kiss.)

RECESSIONAL: (Our Song sung by Trey, Alice, and Ari)
Cindy & Julia
Brenda & Lindsay
P.J. (carries marriage license to podium at shore side of pier.)


Kim Rossi said...

Cindy, thank you so much for sharing your wedding story, both on APW and here. I loved reading the story behind it, and this ceremony made me teary just imagining what a special day it must have been for you both. As someone who's trying to pull together a secular ceremony for this coming October, it was sincerely helpful to read.

Oh - and happy anniversary a few days early!

~ Kim

Cindy said...

Hi Kim, glad I could be of help. I had a hard time finding useful things when I was writing ours, so I'm happy to put this out there for people to find. Please feel free to steal anything you want from it, and good luck with yours!