~ Commitment Ceremonies ~

This page isn’t new to capitalize on the law that was passed. It has been here for a very long time. While I have made another sample ceremony page for same sex weddings, I have left this here for those who still may want a commitment ceremony… I find the wording here a tantalizing time capsule of just how far people have come in their acceptance and perspective. The ceremonies from 15 – 20 years ago have such a different tone than the newer ones… I am leaving this up not only for the affection I have for the couples here, but also as a resource for those who for other reasons may not be able to be legally married.

Commitment Ceremonies

Congratulations and welcome! Chances are if you are just beginning to plan your ceremony, you have no idea where to begin. Join the club. You may even be wondering “Can we really do this?” Well the answer is “Yes.” And the truth is that you have already begun by choosing to have a life together. The next step of a public celebration to share all that is good in your life with friends and family, is proof that we share more as humans than some would have us believe. It is only natural to celebrate something as special as what you have. Each couple below started with similar concerns, and chose to have the ceremony of their dreams. My advice is to remember that there are no rules. So do what feels right, and brings you joy. It is an honor to be chosen to share in your wedding day, so don’t even consider hiring anyone who is anything less than thrilled to be there with you. The ceremonies below are here as a shared resource for the couples that I do get to work with, as well as the couples who live in places where seemingly nobody wants to help them. Once again, Congratulations and remember no matter where you live there is someone just like waiting and hoping to hear from you.

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commitment-2

Jen and Sam, Same sex wedding ceremony at Miller Place Inn. Even though their families were already supportive, giving them a peek in at some of the love they have truly found in one another made their hearts sing, to know that their daughters had found the love of a lifetime.

~ Jennifer and Samantha ~

“Today is a celebration of love and of life, a day to celebrate the continuing journey that Jen and Sam have so joyously embarked upon. Today we celebrate what shall be a life’s work, to ensure that all they now share will only deepen and grow through the years. It is a responsibility they both look forward to with much love, laughter and anticipation.

From the earliest days of their relationship our Brides have shared an undeniable connection. The decisions that some couples agonize over for years have come for Jen and Sam, as the natural progression of all that is already their life together. For them there has never been any hesitation with their relationship moving forward, after all that is the direction of life itself?

Their strengths and their differences complement so well that it has gently added a sense of balance to their lives. Sam is more organized and intellectual in her pursuits, while Jen is more light hearted and humorous. Sam has always seen herself as a survivor but with Jen there is no need to fight for she knows that she is safe. Jen relaxes Sam and has shown her that the reason she works so hard is not to merely survive but to live a life she loves.

In return Sam has taught Jen the beauty of home life and her presence makes Jen feel as though she can accomplish things that she never before dreamed of, Sam has also taught her to be fair to herself.

Yet when it comes to the big things in life they are steadfastly together. They know what is important to them and the well being of their relationship, and as untraditional as they may seem in some ways, they want for themselves many of those very traditional things that we all want. They are committed not only to one another but also to the quality of life that they share. Dinners together, a loving, accepting and supportive atmosphere in their home, communication that goes beyond words to understand not only what is said but what is meant, all guided by loyalty, love, truth, and trust, these are all too precious to ever let fall by the wayside. They are committed to ensuring that all they now share shall indeed last a lifetime, to accepting more graciously the things in life that they both deserve and to punctuating it all with love, joy and their uniquely wonderful sense of humor

addressing Jennifer and Samantha

Today is the public affirmation and acknowledgment of all that you are to each other. Seemingly your relationship will be as it has always been, yet there is a power in the spoken word. May that power bring you all the warmth and closeness, security and comfort, joy and happiness that this world has to offer.”

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Commitment Ceremonies

Brian and John made the promise of a lifetime at the Historical Chapel. Theirs was a truly beautiful ceremony. Memories of a lifetime shared are made one by one and their promises foreshadowed all those moments to come. Photos thanks to “As You Wish” Photography

~ Brian and John ~

“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to celebrate the love that Brian and John share and the promise that it will be a strong and lasting love. A sacred union consists of entrusting our deepest selves into the loving care of another. It is an emotional and spiritual act. The realest most important relationship two souls can enter into with or without the sanctioning by the laws and politics of man and state. The spiritual aspect of a lifetime commitment should be embraced openly, seriously, and completely, as the joining of two lives requires a conscious act of will. The united couple must continually renew their will to be joined and accept the challenges that living together in love offer. They must decide that they will face the fears that are a necessary part of establishing and nurturing an intimate relationship.

Brian and John commit themselves today, to each other, in sacred trust. They promise to embrace conflict, as well as peace; to work as well as play; to struggle as well as bask; to give as well as receive; and to be with, stay with, and move toward one another. They view marriage as a coming together at all levels of being – mind, body, and spirit. A commitment includes the willingness to be open and vulnerable; and the courage to take risks.

Brian and John you have already made the commitment to create and recreate this conscious partnership. Yet what we are celebrating today is a journey not a destination. May the promises that you make this day lead to a lifetime of love and happiness.”

~ Welcoming of the Guests ~

“Brian and John would like to thank you all for being here with them today, and for supporting them through everything that it has taken to make this day a reality. They know that your taking the time, and making the journey, took considerable effort for a good many of you and they wanted you all to know the deep appreciation and gratitude that they feel in their hearts for this. All of you are the most important, and have been the most influential people in their lives. All of the time, and conversations, that you have had with Brian and John even before they met have helped to make them who they needed to be to first find themselves and then each other. You have shared in their best and their worst days, and you are an irreplaceable part of their yesterdays, their today and all of their tomorrows. For all of you are among the greatest gifts that life has given them. All of you are those they can call Family and Friend.”

~ Brian and John’s Personal Section ~

“Today is a celebration of love and of life. It is a day to mark the continuation of a journey that shall take a lifetime to complete. Brian and John have so much in their lives already to be thankful for, it is only natural that they should desire for all that they now share to deepen and grow through the years.

As John once told Brian “It took me 40 years to find you!” They were indeed both at the right time right place, in more ways than one, and from the day they met, over a good cup of coffee, they haven’t spent a day apart. For them it has been an easy and natural progression, as if they were made for one another. They are very much themselves with one another and as cliché as that may sound to some, is a very important aspect of their relationship. Think of the gift that it is to be able to be nothing more or less than one’s self, with no pretense, no airs, no masks and most importantly without fear. It means that your heart has found home.

Together they share a love of home and their little fur family. Nothing is better to them than the quiet times at home, on the couch, with music and endless conversations about everything and nothing at all. Their home is a welcoming place for those they consider family. This and helping those they love is important to them, because after all when you are as blessed as they are it is only right to give back.

When they are together there is a feeling of completeness and appreciation, for neither Brian nor John have ever felt this loved before. They revel in together learning and expanding one another’s horizons so as to see the world in a broader sense, and make sure that it all sparkles with the `wow factor`. They seek not only to hear one another but also to understand the unspoken glances and gestures that give a deeper meaning behind their words. For no subject is ever worth harsh or angry words that might carelessly damage the spirit of their union when their only desire is to know in total the deepest recesses of one another’s hearts.

To further express the ideal of marriage Brian and John have chosen to share with you these words, simply entitled

“The Wedding Vow”

“You are not the air that I breathe,
You are the sweet scent that drifts upon it
You are not the sounds that I hear,
You are the music of my life
You are not the food that I need,
You are the nourishment of my soul
You are not my will to survive
You are my reason for living
It is with you that I experience
the wonders of the world
It is with you that I triumph
over the challenges in my path
It is your partnership that will lead me
to the fulfillment of my dreams
It is your friendship that guides me
as I learn and grow
It is your patience and wisdom
that calms my restless nature
It is through you that I know my true self
I do not take you for granted, I cherish you
I do not need you, I choose you
I choose you today in witness of all the people who love us
I choose you tomorrow in the privacy of our hearts
I choose you in strength and weakness
I choose you in health and in sickness
I choose you in joy and sorrow
I will choose you, over all others,
every day for all the days of my life’

~ Pledge of Support ~

“When you accepted Brian and John’s invitation to join them here today, you accepted also a very special responsibility and role in their lives. By asking you to bear witness to all that is in their hearts, they share with you precious memories and a knowledge of why and how all is so right for them. These insights are a tool that may later be called upon in times when good council is needed. So I must now ask you; Do you promise that you will do everything in your power to support them in their union? That you will encourage them always to seek the comfort and strength of their togetherness through the storms and stress that life will bring. And that you shall use what you have heard and seen here today, to remind them that the beauty and joy they share this day was meant to last a lifetime.”

Guests: “We do!”

“Peter and John will you now hold out the rings entrusted to you by Brian and John?

Peter and John hold out the wedding bands in the palm of their hands

Celebrant continues:

Your hands beneath serve as a symbol of how Brian and John and their
relationship are supported upon this earth by the love of their friends
and family as blessed from above.

Holy Spirit, guardian of all that is seen and unseen,
Bless these rings and this couple who shall wear them.
Keep them safe through adversity forever supported
by your eternal blessing”

Celebrant takes rings

~ The Ring Vows ~

“The ring, a circle, is one of nature’s simplest forms. The arc of the rainbow, the halo of the moon and the smallest of raindrops simulate the circle. A circle is the symbol of the sun and the earth and the universe. It is a symbol of perfection and of peace. In these rings is the symbol of unity, in which your lives are now joined, so that wherever you go, you will always return to one another and to your togetherness. As the circle turns again unto itself, so shall your love seek itself for its refreshment and renewal. May these rings remind you always of the vows you have taken here today.”

“John will you now tell Brian what is in your heart?”

“Brian from the moment we meet
on October 15, 2005 at 10:15 PM
and the all night conversation over a cup of coffee
It was love at the first sight;
I knew you were the one.
It took me 40 years to find you
and I will never let you go.
In my eyes you are perfect.
You are the love of my life.
I choose you as my life partner;
we will share all life’s ups and downs together.
You are the one I want laugh with and cry with.
I promise to always love and cherish you.
No matter what.”

“Will you now place the ring on Brian`s finger and repeat after me?”

John places the ring half way on to Brian’s finger

“I John, take you Brian,
To be my partner in life love and all things
I promise to walk by your side,
I vow to love you and care for you
not only on this precious day, but for all time.
I take you, with all your faults and your strengths,
as I offer myself to you with my faults and my strengths.
I will help you when you need help,
and I will turn to you when I need help.
I choose you as the person with whom
I will spend my life.”

John places the ring the rest of the way on to Brian’s finger

“Brian will you now tell John what is in your heart?”

“From the moment I saw you,
I knew we would be standing here today.
Somehow even before we met I knew there would be you.
There has always been such certainty between us
and everyday I am thankful.
You are helping me be the very best I can be.
I knew that you have always loved me.
I can see it in your actions and I can feel it in my heart.
There is comfort in those eyes and safety in those arms.
I promise I will love you and stand with you always,
no matter what.
That is something I have never said before. No matter what!
I am truly in love for the first time in my life
and I am in love for the last time in my life.
You are the best.
Today, I consider myself
the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”

“Will you now place the ring on John’s finger and repeat after me?”

Brian places the ring half way onto John’s finger

“I Brian, take you John,
To be my partner in life love and all things
I promise to walk by your side,
I vow to love you and care for you
not only on this precious day, but for all time.
I take you, with all your faults and your strengths,
as I offer myself to you with my faults and my strengths.
I will help you when you need help,
and I will turn to you when I need help.
I choose you as the person with whom
I will spend my life.”

Brian places the ring the rest of the way onto John’s finger

“The vows you have just taken, pledging love,
mean far more than mere words ever can.
May their gentle spirit move in you.
May your years fulfill the beauty
of the feelings expressed today,
and may you always put these vows
above the things that make life smaller.
May God always be with, protect,
and guide both of you, now and forever.”

~ Unity Candle ~

“Brian and John, will you now come to the altar as partners united
in spirit and love?

Groom’s step behind the altar

The flame that you now light represents the spark of divinity that
lives deep within you both. It is a reminder that in marriage it is
your higher selves that you are promising to one another and the
very best that you have to give always.

From every human being there rises a light.

Grooms light their tapers

When two souls destined for each other, find one another,
their streams of light flow together and a single brighter light
goes forth from the united being. These two candles are symbolic of
separate people in their own right.

Grooms take their taper in hand

By the joining of two candles into one,

and light the center candle

this symbolizes the strength and the unity of two joining
together to become one, depicting Brian and John’s belief that
together they can become greater than each could be alone.

Grooms place the tapers back in their holders, and snuff their flames,

Prior to this moment you each walked a separate path. Now as you light the candle symbolizes you embark together on a shared path.”

~ “The Day of Your Wedding” ~
Author Unknown

“Brian and John have asked Juliette to give the closing words to today’s ceremony.”

Juliette comes forward to give the reading

“Together you share the joy of a deep commitment
and the sacred trust.
You have given each other the most precious gift of love.
Treasure it, nurture it, and encourage it
with all the honesty you used in creating it.
You are sharing something rare and beautiful.
Always speak the truth, and listen attentively,
so that you may understand each other’s thoughts
and intentions.
Inspire each other by sharing your accomplishments.
Say `I love you’ often to retain the warmth between you.
Remember to laugh a lot, even when you’re angry
After all, you’re each other’s best friend.
Stand together and for each other always:
be content in mind and spirit.
Make each day a blessing
and a fulfillment of your dreams.”

Juliette takes her seat

~ Pronouncement ~

“You are now as your hearts have always known you to be, Partners in Life, Love and all things!

You may now seal your commitment with a kiss!”

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Commitment Ceremonies

Thank you for writing the most beautiful ceremony. You reached into our hearts and found the words to express what we were feeling. Our wedding wouldn’t have been the same without you! ~ Dawn and Marissa (photo by Candid Like Life Photography)

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~ Sharon and Kristie, October 3rd, 2010 ~

~ Moment of Remembrance ~

“It is Sharon and Kristie’s wish that as we get started today you all join with them in a moment to remember Kristie‘s mother Kathryn and all those who, although they could not be here physically, we know are here in spirit, wishing Sharon and Kristie a lifetime of happiness. May they know that they are loved, and remembered always.”

pause

~ Opening Words ~

“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to celebrate the joining of Sharon and Kristie. It has been said that a great relationship is falling in love over and over again with the same person. How Sharon and Kristie will accomplish this will be up to them, for every great love is as unique as the people that it joins. Yet the ideals of love, and home and family are as universal as time itself, and the desire to spend a lifetime with the one we love… this is the very core of what makes us truly human.

As many of you know they were legally married in Massachusetts on May third of this year. Although that was the day the paperwork was filed… marriage has always been about family and community. Having you all here with them today is what truly makes their marriage real. To stand before all those we love most in the world, and promise to love another person openly and trustingly, without limits or preconditions, for a lifetime, is perhaps the bravest thing two people will ever do. It is a promise that they have made over and over again in the privacy of their hearts, but it is also a promise to each and everyone of you here, that the person you love will be well cared for.

Sharon and Kristie, may the promises you make this day live always in your hearts and in your home so all that you now share will only deepen and grow through the years, and may they lead you through a lifetime of happiness.”

~ Welcoming of the Guests ~

“Sharon and Kristie would like to thank you all for taking the time and making the journey and for all the preparations that you have each made to ensure that they were surrounded by the love of family and friends as they renewed their vows. Born or chosen you are those they call family, and those whom they love most in the world. Today’s gathering was planned to be a particularly intimate one so that Sharon and Kristie would be able to cherish the memory of how they shared this day with each of you. They thank you for your presence here today.”

~ “The Key to Love” ~
by Anon, 1st century China

“Today’s reading was written in China by an anonymous writer in the first century.
It is called “The Key To Love”.

“The key to love is understanding …
The ability to comprehend not only the spoken word,
but those unspoken gestures,
the little things that say so much by themselves.

The key to love is forgiveness ….
to accept each others faults and pardon mistakes,
without forgetting, but with remembering
what you learn from them.

The key to love is sharing …
Facing your good fortunes as well as the bad, together;
both conquering problems, forever searching for ways
to intensify your happiness.

The key to love is giving …
with out thought of return,
but with the hope of just a simple smile,
and by giving in but never giving up.

The key to love is respect …
realizing that you are two separate people,
with different ideas;
that you don’t belong to each other,
that you belong with each other, and share a mutual bond.

The key to love is inside us all …
It takes time and patience to unlock all the ingredients
that will take you to its threshold;
it is the continual learning process
that demands a lot of work …

but the rewards are more than worth the effort …
and that is the key to love.”

~ Presentation of the Rings ~

“May I have the rings please?”

Officiant is given the rings

“Although you each wear only one of them, these rings essentially belong to you both. For they are a symbol of the love you share and the promise that it will be a strong and lasting love. Through out the years they will speak softly of your vow to grow along with one another, to face the challenges life, to remain one another’s first priority and keep your relationship rich and full. They will give you strength and comfort in times of uncertainty and heighten life’s joys as you share them. Never again do you walk alone for your love will be with you always.”

~ Ring Vows ~

“Kristie, there are certain things that you can do to help to ensure that you and Sharon
live a long and happy life together…..

Do you promise to always remember
the great gift that you and Sharon are to one another?
And to always maintain the inner connection
that your souls share?
Do you promise that yours shall be a home
in which mutual respect, kindness of disposition,
and love shall reign supreme,
Where you support one another,
empower and encourage one another
in the spirit of love and hope and faith
that brings you here to this day?
Do you promise to be a faithful and loving partner?
And do you take Sharon to be your own?”

Kristie: “I do.”

“Will you now place the ring on your beloved’s finger and repeat after me?”

Kristie places the ring half way on to Sharon’s finger

“I give you this ring.
Wear it with love and joy.
As this ring has no end,
Neither shall my love for you.
I choose you to be my own
This day and forevermore.”

Kristie places the ring the rest of the way on to Sharon’s finger

“Sharon, there are certain things that you can do to help to ensure that you and Kristie live a long and happy life together…..

Do you promise to always remember
the great gift that you and Kristie are to one another?
And to always maintain the inner connection
that your souls share?
Do you promise that yours shall be a home
in which mutual respect, kindness of disposition,
and love shall reign supreme,
Where you support one another,
empower and encourage one another
in the spirit of love and hope and faith
that brings you here to this day?
Do you promise to be a faithful and loving partner?
And do you take Kristie to be your own?”

Sharon: “I do.”

“Will you now place the ring on your beloved’s finger and repeat after me?”

Sharon places the ring half way onto Kristie’s finger

“I give you this ring.
Wear it with love and joy.
As this ring has no end,
Neither shall my love for you.
I choose you to be my own
This day and forevermore.”

Sharon places the ring the rest of the way onto Kristie’s finger

~ Pronouncement of Marriage ~

“Sharon and Kristie‘s closing reading is entitled “All I Want“

“All I want is to love you
For the rest of my life….
To wake up every morning
With you by my side,
Knowing that no matter what happens
I’ll be able to come home
To your loving arms.
All I want is to share everything with you….
To talk to you about our ideas, our dreams,
The little everyday things that make us laugh,
And the not-so-little things
That we can’t help worrying about.
All I want is to give you my love….
As a place you can always come to for acceptance
Or the simple comfort that silence brings
When things left unspoken can still be understood.
All I want is to grow old with you…
To watch our life unfold,
Our dreams, one by one, come true.
All I want is to love you forever.

It is my honor and privilege to pronounce you united as one in love and in sacred union.

You may both kiss your beautiful Bride!”

Couple kiss and exit to greet their guests!

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Commitment Ceremonies

Anna & Steph were married at The Thatched Cottage in Centerport. As unique and beautiful as they are there was an element of joining the main stream that in years past wasn’t really an option for my gay and lesbian couples. Young, in love, recent home owners, planning a lifetime together, their ceremony wasn’t setting out to make a statement. The life they share is testimony enough. It simply said thanks for sharing your love and support! We are looking forward to the years ahead and sharing them with each other and all of you!

Photo by Michael O’Neil MichaelOneillFineArt.com/

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~ Leroy and Steven ~

“With Leroy and Steven it was clear right from the start that today would be very much a celebration of everything that is already their life together. Today is the day that Leroy and Steven allow us to share in what is one of the most intimate of human experiences, the pledging of one soul to another for a lifetime. The joy that they feel in their hearts, and the love that they have for one another in some ways is like no other. It is as unique and wonderful as Leroy and Steven themselves are. Yet they share a moment in time with all those who have ever felt the presence of their beloved deep within the core of their own being. The divinely inspired place where souls touch has not boundaries, nor exclusive rights held by and group of people. Such is the gift that Leroy has been given with Steven and Steven with Leroy.

Five years ago, when Leroy and Steven first met, settling down was the farthest thing from their minds, but as they say the best things in life happen when we least expect them. Steven’s personality, his kindness of disposition and giving nature were among the first things that let Leroy know that Steven was the one for him. Or as Leroy himself put it “the heart just followed and I was caught!” For Steven being taken for exactly who he was, perhaps for the first time in his life, and the recognition that he is indeed someone very special brought an overwhelming and radiant joy that would only grow brighter with time. The beginning of a relationship is when you are each enthralled with who you perceive the other to be. Yet it is far more powerful as you grow and you come to realize that you are truly in awe each of who the other really are. And so do you know each time that feeling arises, that you have indeed chosen the right partner. This is the wonderful place that Leroy and Steven now find themselves in.

Although the roads they traveled to reach this day are not the ones that they would have chosen for themselves, there is nothing from their journey that they would change. Their life now is rich with so many wondrous gifts and blessings. To change any of the past would create a different today. This holds absolutely no interest for either Leroy or Steven. They have transformed the things in their lives that once seemed to be obstacles, into blessings. They are truly life partners. They share everything, and look forward to learning more about both each other and life itself with a sense of wonder and joy rather than one of obligation.

The faith and trust that they have in each other and in their relationship has lead them to the optimum of situations. With the firm base and support that their love provides, they have the faith and confidence to accomplish anything both separately and together and reach new heights that alone would have been only dreams. And why not? After all good people deserve good things in their lives.

focus switches to addressing Leroy and Steven

Today is the public affirmation and acknowledgment of all that you are to each other. Seemingly your relationship will be as it has always been, yet there is a power in the spoken word. May that power bring you all the warmth & closeness, security & comfort, joy & happiness that this world has to offer.

Tammy, will you now come forward to read for us and to assist me with the ring vows?”

Tammy steps forward and delivers the first reading

“These I Can Promise”

“I cannot promise you a life of sunshine;
I cannot promise riches, wealth, or gold;
I cannot promise you an easy pathway
That leads away from change or growing old.

But I can promise all my heart’s devotion;
A smile to chase away your tears of sorrow;
A love that’s ever true and ever growing;
A hand to hold in yours through each tomorrow.”

~ The Ring Vows ~

“Leroy, Do you take Steven to be your Life Partner?
Do you promise to listen always with a kind ear
And speak with an open heart
Never forgetting that you are each
the others most precious gift in this life
In times of celebration and in times of sadness,
Do you vow to support him, and comfort him,
To empower and encourage him, all the days of your lives?”

Leroy: “I do.”

“Will you now place your ring upon his finger as a reminder of your
commitment to this promise?”

Tammy hands Leroy the ring which he places on Steven’s finger

“Steven, in committing yourself to Leroy,
you must promise to continue to be sensitive to his needs
and to listen when he explains their nature.
You must promise to be there when he needs you
and to do everything in your power to insure his
security, happiness and peace of mind.
You must promise to share with him your joy of living
and to be a loving companion.
Do you so promise?”

Steven: “I do.”

“Will you now place your ring upon his finger as a reminder of your
commitment to this promise?”

Tammy hands Steven the ring which he then places on Leroy’s finger

“Will you now look into one another’s eyes as Tammy reads the words you have chosen for this moment?”

Tammy delivers the second reading

“I Will Be Here”
by Steven Curtis Chapman

“If in the morning when you wake,
If the sun does not appear,
I will be here.
If in the dark we lose sight of love,
Hold my hand and have no fear,
I will be here.

I will be here,
When you feel like being quiet,
When you need to speak your mind I will listen.
Through the winning, losing, and trying we’ll be together,
And I will be here.
If in the morning when you wake,
If the future is unclear,
I will be here.
As sure as seasons were made for change,
Our lifetimes were made for years,
I will be here.

I will be here,
And you can cry on my shoulder,
When the mirror tells us we’re older.
I will hold you, to watch you grow in beauty,
And tell you all the things you are to me.

We’ll be together and I will be here.
I will be true to the promises I’ve made,
To you and to the one who gave you to me.
I will be here.”

“You may seal your commitment with kiss!”

Grooms Kiss and exit to greet their guests

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Commitment Ceremonies

Sharon & Lisa They picked The Thatched Cottage in Centerport for their celebration and it could not have been more perfect. Above is actually their thank you card, and below is their ceremony.

~ Sharon and Lisa ~

“Today is a celebration of the most intimate of human experiences, the sacred space created when there is a union of souls. This has both a sublime quality and a part that speaks to the very core of the human experience. Sharon and Lisa share a common bond with every human who has ever felt the presence of their beloved within their own spirit. They also share a moment in time with all of those who in the real tangible, physical, day to day world, have found the one person they could share it all with. The joys and the sorrows, the triumphs and the tragedies, the large and the small are all theirs together. Not only are we here for the celebration of the joining of these two wonderful people, but to get a glimpse of what this truly means from their perspective. To this end they have written Personal Vows to one another. I invite you now to share with them as they reveal their innermost selves both to each other and to all of you.”

“This is the place in the ceremony where I’d usually go into all the intimate details that make everyone all teary eyed but all Sharon and Lisa have already done that with their beautiful letters to one another.

Sharon and Lisa speak their hearts

When Sharon and Lisa first came to discuss what would be said today their presence lit up the room. Their joy was self evident, and this is exactly what they wished to share with you today, all their joy and wonder and excitement and most of all their love. One can’t help but notice it! Yet for a relationship to thrive it is not only about finding the right partner, it is also about becoming the right partner. Becoming is not something that happens over night nor does it just happen by accident. It was four years ago yesterday as a matter of fact that Sharon and Lisa began their journey. Sharon has always known just what the important things in a relationship are, and Lisa believes in their passion and spiritual interconnectivity. They share a deep and abiding sense of mutual respect, loyalty, trust, and appreciation for one another. They and the quality of life they have together has become more than they could have aspired to on their own, yet it is no less than they each deserve. It is just a taste of what their future shall hold. Always seeking the good and the beautiful both in life, and in their relationship, Sharon and Lisa brighten everything touched by the warmth of their love with an inner beauty which can only be rivaled by the radiance of their physical beauty that we see today.”

~ Lighting of Incense ~

“Sharon and Lisa have chosen at this time to light incense because they wanted their ceremony to include an aspect of ritual. They wanted something that would mirror the way their hearts soar when they are together, and they way their spirits intertwine always.

I would ask that you now hold in your hands the incense that you are about to light and to bring to mind the great gift that you are to one another. Think about your future with the many happy years of togetherness you shall share. Think of all that you would wish for yourselves coming to fruition. Know that the love you share this very moment is eternal.”

Sharon and Lisa embody the incense with their love and hopes

Will all of you now join with them in seeing their dreams come true? As you do
so remember that it is the greatest prayer you can offer today.”

Sharon and Lisa step up to the altar, light the incense,
place them in the vessel and then return to place

~ Ring Vows ~

“Sharon, there are certain things that you can do to help to ensure that you and
Lisa live a long and happy life together…..

Do you promise to love her, honor her,
respect her and cherish her, all the days of your life?
Do you promise to continue to be loving, affectionate,
faithful, loyal, honest and trustworthy?
Do you Sharon take Lisa to be your beloved partner in life?
For better or worse, For richer or poorer,
In sickness and health
For as long as you both shall live?”

Sharon: “I do!”

“Will you place the ring upon Lisa’s finger as a symbol of this promise.”

Sharon places the ring on Lisa’s finger

“Lisa, there are certain things that you can do to help to ensure that you and Sharon live a long and happy life together…..

Do you promise to love her, honor her,
respect her and cherish her, all the days of your life?
Do you promise to continue to be loving, affectionate,
faithful, loyal, honest and trustworthy?
Do you Lisa take Sharon to be your beloved partner in life?
For better or worse, For richer or poorer,
In sickness and health
For as long as you both shall live?”

Lisa: “I do!”

“Will you place the ring upon Sharon’s finger as a symbol of this promise.”

Lisa places the ring on Sharon’s finger

“You are now as your hearts have always known you to be, Beloved Partners both in and for Life!

You may both kiss your beautiful Bride!”

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Video from Natalie & Jessica‘s 2009 ceremony. They were the first lesbian couple to be chosen for the Valentines Day weddings at the Empire State Building and I had the honor of officiating for them!

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~ Lisa and Julie ~

“It has been said that “Great Love involves Great risk”. I want to thank you all for coming today. I commend you for your courage and your support. It shows that your love is stronger than your fear. A union that does not fit into the traditional image of, for some, what a marriage should be, can be a bitter sweet occasion. It is supposed to be the happiest of days, as a couple celebrates all that is good in their lives and publicly expresses their hopes and dreams for the future. Yet not all couples are as blessed as Lisa and Julie. For some the tears of joy are joined by tears of sorrow at the absence of their mother or their father. Some don’t even know who will be there as we begin the ceremony. Their reality includes the possibility that these two most important of chairs, will be empty as they walk down the aisle. God bless all of you who choose to accept love in all forms in your lives. Love is something that knows no boundaries. It is not something with exclusive rights to he bestowed upon one group and withheld from another. There is no denying that love is a divinely inspired gift and that the one way to make it even better, is by sharing it with those who are nearest and dearest to us. Lisa and Julie thank you all for being so wonderful and wishing for them, what they would wish for themselves. Will you now all join me in a prayer for peace and love.”

~ The Prayer ~
St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226)

“Lord, make me an instruments of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is discord, union;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy;
Grant that we may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen”

“Lisa, you and Julie have waited a long time for this moment.
Will you now tell each other what is in your heart?”

Lisa: “I knew you first as a friend
I loved the way you laughed
We walked a beach of sand
We watched autumn leaves turn tan
I knew you first as a friend.”

Julie: “I knew you first as a friend
I loved the way you showed me truth
We watched the sunset yield to the stars
We saw the pictures they painted in the cold night sky
I knew you first as a friend.”

Lisa: “I knew you next as a love
I needed you to show me how again
We said one in a million times ten
We said when lightning strikes again
I knew you next as a love.”

Julie: “I knew you next as a love
I needed your kind and tender touch
We smile as our children grew together
We cried for the storms we feared they would weather
I knew you next as a love.”

Lisa: “I know now we are forever as friends.”

Julie: “I know now we are forever as truth.”

Lisa: “I know now we are forever as laughter.”

Julie: “I know now we are forever as home.”

Lisa and Julie: “I know now we are forever as love
In a place where there’s no space and time
I know now you are forever as mine.”

“Lisa will you now place the ring on Julie’s finger
and repeat after me please?”

“I Lisa take you Julie to be my own
I will love you, and honor you,
respect and cherish you
For better or for worse,
For richer or for poorer,
In sickness and in health,
This day and forever more.”

Lisa places the ring on Julie’s finger

“Julie, will you now place the ring on Lisa’s finger
and repeat after me please?”

“I Julie take you Lisa to be my own
I will love you, and honor you,
respect and cherish you
For better or for worse,
For richer or for poorer,
In sickness and in health,
This day and forever more.”

Julie places the ring on Lisa’s finger

“Lisa and Julie have chosen to share with you a lesser known but no less beautiful version of the Apache blessing as their closing prayer..

May the sun bring you new energy by day,
May the moon softly restore you by night,
May the rain wash away your worries
And the breeze blow new strength into your being,
And all of the days of your life may you walk
Gently through the world and know its beauty.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my honor to present Lisa and Julie Daye-Evans! You may now seal your commitment with a kiss!”

Lisa and Julie Kiss and exit to greet their guests!

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Commitment Ceremonies

Laura and Lillian were married at Verdi’s of Westbury. I loved the alterations they made to a traditional Unity Candle to include Family and community.

Photo thanks to Paul Petronella of John Warren Wright Studios

~ Candle Ceremony ~

“Laura and Lillian have chosen to include a candle ceremony to symbolize the unity of their two families and their joining together to become one family. They now ask that two very important people from each of their families, Laura’s mom and dad and Lillian’s cousins Marietta and Cristian, to come forward.”

couples parents and cousins come forward

And will you please light the candles with your names on them that symbolize the love and support of each family…

couples parents and cousins light their candle

I will now ask Laura’s parents to take the candle with Lillian’s name on it and as a sign that she is welcomed and accepted as a member of your family, please light her candle from yours.

Laura’s parents light Lillian’s candle

Will Lillian’s cousins please take the candle with Laura’s name on it and as a sign that she is welcomed and accepted as a member of your family, please light her candle from yours.

Lillian’s cousins light Laura’s candle

Laura and Lillian will please light the candle of your own unity and the joining together of both families as one?

Couple light their candle

Family whether born or chosen are a precious gift in this world. May the warm and guiding light of the love you share forever be a source of strength to you.”

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