Wedding words, vows and a marriage blessing

At the end of the night, we snuck back into the ceremony room and took one last photo.

At the end of the night, we snuck back into the ceremony room and took one last photo.

When I asked Lee what made him fall in love with me, he said he couldn't pin point just one thing -- he just knew a "feeling" he'd been searching for, and around me, he felt it for the first time. The same could be said for our wedding day. It was a day where we both wanted a certain feeling, which meant it needed to be low stimulation (neutral palette), warm (lit birch trees, eucalyptus garlands, white peonies, candles and soft lighting) and joyful (hello, pre- and post-ceremony bars!).

The words that went into our wedding day contributed a lot to this feeling we were hoping to find. We knew there was something to be felt with the words and that's what this blog is documenting, mostly for my own sake but perhaps for some other wordsy folks, too.

The vows were compiled from secular wedding vows and I incorporated appropriate spiritual references. The reading was from one of my favorite philosophers, Kahlil Gibran (read by a good friend of mine, Kate Anderson, who flew in from Alabama the day she graduated with her master's degree to be at our wedding!). The marriage blessing was something I came across when looking at traditional Catholic and Orthodox wedding ceremonies. We were both drawn to the cadence in the lines Bless them, Preserve them, Remember them ... "count them worthy to see their children's children," a line that cut to the heart of life's preciousness for me! And finally, choosing the first dance song was an interesting journey because Lee and I listen to all sorts of music, but felt the lyrics and sentimentality were especially important here. Dierks Bentley's song, "A Long Trip Alone" seemed to ring true.

Our declaration of intent

Lee, will you take Amanda as your wife, to live with her, respect her, and love her as God intends with the promise of faithfulness, tenderness, and helpfulness, as long as you both shall live?

Our wedding vows

I, Amanda, take you, Lee, to be the husband of my days, the companion of my house, the friend of my life. With God’s help we will bear together whatever trouble and sorrow life may lay upon us, and we will share together whatever good and joyful things life may bring us. With these words, and all the words of my heart, I marry you and bind my life to yours.

A reading, "On Love" by Kahlil Gibran (edited)

Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;

For love is sufficient unto love.

When you love you should not say, "God is in my heart," but rather, "I am in the heart of God."

And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.

But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:

To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.

To know the pain of too much tenderness.

To be wounded by your own understanding of love;

And to bleed willingly and joyfully.

To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;

To rest at the noon hour and meditate love's ecstasy;

To return home at eventide with gratitude;

And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

The marriage blessing

Blessed are You, O Lord our God, Holy Celebrant of pure and mysterious marriage, Maker of the laws that govern earthly bodies, Guardian of incorruption, Kindly protector of the means of life: do You Yourself now, O Master, Who in the beginning created man, and appointed him as the king of creation, and said, "It is not good for man to be alone upon the earth; let us make a helpmate for him‑" then, taking one of his ribs, made woman, whom when Adam saw, he said, "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh, for she was taken out of her man.

For this cause shall a man forsake his father and his mother, and cleave unto his wife, and two shall be one flesh" and "whom God has joined together, let no man put asunder." And now, O Master, Lord our God, send down Your heavenly Grace upon these Your servants, Amanda and Lee.

Bless them. O Lord our God, as you blessed Abraham and Sara. Bless them as You blessed Isaac and Rebecca. Bless them as you blessed Jacob and all the Prophets. Bless them as You blessed Joseph and Asenath. Bless them as You blessed Moses and Zipporah. Bless them as You blessed Joakim and Anna. Bless them as You blessed Zacharias and Elizabeth.

Preserve them, O Lord our God. Preserve them as You preserved Noah in the Ark. Preserve them as You preserved Jonah in the jaw of the whale. Preserve them as You preserved the holy Three Children from the fire, when You sent down upon them the dew of the Heavens. And may that joy come upon them which the blessed Helen had when she found the Precious Cross. Remember them, O Lord our God, as You remembered Enoch, Shem, and Elias.

Remember them, O Lord our God. Remember them and the parents who have reared them, for the prayers of parents confirm the foundation of houses. Remember the wedding company that have come together, to be present at this rejoicing.

Bless this marriage and grant unto Your servants Lee and Amanda a peaceful life, length of days, chastity, love for one another in a bond of peace, offspring long‑lived, fair fame by reason of their children, and a crown of glory that does not fade away.

Account them worthy to see their children's children. Keep their wedlock safe against every hostile scheme; give them of the dew from the Heavens above, and of the fatness of the earth. Fill their houses with bountiful food, and with every good thing, that they may give to them who are in need, bestowing also on them who are here assembled with us all their supplications that are unto salvation.

For a God of mercy and of compassion, and of manbefriending love are You, and to You do we send up Glory: as to Your eternal Father and Your All‑Holy, Good, and Life‑creating Spirit, both now and ever, and to the ages of ages.

First dance lyrics - Dierks Bentley

It's a long trip alone over sand and stone
That lie along the road that we all must travel down

So maybe you could walk with me a while
And maybe I could rest beneath your smile
Everybody stumbles sometimes and needs a hand to hold
'Cause it's a long trip alone

It's a short piece of time but just enough to find
A little peace of mind under the sun somewhere

So maybe you could walk with me a while
And maybe I could rest beneath your smile
You know we can't afford to let one moment pass us by
'Cause it's a short piece of time

And I don't know where I'd be without you here
'Cause I'm not really me without you there

So maybe you could walk with me a while
Maybe I could rest beneath your smile
Everybody stumbles sometimes and needs a hand to hold

So maybe you could walk with me a while
Maybe I could rest beneath your smile
Maybe I could feel right beside you till I'm home
'Cause it's a long trip alone, a long trip alone