Friday, October 26, 2012

PaC Man & Wife: Love and Some Verses

Without further delay, I'm going to dive right into a mega-post of our wedding ceremony - the full text and then some!

On behalf of Nicolette and Brian and their families, I want to welcome you to their wedding celebration. My name is David Braneky and I am an officiant with Journeys of the Heart, a non-denominational ministry that performs customized spiritual and secular ceremonies. Our couples approach their special occasion with comfort and joy, know they have a ceremony fit to their specific desires, and the backing of an organization to fulfill their needs.

During our ceremony you will be asked to affirm the couple in the vows they are about to take.  If you can respond at that moment with a “we will” that would be wonderful.

So without further adieu we have a beautiful couple awaiting to be married, let us begin.

David: Who presents Nicolette for marriage today?
Nicolette's parents: We do.

David: Who presents Brian for marriage today?
Brian's parents: We do. 

Dear friends, we gather today to honor and bless the marriage vows of Brian and Nicolette. Marriage is a sacred covenant and is to be honored among all people. Your presence here is important to Nicolette and Brian and they are happy and grateful that you have come to help them celebrate the delight they have fond in each other. We have come together from scattered places, from different backgrounds and traditions. But for today, by the love we extend to Brian and Nicolette, we are one community. You are the ones more near and dear to them, are the ones whose loves has brought them to this time of their lives, and has helped mold them into the people they are. May the tenderness you share with them today attend them for all their days.

On this day of days, our community is shared, if in a different way, by those who have passed beyond this life. Their roles in Brian's and Nicolette's lives are no less remembered and honored as we savor today's joyous moments. Join us then in fond memory of Brian's grandparents, Louis and Josephine, and Nicolette's grandparents, Paul and Jeanette, who physical presence is missed here but whose love will always remain in the hearts, the lives, and the sweet memories of Brian and Nicolette.

As we gather here today, we are blessed by the presence of these elders: Nicolette's grandparents, Robert and Lee, whose ageless wisdom we honor today.
And so for today, for here and for now, no matter now far we have come to be here, let us be one family around Nicolette and Brian, for that is what they need fro us to make this a day of purpose and joy.

And now, with awareness of the love for which we have gathered, and our deep affection for Nicolette and Brian, listen to these words of meditation so that our hearts will be open to the love present here today.

May the transforming power of love present in this moment help each of us to do our part to make this a true celebration, not only for Nicolette and Brian, but also for us who are gathered around them. May we be inspired by the example of their love, may our hearts be touched by their joy, and delighted by the happiness they have brought into our midst. We are grateful for this beautiful summer evening in a beautiful setting. And we are most thankful for the love that brought Brian and Nicolette together for it surrounds us and unites all of creation as it binds this couple to one another and to each of us who are gathered around them today.


Dear parents, Brian and Nicolette wish to thank you today for the gift of life and the wonderful values you so carefully instilled within them. They know they would not be the people they are today without the care and wisdom you showed in raising them. They understand, by your presentation of them here, that you are blessing their love and their marriage. They asked for me to express to you their love and their most profound gratitude.

Lovelovelove these black and white photographs.

Our good friend, S., kicks off the middle part of our ceremony 
with our first reading selected by Mr. PaC.

Reading #1 - The Master Speed by Robert Frost

No speed of wind or water rushing by
But you have speed far greater. You can climb
Back up a stream of radiance to the sky,

And back through history up the stream of time.

And you were given this swiftness, not for haste,

Nor chiefly that you may go where you will,
But in the rush of everything to waste,
That you may have the power of standing still ?
Off any still or moving thing you say.

Two such as you with such a master speed
Cannot be parted nor be swept away
From one another once you are agreed
That life is only life forevermore
Together wing to wing and oar to oar.

("No thanks, I don't need a mic.")

Proud of our friend and giddy with happiness at seeing our ceremony coming together so well.

My cousin, J, confidently tackled the second reading that I picked.

Reading #2 - I Like You by Sandol Stoddard Warburg

I like you because when I tell you something special
You know it’s special and you remember it a long, long time.
You say remember when you told me something special, and both of us remember.

When I think something is important, you think it’s important too. We have good ideas.

We have good ideas, like getting married!

You know how to be silly. That’s why I like you. Boy are you ever silly!
I never met anybody sillier than me till I met you.
I like you because you know when it’s time to stop being silly.
Maybe day after tomorrow. Maybe never.

If you find two four-leaf clovers, you give me one.
If I find four, I give you two.
If we only find three, we keep on looking.
Sometimes we have good luck and sometimes we don’t.

I like you because... I don’t know why, but everything that happens is nicer with you.
I can’t remember when I didn’t like you. It must have been lonesome then.

Even if it was the nine hundred and ninety-ninth of July. Even if it was August.
Even if it was way down at the bottom of November.
Even if it was no place particular in January.

I would go on choosing you and you would go on choosing me. Over and over again.

Nicolette and Brian have chosen to include a ring warming ceremony as part of their wedding. Affixed to this rope are their wedding bands. We will be passing this through those gathered here today. And when the rings come to you, you will have an opportunity to warm their rings by saying a silent prayer or blessing for Nicolette’s and Brian’s marriage.

Mr. PaC knotted and re-knotted the rope many times to achieve the perfect knot: one that would hold our rings side by side.

We’ll begin the rings here and pass them back on this side and then once they reach the last row on this side, transfer them to the other side across the aisle and pass them up. Hopefully, you each will have a chance to warm the rings before the couple exchanges them with one another.

Nicolette and Brian, you are about to enter into a union which is most sacred and most serious. Most sacred because it so deeply honors a union of love between two people and most serious because it requires of those who enter into it a complete and unreserved giving of self. It will bind you together for life in a relationship so close and so intimate that it will profoundly affect your whole future. That future, with its hopes and disappointments, its successes and its failures, its pleasures and its pains, its joys and its sorrows, is hidden from your eyes. These elements are mingled into every life and are to be expected in your own. And yet, not knowing which lies before you, you take each other in the sacred bond of matrimony. May, then, this love with which you join your hands and hearts today never fail, but grow deeper and stronger as the years go by.

Brian and Nicolette, you have been called to the covenant of marriage. Before this assembled community of family and friends and on your own honor, I ask that you now affirm your consent and willingness to enter into this union.

David: Nicolette and Brian, do you come to this moment willingly, consciously and without reservation to give yourselves to one another in heart, body, mind and spirit through the covenant of marriage? If so, answer “I do.”

Both respond: I do.

David: Friends, loved ones and attendants: You are the witnesses to this union. Will you surround this new couple with your love, uphold them with your wisdom and, through the days and years that lie ahead, will you affirm them in these vows they are about to take? If so, say “we will.”

I, Brian, choose you Nicolette to be my wife.
I promise to love and care for you always.
To treat you with kindness and speak to you with respect.
I promise to support you in all you do and encourage the unique spirit that is you.
From this day forward, you shall not walk alone. 
My arms will be your shelter. My heart will be your home.

I, Nicolette, choose you Brian to be my husband. 
I promise to love and care for you always. 
To treat you with kindness and speak to you with respect. 
I promise to support you in all you do and encourage the unique spirit that is you. 
From this day forward, you shall not walk alone. 
My arms will be your shelter. My heart will be your home.

David: Please bring forward the rings.

Look closely and you can see the playful "gimme-that-ring" face I'm shooting at Mr. PaC's brother.

This is precious metal, gift of the earth, crafted into rings to be worn as a sign of the bond of love between this couple. May they ever remember that each is the giver, each the receiver, each the lover, and each the beloved.

Brian, may this ring serve as a symbol of my promise that you are my beloved and I shall ever be your truest friend.

Nicolette, may this ring serve as a symbol of my promise that you are my beloved and I shall ever be your truest friend.

Stop messing around - put that ring on my finger!

My parents. <3

Nicolette, take Brian’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 love you all the days of his life.

Now Brian, please take Nicolette’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 love you all the days of her life.

Now, please join hands so that they may be fasted in the ways of old.
Remember then as your hands are fasted, these are not the ties that bind…
[Cords are held aloft]
The love already shared by your hearts
has been strengthened by the vows you have taken.
You will be bound by your love as you are bound by your clasped hands
from now until the end of your days.


[As the following is recited, the couple’s hands are wrapped with cords]
These are the hands that will love you with passion, cherish you with tenderness and lift you up when you fall. 

These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief would overwhelm you. 
These are the hands that will wipe tears from your eyes, be they tears of sorrow or joy. 

Laughing, because the other option was crying.

[As our officiant tightened the knot, I quipped, "Make it real tight." He repeated my request for our guests which was met with lots of laughter.]

These are the hands that will hold your children and help you to hold your family as one.
These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it. 

Looking out at my family.

And finally, these are the hands that, even when wrinkled with age, will reach for your own still offering the same sweet tenderness as they do today. 
[Binding is finished and cords are knotted]

Bless these hands that you see before you this day.
May they always reach out with love, gentleness, and respect.
May they build a loving relationship that lasts a lifetime.
May they always be held by one another.
If you follow these words and heed this sacred binding,
your hands will heal, protect, shelter, and guide.
Now, you may remove the cords, 
but remember the knot as a lasting symbol of your binding and commitment.
[Cords are removed stowed]

(guest photo)

David: Brian and Nicolette, in the presence of these witnesses and according to the laws of the State of Delaware, you have exchanged the words and performed the rites that unite your lives. In so doing, you have declared that, from this day forward, you are officially husband and wife in the sight of all people. May you be joined in heart as you are in law!

I invite you to seal your covenant with a kiss.

David: Will everyone please rise. Listen now to these words of blessing I will speak on your behalf, sending our newlyweds into their new life together.

May you be blessed with the courage to stand as strong individuals so that you may together understand 
the power of your union. May you discover, through your commitment to each other, transforming energy and abiding peace. May you continually open your hearts to each other so that together you can share with others the fullness of your joy. May you be filled with gratitude and wonder, humor and fun, hope and perseverance. And may you grow in wisdom and grace with the passing of your years together.

And now let the food, drinks, dancing and ridiculous amounts of joy begin!

After our officiant kicked off the festivities with the above proclamation (shamelessly ganked from Mrs. Cardigan's invitations), we reveled in our new newlywed status. Beaming, we looked out at the friends and family gathered in support of us and felt the same love and happiness reflecting back to us.

 I couldn't help but throw up my hand in triumphant celebration!

DJ Z cued up our recessional music, "All Together Now," and almost instantly, Mr. PaC began to walk forward. No, no - not yet! I discretely tugged his hand backward to hint to wait for my cue. He stopped, foot dangling over the step, as our wedding guests chuckled. I mouthed, "Wait." We were waiting for the cue that no one else knew but me... partly because we didn't rehearse with music. Oops. (This pause also panicked our DJ who thought he'd started the wrong song.)


(guest photo)

At the appropriate time, 15 seconds into the song when the lyrics start, I signaled that now it was okay to move forward. We burst forward with a joy that is reserved only for your first moments as husband and wife.

One two three four

Can I have a little more?
Five six seven eight nine ten
I love you

Can I bring my friend to tea?
I love you

Bom bom bom, bompa bom
Sail the ship, bompa bom
Chop the tree, bompa bom
Skip the rope, bompa bom
Look at me

Mr. PaC "skipping the rope" in time to the music.

All together now
All together now
All together now
All together now

The chorus really sums up the most important aspect of our wedding. We were ALL together now. Every one of us. His family. My family. Us. 

Our wedding party and parents followed us down the aisle. They chose not to skip.

In a wonderful example of how families can come together for your wedding, I give you Mr. PaC's mother, father, AND step-mother walking arm in arm down the aisle. We neglected to consider how his mom would walk back down the aisle after her son escorted her in. The retelling of this moment created one of those nervous yet relieved laughs when we heard about it the next morning.

Truly, we are all together now.

(all photos by Heather Fowler Photography, unless otherwise noted)

Catch up on our PaC recaps!

Days Before

Wedding Morning


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