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THE CEREMONY

Your wedding ceremony is the very core of your special day. 
Making it just right, as with every other part of your wedding, requires 
careful planning and organization. 
Although there are price parameters to be considered here as well, 
the successful ceremony is more an issue of content than of budget. 
 
There are many different options pertaining to your wedding ceremony.  
If you choose a theme wedding for your style, 
you should make use of the ceremony that pertains to that theme or 
at least incorporate elements of the theme into your ceremony.

 

You will need to pick a location for your ceremony. 
If it is to be held in a church or synagogue, 
you should make reservations way in advance. 
Popular seasons and times of year, get taken early. 
Planning a year in advance is not too much ahead of time.

 

As mentioned above, your ceremony requires careful planning and organization.  
We have compiled information pertaining to many different types of weddings to 
help you in the crucial planning of your ceremony.

 

What kind of ceremony will you have?

 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TO BE LEGALLY MARRIED IN CANADA

 

THE FIVE OBJECTIVES OF THE WEDDING CEREMONY

 

TRADITIONAL CHRISTIAN CEREMONY

 

ALTERNATIVE CEREMONY

 

CIVIL CEREMONY 

 

RELIGIOUS CEREMONY

 

MILITARY CEREMONY 

 

USING A THEME

 

WEDDING VOWS

 

WALKING THE BRIDE DOWN THE AISLE

 

SECOND WEDDINGS

 

MUSIC FOR YOUR CEREMONY

 

SPECIAL TOUCHES TO THE CEREMONY

 

WEDDING REHEARSAL

 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TO BE LEGALLY MARRIED IN CANADA

WHO CAN CONDUCT A LEGAL MARRIAGE CEREMONY
To be legally married in Canada, you must obtain a marriage certificate and the ceremony must be performed by someone who is registered to perform marriages. This includes most ministers, priests and rabbis as well as judges and justices of the peace. 
JUDGE OR JUSTICE OF THE PEACE
Marriages conducted by judges and justices of the peace must be conducted in their judicial chambers. There must also be two people to witness the ceremony.
MARRIAGE LICENSE AND PUBLICATION OF BANNS

To apply for a marriage licence, contact your local municipal office. If you are having a religious ceremony, you may be eligible to be married by a publication of banns. Speak to the clergy of your church for more information.

Civil Marriage 
A civil marriage can be performed by a judge or a justice of the peace under the authority of a marriage licence. 
RELIGIOUS MARRIAGE
A religious marriage can be performed by a person who is recognized by a religious body to perform marriages and is registered in Ontario to perform marriages under the Marriage Act. The marriage can be solemnized under the authority of a marriage licence or the publication of banns, depending on the denomination. 
RULES AND PROCEDURES
To be legally married in the Province of Ontario, you and your future spouse must follow the rules and procedures established by the Ontario government and obtain a marriage licence. This can be done by visiting your local city hall or civic centre. You and the person you are marrying will have to show your identification (see below), fill out an application form and pay a fee of about $100.
IF YOU ARE DIVORCED
If you or your future spouse have been previously divorced you must each provide proof of divorce, usually in the form of a Certificate of Divorce obtainable from the court where the proceedings took place. Blood tests are not required. A marriage licence will be prepared and given to you while you wait. You must then wait at least three days before actually getting married. 
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A MARRIAGE LICENCE AND A MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE
What is the difference between a marriage licence and a marriage certificate? 
A marriage licence must be issued by the municipal government before you are married. A marriage certificate is issued by Provincial Government - Registrar General, Ministry of Consumer & Business Services after your marriage ceremony and registration.
THE MARRIAGE LICENCE
Couples wishing to be married in Ontario must first apply for a marriage licence. You can get a marriage licence from any municipal office in Ontario, not only by the office in the city where you live.

A marriage licence can be obtained from the clerk of most cities, townships, towns or villages (Marriage Licence Issuers). 
For the nearest Marriage Licence Issuer, check your municipal blue pages. 
The marriage licence is valid anywhere in Ontario for 3 months from the date of purchase. 
The bride or groom (or both) apply in person to the Marriage Licence Issuer to obtain a license. You will need to bring identification, such as a birth certificate (along with any change of name certificates), current passport, Record of Immigrant Landing or Canadian citizenship card, along with photo identification, for both the bride and the groom. 
There is a set fee for purchasing a marriage licence. Contact your municipal office for the current fee. (There is also an additional charge for a civil marriage.) 
MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE
A marriage certificate may be obtained by the bride or groom, or by the children of their marriage (natural or adoptive). If a parent is deceased, children may obtain a certified copy of the marriage certificate.
THE LEGAL AGE TO BE MARRIED

You must be 18 years of age to get married. It is illegal to marry if you are under 16. Anybody 16 or 17 years of age (other than a widow, widower or divorced person) may marry with the written consent of his/her parents. A special consent form is available for this purpose from your local municipal office.

Applying for a Marriage Certificate 
To apply for a certificate, obtain a "Request for Birth, Marriage or Death Certificate" form, available by mail from the Office of the Registrar General (ORG) or from most local municipal offices, Employment Insurance offices, passport offices and any Ontario Land Registry Office. 
Generally, you will need to provide the full name of the registrant(s), the date and place of the event. The application form also includes a section for authorizing a third party to get a certificate on your behalf.

Applications may also be received and submitted by fax, provided the applicant is making payment by VISA or MasterCard. Fees are: Wallet- and file-size $15; Certified $22 

For further information, contact:

Office of the Registrar General
PO Box 4600
189 Red River Road
Thunder Bay ON P7B 6L8
fax: 807 343-7459

Or call: Ontario: 1-800-461-2156 (toll-free)
Toronto: 416-325-8305 
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A 
REQUEST FOR MARRIAGE OR DEATH CERTIFICATE
This form is used by individuals to request proof of registration (certificates, certified copies) of marriages or deaths occurring in Ontario. 
The form can be printed, completed by hand, mailed or faxed to the Office of the Registrar General, or brought in person to one of their counter locations with the appropriate fee for processing.

This form is in Adobe Acrobat format. To download and read this form you need the free Adobe Acrobat software. You need Adobe Acrobat to read most online government forms. 

 
 

Five Objectives Of The Wedding Ceremony

Most wedding ceremonies are made up of five objectives and elements. They are:

1. Regrouping the guests, 
which refers to the process by which you get everyone's attention focused on the ceremony. 
This may be accomplished in one of several ways. 
The musical selection may be played followed by the entrance of the procession, 
a greeting or announcement may be given by the officiant, 
or a short prayer or blessing may be offered.

2. Setting the mood for the ceremony 
may be accomplished by readings, blessings, songs, 
musical selections and/or speeches. 
One or more of these elements may be employed 
as a way in which everyone in attendance can 
become focused on the ritual. 
It is also a way for the bride and grown 
to have several moments to gain their composure.

3. The ritual/ceremony typically includes exchanging vows and rings.

4. The inclusion of family and community rituals 
can be accomplished in a variety of ways. 
Additional customs, following family tradition, such as lighting a Unity candle, 
blessings, songs offered by one or more guests, 
Holy Communion, or the breaking of a glass (at a Jewish ceremony) 
are appropriate at this time. 

5. Creating a sense of finality, 
so the ceremony has a real ending, rather than just fizzling out, 
can be accomplished simply with the traditional recessional of the wedding party.

Religious Ceremony

 

One of your best resources for planning your wedding ceremony 
is your clergy person or wedding officiator. 
These are professionals who have participated in many ceremonies, 
know what to expect, can guide you, and keep you clear of pitfalls. 
They are aware of the legal requirements, 
as well as other details of your ceremony and will be pleased to assist you.

 

Religious ceremonies each have their own particular guidelines, so, 
if you wish to have a religious ceremony, 
your best resource for information again, is your clergy person.

 

Catholic 

If you are going to have a Catholic ceremony, you have basically two choices: a ceremony contained within a mass, or a service held without a mass. Practicing Catholics tend to prefer the former. Once that decision is made, the parameters are fairly well laid out by tradition. Changes and additions may be made, but the priest is the final arbiter of what is and is not appropriate. 
 

Quaker or Friends Ceremony

 

This varies greatly from a Quaker or Friends ceremony in which anyone in the congregation may speak, at any length, on virtually any subject (preferably one that is spiritual rather than mundane). 
 

Jewish Ceremony

 

Jewish wedding ceremonies traditionally end with a "bang," the shattering of a glass underfoot. There are a variety of interpretations for this tradition, just one of which is the addition to every happy event, a bit of sadness that recalls the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem.  
 

Interfaith or Inter-Cultural Ceremony

 

Interfaith, or inter-cultural ceremonies, come with their own particular details and specifics. 
It is best for you to consult with your officiator or another expert 
to give you the guidelines and make suggestions for 
the preparation of a tasteful, moving ceremony. 

 

Special Requirements

 

Your clergy person may also have special requirements for the bride and groom, 
such as premarital counselling for discussion of critical issues in your upcoming marriage.

Communication


It is extraordinarily important for you to share the details of your ceremony with all the professionals who will take part in your wedding. If they each know the details, they can make certain that they perform their allotted functions in a timely, organized way, including and covering everything you deem to be important. Discussion and communication are the keywords here!

Disagreements


Remember to keep in mind that planning your ceremony 
should be a bonding element between bride and groom. 
Try not to allow disagreements about details 
to adversely impact on this critical aspect of your wedding.
Remember always, why you are planning a wedding in the first place!

 

Traditional Order of a Christian Wedding Processional.



The guests are seated. 
The groom, best man and Officiant enter by using a side door. They all stand facing the guests. 
An usher escorts the grandmother(s) of the bride to their seats. 
An usher escorts the grandmother(s) of the groom to their seats. 
An usher escorts the mother and father of the groom to their seats. 
. An usher escorts the mother of the bride to her seat. Her father is also seated, if he is not walking her down the aisle. 
Processional music begins. 
The bride's mother (and father) stand(s). 
All the guests stand. 
The ushers walk down the aisle (or escort the bridesmaids) and stand next the groom and best man and then face the guests. 
The bridesmaids walk down the aisle. 
The maid and/or matron of honor walk(s) down the aisle. 
The ring bearer walks down the aisle. 
The flower girl walks down the aisle or the flower girl and ring bearer walk down together. 
Processional music changes and/or the volume increases. 
The father of the bride escorts the bride down aisle. 
The recessional is the processional in reverse, except that the ushers always escort the bridesmaids out. If the number of bridesmaids is uneven, ushers may escort more than one bridesmaid. 

What follows are several suggestions which are variations from the traditional wedding processional. Of course, they may incorporated at will, "mixed and matched" as the bride and groom see fit. 

 

The Alternative

Traditional:
The bride walks down the aisle with her father.
Alternative:
Both parents walk down the aisle with the bride. (This has always been the traditional in Jewish weddings.)
Alternative:
The bride walks down the aisle escorted by her son.

Traditional:
The flower girl walks down the aisle, throwing petals as she goes.
Alternative:
The flower girl carries single stems (i.e., individual flowers) and gives them to people as she goes down the aisle.
The flower girl carries a floral hoop or a pomander ball on a ribbon.

Traditional:
The groom and best man wait at the altar/canopy.
Alternative:
The groom, ushers and/or best man enter with the clergy person or officiant. 
Alternative: The groom walks down the aisle with his parents.
Alternative:
The groom walks down the aisle escorted by his daughter.

Traditional:
Bridesmaids walk down the aisle single file.
Alternative:
Bridesmaids walk down the aisle two by two or each with an usher.

Traditional:
Ring bearers, trainbearers and pages walk in pairs.
Alternative:
One ring bearer can carry two rings, or for a double ring ceremony, use two children (male or female).

Other Alternatives:
Involve grandparents, stepparents and/or godparents. 
The bride and groom enter as a couple, preceded by the wedding party, who enter as couples. 

 

 

Civil Ceremony

 

 

The Wedding Vows

 

Next comes your decision regarding you wedding vows. Weddings today are stressing enduring values, with couples placing emphasis on their shared trust, faith, and monogamy. Your wedding vows are a public declaration of your marriage. You may choose traditional wedding vows, you may write your own vows, or you may use a combination of the old and the new.

You can make your vows more relevant to you by substituting words or phrases, by adding verses, and by mentioning family and friends. In this way, you personalize your vows so that they become more meaningful to you and your guests. Verses you select may come from the Scriptures or prayers from the Bible, in which there are many lovely words that emphasize the sanctity of marriage. You may choose to do a reading from a favourite book, poem, or play that has particular significance to the two of you. Some brides and grooms get even more "serious" by quoting from works of philosophy which illustrate their feelings and convictions to one another.

 

If you are a practicing member of a particular religion, there is probably a religious tradition in place that sets the format of your vows. The very familiar "for richer or for poorer, for better or for worse," the Episcopal vow, is just one of many pre-formatted "exchanging of vows." If, however, your religion allows some flexibility, or you are not a member of an organized religion, you may be one of many young couples today who chooses to personalize their wedding vows. This is not as easy task as one might assume and so, we offer the following framework and questions which may serve as a guide for the fashioning of personalized wedding vows.
 
In a Jewish wedding, the vows, so to speak, are the ketubah, or wedding contract, signed by the couple before the ceremony. In some cases, the circumstance surrounding recitation of the vows is more important even than the content. Couples who have a strong belief in astrology may be concerned about waiting for a particular planetary alignment to start their marriage in an auspicious way. Whether your wedding is a large, formal one, or a small, intimate one, the ambiance of the ceremony can be enhanced by your choice and delivery of your wedding vows.



Within Five Objectives Of A Wedding Ceremony, vows are a matter of personal taste 
(assuming no traditional religious format of vows). 
This is an area in which the bride and groom can express their own individuality, 
by customizing and personalizing what they say to one another. 

 

He are several suggestions, tips and guidelines to help you design your own wedding vows. 
1.
Whether or not you are looking for a religious slant to your vows, consider visiting religious bookstores, where you will find a variety of materials from which you can choose. Start from the Bible, and if you wish, branch out from there. You will be able to find both traditional versions, as well as one or more contemporary pledges from which to choose. Most religions or religious denominations have a "play book" or "Rules of Worship" guide in which you will find complete ceremony details. There are many excellent books which include pledges and ceremony vows, religious and secular/spiritual in nature. Don't forget to use your clergy person or officiant for guidance and as a resource.
 
2. 
Look on the Internet, searching under the keywords "wedding," "ceremony" and "vows." The web is a tremendous resource in which you'll be able to share the poetry and personalized down which many couples have contributed. Take whatever parts feel good to you, leave out what doesn't speak to you and add whatever you wish. Think of writing your own vows as a mix-and-match experience.
3. 
Keep in mind that you do not both have to repeat the same vows. If she chooses, the bride can recite the traditional pledge, while the groom recites a more contemporary or personalized vow.
4. 
Keep in mind that one of the bonuses of creating your own vows is that you can personalize and mould them to your very individual circumstances. Take advantage of your leeway to include the joining of step-families, the intricacies of second marriages, as well as your personal lifestyles, hobbies and community affiliations. If, for example, you are both avid environmentalists, include your love of and commitment to one another and to nature. If you are theatrical types and enjoy putting on a "show," feel free to make your vows as elaborate as you wish. Should you be so inclined, mix the religious and spiritual with the secular by combining verses from the Bible with readings by current authors or, to the extreme, even elements from a pagan handfasting. You might consider including material about what marriage means to you, or introduce tokens or possessions which have particular significance to you. 
 
When you finally actually get down to writing your own vows, ask yourself the kinds of questions and engage in the kind of dialogue that will prompt and evoke information which can be formatted into a pledge to one another. Discuss and think about the special moments which you have shared as a couple, the promises you have made to each other and the goals which you have set. Talk about the ways in which your engagement, and now your marriage, has changed you as individuals and yourselves as a couple unit. Think about what you would like your future together to be based on --- the moral, ethical, spiritual, religious and community foundations which are important to you. Take notes while you converse and then formats your vows or pledges, together or as a couple.
Writing your own vows allows you a great deal of flexibility, use of creativity and imagination. What you do also need to keep in mind is that your vows are being exchanged in the presence of your guests, including your family and friends. It is very important to make certain that although your vows are personal, they do not offend those with whom they are being shared. Enjoy the process and the very special significance it will have today and tomorrow to you as a married couple.


 

Walking The Bride Down The Aisle


Traditionally in Christian weddings, the father of the bride escorts his daughter down the aisle to the altar. There, her groom awaits and greets her and her father "gives her away." It appears that with this custom, as with many others, circumstances make it necessary and appropriate to bend tradition.

If the bride finds herself fatherless, due to a untimely death or the unpleasantness of a divorce or separation, there are a variety of alternative solutions. 

The bride may enter, pause and wait for her groom to greet her and then walk down the aisle together. A self-assured bride may choose to walk the walk by herself. Chances are her guests will interact with her through waves, smiles and perhaps even some hugs and kisses. Yet another twist is for the bride to be escorted by one of the ushers. Her mom may greet her at the pew or seat reserved for the mother-of-the-bride and escort her daughter the rest of the way to the end of the aisle, where she "gives over the bride" to the groom. Adopting the tradition of German brides, the couple may choose to walk down the aisle together, as a symbol of starting their lives together. Finally, she may choose to emulate Jewish tradition and be escorted down the aisle by both her parents, who then remain under the wedding canopy with the couple, his parents and perhaps others as well.

It's best to remember that when it comes to wedding traditions, there are both many and varied customs. None are "right," and none are "wrong." They are merely reflections of the history of people and countries and all can be moulded to suit special circumstances and situations.

 

 

Second Weddings

 

Second marriages are much the norm today. Some of these marriages are a result of divorce, while others involve either a widow, widower, or both. Especially when children are part of the wedding party, the mention of a spouse or spouses is certainly appropriate. Couples may be concerned that any additional ritual which makes mention, even peripherally, of death will put a damper on their celebration, but this has been shown not be the case.

The situation is certainly a delicate one and may entail the use of imagination, creativity and perhaps the design of a new ritual. It certainly cannot be inappropriate to acknowledge that earlier happiness is the foundation for present joys and future optimism of and for this new union. When the deceased spouse died young, it is not uncommon and certainly appropriate to include beloved former in-laws as part of the wedding party family, unless of course they are uncomfortable in that position.

The key is to establish a happy medium between recognizing a former spouse, and families, while not minimizing the joy which is the focal point of any wedding. Its best to follow community custom, if there is one. If not, using good judgment and a heightened sense of sensitivity, will form a good basis for the decision-making process. Remembrance rituals run the gamut from lighting a candle, to reading a poem, to the recitation of a special reading, to making mention of the spouse in the wedding program. Other options are the inclusion of a late spouse in general prayers which are a part of the wedding ceremony. Candles or flowers discreetly placed, before the ceremony, in the "altar" area are also appropriate. For candles and/or flowers to be part of the ceremony proper, a child from each family may place the candles or flowers on the altar as part of the processional. While roses are commonly used for many symbolic purposes, it might be even more meaningful to choose a favourite flower of the deceased, or perhaps a flower used at the first wedding.

A truly discreet way in which to make the late spouse present is to ask each of the attending children to wear something that memorializes the absent parent. This ritual becomes especially significant because it involves the offspring of the late spouse and shows the children, in a caring way, that the past will not be forgotten in order to build a happy future. 

Whatever ritual or rituals are chosen, it is best to limit an explanation to a short sentence or two in the printed program. Ideally, close friends and relatives will recognize the memorial and be touched by it, while others will simply see a beautiful ceremony and may be surprised and delighted when they more closely examine their programs. 

Sensitively in appropriately including the late spouse in a wedding ceremony is an outward demonstration that love is timeless and that love for one need not preclude love for another. 

 

 

Military Ceremony

 

The Rules & Regulations of a Military Wedding
 
ARCH OF SWORDS (SABRES) CEREMONY

 

Special Touches To Your Ceremony

 
THE ROSE CEREMONY
 
THE UNITY CANDLE
 
INCORPORATING CULTURES OR HISTORY INTO YOUR CEREMONY
 
BOUQUETS FOR THE MOTHERS
 
SOMETHING OF VALUE
 
HANDFASTING CEREMONY

The Rose Ceremony

The Rose Ceremony is simple yet profoundly moving.  
The bride and groom exchange two red roses, 
symbolizing the giving and receiving of their love for each other 
throughout their entire married life.  
The Rose Ceremony also conveys how to use the  rose 
and its symbolism in difficult times in order to forgive each other.
 
"Your gift to each other for your wedding today has been your wedding rings - 
which shall always be an outward demonstration of your vows of love and respect; 
and a public showing of your commitment to each other.
 
You now have what remains the most honourable title which may exist 
between a man and a woman - the title of "husband" and "wife." 
For your first gift as husband and wife, that gift will be a single rose.
In the past, the rose was considered a symbol of love and 
a single rose always meant only one thing - it meant the words "I love you." 
So it is appropriate that for your first gift - as husband and wife - 
that gift would be a single rose.
 
Please exchange your first gift as husband and wife. 
 
In some ways it seems like you have not done anything at all. 
Just a moment ago you were holding one small rose - 
and now you are holding one small rose. 
In some ways, a marriage ceremony is like this. 
In some ways, tomorrow is going to seem no different than yesterday. 
But in fact today, just now, you both have given and received 
one of the most valuable and precious gifts of life - 
one I hope you always remember - 
the gift of true and abiding love within the devotion of marriage.
 
_________ and _____________, 
I would ask that where ever you make your home in the future - 
whether it be a large and elegant home - or a small and graceful one - 
that you both pick one very special location for roses; 
so that on each anniversary of this truly wonderful occasion you both 
may take a rose to that spot both as a recommitment to your marriage - 
and a recommitment that THIS will be a marriage based upon love. 
 
In every marriage there are times where it is difficult to find the right words. 
It is easiest to hurt who we most love. 
It is easiest to be most hurt by who we most love. 
It might be difficult some times  to say the words 
"I am sorry" or "I forgive you";
 "I need you" or "I am hurting". 
If this should happen, if you simply can not find these words,
 leave a rose at that spot which both of you have selected - 
for that rose then says what matters most of all 
and should overpower all other things and all other words.
That rose says the words: "I still love you." 
The other should accept this rose 
for the words which cannot be found, 
and remember the love and hope that you both share today.
 
__________ and ________,
 if there is anything you remember of this marriage ceremony, 
it is that it was love that brought you here today, 
it is only love which can make it a glorious union, 
and it is by love which your marriage shall endure." 

 

The Unity Candle

 

The lighting of a unity candle to symbolize the unity of the newly created family 
is a lovely touch to the ceremony. 
This is particularly symbolic when the wedding is between 
couples of different religious or ethnic backgrounds, 
The blending of cultures and traditions 
is an option that brides and grooms are taking more and more often.

 

Traditionally, the order to the Unity Candle Lighting involves 
the parents of the bride and groom and the bride and groom themselves.
 
Upon arriving at the church, the parents are escorted down the aisle to their seats.
If you choose to incorporate the lighting of the unity candle into your ceremony, the parents would first be escorted to a table where 3 candles stand.  Each couple would light one of the candles on either side of the larger middle candle.
They would then take their seats (father of the bride returns to his place "backstage")
After the exchange of rings, and the pronouncement that you are man and wife, the newly married couple then proceed to the table where the candles stand.
The groom lights a long match from the candle of his family and the bride does the same from the candle of hers.  The couple then lights the larger middle candle together thus signifying the joining of the two families together.

 

The Unity Candle Ceremony can be quite beautiful and 

The Garden Of Eden offers personalized and decorated 

unity candles for use in this lovely ceremony.

 

Incorporating Cultures or Histories Into Your Ceremony

 

embracing a variety of histories. One such example is the inclusion of the African tradition in which the bride and groom jump a broom, and the Latin custom in which the bridal couple are encircled by a braided silver necklace to signify the formation of a new family unit.

Bouquets For The Mothers

 

One lovely sentimental touch that can be added to your ceremony, is the presentation of bouquets by the bride and groom to each other's mothers.

 

The Garden Of Eden is pleased to offer 

Mother's Bouquets for your ceremony. 

 

Something of Value

 

Your wedding rings serve as a reminder, always, of your commitment to one another. Jewish tradition calls for the groom to convey something of value to his bride (and more recently, she to him, as well). This conveyance seals the wedding contract, so it is in a sense part of a legal ceremony. Although couples have also exchanged other items, rings still win out.

 
 

 

HAND FASTING CEREMONY

Celebrant:

Greetings friends and family and welcome to this day of celebration. We are united to witness the marriage of <Name> and <Name>. We've been invited to share in the commitment they make to each other today. They ask your blessing on this joyful occasion.

If life has any meaning to us at all, it possesses it because of love. Love enriches our human experience. It is the reason for the peace in the family and the peace of the peoples of the Earth. A meeting between two beings who are made for each other is a beautiful miracle.

<Name> and <Name>'s understanding of the true meaning of marriage has resulted from many influences; their families, their friends, and each of their own personal beliefs. We are here not only to strengthen the binds of <Name> and <Name>'s love for each other but also to bring family and friends together to celebrate these same said bonds that hold us all together.

What defines <Name> and <Name>'s love today will change and grow to new depth in the future. It takes three seconds to say I love you, but it can take a lifetime to show it. This ceremony is the celebration of a single stage in a much larger process that is the love between husband and wife. The promises made today and the ties that are bound here greatly strengthen your union. They will cross the years and lives of each soul's growth.

Do you seek to begin this ceremony?

Couple:

Yes we do.

Celebrant:

The human soul shares characteristics with all things divine. It is this belief which assigns virtues to the cardinal directions; North, South, East and West. Let us offer a traditional blessing in support of this hand-fasting ceremony.

Blessed be this union with the gifts of the East: communication of the heart, mind, and body, fresh beginnings with the rising of each sun, and the knowledge of growth found in the sharing of silence.

Blessed be this union with the gifts of the South: warmth of hearth and home, the heat of the heart's passion and the light created by both to lighten the darkest of times.

Blessed be this union with the gifts of the West: the deep commitments of the lake, the swift excitement of the river, the refreshing cleansing of the rain and the all encompassing passion of the sea.

Blessed be this union with the gifts of the North: firm foundation on which to build, fertility of the fields to enrich your lives, and a stable home to which you may always return.

Now I ask the couple to look into each others' eyes.

Celebrant to groom:

Will you cause her pain?

Groom:

I May

Celebrant to groom:

Is that your intention?

Groom:

No

Celebrant to bride:

Will you cause him pain?

Bride:

I may

Celebrant to bride:

Is that your intention?

Bride:

No

Celebrant to both:

Will you share each other's pain and seek to ease it?

Both:

Yes

Celebrant to both:

And so the binding is made. Join your hands.

The first cord is draped across the bride and grooms hands.

Celebrant to bride:

Will you share his laughter?

Bride:

Yes

Celebrant to groom:

Will you share her laughter?

Groom:

Yes

Celebrant to both:

Will both of you look for the brightness in life and the positive in each other?

Both:

Yes

Celebrant:

And so the binding is made.

The second chord is draped across the couple's hands.

Celebrant to bride:

Will you burden him?

Bride:

I may.

Celebrant to bride:

Is that your intention?

Bride:

No

Celebrant to groom:

Will you burden her?

Groom:

I may

Celebrant to groom:

Is that your intention?

Groom:

No.

Celebrant to both:

Will you share the burdens of each so that your spirits may grow in this union?

Both:

Yes

Celebrant:

And so the binding is made.

Drape third chord across the couple's hands.

Celebrant to bride:

Will you share his dreams?

Bride:

Yes

Celebrant to groom:

Will you share her dreams?

Groom:

Yes

Celebrant to both:

Will you dream together to create new shared realities?

Both:

Yes

Celebrant:

And so the binding is made.

Drape fourth chord across the couple's hands.

Celebrant to groom:

Will you cause her anger?

Groom:

I may

Celebrant to groom:

Is that your intention?

Groom:

No.

Celebrant to bride:

Will you cause him anger?

Bride:

I may.

Celebrant to bride:

Is that your intention?

Bride:

No.

Celebrant to both:

Will you take the heat of anger and use it to temper the strength of this union?

Both:

We will.

Celebrant:

And so the binding is made.

Drape fifth chord across the couple's hands.

Celebrant to bride:

Will you honour him?

Bride:

I will

Celebrant to groom:

Will you honour her?

Groom:

I will

Celebrant to both:

Will you seek to never give cause to break that honour?

Both:

We shall never do so.

Celebrant:

And so the binding is made.

Drape sixth chord across the couple's hands, and tie all chords together while saying.

Celebrant:

The knots of this binding are not formed by these chords but instead by your vows. Either of you may drop the chords, for always you will hold in your own hands the making or breaking of this union.

Once the chords are tied together they are removed.

Celebrant:

Spirit of Love, may <Name> and <Name> know great love together, and may they live in the desire to always support each other in positive and uplifting ways. May they strengthen one another in sorrow, share with one another in gladness, and be companions to each other in times of silence. May their home be a haven, and wherever they are plagued by changing fortune, may they be united not in word and outward form alone, but by the presence in the hearts of each, of the deepening love they share. You are husband and wife. Celebrate with a kiss.

Please note that Celebrant legal authorization and mention of husband and wife in the vows must be included to legally marry a couple. Without the authorization and mention of husband and wife, this ceremony may be used only as a good commitment ceremony.

 
 

Incorporating Music Into Your Ceremony

 
Should you choose to have music at your ceremony, it will add immeasurably to the magic of the moment. Music always has the ability to set the tone for an event. This is equally true for your ceremony. Music must be chosen carefully, with attention to good taste, as well as to personal preferences. Traditionally ceremony music is performed by an organist and/or string quartet (violin, flute, harp), or a brass ensemble (trumpet, trombone, French horn, baritone). You may compliment your instrumental music with one or more vocal soloists.

Like with other aspects of your ceremony, you may stay with traditional musical instruments and selections or you may be more experimental and "creative" by selecting more contemporary music. The use of guitar or harp, with or without an accompanying soloist, is just one suggestion. An ensemble of two to five string or wind instruments is another alternative.

Music can begin being played as your guests enter and are seated. This should take between 20 and 30 minutes depending on the number of guests and the size of the location. Music can accompany various parts of the ceremony. When the wedding party enters, musical accompaniment, from the tradition wedding march to a mixed variety of pieces can be played. If the clergy person sings any of the parts of ceremony, he or she may choose to have musical accompaniment. Music continues during the recessional, as the wedding party and then the guests exit. The clergy or officiator may be asked to make recommendations regarding both the kinds of music and the choice of musicians, and vocalists.

You will first need to decide the kind of music you like. Do so by listening to as many different choices as possible. Many musical groups will furnish you with tapes to listen to in order to make your choice. Be careful with your choice of pieces, because some religious groups may restrict the use of secular pieces, even though in most cases you will have complete freedom with regard to the kinds of musical instruments. Once you have selected your musicians, they become another valuable resource. They will be pleased to offer you with suggestions, of lists of suggestions of music they suggest for the different segments of your ceremony.

Keep in mind that there may be religious restrictions regarding photography, videos, and music during the ceremony, Be certain to check with your clergy person for those parameters.

 

Listen and View our List of Music For Your Wedding

 

 

Ceremony Rehearsal and Dinner

Where possible and permissible, 
a thorough rehearsal of the wedding ceremony is suggested. 
For some reason the rehearsal dinner has flourished while the 
actual rehearsal often falls away. 
 
Take your time at the rehearsal, 
and have everyone participating run through the routine at least twice. 
The goal here is to get everyone familiar with the schedule and comfortable.

 

The Rehearsal Dinner, although not the focal point of the evening,
does allow for an opportunity for camaraderie,
a bit of relaxation and is customarily
the last time the bride and groom see each prior to the wedding. 
We offer further information about
planning the Rehearsal Dinner here at the Garden Of Eden Treasures.