So remember when I mentioned that sending out the invites last week was a major “it’s gettin’ real” moment? Well, we recently had another one, a MAJOR one, when we edited our ceremony outline. Last summer on our second wedding-planning trip to Montreal, we met with (and ultimately chose) an awesome officiant for our wedding. He spent 40 years traveling all over the world as a Franciscan monk (how cool is that?) and has used that experience to officiate tons of weddings. What we absolutely love about him is that he is very knowledgeable in all faiths and is such a sweet and gentle person.
Image via InspiredBride.net
Both of us are Christian (I’m Catholic, FH is Lutheran) but aren’t practicing, so we didn’t feel the need for an overly religious ceremony. We did, however, want a ceremony that was both spiritual and personal, which is exactly what our officiant offered. When we visited with him for the first time, he walked us through the type of ceremony he typically does—literally walked us through. We left our meeting with a warm and fuzzy feeling—we felt as if he had actually married us!
A few weeks after that initial meeting, he sent us a ceremony outline and gave us free rein to make any changes/edits. Since this was nine months before the wedding, FH and I didn’t take a look at it again until a few weeks ago. We read through the ceremony, and even though we made a few changes (FH is a pro at red-lining documents), the outline the officiant created was beautiful. It really made us pause for a moment and think wow, in a few months the words here will join us in marriage. It was a pretty intense “it’s gettin’ real” moment for sure.
Here are some details I’d like to share regarding our ceremony;
- The officiant will welcome guests in both French & English. (My family is Haitian, so I thought it would be a nice touch to add in some French—plus we will be in Montreal!)
- The readings will be done by family members or, more specifically, my two cousins. Side note: I’m waiting until we get closer to the wedding date to ask them—I would have had both as bridesmaids, but I felt having more than seven BMs would be too much for us.
- The first reading is from “The Prophet” by Kahil Gibran.
Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread, but eat not from the same piece.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone.
Even as the strings of the lute are alone though they quiver to the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the Hand of Life can contain your hearts,
And stand together, yet not too near together,
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.
- The second reading is from the “Traditional Irish Blessing.”
May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.
May God be with you and bless you;
May you see your children’s children.
May you be poor in misfortune,
Rich in blessings,
May you know nothing but happiness
From this day forward.
May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the warm rays of sun fall upon your home
And may the hand of a friend always be near.
May green be the grass you walk on,
May blue be the skies above you,
May pure be the joys that surround you,
May true be the hearts that love you.
- The officiant will also do his version of a handfasting ceremony, which both I and FH really liked—it seemed pretty unique to us as well since we’ve never seen that at a wedding (in person) before.
I know some people may not find those words romantic, but what I love about the first reading, “The Prophet,” is that it emphasizes the importance of maintaining your own identity within the marriage union. FH and I are very independent—the first four years of our relationship was long distance in which we saw each other one or two weekends a month, so we (painfully) had to learn how to keep our lives from revolving too much around each other. When the officiant first read this to us, it immediately struck a cord and reminded us of all that we had been through together in the first years of our relationship. And we knew we would be keeping this reading for the ceremony.
As for the second reading, I think it’s so sweet and it actually brought a tear to my eye when I first read it. I found it on a wedding site a few weeks ago and couldn’t get it out of my mind, so I shared it with FH and he really liked it as well.
Are there any special readings or rituals you’re including in your ceremony?