Same Sex Ceremonies

 

~ Same Sex Ceremonies ~

Wahooooo! What a great year it has been so far! This page is a work in progress but I know everyone is looking for wording so here it is! Husband, wife, spouse, lawfully wedded, these are the words that make a marriage legal. Below are the beautiful ways my couples have chosen to engayge them!

divider

ssm-1

BEST NIGHT EVER!!!!

Jim and Russel were legally married on stage at Broadway’s The Palace Theatre with the cast of Priscilla Queen of the Desert.

It was a magical night for these avid theatre goers and now newly weds.

Russ’s Mom: “Tonight I have a new son.”

Love Love Love this couple and their family!

~ Jim and Russell ~

~ Opening Words ~

“Dear family, friends and theater goers, welcome to the marriage of Jim and Russell. What a wonderful sentence that is! They are here today because they have a dream that a generation ago would have seemed outrageous. “Boy… You can’t marry a boy, boy!“ Here, tonight, on the great white way, where “No you can’t” has so many times before become “Oh, yes I can!” Jim and Russell will be legally married.

It has been said that marriage is falling in love over and over again with the same person. How Jim and Russell will continue to accomplish this, that 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 the differences of language and gender, to speak to the very core of what makes us truly human.

Marriage is a promise that says “You will always come first in my life.” Jim and Russell, this is an ideal that you have spent the last ten years living by. Yet there are a few insights from tonight’s show that we hope you will keep with you on your journey. Always remember that you have people in your life who love you and want to support you. They may not always have all the answers, but go to them anyway, and let them help where they can. Try to always put on your best face for one another! Yet also remember to always make it your truest face… the one you each fell in love with. Sure the bus will break, and a gig or two will flop… But life is a wonderful adventure, to be lived to it’s fullest without hesitation or fear of what might be, instead trusting in the inherent goodness of the dream, that through the power of love will become real.”

~ 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 ~

“Russell, do you take Jim to be your husband,
Do you promise to continue to be loving, affectionate,
faithful, loyal, honest and trustworthy?
For better or worse, for richer or poorer,
in sickness and health,
for as long as you both shall live?”

Russell: “I do.”

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

Russell places the ring half way on to Jim’s finger

“I Russell take you Jim to be my husband.
I will love you, and honor you,
respect and cherish you
For all the days of my life.”

Russell places the ring the rest of the way on to Jim’s finger

“Jim, do you take Russell to be your husband,
Do you promise to continue to be loving, affectionate,
faithful, loyal, honest and trustworthy?
For better or worse, for richer or poorer,
in sickness and health,
for as long as you both shall live?”

Jim: “I do.”

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

Jim places the ring half way onto Russell’s finger

“I Jim take you Russell to be my husband.
I will love you, and honor you,
respect and cherish you
For all the days of my life.”

Jim places the ring the rest of the way onto Russell’s finger

~ Pronouncement of Marriage ~

“The two of you have been flying in for your theatre getaways for many years and I am overjoyed that New York, Broadway, and “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” have this opportunity to embrace you in return.

It is my honor and privilege to now pronounce you Legally Married Partners in Life, Love, and all things.

You may seal your promises with a kiss!”

Couple kiss and greet their guests as newlyweds!

divider

~ Justice Kennedy’s Remarks~

“To paraphrase Justice Kennedy‘s reflections on the ancient and time honored custom of marriage; ‘No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than they once were. Marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. The nature of marriage is that, through its enduring bond, two persons together can find other freedoms, such as expression, intimacy, and spirituality. This is true for all persons. There is dignity in the bond between all human beings who seek to marry and in their autonomy to make such profound choices. Marriage responds to the universal fear that a lonely person might call out only to find no one there. It offers the hope of companionship and understanding and assurance that while both still live there will be someone to care for the other.’.”

divider

ssm-2

After three decades of Loving, Caring, Committed Relationship, Barbara and Marie were married at the Westbury Manor!

~ Marie and Barbara ~

~ Opening Words ~

“Marie and Barbara have been together for 30 wonderful years and consider this marriage ceremony a reaffirmation of their lifetime commitment to one another.

They feel very blessed that each one of you are here to share in this history-making event with them, as 30 years ago this was not an option for them to consider. Yet, first with a foundation of friendship, then trust, then great love, spiritual guidance and the support of their families, they came together as a couple and have grown and function as one; each supporting the other when necessary and each consoling the other when needed.

When asked of them – What they think makes for a 30 year successful relationship? They replied: Never take one another for granted. Be thoughtful and courteous to one another.

When asked what they love most about one another, and their relationship, Marie said how fortunate she feels to have found Barbara, someone to look to for guidance and decision making. Barbara is her provider, protector, her rock and the anchor to Marie’s universe. Barbara is logical, patient, gentle, generous, and non-judgmental.

And Barbara feels she is extremely lucky to have Marie in her life. Marie is her foundation, keeps Barbara grounded, organized and on track, she is a wonderful homemaker and brings peace and serenity and offers comfort to the hectic world outside. Marie is beautiful, loving, caring, generous and kind. She is the ultimate family nurturer.

From the earliest days of their relationship, Marie and Barbara have shared an undeniable connection. There has never been any hesitation, as the natural progression of their love kept them strong and steadfast in life’s journey together.

Their strengths and their differences complement each other so well that it has added a sense of balance to their lives. They know what is important to them and the well being of their relationship. They are committed not only to one another, but also to the quality of life that they share.

Dinners together, Sunday afternoon cocktails and playing backgammon, 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 to precious to ever let fall by the wayside.

They both feel they have found their soul mate in one another, someone to rely on for all the love, joy and sadness the world throws at them. They are the forever love to each other.

Today is a public acknowledgement 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.”

~ Hand Ceremony ~

“A hand blessing is a ritual that is meant to draw you closer to one another. It has been said that the hands are a connection to the heart, and a hand blessing symbolically brings two hearts together.

Shakespeare said, “Now join your hands, and with your hand’s your hearts.” So please now face each other. First join your right palms, and then your left palms. This forms an infinity symbol with your hands, which symbolizes a love that will go on forever. Please look into one another’s eyes.

These are the hands of your best friend.
They are holding yours on your wedding day as you
promise to love each other today, tomorrow and forever.

These are the hands that will work alongside yours
as together you continue to build your future.

These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years,
and with the slightest touch will comfort you like no other.

These are the hands that will hold you when fear
or grief engulfs your heart.

These are the hands that will give you strength
when you need it.

May these hands always reach out with love,
tenderness and respect.

May these hands continue to build a loving relationship that lasts a lifetime.

May these hands be blessed this day.
May they always hold each other.
May they have the strength to hang on during the
storms of stress and the dark of disillusionment.
May they remain tender and gentle as they nurture
each other in their wondrous love.
May they continue to build a relationship founded in love,
and rich in caring.
May these hands be healer, protector, shelter and
guide for each other – always.

With eyes locked, and hands linked, this ritual is a beautiful symbol of the union of two hearts, two lives, and two souls.”

~ Presentation of the Rings ~

“The ring finger on the left hand, beside the side of the body that holds the heart, has long been used for the wedding band, because for centuries people believe that there was a vein that ran directly from that finger to the heart. And they believe that the words spoken during the placing of the band was the symbol of perfection and completion and eternity, that those words would resonate over and over again like the circumference of the band itself, into the heart and soul, and would be the biggest promise that you could ever make, a promise to spend a lifetime together.

May I have the rings please?

Officiant is given the rings

These wedding bands are a symbol of eternity, with no beginning and no end, they are a visible and constant reminder of the vows you make to each other today to be together for as long as you both shall live. You give each other these rings to wear with love and joy and although you will each wear only one ring, these rings will essentially belong to you both. They are meant to serve as a physical reminder of the feelings that you have in your hearts at this very moment, and the promise that yours will be a long and lasting love. As these rings have no end, neither shall your love for one another.”

~ Ring Vows ~

“No other human ties are more tender and no other vows more important than those you are about to pledge.

Barbara, do you take Marie to be your lawfully wedded wife,
do you vow to love her and care for her,
for as long as you both shall live.
Do you accept her with all of her faults
and all of her strengths and offer yourself to her,
with all of your own faults and strengths.
Do you promise to love her faithfully through tears and laughter,
sickness and health, work and play, now and forever.
Do you promise to be a respectful and
loving companion and always put the vows
that you made this day above all else?”

Barbara: “I do.”

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

Barbara places the ring half way on to Marie’s finger

“With this ring, I thee wed.
And giving it,
I give you all my life,
All that I am,
All that I have,
And all that I will become;
From this day and forevermore,
I choose you to be my lifetime companion.”

Barbara places the ring fully on to Marie’s finger

“Marie, do you take Barbara to be your lawfully wedded spouse,
do you vow to love her and care for her,
for as long as you both shall live.
Do you accept her with all of her faults
and all of her strengths and offer yourself to her,
with all of your own faults and strengths.
Do you promise to love her faithfully through tears and laughter,
sickness and health, work and play, now and forever.
Do you promise to be a respectful and
loving companion and always put the vows
that you made this day above all else?”

Marie: “I do.”

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

Marie places the ring half way on to Barbara’s finger

“With this ring, I thee wed.
And giving it,
I give you all my life,
All that I am,
All that I have,
And all that I will become;
From this day and forevermore,
I choose you to be my lifetime companion.”

Marie places the ring fully on to Barbara’s finger

“As you look to your hand and your wedding band throughout the years, it will speak softly of the great gift you have been given in one another and may it be a reminder of this moment, that you have someone to face the challenges of life with, who loves you more than anything else in the whole world, never again do you walk alone, for your love shall be with you always. For you, Marie and Barbara, your rings specifically represent the resiliency of your relationship with the brilliant stones, and the three round stones signify the three decades of faithfulness, friendship and love that have flourished throughout your shared journey of life.”

~ Pronouncement of Marriage ~

“Having witnessed your marriage vows, with all who are assembled here today and by the authority vested in me by the State of New York, it is with great joy, that I now pronounce you united legally married, spouses for life.

You may now kiss your spouse.”

Couple kiss

~ Signing of The Marriage License ~

“Ginger and Jeanne, you have been asked to act as witnesses for Marie and Barbara. This is an honor that they wished to bestow upon you. You have both shared with them the ups and downs that life has brought, celebrated their joys and comforted them through their sorrows. And yet in the signing of their marriage license a tangible piece of you shall be with them always, to match the feelings they hold for you in their hearts. Will you please join us for the signing of the license?”

Couple step to behind the table where they are joined by Ginger and Jeanne. Marriage license is signed.

divider

Marie and Barbara’s ceremony has been very popular this year. See how Brian and Steve, who were also married at Westbury Manor, used it as a base and then made it their own in the video by Capture the Moment Productions below.

Ceremony by Pastor April Gismondi from CTM Highlight Reels on Vimeo.

divider

ssm-3

~ Jennifer & Elaina~

“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to celebrate the marriage of Jennifer and Elaina. They feel very blessed that each one of you are here to share in the celebration of their marriage. Years ago this was not an option for them to even consider, and they would never have believed the amount of love and acceptance that their love would receive. Yet, although the world has changed, the ideals of love and home and family remain as timeless as the desire to protect and care for the one that we love… the one that we choose to call our own and hold above all others for a lifetime. As untraditional as Jennifer and Elaina may seem at a glance, our brides share some very traditional values. They believe that the promise of marriage is a sacred vow, a promise of the heart that is made for a lifetime.

In lieu of an opening reading, I would like to share with you just a few words written by Tim Keller:

“When over the years someone has seen you at your worst, and knows you with all your strengths and flaws, yet commits them self to you wholly, it is a consummate experience. To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.”

To have this kind of love from one another and from all of you, is a gift beyond compare in today‘s world.

Marriage is a promise that says “You will always come first in my life.” This is an ideal that Jennifer and Elaina already live by. Yet there is something about being able to make their promises of love and faithfulness publicly that truly makes their marriage real, and brings them more joy than words can express. So I will ask you now if you are prepared to make these promises.

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

Jennifer: “I have.”

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

Jennifer: “I will.”

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

Elaina: “I have.”

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

Elaina: “I will.”

“Living by these promises that you make today, may your lives together be blessed with love and laughter, wisdom and wonder”

~ Welcoming of the Guests ~

“It is not often enough in today’s world that we have the opportunity to gather all those who mean the most to us together in one place. Therefore, Jennifer and Elaina 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. To have all of you here with them… All of you who have a lifetime of even emotional investment in Jennifer and Elaina and their happiness… All of you whom they love most in this world… There are no words of appreciation and gratitude great enough to let you know how much your love and support means to Jennifer and Elaina. Many of you were there with them when they met as teenagers and have come a long way in the evolution of your own feelings as their love has grown. The fact that they know you have all come to the place where you are almost as happy to be here as they are themselves this means the world to Jennifer and Elaina. They 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.”

~ Jennifer and Elaina ~

“As many of you know Jennifer and Elaina have known one another for almost all of their lives. In their time together and in the years before their families have also gotten to know one another. As Jennifer described it “we are a big part of one another’s history, and the one person we had each held onto in our hearts for our entire lives“. The road hasn’t always been easy for them, but life is not a destination. It is a journey that has now come full circle, returning Jennifer and Elaina to where they began when they shared their first kiss at the tender ages of 15 and 17. For them it was that same crazy, excited, wonderful, scary, yet comfortable in so many ways… feeling that was familiar and somehow new. It was never Jennifer and Elaina love for one another that was in question… But how their love would affect the people that they cared for the most, their families, and so they went their own ways for a time. In imagining what their lives would have been like had they been together ever since the beginning, there is a sense of appreciation for the opportunity that they were each given to learn and grow on their own and to in essence become the people that they needed to be to have the kind of relationship that they now share. It has been said that a good relationship makes two people the best possible version of themselves that they can be. And this is the place that their past and their present have brought Jennifer and Elaina to in their lives.

When asked what they love most about one another and their relationship Elaina began by saying that Jennifer is very smart, with the strength of character to live her life genuinely. Elaina admires the way that Jennifer always thinks before she speaks and the selfless quality that shows how much she cares about the people in her life. When Jennifer loves, she loves with all of her heart and Elaina is honored to be one of those few lucky people who know what a great feeling it is to be loved by her. Jennifer is passionate and exuberant, she loves markers and glitter, and lives a life that in word and deed is as bright and wonderful as the cards she makes. To be the one whose voice Jennifer has chosen as the voice she will hear every day from now until forever is to Elaina truly a gift and a blessing.

Jennifer began her turn in admiration of Elaina’s drive, ambition, and her strength. Once she has set her mind to a goal there is nothing beyond her reach. Elaina is the one who supplies their relationship with a firm foundation. She is the architect of their future and it’s protector. Jennifer appreciates how hard Elaina is willing to work to make all of their dreams a reality. Jennifer has always found Elaina “fascinating”. She loves how smart and funny she is and the way she can laugh at her own jokes before anyone else. Elaina is straightforward, with her you always know where you stand, and as tough as she can be, Jennifer loves the softer, more vulnerable side, that she alone is privileged to share.

There is a spiritual intimacy that the bond of marriage provides that binds a couple closer than any spoken or written words can. Marriage is being one another’s first thought in the morning and in the evenings. Marriage is having the personal integrity to live by the values that they make this day. Marriage is the promise that will create a stable and loving home for their children. And marriage is also a promise to Jennifer and Elaina’s parents, a promise that the person they love will always be well cared for.”

~ Invocation ~

“Loving God,
We gather today as friends and family of these two beautiful people who shall this day be joined as one. You have given them the gifts of love, family, and dreams of a long and happy life together. May all that they share now deepen and grow through the years. May they continue to find comfort in each other’s presence, joy in each other‘s laughter, and a light in each other’s eyes to remind them always of the mystical union of spirit which is the ideal of marriage.”

~ Personal Vows ~

“When Jennifer and Elaina’s personal sections were done, they felt that there were a few things missing from their story. Those thoughts were so beautiful and insightful that they have decided to share those words at this time.”

Jennifer speaks her heart

“Elaina, loving you has always felt like a fairytale, but it is so amazing to find that our story has a real happily ever after.

I love hearing the sound of your laugh, feeling the warmth that comes from your smile, and being able to melt from the passion in your touch.

I love how we can speak to each other with our eyes alone.
Some of our best conversations have been said in silence!

You always know what I am thinking before I even have a chance to say it and you always know what I need.

Just a simple hug from you can make everything in life feel perfect.

We are the perfect balance for one another, so much a like yet perfectly different.

I believe that we are true soulmates, nobody in this world could ever love me, treat me, or understand me better than you do.

I love that I am your #1, even before yourself, even before your gum and chapstick.

Elaina, I love how you love me and I love how much I love you. There is no greater happiness for me then to be able to call you MY wife.”

“Elaina will you now tell Jennifer what is in your heart?”

Elaina speaks her heart

“Jennifer, I love that you are your own person.

How you hold such strong values, how you look into my eyes like you are looking straight to my soul.

I love how much you love me. You keep me balanced and I admire how everything you say, you mean from the bottom of your heart.

I love your smile, the way you love life and even your competitive side.

I love how much you love your family and I love listening to how you have grown into the beautiful woman you are now.

I love how you know me so well and always listen to my every detail.

I love how we reminisce, we laugh together then cry together then laugh that we are both crying.

I love looking back at all of our memories and knowing how much we have grown together. I am so excited to have you beside me for the rest of our journey through this life.”

~ 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. Jennifer and Elaina, 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 in this world who loves you more than anything else, who whether near or far is always by your side. May these rings forever shine as a symbol of enduring strength and beauty in a sometimes fragile world.”

~ Ring Vows ~

“Elaina do you give yourself to Jennifer in marriage
To love her 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?”

Elaina: “I do.”

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

Elaina places the ring half way on to Jennifer’s finger

“You are my life, my love, and my best friend.
All that I am, All that I do,
All that I dream shall be ours together.
Let this ring be a reminder to you of how much I love you,
Not only on this precious day,
But every single day of my life.
Jennifer, I love you, I respect you,
and I am truly honored to make you my wife.“

Elaina places the ring the rest of the way on to Jennifer’s finger

“Jennifer, do you give yourself to Elaina in marriage
To love her 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?”

Jennifer: “I do.”

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

Jennifer places the ring half way onto Elaina’s finger

“You are my life, my love, and my best friend.
All that I am, All that I do,
All that I dream shall be ours together.
Let this ring be a reminder to you of how much I love you,
Not only on this precious day,
But every single day of my life.
Elaina, I love you, I respect you,
and I am truly honored to make you my wife.“

Jennifer places the ring the rest of the way onto Elaina’s finger

~ Pronouncement of Marriage ~

“Jennifer and Elaina, we hope that you will share the joy, peace, and rewards of a good marriage. Love each other with constancy, live joyously and laugh freely. Share with each other the great and small moments in life, for each moment is unique and irreplaceable. Remember always to be each other’s best friend and to keep your hands and your hearts forever reaching for one another.

It is my honor and privilege to pronounce you Legally Married! You may both kiss your beautiful Bride!

couple kiss and exit to greet their guests!

divider

ssm-4

I Love this picture! Thomas and Anthony captioned it “Doesn’t my Husband have the cutest Husband!” photo thanks to “LIAffordablephoto.com

~ From Thomas & Anthony’s ceremony ~

“This is such an exciting day and time that we live in. Tom and Anthony consider themselves very lucky that New York is a place where we are able to celebratethat love is love and a lifetime commitment is the greatest promise that two people can ever make. Knowing that someone will always be there for you and that you will be there for that person, that through the power and strength of love both partners will become better people… this has been the ideal of marriage for every generation that has ever lived.”

divider

ssm-5

~ Stephanie and Corrine ~

“As many of you know Stephanie and Corrine have been together for four and a half years and have known one another for almost twice that long. From the very beginning of their friendship there was a feeling that was more like remembering than meeting one another. They were and are best friends, who share a spiritual connection so strong that falling in love was inevitable. They knew, without reservation, that together was the only right and true way for them to proceed into their future. Their romance came in a “whirlwind” and brought with it a feeling that everything was falling flawlessly into place.

divider

ssm-6

~ Jim and Fernando ~

“Jim and Fernando wanted to include something in their ceremony that would be a representation of how they see their joining together. Ecclesiastes tells us “A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.” In marriage two people join together as individuals, accepting that from this day forward they are joined by something larger than themselves. Some call this God’s love that joins them, others call it their shared commitment to protect the spiritual intimacy of their relationship. Either way it is a sacred trust and an interweaving of spirit that is promised for a lifetime. Jim and Fernando have chosen to use three strands of cord that they will now work together to braid into a single cord transforming them into something better. Stronger and more beautiful than any of the cords alone.

Music begins
Jim and Fernando take the cords
Jim holds the loop while Fernando braids the cords
Fernando then fastens the cords together
Music concludes

May your marriage be blessed with patience, love and understanding, with a playful and lively spirit that shows your joy in life and your love for one another and may you continue to be best friends, better together than either of you are apart.”

divider

ssm-7

~ Michelle & Janice ~

Michelle & Janice My Hamptons ladies!!!! They came all the way from the mid-west to be married here on the beautiful beaches of Long Island. Photo thanks to “LIAffordablephoto.com

divider

ssm-8

Frank & Jesse – They came all the way from California, rented a beach house, gathered their family and friends and were legally married. The out pouring of love and support since New York legalized same sex marriage has been amazingly beautiful.

divider

Bride-and-Bride-Long-Island

~ Katelyn & Colleen ~

~ Opening Words ~

photo credit to the amazing Jessica Nelson of Capture The Moment 

“Welcome family and friends, we are gathered here today to celebrate the marriage of Colleen and Katelyn. There has been such an overwhelming feeling of gratitude and joy as Colleen and Katelyn spoke of this day.

We are all here to not only witness as observers, but to be emotionally present and share in the joy that Colleen and Katelyn are feeling at this moment. The only thing happening right now, is all of us being physically, intellectually, spiritually, and joyfully present with them, in the here and now, to celebrate the beginnings of what we know will be an inspiring marriage.

Although the world has changed, the ideals of love and home and family remain as timeless as the desire to protect and care for the one that we love… the one that we choose to call our own and hold above all others for a lifetime. As untraditional as Colleen and Katelyn may seem at a glance, our brides share some very traditional values. They believe that the promise of marriage is a sacred vow, a promise of the heart that is made for a lifetime.

There is a spiritual intimacy that the bond of marriage provides that binds a couple closer than any spoken or written words can. Marriage is being one another’s first thought in the morning and in the evenings. Marriage is having the personal integrity to live by the valves that they make this day. Marriage is the promise that will create a stable and loving home for their children. And marriage is also a promise to Colleen and Katelyn’s parents, a promise that the person they love will always be well cared for.”

~ Welcoming of the Guests ~

“Colleen and Katelyn 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. With such an intimate gathering, there can be no doubt that all of you are the most important people in Katelyn and Colleen’s life. They described you as being a wonderful blending of traditional and outrageous, fun loving, supportive, and excepting. You are those who are ever present in all of their favorite memories and those with whom they wanted to share this most special of all days.

Colleen and Katelyn, as you look out now, upon your guests, know that each one of them is here today, for no other reason than to show you how much they love you, and to show their support. Know that you are a vital part of this community and that your happiness is essential to that of your parents and all who love you. These are the people with whom you share the story of your lives. It is a story that will continue to be written moment by moment through every day of the future that you will all share together as one family.”

~ Katelyn and Colleen ~

“As many of you know Katelyn and Colleen have been together for five years. They had gone to the same high school and share a sense of history that began long before their thoughts would ever turn to romance. For them it was the bonds of friendship the grew first. They were there for one another to lean on and to confide in in difficult times. They were also the first person that they wanted to bring all their good news to. It has been said that “it is only Love, when someone else and their happiness is more important than your own“. This is the way in which Katelyn and Colleen had come together spiritually and emotionally, long before they became a couple. Being together seems like the most natural thing in the world for them. Yet the adjustments that needed to be made to step into the future together… they were difficult. But the rewards are more than worth the effort. They are one another’s calm amid the craziness of our modern world, one another’s source of inspiration, best friend and greatest love.

To further express what love, their relationship and the journey of marriage mean from their perspective, Colleen and Katelyn have chosen to share with you these words, from the Honorable Robert Nesta Marley, or as he is better know Bob Marley.

‘Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around.

You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more.

You share hopes for the future, dreams that may never come true, goals that may never be reached. You share the many disappointments that life throws at you.

When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement.

They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you are being silly.

Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful.

There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are.

The things that seem insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become invaluable treasures kept safe in your heart to cherish forever.

Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it’s like being young again. Colors seem brighter and more brilliant.

Laughter seems part of daily life now where before it was infrequent or didn’t exist at all. A phone call or two during the day always brings a smile to your face.

There’s no need for continuous conversation you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby.

Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you.

You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do. Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon.

You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day but in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible.

You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it scares you.

You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile.

Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life.’

Finding this person is difficult, but once you have there is no other way to proceed into all of your tomorrows except together. Colleen and Katelyn, this is the wonderful place that you have come to. May the promises you make this day lead you through a lifetime of happiness.”

~ Invocation ~

“Colleen and Katelyn
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

“These beautiful rings are meant to serve as a physical reminder of the feeling you have in your hearts at this very moment. There are times in life that we tend to focus the things we have not yet accomplished, there will also be times of sorrow and loss. Yet as you look to your hand and your wedding band, it will softly speak of the great gift that you have been given and all that you have in one another. It shall also be a reminder in the times of great joy, that you have someone to share it with. Never again do you walk alone for your love shall be with you always.”

~ Ring Vows ~

“Colleen do you give yourself to Katelyn in marriage
To love her 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?”

Colleen: “I do.”

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

Colleen places the ring half way on to Katelyn’s finger

“Katelyn, you are my life, my love, my best friend,
And with this ring, I thee wed.
May it be a reminder of how much I love you,
Not only on this precious day,
But every single day of my life.”

Colleen places the ring the rest of the way on to Katelyn’s finger

“Katelyn, do you give yourself to Colleen in marriage
To love her 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?”

Katelyn: “I do.”

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

Katelyn places the ring half way onto Colleen’s finger

“Colleen, you are my life, my love, my best friend,
And with this ring, I thee wed.
May it be a reminder of how much I love you,
Not only on this precious day,
But every single day of my life.”

Katelyn places the ring the rest of the way onto Colleen’s finger

~ Pronouncement of Marriage ~

“Lao Tzu wrote; “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Today you have taken the first step into all of your tomorrows. May they be shared in love and laughter, wisdom and wonder.

It is my honor and privilege to pronounce you Legally Married!
You may both kiss your beautiful Bride!”

Couple kiss and exit to greet their guests!

divider

ssm-9

~ Marie and Leslie ~

~ Opening Words ~

“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here this evening to celebrate the marriage of Marie and Leslie. Tonight is a celebration of love and of life, a celebration not to create a bond or a union, but rather to rejoice in the one that already exists. This marks the continuation of a journey that began almost 38 years ago. It also celebrates Marie and Leslie’s commitment to continue nurturing the love between them, and to maintain it as an integral part of their lives. How Marie and Leslie will continue to accomplish this… that will be up to them, for every marriage is as unique as the people that it joins. Yet a hallmark of Marie and Leslie‘s relationship has always been the way they never forget that when they address one another, they are each addressing the most important person in the world to them. The common courtesy of saying “please” and “thank you” is not an effort but a natural response for them. Marriage is a promise that says “You will always come first in my life.” This is an ideal that Marie and Leslie already live by, and marriage is simply a way of giving them full and legal recognition for the example they set as two human beings, joined in loving partnership.”

~ Welcoming of the Guests ~

“Marie and Leslie want to thank Jude for opening her home to them and all of you for coming. Tonight’s gathering was planned to be a particularly intimate one, because you are those whom Marie and Leslie love most in the world and those whom they proudly call family. The joy and sense of fulfillment that the title of “grandmother” has brought to their lives is immeasurable. Family are the people with whom we share the story of our lives as it is lived in real time. While they joked about getting married because they were bowing to peer pressure to make honest women out of one another, there is something very special about having you all here with them to witness a moment they never thought would happen in their lifetime. They are so grateful for all of your love and support, for the place you have given them in your hearts and the place you hold in theirs. And of course, as everyone will agree…. Their wedding just wouldn’t be the same without their fur child Wendy!”

~ Marie and Leslie ~

“The years that Marie and Leslie have spent in a loving, committed relationship is quite an accomplishment in today’s world. They first met in 1974. It was the heyday of the Women’s Movement, and Marie and Leslie each found herself drawn to the Gay Women’s Alternative, which met in the basement of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship on Central Park West in Manhattan. G.W.A.- or, as Marie called it, “Gwaaa” – was a place where women could meet, listen to a broad range of speakers from the arts and public affairs, including, among others, Bella Abzug and Gloria Steinem, and then talk, nosh, and connect with one another on more than the superficial level that the clubs offered. Both they and the world have changed since then. It has been quite a journey, but what hasn’t changed is the way they love and care for one another. Although, like all couples they do disagree on occasion, their love and respect for one another are ever present. Through wonderful and difficult times their support for one another has never wavered. Marie and Leslie have two different approaches to life. They describe it as being similar to the way they speak. Marie speaks like graffiti, bold and colorful, right out there, and Leslie speaks clearly and concisely in fully formed paragraphs. Together, they are simply better than either could be alone.

Marie wrote a little about what this day means to them and Leslie said “ditto” so I would like to share those words with you now.

For us, this ceremony is a way of acknowledging and celebrating our partnership of 37 plus years. Tonight, it will be, to be precise, 37 years, 6 months, and 7 days.

It hasn’t always been easy for either of us. We come from different worlds. Leslie grew up in the heart of America, Tulsa, Oklahoma. Her family tended, most of the time, to be quiet, polite, and they didn’t interrupt each other. I grew up in Queens, New York, as a member of a large, loud and extended Italian family, in which it was normal for everyone to talk at the same time – in two languages – and to interrupt each other as a matter of course. Often times in an excitable and operatic manner.

Our unlikely partnership has enriched us both in many ways – literally and figuratively. But what we most value in our years of living together is that they have enabled us, in our mixed attempts, to become better human beings. And, we can’t think of anything that matters more to us – God or no God – than that. It’s fair to say that we’ve helped each other grow.

And finally, for whatever time we have left, each of us wants to spend it with the other. Which is another way of saying: “I do.”

~ Vows ~

“Will Marie and Leslie and their Best Men, James and Patrick, please stand.

This is usually where I would ask for the rings. But Marie and Leslie have chosen not to take them off in order to exchange them once again. Their rings were purchased at ‘Wedding Rings of Greenwich Village’ in the late 1970’s and they have been wearing them ever since. Their initials, which were originally engraved on the inside of the bands, have worn off with time. Yet there is still wonderful symbolism there, because for centuries people believed that words which were worn against the skin, would sink into the very fabric of the wearer’s being, and become a part of who and what they are. May your rings remind you of how far you have come and of how wondrous the journey ahead will be as you share it.

“Leslie, do you take Marie
to be your lawfully wedded partner,
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?”

Leslie: “I do.”

“Please take Marie’s hand and repeat after me…”

Leslie takes Marie’s hand

“Marie, I will continue to love you, and honor you,
put up with you, as you put up with me,
respect and cherish you,
For all the days of my life.”

“Marie, do you take Leslie
to be your lawfully wedded partner,
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?”

Marie: “I do.”

“Please take Leslie’s hand and repeat after me…”

Marie takes Leslie’s hand

“Leslie, I will continue to love you, and honor you,
put up with you, as you put up with me,
respect and cherish you,
For all the days of my life.”

~ Pronouncement of Marriage ~

“As longevity runs in both families with both of your paternal grandmothers living past 100, even after almost 38 years together, I think there is still room to wish you both a long and happy marriage. And so, by the authority vested in me by the State of New York, it is my honor and privilege to pronounce you Legally Married! You may seal your promises with a kiss!”

divider

ssm-10

Days after New York State issued it’s first Same Sex Marriage License, I had the honor of being with Richard and Robert as they celebrated 30 years of loving and caring for one another by becoming legally married.

Congratulations to you both!

I can’t wait to do it all over again next year!

Rev. Marie April Gismondi,

I want to thank you so very much for the beautiful wedding ceremony you performed for Bob & I. This bonding meant so much to us & the choice of the right person to perform our wedding ceremony was every bit as important as our entering into this the beginning of this chapter of our lives. We couldn’t possibly love each other more than we already did but somehow the ceremony of marriage makes our lives and our love more complete. There will always be those that will look down on us for our choice but we are finding there is more acceptance & understanding than we expected. I am attaching the few photos that we took & truly look forward to the renewing of our vows for our first anniversary next year. And we look forward to you performing the renewal service. You made our very special day even more special just by being the wonderful, caring person you are.

Sincerely, Richie & Bob

divider

Same Sex couples and Taxes, Honey! This is all new to almost everyone and what’s a couple to do??? Best to get it from someone who knows. So I asked one of my Accountant Brides, who wed her partner just before the New Year of the first year that Same Sex Marriage became legal in New York to write me an article!

Same Sex Marriage and Your Finances

divider

email-btn

Click on the Church Banner to email me or Call
516-785-4191
Anytime!