Religious, Interfaith and Multi-Cultural Wedding Ceremonies

Many feel it is better to not mention religion, or use a generic vague reference then quickly move on. But planning an Interfaith Wedding Ceremony or a Culturally Diverse Ceremony is easy as long as you remember to take all aspects into consideration and really keep the tone celebratory.

I’m all for the “your wedding your way” but for most people this includes showing respect for everyone concerned and their feelings. Have your parents or your beloved’s parents been waiting all your life to stand at the altar with you on your wedding day? This is an opportunity to ask what the customs and traditions of your extended family mean, and then let your heart decide what calls to you. It is always better to give someone an honor that they don’t expect that to take away one that someone dear might have been looking forward to.

Religious, Interfaith and Multi-Cultural Wedding Ceremonies

Crystal and Jonathan – That smile really says it all! They Married at East Winds, And Yes, they really are that happy!

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~ Samantha and Martin ~

(Jewish and Christian single officiant ceremony)

~ Preamble ~

“Good afternoon and welcome! As we will be beginning shortly I would ask that those of you with telecommunications devices, Cell phones, blackberries and
such, if you will please turn them off or switch them to vibrate at this time.

In front of us is a beautiful chuppah. The chuppah represents the home. Its four poles symbolize the four pillars upon which a strong marriage is built: family, friendship, love and respect. A shelter that is open on all sides we see an invitation and a sign of welcome to those we love. The chuppah’s delicate structure reminds those beneath it, that the only thing real about a home is the people in it, who love and who choose to be together as a family.

It is said `Happy are those who come in the name of life. Happy are those who come in the name of love!’ And so without further delay we will begin this celebration!”

Processional begins, the entrances are made and with everyone in place we begin

~ Opening Words ~

“Dearly beloved we are gathered here to celebrate the marriage of Samantha and Martin. They have come here today because they share a commitment to nurturing the love between them, and to maintaining it as an integral part of their lives. It has been said that marriage is falling in love over and over again with the same person. How Samantha and Martin will accomplish this will be up to them, for every marriage 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 transcends language and time, to speak to the very core of what makes us truly human. Marriage is a promise that strives to ensure that his dreams will always be her dreams, and her dreams will always be his dreams. That they are joined by a sense of belonging rather than ownership, and that says to the world “my heart has found its home.” This dear friends is the wonderful place that Samantha and Martin have come to in their lives, and that which we are truly here to celebrate with them. Samantha and Martin, May God be with you and know you in your hearts and in your home, through all the days of your togetherness.”

~ Welcoming of the Guests ~

“Samantha and Martin would like to thank you all for taking the time and making the journey, and for all of the efforts that were made on their behalf by each of you, to ensure that they were surrounded by the love of family and friends as they made their marriage vows. Samantha and Martin consider themselves to be truly blessed to have such a rich and diversely blended group of family and friends to share their lives with. There have been no limits to the love, comfort and support that you have offered them on their best and their worst days. Your love has sustained them, and inspired them to believe that there is indeed still goodness in the future ahead. They thank you for your presence here today and for all the days that it took to make this one a reality, as they look forward to all the tomorrows they will share with you.

In Catholicism, it is customary to offer each other a sign of peace in the form of a simple greeting, a handshake or a hug. As a sign of welcome to all our new family let us offer each other a sign of peace.”

~ Samantha and Martin ~

“As many of you know Samantha and Martin have been together for almost two years. When asked a little about themselves and their relationship Sam began by saying “Well, we didn’t exactly meet on vacation.” In fact it was at a time when neither of them were at their best. Yet they were both well enough to notice something very special about one another. Next thing you know, what seemed like dark days had turned into some of the brightest they had ever known. Theirs is an understanding of being both strong and vulnerable in one another’s presence and an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the gift they have each been given in one another. Love has made them both strong enough to do things that would have once been unthinkable. They are and have been there to take care of one another, to laugh together, share music and secrets, to do the hard things in life with grace, and fully appreciate the little everyday moments that make life worth living. For Samantha and Martin marriage is a definite, public, commitment to one another made in friendship, loyalty and love… A promise to stand with and for each other in the times when love alone is not enough. The promises they make this day are also a lifelong commitment to family and community. 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 to one another, but also to each
and everyone of you here, that the person you love will be well cared for.

And so today, Samantha and Martin bestow upon one another all the honor and respect that mirrors the place they hold in one another’s hearts and lives…All the honor and respect that comes with the title of husband and wife, titles that say to the world. “This is the one person that I choose, to be my own, to hold above all others, today and for all the days of my life.”

~ Invocation ~
written by Rev Frank J Perron

“Gracious God, our hearts are filled with great happiness on this the wedding day of Samantha and Martin. They have come before you, pledging their lives and their hearts to one another. Grant that they may be ever true and loving, living together in a way that shall ever nurture the soul of their marriage. Temper their hearts with kindness and help them to be sweethearts, helpmates, friend and guide, So that together, may they meet the cares and problems of life more bravely. May their home truly be a place of love and harmony where your Spirit is ever present. Bless their wedding day, we pray, and walk beside them, through all their life together. Amen”

~ Personal Vows ~

“Before we proceed to the ring exchange Samantha and Martin have chosen to write their own vows that they would like to share with one another at this time.

Martin will you now tell Samantha what is in your heart?”

“I will always love and take care of and cherish my beautiful Samantha. Our journey has just begun and it is going to be a great trip.”

“Samantha will you now tell Martin what is in your heart?”

“Marty you are the kindest most gentle and caring man I have ever met and I feel blessed to be sharing my life with you. I promise I will always cherish you, and each moment we have together, I will appreciate the good days as well as the bad days remembering that each and every day we spend together as husband and wife is a blessing. I love you.”

~ Presentation of the Rings ~

“May I have the rings please?”

Officiant is given the rings

“You are about to present a ring to each other. The wedding ring, a complete circle, is the symbol of the completeness a husband and wife find in a marriage relationship. The ring has no beginning and no end, just as true love is never-ending. The ring also is made of precious metals, just as true love is a precious treasure. As you place the wedding ring on each other’s hand, may it not only remind you of the endless love you possess for one another, but may it also be a reminder of the precious gift God has given you to make you complete.”

~ Ring Vows ~

“Martin, please place the ring on Samantha’s finger and repeat after me.”

Martin places the ring half way on to Samantha’s finger

“I Martin take you Samantha to be my wife.
I will respect and honor you, I will cherish and protect you,
I will endure all trials and cares with you.
I will be a tender and affectionate, patient and loving.
I commit myself to you from this day forward
and forevermore.”

Martin places the ring the rest of the way on to Samantha’s finger

“Samantha, please place the ring on Martin’s finger and repeat after me.”

Samantha places the ring half way onto Martin’s finger

“I Samantha take you Martin to be my husband.
I will respect and honor you, I will cherish and protect you,
I will endure all trials and cares with you.
I will be a tender and affectionate, patient and loving.
I commit myself to you from this day forward
and forevermore.”

Samantha places the ring the rest of the way onto Martin’s finger

~ The Seven Blessings ~

“Seven is the most frequently used number in the Bible. It took seven days to form the earth, leaving the number seven to mark for us the path to creation. Since every marriage is celebrated as a new creation, It is customary in Jewish tradition that the bride and groom are bestowed with seven blessings. These blessings represent Samantha and Martin’s hopes for the future.

Blessings are given over wine

May your marriage be as sweet as the fruit of the vine.
May you work together to build a relationship of substance and quality.
May the honesty of your communication
build a foundation of understanding, connection and trust.
May you respect each other’s individual personality and philosophy,
give each other room to grow and fulfill each other’s dreams.
May your sense of humor and playful spirit continue to enliven your relationship.
May you understand that neither of you is perfect :you are both subject to human frailties;
and may your love strengthen when you fall short of each other’s expectations.
May you continue to be best friends, better together than either of you are apart.”

Bride and Groom drink

As you have shared this cup of wine, so may you, under God’s guidance share contentment, peace and fulfillment from the cup of life. May you find life’s joys heightened, its bitterness sweetened, and each of its moments hallowed by true companionship and love.”

~ Breaking of the Glass and Pronouncement ~

“The traditional breaking of the glass which marks the end of the ceremony, is a reminder of both the strength and the fragility of the spiritual bond that is marriage. It is a reminder to appreciate all that we have now, to embrace change, and to always hold the important things in life above all else. Samantha and Martin may your marriage last longer than it would take for all the broken pieces to reassemble themselves, and may all of your troubles be as easily shattered. As the glass is broken, I invite everyone to shout “Mazal Tov,” which means “congratulations and good luck.”

Glass wrapped in cloth, is placed on the floor

The Bible says, “Love bears all things,
believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails. So faith, hope, and love abide, these three;
but remember that the greatest of these is love.”
May God bless you and keep you in this wisdom
for all the days of your togetherness.
You are now as your hearts have always known you to be,
Husband and Wife. You may kiss your beautiful Bride!”

Groom steps on glass breaking it., couple kiss everyone claps

“Mazal Tov!”

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Religious, Interfaith and Multi-Cultural Wedding Ceremonies

Amber and Chris chose to have their wedding ceremony at the Crescent Beach Club in Bayville.

It was a perfect day!

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~ Kate and James ~

(They are a Second Marriage Roman Catholic couple who were married at the Riviera. Although this ceremony is not recognized by the RC Church, it had all the elements they needed to be happy on their day. Perfect for Catholics choosing to marry outside the church)

~ Opening Words and Prayer ~

“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today in the presence of God, Family and Friends, to celebrate the marriage of Kate and James. It is such a wonderful feeling to be here with them to witness the beginnings of what we know will be an extraordinary marriage. Today is the day that they will formally and publicly make their promises to one another. Although this is indeed a high point, marriage is a journey not a destination. Marriage is more than any one single event or promise. It is a way of life and a series of decisions that have been made, and will continue to be made over and over again, every day, that shows tow peoples care and concern for the one whom they love most in the world. Yet I will ask you now if you are prepared to make this promise.

Kate, Have you come here today of your own free will to take James to be your husband, that you may live together as equal partners sharing all that life has to offer?”

Kate: “I have.”

“Will you love him, comfort him, honor and keep him all the days of your life?”

Kate: “I will.”

“James, Have you come here today of your own free will to take Kate to be your wife, that you
may live together as equal partners sharing all that life has to offer?”

James: “I have.”

“Will you love her comfort her, honor and keep her all the days of your life?”

James: “I will.”

“What better way to begin such a miraculous event than with a prayer for their happiness.

Heavenly Father, In the beginning there was the word, and the word was with you. When you spoke those words they held in them the power of creation, and all life began. Kate and James come before us today to speak important words of their own that through your grace, shall be a precious a new beginning in their lives. Bless them today and always, that they will forever see you, and know you, in their hearts and in their home. And bless us all who are here that through bx and James our own promises and connection to you, and to one another, shall be strengthened. This we ask through our Lord Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit one God for ever and ever. Amen.”

~ Welcoming of the Guests ~

“Kate and James 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 Kate and James 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.”

~ Address ~

“Kate and James, today as you take this next step, I ask you to remember that marriage is a covenant, not a contract. Contracts have terms and conditions, and limits that must be met. But a covenant is a lifetime commitment made between two people and God. It is a promise to do more than just stay together, but to thrive… to live a life that is rich and full… not by accident, by choice. This will require hard work at times, and the presence of mind to stop and appreciate the fact that through all life’s moments, both great and small… you have someone by your side who loves and cares for you above all others.

To choose marriage is to accept a challenge, the challenge that Love itself provides when it wants to grow. This means that things won’t always be easy. But you share a commitment to putting your best selves forward in both difficult and wonderful times, emerging stronger with each experience you share. It means that although neither of you will always be perfect, you will never lose sight of the fact that you are perfect for one another.

Marriage means that you have achieved a certain level of success, that deserves new levels of recognition and commitment. Although you have felt yourselves married in your hearts for sometime now, marriage in the larger sense has always been about family and community. When everyone entered, they took a seat on one side or the other. After your vows, those words have done something that fundamentally changes the relationship of everyone here. As they join together and follow you out of this ceremony, those sides go away, and they all belong to one family from that moment on.

There is something very important about publicly making your promises to one another, in front of everyone here, who have a lifetime of emotional investment in the two of you and in your happiness. Marriage is a promise to all the people who love you, that the person they love will always be well cared for.”

~ Unity Candle ~

“For centuries fire has symbolized life, spirit, strength, initiation, and rites of passage. 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. By the joining of two candles into one, this symbolizes the strength and the unity of two joining together to become one, depicting Kate and James’s belief that together they can become greater than each could be alone. The Unity Candle that Kate and James will light together stands as a bright and beautiful symbol of their commitment to the spirit of their union and the joining of their lives and families as one.”

Music begins
Bride and Groom step behind the altar and light their taper
They then take their taper in hand and light the center candle
Bride and Groom place the tapers back in their holders,
snuff their flames, And return to the front of the altar
Music concludes

~ Invocation ~

Minister: “The Lord be with you.”
All: “And also with you.”
Minister: “Let us pray…

Gracious Father and Ever Living God,
our hearts are filled with great happiness
on this the wedding day of Kate and James.
They have come before you,
pledging their lives and their hearts to one another.
Grant that they may be ever true and loving,
living together in a way that shall ever nurture
the soul of their marriage.
Temper their hearts with kindness and help them to be
sweethearts, helpmates, friend and guide,
So that together, may they meet the cares
and problems of life more bravely.
May their home truly be a place of love and harmony where your Spirit is ever present.
Bless their wedding day, we pray,
and walk beside them, through all their life together.
This we ask through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Who lives and reigns with you,
In the unity of the holy spirit,
One God, for ever and ever.
Amen.”

~ The Lord’s Prayer ~

“Will you now join with me in reciting the Lord’s Prayer?”

All: “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

“Amen.”

~ Blessing of the Rings ~

“Will the Best Man and Maid of Honor please hold out the rings entrusted to you by Kate and James?

Best Man and Maid of Honor hold out the wedding bands in the palm of their hands Celebrant continues:

Let your hands beneath serve as a symbol of how Kate and James and their marriage 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

~ Ring Vows ~

“James, do you take Kate
to be your lawfully wedded wife,
To have and to hold from this day forward,
For better or for worse, For richer or for poorer,
In sickness and in health, To love and to cherish
Until death do you part?”

James: “I do.”

“James will you now place the ring on Kate’s finger and repeat after me?”

James places the ring half way onto Kate’s finger

“I James take you Kate, to be my wife.
Before God, Family and Friends
I promise to love you, and honor you,
Respect and cherish you.
For all the days of my life.”

James places the ring fully onto Kate’s finger

“Kate, do you take James
to be your lawfully wedded husband,
To have and to hold from this day forward,
For better or for worse, For richer or for poorer,
In sickness and in health, To love and to cherish,
Until death do you part?”

Kate: “I do.”

“Kate will you now place the ring on James’s finger and repeat after me?”

Kate places the ring half way onto James’s finger

“I Kate, take you James, to be my husband.
Before God, Family and Friends
I promise to love you, and honor you,
Respect and cherish you.
For all the days of my life.”

Kate places the ring fully onto Robert’s finger

~ A Reading From the Gospel of Paul ~

“Kate and James have chosen to close their ceremony with a reading from the 1st Letter of Paul to the Corinthians.”

“Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends; So in faith, hope, and love, abide these three; but know the greatest of these is love.”

“As often as we hear this passage doesn’t it just say everything there is to be said about the art of marriage so concisely and eloquently? Kate and James remember these words. And remember that no matter what else is going on around you… with in you there is a love that can conquer all. You will spend a lifetime exploring all many wondrous qualities God has given each of you, desiring only to bring out the goodness in one another and forgiving the mistakes that growing and learning means you will each make, knowing in your hearts that your love is what matters most.”

~ Pronouncement and Presentation ~

“And now that you’ve made your vows and promises of love and faithfulness before these witnesses, and exchanged rings of commitment as a testimony to that love, it is my honor and privilege to pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss your beautiful Bride!”

Bride and Groom kiss

Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present Mr. and Mrs. James and Kate Connor!”

Couple kiss again and exit to greet their guests!

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Religious, Interfaith and Multi-Cultural Wedding Ceremonies

Lisa & Asad
High School sweethearts married in a Christian / Islam Interfaith Ceremony at the Swan Club in Roslyn

~ Lisa and Asad ~

(Christian Islam Interfaith Ceremony)

~ Moment of Remembrance ~

“It is Lisa and Asad’s wish that as we get started today you all join with them in a moment to remember Asad’s Father Muhammad Fariad, their grandparents who have passed, and all those who although they could not be here physically… all the people who we know are here in spirit, and wishing Lisa and Asad a lifetime of happiness.”

pause

~ Opening Words ~

“Welcome Family and friends! What a glorious day it is and how thankful are we all to be here with Lisa and Asad to witness the very first moments of what we know will be an extraordinary marriage! Spring has always been the time of new beginnings and yet for our bride and groom there was also a sense of history to this a celebration. They chose May sixteenth as their wedding day, so that they would be able to wake up on the morning of their ten year anniversary as husband and wife. What a beautiful gift it is to be able to give and receive from one another their promise of forever.

The desire to love and be loved by one very special person is universal and timeless. There is something about the human spirit that understands for each soul there is another half that will bring balance and harmony to a sometimes turbulent world.

The Qur’an tells us “It is He who created you from a single soul. And made it’s mate of like nature in order that you might dwell with her in love.” And that “Husbands and wives are as garments, one for the other.”

Marriage means each person is clothed and shielded, protected by a love that can be as strong as armor and as delicate as silk. Marriage allows us to show our imperfections and be loved not in spite of them but because of them… for who we truly are. Within this shelter we must always remember the key to it all is one that never wavers.

For as the Bible tells us. “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things, that Love never ends. So in faith, hope, and Love, abide these three; but know that the greatest of these is Love.”

The knowledge that God loves you and wants you to be happy is self evident in the love he has granted you. It is a precious treasure in today’s world, and marriage is the strongest expression of love and commitment that two people can share.

Lisa and Asad, and all of you here, if you remember only one thing from this ceremony, let it be that life is too short to ever be guided by anything other than Love.”

~ Welcoming of the Guests ~

“It is days like today that we realize who the most important people in our lives are, and how irreplaceable it is to be able to see them in our most precious memories. Therefore, Lisa and
Asad would like to thank you all for taking the time and making the journey and for all the preparations that were made on their behalf to ensure that they were surrounded by the love of
family and friends as they made their marriage vows. It is with you that they have shared the most important moments and experiences of their lives, and your lives. They have been to your
weddings, baby blessings, birthdays… to all the events that make life worth living, and they are overjoyed to finally be able to have you share in their wedding day. Born or chosen you are
those they call family, and those whom they love most in the world. Lisa and Asad thank you for your presence here today, and for being there for them through all the days that it has taken to
make this one a reality.”

~ “The Art of a Good Marriage” ~
by Wilfred Arlan Peterson

“Lisa and Asad have asked Lisa‘s Godmother Rose to come and read for us at this time.”

Rose comes forward, introduces and delivers the reading

“The little things are the big things.
It is never being too old to hold hands.
It is remembering to say “I love you” at least once a day.
It is never going to sleep angry.

It is never taking the other for granted;
the courtship should not end with the honeymoon,
it should continue through all the years.

It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.
It is standing together facing the world.
It is forming a circle of love
that gathers in the whole family.

It is doing things for each other,
not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice,
but in the spirit of joy.

It is speaking words of appreciation
and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.
It is not expecting the husband to wear a halo
or the wife to have wings of an angel.

It is not looking for perfection in each other.
It is cultivating flexibility, patience,
understanding and a sense of humor.

It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.
It is giving each other an atmosphere
in which each can grow.
It is finding room for the things of the spirit.
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.

It is establishing a relationship
in which the independence is equal,
dependence is mutual and the obligation is reciprocal.
It is not only marrying the right partner,
it is being the right partner.”

Rose returns to place

~ Lisa and Asad ~

“As many of you know, and will remember for yourselves, our bride and groom met when they were both just teenagers. Although there was indeed an awkward period in the beginning, which they attribute to both the brashness and the timidity of youth, once it had passed they soon became inseparable.

In the years when people change the most, they managed to continue to grow both within their relationship, and as individuals. They were working together towards the future that they always
knew they would share. Maintaining that spiritual intimacy, and striving to lay the groundwork for their future was something that came very naturally for them. Since those early days they have been one another’s life, love, and best friend.

They have come along way in their time together, and they attribute the success of their relationship to their ability to work together, to always compromise, and their belief in the great and powerful force that their love makes them. Growing up with siblings and knowing how special those relationships are, Lisa and Asad are excited to have a family of their own someday.

When marrying your best friend….. There is no firmer foundation for all of your tomorrows. For Lisa and Asad marriage means they have indeed achieved a certain level of success, that deserves new levels of commitment. This comes with a sense of deep appreciation and gratitude. Marriage is a promise that they will not live life by accident. Instead they will consciously co-create the extraordinary existence that they and their love are deserving of, today, tomorrow and forever.”

~ Sand Ceremony ~

“The symbolism of the sand ceremony is the same as the Unity Candle, two joining together to become one. The more natural sand represents all the love and support they have received from all of you in the past and is a reminder of how your presence here assures them of your future support. The colored sand represents Lisa and Asad as individuals choosing to join together as one. As the sand is poured it will make a pattern that is unique to Lisa and Asad as a couple. Guided by their love for one another the marriage relationship they are creating will also be unique and beautiful, fitting them both as perfectly as these grains of sand will fill this vessel. Lisa and Asad, will you please step to behind the table and pour your sand?”

Music begins
Bride and Groom step behind the table
they first pour a base of natural sand
then intermingle their colored sand
top it off with a layer of the natural sand
and return to place as the music concludes

~ Invocation ~

“Lisa and Asad come before us today with precious gifts,
Their Love, their Faith in each other,
The support of this beautiful community,
And their trust in many bright tomorrows.
Let us each pray in our own way
that they may find life’s deepest meaning.
And richest happiness.
That blessings shall forever continue to shine upon them,
Granting them prosperity and abundance,
Health and happiness, joy and peace
In both the physical and spiritual world
For all the days of their journey.”

~ Presentation of the Rings ~

“May I have the rings please?

Officiant is given the rings

You are about to present a ring to each other. The wedding ring, a complete circle, is the symbol of the completeness a husband and wife find in a marriage relationship. The ring has no beginning and no end, just as true love is never-ending. The ring also is made of precious metals, just as true love is a precious treasure. As you place the wedding ring on each other’s hand,
may it not only remind you of the endless love you possess for one another, but may it also be a reminder of the precious gift given you to make you complete.”

~ Ring Vows ~

“Asad do you give yourself to Lisa in marriage
To love as your wife and best friend
from this day forward.
Do you promise to encourage and inspire her,
and to comfort her in times of sorrow and struggle.
Do you promise to love her in good times and in bad,
when life seems easy and when it seems hard,
when your love is simple, and when it is an effort.
Do you promise to cherish her,
and to always hold her in highest regard
Today and for all the days of your life?”

Asad: “I do.”

“Please place the ring on Lisa’s finger and repeat after me.”

Asad places the ring half way on to Lisa’s finger

“I Asad take you Lisa to be my wife.
I will respect and honor you, I will cherish and protect you,
I will endure all trials and cares with you.
I will be a tender and affectionate, patient and loving.
I commit myself to you, from this day forward,
and forevermore.”

Asad places the ring the rest of the way on to Lisa’s finger

“Lisa, do you give yourself to Asad in marriage
To love as your husband and best friend
from this day forward.
Do you promise to encourage and inspire him,
and to comfort him in times of sorrow and struggle.
Do you promise to love him in good times and in bad,
when life seems easy and when it seems hard,
when your love is simple, and when it is an effort.
Do you promise to cherish him,
and to always hold him in highest regard
Today and for all the days of your life?”

Lisa: “I do.”

“Please place the ring on Asad’s finger and repeat after me.”

Lisa places the ring half way onto Asad’s finger

“I Lisa take you Asad to be my husband.
I will respect and honor you, I will cherish and protect you,
I will endure all trials and cares with you.
I will be a tender and affectionate, patient and loving.
I commit myself to you, from this day forward,
and forevermore.”

Lisa places the ring the rest of the way onto Asad’s finger

~ Pronouncement of Marriage ~

“May all that you are, always be in love;
and may all that is love, always be in you.
May your love be as beautiful on each day you share
as it is on this day of celebration.
And may each day you share be as precious to you
as the day you first fell in love.
May you always see and encourage the best in each other.
May the challenges life brings your way
make your marriage even stronger.
And may you always be each other’s best friend
and greatest love.

Having witnessed your marriage vows with all who are assembled here, it is with great joy, that I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss your bride!”

Bride and Groom kiss and exit to greet their guests!

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Religious, Interfaith and Multi-Cultural Wedding Ceremonies

Justine & Steven – Here making their promises of forever at the DeSeversky Mansion in Old Westbury

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~ Lyn and Richard ~

(Catholic and Jewish two officiants)

~ Preamble ~

Pastor April: “Good afternoon and welcome! As we will be beginning shortly I would ask that those of you with telecommunications devices, Cell phones, beepers and such, if you will please turn them off or switch them to vibrate at this time.”

Rabbi Sara: “Every marriage ceremony is unique, and today, not only are two special people being joined together, but two faiths, as well. Out of two different and distinct traditions, they have come together to learn the best of what each has to offer, appreciating their differences, and confirming that love, which is spoken of in all religions, is our true home, our true meeting place. So this is not only a joyous occasion, but a holy one, as well. May you see that your love for each other is truly a gift from God.

And now without further delay our Bride and Groom await!”

Processional Music begins
The Entrances are made
With all in place, we begin!

~ Opening Prayer ~

Pastor April: “Behold the Light of Love.
There is no Grace more glorious.
Only Love turns our heads away
so as not to see small faults or lackings in another.
And it is just that action which imitates Divine Mercy,
which is the Path to Peace.
May Love shine, and Peace prevail,
over all of us gathered here. Amen.”

Rabbi Sara: “ASHRAY HABAEEM B’SHEM HAHIEYEEM.
ASHRAY HABAEEM B’SHEM HAAHAVA.

Happy are those who come in the name of life.
Happy are those who come in the name of love.”

~ Welcoming of the Guests ~

Pastor April: “Lyn and Rick would like to thank you all for being here with them today, and for supporting them through the 11 years 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 want you all to know the deep appreciation and gratitude that they feel in their hearts for this. All of you here are the most important people in their lives. You have shared their best and worst days and you are an irreplaceable part of their yesterdays, their today, and all of their tomorrows. Of course they know that you know this, but much in the same way that some things are better left unsaid, other things really do need to be spoken of.

Today Lyn and Rick give and receive a precious gift from one another. It is the promise that they shall each continue to be deserving of the faith and trust that they place in one another as husband and wife. This responsibility is not taken lightly. You have all set a good example and high standards for them. The lessons you have taught are things like, tradition and family history is important, that loving and caring always comes first, that family stays family, even if the nature of the relationship changes over time, and that joy is a vital part of living. Lyn and Rick firmly believe that through their relationship with all of you, they have become better people than they ever could have become under different circumstances. They want you to know that they shall do everything in their power to live up to all that you have taught them.”

Rabbi Sara: “Marriage is an opportunity for happiness. It is also risky business. Two people who choose the partnership of love and loyalty need many skills to make it work. They need patience, kindness, generosity, good humor, and the ability to compromise. They need persistence, nurturing, trust, discretion, and the willingness to be vulnerable.

But almost nothing offers a greater possibility for living life well. When marriage works it justifies all the effort. Life is richer when experience is shared. We are more ourselves when we are responding to the stimulus of others, especially when we are responding to the gift of love. A truly loving relationship brings out the best in each other.

If romance leads to friendship, if coming together makes room for individual space, if dreams turn into realistic expectations, if the dazzle of beginnings yields to long-run commitment, if one is always willing to demand of oneself what one demands of others, then love becomes more profound, and the bond of marriage is strengthened.

To choose marriage is to accept a challenge, the challenge that love provides when it wants to grow.”

~ Invocation ~

Pastor April: “Lord God,
Bless this couple who stand before us now.
As they commit their love
and their lives to one another in marriage,
so do they mirror your unconditional love.
Continue to be with them in their thoughts,
their words, and their deeds.
Bless their lives with health and happiness,
with peace and prosperity,
and with a love which continues to grow,
and endure, and inspire.
We give thanks for your blessings
which already grace their union
and look forward to all the rewards yet to come.”

“Amen”

Rabbi Sara: “And now, let us all now join in the Hebrew prayer of gratitude:

Barukh ata Adonai elohaynu melekh haolam shehecheyanu,
vkeymanu, vhigeeanu lazman hazeh.

Blessed are you, Adonai our God, ruler of the universe, who has given us life, sustained us, and permitted us to celebrate this joyous occasion.”

~ The Lord’s Prayer ~

Pastor April: “Will you all now join with me in reciting the Lord’s Prayer?”

All: “Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name, thy kingdom come,
thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.”

“Amen”

Pastor April: “May the peace of the Lord be with you all.”

All: “And also with you.”

Pastor April: “Let us now offer each other a sign of peace.”

Guests exchange a sign of peace

~ Blessing of the Rings ~

Pastor April: “Greg and Jennifer will you now hold out the rings entrusted to you by Lyn and Richard? Your hands beneath serve as a symbol of how Lyn and Richard and their marriage are supported upon this earth by the love of their friends and family as blessed from above.”

Greg and Jennifer hold out the wedding bands in the palm of their hands Celebrant continues:

Pastor April: “Lord God, 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 Rings ~

Pastor April: “There are no words to accurately describe the depth of the bond of marriage. There are no words to accurately describe the depths of love shared by two who would be wed. For all of our reference points lie here in the material world while love transcends all that we know. The spiritual bond and connection shared by this couple and those who have gone before them, it can only be understood as a metaphor. This is why the wedding band, the symbol of eternity, with no end and no beginning has withstood the test of time.”

Rabbi Sara: “Within a marriage each person is both their own and each others. Their personal integrity does not diminish by their union. In fact it is enhanced and supported by this new creation that is their marriage. You will see this along with the drinking in of the promises they make, beautifully exemplified in the sharing and combining of wines that Lyn and Richard have incorporated into their ring vows.”

~ Ring Vows ~

Pastor April: “Richard, there are certain things that you can do to help to ensure that you and Lyn live a long and happy life together…..

The sensitivity that you possess deep down inside, shines like a beacon through all the little things that you do. The way you bring Lynn flowers and cards, the phone calls from work, and
the way you leave little notes to show how much you care, all of these things mean the world to Lyn. Your wonderful sense of humor, the ability you have to make her laugh, your spontaneity
and sense of adventure, and the way you are unafraid to show physical gestures of your affection with hugs, kisses, and reaching for her hand, as time passes these are the things that
Lyn asks for you to remember as important. For they are but some of the qualities that make you the amazing man that she wishes to spend the rest of her life with.

She also asks that you continue to support her in all of her choices and always encourage her to be the best Lyn that she can be, that you continue to respect her opinions through agreement and disagreement, that you continue to work with her to ensure that your home remains a place where everyone is always welcome, but first and foremost she asks that you continue to forever be her best friend.

Lyn looks forward to growing old together, to time to sit at the end of everyday and share what happened to us individually, to sharing more grandchildren, to making new memories, experiencing new adventures, and to all that your marriage shall bring

Do you promise to do and remember these things in the spirit of love and joy and hope that brings you here today? And do you take Lyn to be your wife?”

Richard: “I do.”

Rabbi Sara: “Will you now place the ring on your Lyn’s finger and repeat after me?”

Richard places the ring half way on to Lyn’s finger

“I Richard take you Lyn to be my wife
I will love you, and honor you,
respect and cherish you
All the days of my life.”

Richard places the ring the rest of the way on to Lyn’s finger, picks up his glass, toasts and
drinks to her then pours one third of his wine into the center chalice and places his glass back
on the altar

Pastor April: “Lyn, there are certain things that you can do to help to ensure that you and Richard live a long and happy life together…..

Being with someone who is a truly good person is a gift that you give to Howie and all those in your life. Your unselfish, caring attitude, and thoughtfulness make you as beautiful on the inside as you are from afar. You are a person who allows others to see themselves as special because you have chosen to share your life with them. You are strong, independent, and intelligent. It makes Richard feel good to know that you have allowed yourself to need him. He loves the way you look at him and smile, the way you give him his coffee and a kiss goodbye in the mornings, and a kiss hello at the end of the day. As time passes Richard asks for you to remember these things as important, for they are but some of the qualities that make you the remarkable woman that he wishes to spend the rest of his life with.

He also asks that you continue to respect each other through both the brilliant and the silly things that you each shall do, to support one another’s dreams and aspirations, and that you never be afraid to ask for each other’s help or opinion.

Richard looks forward to enjoying watching your families grow and to being there for them., to the years you will spend sharing your thoughts, ideas, dreams, and planning your future., and to the quiet time just relaxing, communicating with one another and being close. He looks forward to spending all of his tomorrows knowing that your partnership is and will be a relationship of equals.

Do you promise to do and remember these things in the spirit of love and joy and hope that brings you here today? And do you take Richard to be your husband?”

Lyn: “I do.”

Rabbi Sara: “Will you now place the ring on Richard’s finger
and repeat after me?”

Lyn places the ring half way onto Richard’s finger

“I Lyn take you Richard to be my husband
I will love you, and honor you,
respect and cherish you
All the days of my life.”

Lyn places the ring the rest of the way onto Richard’s finger, picks up her glass, toasts and drinks to him then pours one third of her wine into the center chalice and places her glass back on the altar

~ The 7 Blessings or Sheva Berakhot ~

Rabbi begins the seven blessings over the wine

Rabbi Sara:
1. BARUCH ATAH ADONAI ELOHEINU MELECH HA-OLAM, SHE-HAKOL BARA
LICHVODO.

Blessed is the glory of all creation.

2. BARUCH ATAH ADONAI ELOHEINU MELECH HA-OLAM, YOTZEIR HA-ADAM.

Blessed is the creation of the human being

3. BARUCH ATAH ADONAI ELOHEINU MELECH HA-OLAM, ASHER YATZAR ET
HA-ADAM B’TZALMO, B’TZELEM D’MUT TAVNITO, V’HITKIN LO MIMENU
BINYAN ADEI AD. BARUCH ATAH ADONAI, YOTZEIR HA-ADAM.

Blessed is the design of the human being,
united in heart and the search for love.

4. SOS TASIS V’TAGEIL HA-AKARA B’KIBUTZ BANEHA L’TOCHA B’SIMCHA.
BARUCH ATAH ADONAI M’SAMEI-ACH TZION B’VANEHA.

Blessed is the joy of our gathering.
May rejoicing resound throughout the world as the homeless
are given homes, persecution and oppression cease, and all people
learn to live in peace with each other and harmony with the earth.

5. SAMEI-ACH T’SAMACH REI-IM HA-AHUVIM K’SAMEI-CHA-CHA Y’TZIRCHA
B’GAN EIDEN MIKEDEM, BARUCH ATAH ADONAI M’SAMEI-ACH CHATAN
V’CHALAH.

Let these loving companions rejoice. May their joy be as paradise on earth.

6. BARUCH ATAH ADONAI ELOHEINU MELECH HA-OLAM, ASHER BARA SASON
V’SIMCHA CHATAN V’CHALAH, GILAH RINAH DITZAH V’CHEDVAH, AHAVAH
V’ACHAVAH V’SHALOM V’REI-UT. M’HEIRA ADONAI ELOHEINU YISHAMAH B’AREI
Y’HUDAH UV-CHUTZOT Y’RUSHALAYIM KOL SASON V’KOL SIMCHA, KOL
CHATAN V’KOL CHALAH, KOL MITZ-HALOT CHATANIM MEICHUPATAM UN-ARIM
MIMISHTEI N’GINATAM, BARUCH ATAH ADONAI, M’SAMEI-ACH CHATAN IM
HA-KALAH.

Blessed is the creation of joy and celebration, Bride and Groom, delight and cheer, love and solidarity, peace and companionship. Blessed and praised is this love and this marriage.

7. Wine is a universal symbol of joy – of the richness of life, the sweetness of love. It is appropriate therefore that on this happy occasion you toast life with this ancient symbol.

BARUCH ATAH ADONAI ELOHEINU
MELECH HA-OLAM BOREI P’RI HAGAFEN.

Blessed are life, health, and love, which enable us to enjoy
the happiness of this beautiful day.

Bride and Groom then together pick up the center chalice, each with both hands on the
chalice, they then together drink from it as celebrant continues, then return it to the altar

Pastor April: “As the wines in the glass have intermingled their essence so do your spirits join as you drink of each others love. Neither of you shall ever again thirst for total Love,
understanding, or companionship, for as food and drink nourish the body so does Love nourish the soul. In this manner so shall each of you be as sustenance to the other.”

Rabbi Sara: “As you have shared wine from this cup so may you draw happiness and fulfillment from the cup of life. May you find life’s joys heightened, it’s bitterness sweetened,
and all things hallowed by true compassion and love.”

Pastor April: “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 may you live the days of your lives in peace, love, and happiness.”

~ Breaking of the Glass ~

Rabbi Sara: “The traditional breaking of the glass marks the end of the ceremony. Lyn and Richard, may all your happiness be as great as the number of shattered pieces of glass, and may all of your troubles be as easily shattered.

As the glass is broken, I invite everyone to shout ‘Mazal Tov’, which means ‘congratulations and good luck.’

Pastor April: “You are now as your hearts have always known you to be, Husband and Wife. You may kiss your beautiful Bride!”

Bride and Groom kiss
Glass is wrapped in cloth then placed on the floor,
Groom steps on glass, breaking it., everyone claps,

“Mazal Tov!”

Bride and Groom kiss again and exit!

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Religious, Interfaith and Multi-Cultural Wedding Ceremonies

Risa and Peter, exchanging their own vows at The Three Village Inn in Stony Brook!

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~ Erica and Greg ~

(Theirs is a blend of Hindu, Buddhist and Christian Spirituality)

~ Opening Words ~

“Dear family and friends, we are gathered here today to celebrate the marriage of Erica and Greg. They have come here today because they share a commitment to nurturing the love between them, and to maintaining it as an integral part of their lives. It has been said that marriage is falling in love over and over again with the same person. How Erica and Greg will accomplish this will be up to them, for every marriage 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 transcends language and time, to speak to the very core of what makes us truly human.

The Bhagavad Gita says:

‘Look to this day,
For it is life,
The very life of life.
In its brief course lie all the varieties
And realities of your existence;
The bliss of growths
The glory of action,
The splendor of beauty;
For yesterday is but a dream
And tomorrow is only a vision,
But today well lived makes
Every yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well, therefore, to this day.
Such is the salvation of the dawn.’

You have always known that each moment that you share, no matter large or small is unique and irreplaceable. This ceremony marks both a continuing journey and a new beginning. For today is the day that you give and receive a very special title, one that mirrors the place that you already hold in one another’s hearts and lives. The title of husband and wife are titles that say to the world; “This is the one person that I choose to call my own, to hold above all others, today and for all the days of my life.”

~ Welcoming of the Guests ~

“Erica and Greg would like to thank all of you for taking the time, making the journey, and for all of the preparations that were made for you to be here with them today. You have come from all over the country and the world to ensure that they were surrounded by the love of family and friends as they made their marriage vows. You are a rich and diverse representation of the life they share. It is with you that they have shared the most important moments and experiences of their lives. Your influence has enriched them spiritually, intellectually, and emotionally. You are those whom they love most in the world and they are honored to have you here with them tonight. To stand before all those we love most in the world, and promise to love another person openly and trustingly, without limits or conditions, for a lifetime, is perhaps the bravest thing two people will ever do. It is a promise to one another, but also to each and everyone of you here, that the person you love will be well cared for. There is something very special about these shared memories and it is your presence that makes the celebration of their marriage truly a celebration.”

~ From “The Lost Sutras of Jesus” ~
Christian monks who lived and worked in China from the 6th century on

“Erica and Greg have asked Barbara to come and read for us at this time.”

Barbara comes forward, introduces and delivers the reading

“Love leads to truth; perfect love to perfect truth.
Truth is like the moon reflected in the water;
when the water is stirred up and muddy,
the image is blurred and indistinct,
so it is with human beings when our spirit is clouded.
Let your love be a pure compassion for one another,
without seeking its own glory,
let it be true in your own hearts.
Let your spirits guide you
to what is right and true and just.
This is the way love leads us.”

Barbara returns to place

~ Invocation ~

“Erica and Greg
come before us today with precious gifts,
Their Love, their Faith in each other,
And their trust in many bright tomorrows.
Let us each pray in our own way
that they may find life’s deepest meaning.
And richest happiness.
That blessings shall forever continue to shine upon them,
Granting them prosperity and abundance,
Health and happiness, joy and peace
In both the physical and spiritual world
For all the days of their journey.”

~ Presentation of the Rings ~

“May I have the rings please?

Officiant is given the rings

“These beautiful bands are unbroken circles, symbols of eternity, with neither end, nor beginning. They are to remind you not only of the endless love you possess for one another this day, but of the precious gift of trust, honesty and commitment that you place in one another for all of your tomorrows. Erica and Greg, from this day forward you will wear these rings as a sign that no matter where you go and what ever you do, there is someone who loves you more than anything else in this world, who whether near or far is always by your side.”

~ Ring Vows ~

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

The love, laughter, and friendship you share
has been the foundation upon which
all that is good in your lives has been built.
Do you promise to nurture your friendship
and the love that has blossomed from it,
by sharing openly your thoughts and feelings and ideas,
by truly listening, respecting, and supporting one another,
by together sharing your successes
and learning from your mistakes?
Do you promise to encourage one another always
to be more than you could be alone?
Do you promise to do these things,
in the spirit of love and joy and hope
that brings you here today,
And do you take Erica to be your wife?”

Greg: “I do.”

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

Greg places the ring half way on to Erica’s finger

“I Greg, take you Erica, to be my wife.
I promise to walk by your side,
As we face all of life’s circumstances together.
I will support your dreams,
And share my life and love with you completely.
And so, before our families and friends,
with pride and without reservation,
and I say to you Erica:
I love you; I respect you;
I promise to be a loving and faithful husband,
From this day forward, so long as we both shall live.”

Greg places the ring the rest of the way on to Erica’s finger

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

The love, laughter, and friendship you share
has been the foundation upon which
all that is good in your lives has been built.
Do you promise to nurture your friendship
and the love that has blossomed from it,
by sharing openly your thoughts and feelings and ideas,
by truly listening, respecting, and supporting one another,
by together sharing your successes
and learning from your mistakes?
Do you promise to encourage one another always
to be more than you could be alone?
Do you promise to do these things,
in the spirit of love and joy and hope
that brings you here today,
And do you take Greg to be your husband?”

Erica: “I do.”

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

Erica places the ring half way onto Greg’s finger

“I Erica take you Greg to be my husband.
I promise to walk by your side,
As we face all of life’s circumstances together.
I will support your dreams,
And share my life and love with you completely.
And so, before our families and friends,
with pride and without reservation,
and I say to you Greg:
I love you; I respect you;
I promise to be a loving and faithful wife,
From this day forward, so long as we both shall live.”

Erica places the ring the rest of the way onto Greg’s finger

~ Pronouncement and Presentation ~

“Erica and Greg have chosen to conclude their ceremony with a short reading based on the Dali Lama’s “Instructions For Life In The New Millennium”

“Take into account that great love
and great achievements involve great risk.
And that a loving atmosphere in your home
is the foundation for your life.
Be gentle with the earth, be gentle with one another.
When disagreements come remember always
to protect the spirit of your union.
When you realize you’ve made a mistake,
take immediate steps to correct it.
Remember that the best relationship is one
in which your love for each other
exceeds your need for each other.
So love yourselves, love one another,
love all that is your life together and all else will follow.”

You are now as your hearts have always known you to be, Husband and Wife. You may kiss your beautiful Bride!

Bride and Groom kiss

Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present Mr. and Mrs. Greg and Erica Felice!”

Couple kiss again and exit to greet their guests!

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Religious, Interfaith and Multi-Cultural Wedding Ceremonies

Amy and Ken – There is another beautiful shot of them on the “Thank You Letters” page. Their wedding was a feast for the eyes! It was a costume wedding at the Miller Place Inn. They blended many Traditional Polish and Celtic elements with Middle Eastern entertainment and a love that transcends more than time can measure or words can express.

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~ Fatma and Eugene ~

(Christian and Muslim, beach wedding, with address to the Groom’s son)

Processional

~ Opening Prayer ~

“Allah, the Most Beneficent and Merciful
Today you allow us to behold the Light of Love.
And there is no Gift more glorious.
For only Love turns our heads away
so as not to see small faults or lackings in another.
And it is just that action which imitates Divine Mercy,
which is the Path to Peace and Happiness.
May Love shine, and Peace prevail,
over all of us gathered here.”

~ Welcoming of the Guests ~

“Fatma and Eugene would like to take a moment to thank you all for being here with them today. 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 here are the most important people in their lives. You have shared their best and worst days and you are an irreplaceable part of their yesterdays, their today, and all of their tomorrows. Of course they know that you know this, but much in the same way that some things are better left unsaid, other things really do need to be spoken of. This holds particularly true on occasions such as this.”

Addressing Michael

Often marriage is viewed as the union of two persons. Yet marriages not only unite the Bride and the Groom, they unite families. With the changing structure of what a family is in today’s world we are offered unique and wonderful opportunities to simply increase the number of loving caring relationships that we have in our lives. During a wedding ceremony rings are exchanged with a promise. It is the promise of a safe haven, free from judgment, that offers unconditional love and support without fear of rejection under any and all circumstances. Michael, being a father has always been one of the most important parts of your dad’s life and he so proud of you. He and Fatma want you to know that the promises they make this day extend beyond their relationship with one another. Their love and support and acceptance has been and shall continue to be their life long commitment to you as well as each other.”

~ Fatma and Eugene ~

“The 13th century poet Jelleludan Rumi once said: ‘The minute I heard my first love story I started looking for you, Not knowing how blind that was. Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere they’re in each other all along.’

And how true this is even now. As we look at the beauty of the beach and the ocean we know the raindrop looks not for the sea, for it is already within it and all that is needed for completion is God’s blessing.

The Qur’an (30:21) assures us that Love and marriage are included in Allah’s many blessings by telling us “Among His signs is [the fact] that He has created spouses for you among yourselves so that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has planted love and mercy between you.”

The Gospel of Paul reminds us that Love is Patent and kind, that it believes all things, bears all things, hopes all things that love never fails.

This is a precious treasure in today’s world. May you forever see the great gift that you are to one another as truly a gift from God. May you take joy in fulfilling your responsibilities to one another and to Allah by living the example set by the Lord Jesus Christ, nurturing all that you have been given with patience, kindness, and most of all love.”

~ Invocation ~

“Heavenly Father,
We thank you for the gift of love
That you have bestowed upon Fatma and Eugene.
We ask that your blessings continue to grace their union
And be extended to their Family and Friends
Who have gathered here to celebrate this joyous event
May they forever dwell in the light of your love,
And flourish as the leaves on the trees
And the fruits of the vine.”

~ The Rings ~

“May I have the rings please?”

rings are brought forward

“You are about to present a ring to each other. The wedding ring, a complete circle, is the symbol of the completeness a husband and wife find in a marriage relationship. The ring has no beginning and no end, just as true love is never-ending. The ring also is made of precious metals, just as true love is a precious treasure. As you place the wedding ring on each other’s hand, may it not only remind you of the endless love you possess for one another, but may it also be a reminder of the precious gift God has given you to make you complete.”

~ Ring Vows ~

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

Do you promise that you will be for Fatma all that Allah expects husbands and wives to be for one another? Do you promise to be her protection, her comfort, her safe haven, to share with her
in felicity, worship, charity and all righteous endeavors? That you shall honor one another and the gift that you have been given by partaking in a marriage that shall mirror the greatest bliss, which is the good pleasure of Allah and by being a faithful and loving husband? And do you take Fatma to be your wife?”

Eugene: “I do.”

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

Eugene places the ring half way on to Fatma’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 wife
This day and forevermore
And I promise to love you
to infinity and beyond.”

Eugene places the ring the rest of the way on to Fatma’s finger

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

Do you promise that you will be for Eugene all that Allah expects husbands and wives to be for one another? Do you promise to be her protection, her comfort, her safe haven, to share with her in felicity, worship, charity and all righteous endeavors? That you shall honor one another and the gift that you have been given by partaking in a marriage that shall mirror the greatest bliss, which is the good pleasure of Allah and by being a faithful and loving wife? And do you take Fatma to be your husband?”

Fatma: “I do.”

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

Fatma places the ring half way onto Eugene’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 wife
This day and forevermore
And I promise to love you
to infinity and beyond.”

Fatma places the ring the rest of the way onto Eugene’s finger

“Allah is Mighty and Wise, He hath promised to believers – men and women – gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein, and beautiful mansions in gardens of everlasting bliss; May your days together foreshadow that which is beyond the happiness we on earth may know.

All praise and Thanks be to Allah, for you are now as your hearts have always known you to be, Husband and Wife. You may kiss your beautiful Bride!”

Bride and Groom kiss and exit to greet their guests!

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Religious, Interfaith and Multi-Cultural Wedding Ceremonies

Elizabeth and Jason married in the Queens Botanical Garden – “I just want to thank you again for making our day so memorable. Liz and I are very happy and parents to be!!!!!!!!! She is due in May! So far our life has been wonderful together and has been even more than I ever expected. I am very lucky to have found her. But I’m also very thankful that you will be the one that will stay with our memory of that day. You are very peaceful and that was what we needed making this important step in our lives. Hopefully we can do this again in 25 years…..”

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~ African Presentation of the Gifts ~

(Newly written as I lost my original many years ago)

“ In certain parts of Africa the Bride and Groom are presented with gifts of wheat, wine, water, and honey, to prepare them and ask for blessings in the years ahead. Louis, will you bring forth the gifts?”

Louis comes forward with the gifts, a silver plate with a piece of bread a dish of honey, a cup of water and a cup of wine.

“The first gift is the gift of water, to clean and soothe your relationship that it will never thirst for love, understanding or companionship, that each day will start fresh and clean and anew with you love for one another leading you through all the days of your togetherness.”

Bride and Groom share water

“The second gift is the gift of wheat, for abundance, prosperity and fertility, the wheat has been made into bread a reminder to use wisely our blessings in life, so that we and our family and our community can all flourish together.”

Bride and Groom share bread

“The next gift is the gift of honey, that the words between you will be affable, and your dispositions kind and generous. A life shared is always sweeter even in the difficult times, this gift shall speak softly of how you bring goodness to one another.”

Bride and Groom share honey

“The final gift is the gift of wine perfected by time, the cup of wine is symbolic of the two great families that shall be joined by this marriage. It holds the promise of the future and celebrates the strength of generations past.”

Bride and Groom share wine

“All these things are vital to sustain life, to grow, to flourish and to nourish the generations to come. May you remember these gifts as being a part of the earth that offer you insights to life and to the journey of marriage.”

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Religious, Interfaith and Multi-Cultural Wedding Ceremonies

Stephanie & Charlie Just after they said their “I do’s” at the Watermill in Smithtown

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~ Crowning ~

(Greek)

“For thousands of years, people in Greece have been crowned with wreaths, signifying achievement. The traditional reading is from Psalm 8:5 “For thou hast made them a little lower than the angels, and have crowned them with glory and honor.”

At weddings the wreaths signify mastery of the couples home and give honor to the spark of divinity that resides within them both. This is a symbol of how in marriage it is our higher selves
that the couple promises to one another and the very best that they have to give. These wreaths, called “stephana“, are bound by a single cord, a cord of love and commitment. The pearls
represent romance and sweet blessings. As they are crowned, they are forever united as one.

Stephen will you exchange the stephana three times as is custom, as we offer a blessing in each exchange.

Stephen holds the stephana above the couple’s heads

Heavenly Father you have granted this couple a foretaste of your heavenly blessings on earth by giving them the gift of sacred union. We ask that you make their marriage strong in faith, truth
and love, that they may be joined forevermore as one mind, one heart, one spirit.

Officiant makes the sign of the cross for the Bride and Groom
Stephen exchanges stephana and continue to hold them above the couple’s heads

May the Lord Jesus Christ grant this couple a lifetime of mutual love and understanding. May
their love and care for one another be always in the foreground of their thoughts, granting them
health, happiness and peace.

Officiant makes the sign of the cross for the Bride and Groom
Stephen exchanges stephana for the third and final time and continue to hold them above the
couple’s heads

Holy Spirit, Guardian of all that is seen and unseen, As the Father, Son and Holy spirit are joined in sacred and mystical union may the sacrament of marriage enrich connection of these two souls that they may grow in depth of love and glory to God.

Bride and Groom are offered one another’s stephana to kiss before placement. Officiant makes the sign of the cross for the Bride and Groom and the couple are crowned

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Religious, Interfaith and Multi-Cultural Wedding Ceremonies

Yvonne & Eric – They were a LOT of fun! Married at the Inn at New Hyde Park, these are the Double Happiness Unity Candles they made for their ceremony

Religious, Interfaith and Multi-Cultural Wedding Ceremonies

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~ Double Happiness Unity Candle ~

(Chinese)

“Our Bride and Groom have chosen to include a candle lighting in their ceremony, yet it is one that reflects who and how they are within their relationship. They have chosen to use a “Double Happiness Candle” Separately the characters mean happiness. They stand as two individuals who are whole and strong in and of themselves. Together they shall become double happiness which is the character for marriage. Two individuals joined by something larger than themselves seeking only their togetherness and the happiness of the one whom they love most in the world.

Yvonne and Eric will you now come to the table as Husband and Wife?

Bride and Groom step behind the table

The flame that you are about to light represents 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.

Bride and Groom light their candle

Bringing with you all the joys of your yesterdays and the promise of all your tomorrows, from two that were separate will you now, join your candles together as one, one character, one life.

Bride and Groom join their candles as one

The strength of two joined together in marriage is a beautiful and powerful force. Living by these promises that you make today, may your lives together be blessed with love and laughter,
with wisdom and wonder.”

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Religious, Interfaith and Multi-Cultural Wedding Ceremonies

Beautiful Nicole and Steven, married In Eisenhower Park at Carltun on the Park. Photos by Florio of Lighthouse Photography

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~ Jewish Wedding Ceremony ~

Performed by Rabbi Sara Shonfeld

Ketubah is signed before the public ceremony

~ Opening Words ~

“Welcome! We are gathered here today to share in a celebration of love, and to join together forever the hearts of Rachel and Adam. Today in the presence of God, family and friends, they will join their lives together, two beautiful spirits sharing the most sacred and tender of human relationships. They stand before you bound by their love for each other, and the desire to share this expression of their love with you and with the world. We, their families and friends, form a community of love that together we may support and encourage them with our abundance of prayers and blessings on this day and for all of their lives.

In Exodus 25:8, God says “let them make me a Sanctuary that I may dwell with them”.

In a Jewish wedding, The Chuppah – a drape of cloth suspended on four poles, under which the Wedding Blessings are said – is this Sanctuary.

Surrounded by loved ones whose joy and prayers are with you, you stand at this chuppah, a symbol of your new home. Its four sides are open, symbolizing the importance of community and of participation in each other’s lives. Friends and family fill the home. May your home be a shelter against the storms, a haven of peace, a stronghold of faith and love.

The first Wedding Blessing said under the Chuppa is a very special prayer for joyous occasions, called the Shehechyanu. This prayer is spoken at the birth of a child; on High Holidays, and upon the sacred bond of marriage.The Shehechyanu expresses our gratitude for being able to celebrate new occasions. It is our pleasure to now recite the Shehecheyanu:

ברוך אתה ה אלוהינו מלך העולם

שהחיינו וקיימנו והגיענו

לזמן הזה

Blessed are you, creator of the universe, who has given us life, sustained us, and permitted us to celebrate this joyous occasion.

~ Invocation ~

At this time I ask that you all join me in a prayer and blessing for Rachel and Adam as they begin the journey on their path of togetherness.

Dear God,
We ask you to shine your blessings upon Rachel and Adam
as they stand here before you with joined hands and open hearts,
to begin their life together in marriage.
Grant them your grace and love, oh Lord,
that they may always find compassion, love, happiness and understanding
for each other and for all those in the world.
May your blessing of love be the gift that lifts their union
to a place of sacredness on this day and for all their days together.

We would also like to honor and remember all those that for whatever reason could not be here with us physically today. Especially Rachel’s Grandmother Denise and Adam’s Grandfather Herb.

Although death has separated us physically, faith and love have bound us eternally. Though we cannot see you, we know you are here. Though we cannot touch you, we feel the warmth of your smile, as we begin a new chapter in our lives. Today we pause to reflect upon those who have shaped our character, molded our spirits and touched our hearts. May this moment of silence or memorial candle be a reminder of the memories we have shared, a representation of the everlasting impact you have made upon our lives.

~ Rabbi’s Address ~

(The address is usually some words of wisdom chosen for the couple to hear and will vary. Below is a favorite closing to this section)

Together Rachel and Adam are best friends who support and encourage each other every day.

In Yiddish, there’s a word “beshert” which means, “It is meant to be.”
Bride and Groom are each others “beshert”!

They are a perfectly right fit for each other, they are meant to be!”

(If including a Reading it can go after the address. If including 2 readings one before and one after is most common. However wording sometimes dictates placement)

~ Consecration ~

“Marriage is an honorable estate, instituted in antiquity and revered since all time as the noblest and most tender of human relationships. It is therefore not to be entered into unadvisedly, but reverently and consciously. Into this holy estate Rachel and Adam come now to be joined.

I ask you both, as you stand in the presence of your family and friends, to remember that love, loyalty and compassion alone will avail as the foundation of a happy and enduring home. No other human ties are more tender, no other vows more sacred than those that you will now assume. If these sacred vows are honored and kept close to your hearts, and you endeavor to always live according to the best that is within each of you, your life together will be full of joy, peace and love.”

~ Consent ~

“In the presence of God, family and friends, I ask you to state your intentions.

Rachel and Adam, have you come here freely and without reservation to give yourselves to each other in marriage?

Will you love and honor each other as husband and wife for the rest of your lives?

Rachel and Adam: “Yes.”

~ Marriage Vows ~

“Do you Adam, take Rachel to be you wife, your partner, your love and your best friend? Do you promise this day to share your life with her, to respect her, honor her, support her and love her, through life’s challenges and celebrations, vowing to stand by her side from this day forward and for all the days of your life?”

Adam: “I do.”

“Do you Rachel, take Adam to be you husband, your partner, your love and your best friend? Do you promise this day to share your life with him, to respect him, honor him, support him and love him, through life’s challenges and celebrations, vowing to stand by his side from this day forward and for all the days of your life?”

Rachel: “I do.”

~ Presentation of the Rings ~

“May I have the rings please?

Rabbi is given the rings

The Circle is a perfect figure, without beginning, without end, with no area of weakness. It is a symbol of the Cycle of Life, of birth, death, and rebirth. These rings shall serve as a physical reminder of your vow, and that all things begin and end and begin again, as is the nature of life itself. These rings will remind you that life goes on, that moments pass, yet your love is constant. When you are engulfed in anger or in sadness, look to your hand, and remember that the Wheel turns forever onward, and that it is love that turns the Wheel.”

~ Exchanging of Rings ~

(Alternative Jewish Exchange of Rings – using forefinger or traditional ring finger)

“There is no greater statement of devotion in Judaism than “Ani L’dodi v. Dodi Li”
– “I am for my Beloved, and my Beloved is Mine”.

Rachel and Adam will now declare their devotion for each other.
Adam as you place this ring upon Rachel’s finger, speak to her these vows:

“With this ring, I sanctify you and enshrine you in my heart, as my wife,
with these words: I am my beloved and my beloved is mine.
‘Ani L’dodi v. Dodi Li’.”

Rachel, as you place this ring upon Adam’s finger, speak to him these vows:
“With this ring, I sanctify you and enshrine you in my heart, as my husband,
with these words: I am my beloved and my beloved is mine.
‘Ani L’dodi v. Dodi Li’.”

~ The Sheva Brachot or The Seven Blessings ~

1. ברוך אתה ה’ אלהינו מלך העולם, בורא פרי הגפן .
Blessed is the ruler of the Universe, Creator of the fruit of the vine

2. ברוך אתה ה’ אלהינו מלך העולם, שהכל ברא לכבודו.
Blessed is the glory of all creation.

3. ברוך אתה ה’ אלהינו מלך העולם, יוצר האדם.
Blessed is the creation of the Human Being

4. ברוך אתה ה’ אלהינו מלך העולם, אשר יצר את האדם בצלמו, בצלם דמות תבניתו, והתקין לו ממנו בניין עדי עד.
האדםברוך אתה ה’, יוצר .
Blessed is the design of the Human Being, united in heart and the search for love.

5. שוש תשיש ותגל עקרה, בקיבוץ בניה לתוכה בשמחה. ברוך אתה ה’, משמח ציון בבניה.
Blessed is the joy of our gathering. May rejoicing resound throughout the world as the homeless
are given homes, persecution and oppression cease, and all people learn to live in peace with each
other and harmony with the earth.

6. שמח תשמח רעים האהובים, כשמחך יצירך בגן עדן מקדם. ברוך אתה ה’, משמח חתן וכלה.
Let these loving companions rejoice. May their joy be as paradise on earth.

7. ברוך אתה ה’ אלהינו מלך העולם, אשר ברא ששון ושמחה, חתן וכלה, גילה רינה, דיצה וחדווה, אהבה ואחווה,
ושלום ורעות, מהרה ה’ אלקינו ישמע בערי יהודה ובחוצות ירושלים, קול ששון וקול שמחה, קול חתן וקול כלה, קול
חתן עם הכלהמצהלות חתנים מחופתם, ונערים ממשתה נגינתם. ברוך אתה ה’, משמח .
Blessed is the creation of joy and celebration, Bride and Groom, delight and cheer, love and
solidarity, peace and companionship. Blessed and praised is this love and this marriage.

ברוך אתה ה’ אלוהינו מלך העולם בורא פרי הגפן

Wine is a universal symbol of joy – of the richness of life, the sweetness of love.
It is appropriate therefore that on this happy occasion you toast life with this ancient symbol

Couple drink wine.

As you have shared wine from this cup so may you draw happiness and fulfillment from the cup of life. May you find life’s joys heightened, it’s bitterness sweetened, and all things blessed by true compassion and love.”

~ Wedding Blessing ~

“So many gifts we are offered today. The gift of bearing witness the union of Rachel and Adan, to their love and commitment they have express in the presence of God and their families and friends. We wish them all the happiness the world has to offer and bless them throughout their lives together.

May you never take each other for granted
but always experience the wonders of your union.
May your love consist not only in gazing into each other’s eyes,
but also in looking outward in the same direction.
May your life together be a source of strength and inspiration to yourselves,
your families and your friends.
May you never forget the beginning of your love for one another,
take care of it, nurture it, and allow it to grow strong and firm in the years that are to come.
May you always concentrate on making each other happy
and secure in your commitment to one another.
May you always rely on your ability to keep the promises
you have made to one another today throughout the thick and thin of life’s experiences.
May you always be in love and may your love be as beautiful each day you share
as it is on this day of Your Wedding and may all of your wishes come true.”

~ Breaking of the Glass Explanation ~

“The breaking of the glass is a time honored tradition in the Jewish Faith.

There are many symbolic meaning to this ritual, but today we envision the breaking of the glass as the shattering of your old lives, your old paths, your individual path, into start a new path together, a new beginning!

For those of you witnessing this for the first time it is appropriate to clap, yell, or shout Mazal Tov!, when the glass is broken.”

~ Priestly Blessing ~
(Optional: Bride and groom are wrapped in a Talit)

יְבָרֶכְךָ יהוה וְיִשְׁמְרֶךָ:

May the Lord Bless you and guide you

יָאֵר יהוה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ וִיחֻנֶּךָּ

May the Lord shine his face upon you and be gracious to you

יִשָּׂא יהוה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ
וְיָשֵׂם לְךָ שָׁלוֹם:

May the Lord lift up his face to you and give to you peace.

~ Pronouncement of Marriage ~

Because, Rachel and Adam, you have showered our hearts with expressions of your love, and promised each other the joy of all your days, it gives me great honor and pleasure to now pronounce you husband and wife. You may brake the glass and kiss your beautiful Bride!”

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Church of Ancient Ways is truly blessed to have as our Rabbi one of the most joyful human beings on the planet. Rabbi Sara is available for Jewish, Interfaith and Civil ceremonies. See what her couples are saying on Facebook!

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516-785-4191
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