~ Sample Civil Ceremonies ~
~Justice of the Peace Style Ceremonies ~

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Jenny and Jim Married at Raphael Vineyards in the heart of Long Island NY’s “Wine Country”

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Chun and Matthew

~ Preamble ~

“Good afternoon and welcome! The Bride and Groom have expressed their desire for you to be truly present with them at this special time. As we will be beginning shortly I would ask that those of you with cellular devices, Iphones, blackberries and such, if you will please switch them to off or vibrate at this time. Please do feel free to take pictures… but please refrain from stepping into the aisle or reaching your devices into the aisle. And now without further delay we will begin!”

~ Opening Words ~

Welcome everyone! It is such a wonderful feeling to be here with Chun and Matthew to celebrate 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 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 each of their care and concern for the one whom they each love most in the world.

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

~ 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, Chun and Matthew 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. There are no words of appreciation and gratitude great enough to match the feelings that this inspires in them as they stand here now and see all of you gathered here for no other reason than to show them how much you love them. You are their friends and family, the people who are ever present in all of their favorite memories, and those whom they love most in this world.

Chun and Matthew, when everyone took their place here, they began on one side or the other. But after your vows, those words have done something that fundamentally changes the relationship of everyone here. After this ceremony is over and your guests join together… which ever one of you they were originally here to represent… those sides go away, and everyone here all belong to one another and to one family from that moment on. They become a singular community of family and friends who are joined by your love of them and by their love of you.”

~ From “Union” ~
by Robert Fulghum

“Chun and Matt have chosen to include a short reading today. It was written by Robert Fulghum, the man who wrote Everything I Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten. This is an excerpt from his book on marriage, entitled Union.

‘You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making promises and agreements in an informal way. All those conversations that were held riding in a car or over a meal or during long walks – all those sentences that began with “When we’re married” and continued with “I will and you will and we will” – those late night talks that included “someday and somehow and maybe” – and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding. The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, “You know all those things we’ve promised and hoped and dreamed – well, I meant it all, every word.” Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another – acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, and even teacher, for you have learned much from one another in these last few years. Now you shall say a few words that take you across a threshold of life, and things will never quite be the same between you. For after these vows, you shall say to the world, this- is my husband, this- is my wife.”

~ 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 profess 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. Chun and Matthew, 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 ~

“Matthew, do you take Chun 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 strengths,
And offer yourself to her with all of your own faults and strengths?
Do you promise to help her when she needs help,
and to turn to her when you need help?
Do you promise to be a faithful and loving companion
and to always put the promises you make this day
above all else?”

Matthew: “I do.”

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

Matthew places the ring half way on to Chun’s finger

“I Matthew, take you Chun, to be my wife.
I will love you, and honor you, respect and cherish you,
For all the days of my life.”

Matthew places the ring the rest of the way on to Chun’s finger

“Chun, do you take Matthew to be your lawfully wedded husband?
Do you vow to love him and care for him
For as long as you both shall live?
Do you accept him, with all of his faults and strengths,
And offer yourself to him with all of your own faults and strengths?
Do you promise to help him when he needs help,and to turn to him when you need help?
Do you promise to be a faithful and loving companion
and to always put the promises you make this day
above all else?”

Chun: “I do.”

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

Chun places the ring half way onto Matthew’s finger

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

Chun places the ring the rest of the way onto Matthew’s finger

~ Pronouncement of Marriage ~

“Chun and Matthew have chosen to conclude their ceremony with a short reading entitled All I Want.

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

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 seal your promises with a kiss!”

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Thank you Alan Wiedre of Jeffrey Studios for this great shot of Jamie & James who married at the Watermill Inn.

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Kimberly and Ross

~ Opening Words ~

“Welcome everyone! It is such a wonderful feeling to be here with Kimberly and Ross to celebrate the beginnings of what we know will be an extraordinary marriage. Their vision of this ceremony was to keep it short and sweet, yet meaningful enough to represent the most important day of their lives. And so in lieu of more traditional opening words Kimberly and Ross have asked me to begin with a few 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 as husband and wife. Kimberly and Ross, this is the wonderful place that you have come to. May the promises you make this day lead you through a lifetime of happiness.”

~ Personal Vows ~

“Before we proceed to the ring exchange Kimberly and Ross have chosen to write their own vows that they would like to share with one another at this time. Ross will you now tell Kimberly what is in your heart?”

Ross speaks his heart

“Kimberly will you now tell Ross what is in your heart?”

Kimberly speaks her heart

~ Presentation of the Rings ~

“May I have the rings please?

Officiant is given the rings

Rings worn on the ring finger of the left hand have always been a symbol of the love and commitment that two people share. Your rings are unique and beautiful, strong and true as the promise made upon their placing, to love and care for one another for the rest of your lives. Kimberly and Ross, from this day forward these rings will tell everyone who sees them, even at a glance, that each of you belong to someone… someone very special… who considers you to be the most important person in their life. May these rings forever shine as a symbol of enduring strength and beauty in a sometimes fragile world.”

~ Ring Vows ~

“Ross, do you promise to always remember
the great gift that you and Kimberly are to one another
And to always maintain the inner connection that your souls share?
Do you promise that yours shall be a home
in which mutual respect, kindness of disposition,
and love shall reign supreme?
A place where you support one another,
empower and encourage one another
in the spirit of love and hope and faith
that brings you here today?
Do you promise to be a faithful and loving husband?
And do you take Kimberly to be your wife?”

Ross: “I do.”

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

Ross places the ring half way on to Kimberly’s finger

“This ring I give you, In token of my love and devotion,
And with my heart, I pledge to you all that I am.
With this ring, I marry you and join my life to yours.”

Ross places the ring the rest of the way on to Kimberly’s finger

“Kimberly, do you promise to always remember
the great gift that you and Ross are to one another
And to always maintain the inner connection that your souls share?
Do you promise that yours will be a home
in which mutual respect, kindness of disposition
and love shall reign supreme
A place where you support one another,
empower and encourage one another,
in the spirit of love, and hope and faith,
that brings you here today?
Do you promise to be a faithful and loving wife?
And do you take Ross to be your husband?”

Kimberly: “I do.”

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

Kimberly places the ring half way onto Ross’s finger

“This ring I give you, In token of my love and devotion,
And with my heart, I pledge to you all that I am.
With this ring, I marry you and join my life to yours.”

Kimberly places the ring the rest of the way onto Ross’s finger

~ Pronouncement of Marriage ~

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

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 and exit to greet their guests!

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Thank you Gil Pizarro of Fade to Black New York for this great shot of Meghan and Jeff, who married at Larkfield.

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Marisleidis and Richard

~ Preamble ~

“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. And now without further delay we will begin!”

~ Opening Words ~

“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to celebrate the marriage of Marisleidis and Richard. 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 series of decisions that have been made, and will continue to be made over and over again, every day, that shows each of their care and concern for the one whom they each love most in the world. Marriage is a promise that is renewed daily through a couples actions and a responsibility taken on in the spirit of faith, and hope, and love, that brings comfort in times of sadness and heightens our greatest joy. Marisleidis and Richard. may the promises you make this day live always in your hearts and in your home so that all which you share now deepen and grow through the years, leading you through a lifetime of happiness.”

~ Declaration of Intent ~

“A wedding is more than a celebration of the Love which lives in our Bride and Groom’s hearts today. It reaches into the future and proclaims their intentions for that which tomorrow shall hold. A couple who wed are joined not only by the mutual affection and love they share, but also by their hopes, dreams and by their promises of what will be… The promises and vows they make this day shall guide them into their common future. I will ask you now if you are prepared to make these promises. Marisleidis, Have you come here today of your own free will to take Richard to be your husband, that you may live together as equal partners sharing all that life has to offer?”

Marisleidis: “I have.”

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

Marisleidis: “I will.”

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

Richard: “I have.”

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

Richard: “I will.”

~ Welcoming of the Guests ~

“Marisleidis and Richard 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 Marisleidis and Richard 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.”

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

“Tonight’s reading was written in China by an anonymous writer in the first century. It is amazing how love transcends differences of time and culture to speak to the soul of we human beings.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~ Pledge of Support ~

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

Guests: “We do!”

addressing Bride and Groom

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

~ Presentation of the Rings ~

“May I have the rings please?”

Officiant is given the rings

“The ring finger of the left hand, the side of the body that holds the heart, has been used for the wedding band because for centuries people believed that there was a vein that ran directly from that finger to the heart. They also believed that the words spoken during the placing of the wedding band – symbol of perfection, completion and eternity – would resonate over and over again, like the circumference of the band itself, through to the heart and soul of both giver and the receiver of that most monumental of all promises. The promise of a lifetime as husband and wife.”

~ Ring Vows ~

“Richard, do you take Marisleidis
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 strengths,
And offer yourself to her
with all of your own faults and strengths?
Do you promise to help her when she needs help,
and to turn to her when you need help?
Do you promise to be a faithful and loving companion
and to always put the promises you make this day
above all else?”

Richard: “I do.”

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

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

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

Richard places the ring the rest of the way on to Marisleidis’s finger

“Marisleidis, do you take Richard
to be your lawfully wedded husband?
Do you vow to love him and care for him
For as long as you both shall live?
Do you accept him, with all of his faults and strengths,
And offer yourself to him
with all of your own faults and strengths?
Do you promise to help him when he needs help,
and to turn to him when you need help?
Do you promise to be a faithful and loving companion
and to always put the promises you make this day
above all else?”

Marisleidis: “I do.”

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

Marisleidis places the ring half way onto Richard’s finger

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

Marisleidis places the ring the rest of the way onto Richard’s finger

~ Closing Words and Pronouncement ~

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

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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Jessica and James, one of my most joyful couples ever, married at East Winds. Thank you Mary of Mary Godfrey Photography for capturing their smiles!

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~ Maguy and Rizkallah ~

~ Opening Words ~

“Marriage consists of entrusting our deepest selves into the loving care of another. It is a public and legal act, as well as, an emotional and spiritual act. The spiritual aspect of marriage should be embraced openly, seriously, and completely, as marriage is a conscious act of will. A couple who are wed must continually renew their will to be joined and accept the challenges that living together in love offer. They must decide that they will face the fears that are a necessary part of establishing and nurturing an intimate relationship.

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

~ Welcoming of the Guests ~

“Amid the hectic pace of today’s world it is easy lose site of the important things in life. This is not so for Maguy and Rizkallah, family and family life are very important to them. Although I’m sure that you are all very happy to be here with them, they wanted very much to express how deeply grateful they are to have you both here today and in their lives. All of you are those nearest and dearest to them. You all supply them with different aspects of that which they will need to accomplish their goal of living a long and happy life together. Those of you who have the wisdom of age, it is from you whom they can seek council in times of difficulty. In the children here, they see the embodiment of their hopes and dreams for the future. And the rest of you… You are like the personal record keepers of times and places and events in their lives. Without all of you and the sharing of these events our memories would lose the scents and colors and the flavor and emotion that keeps them vibrant and alive. Without all of you the past would fade to black and white over time, so please remember that your presence here is a vital part in this celebration.”

~ Maguy and Rizkallah ~

“In the brief conversations leading up to today, I must say that I was overjoyed to hear the way in which Maguy and Rizkallah spoke of one another and of their relationship. There was a kindness of disposition and a tone of admiration in their voices that led me to believe that they are already at a place in their lives that many couples aspire to. Maguy related how she feels that she already has a new family here. And Rizkallah spoke with sound resolution in his voice, that there was no doubt in his mind that Maguy was the one for him. They have been blessed to have known one another for the last 10 years and they share a common background and history. Yet marriage is a serious commitment, and even for those as blessed as themselves it will require work. Marriage is a promise that takes a lifetime to fulfill. There is not a choice that a couple makes somewhere among the years, whether their journey shall be one of obligation and duty, or one of fun and joy and excitement. For the perfect balance there is an aspect of all these things yet they are guided by love, mutual respect, and the deepest of desires for the happiness and well being of the one whom you each love most in the world. I was recently at a wedding where the father of the bride told the young couple that “Marriage is not a give and take relationship. It is a give and give relationship, for if both people give whole heartedly to each other and to the spirit of their marriage, there is never a reason to take, because all ones needs have already been met. This seems to be a truth that Maguy and Rizkallah have already found and embrace.

addressing couple

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

~ The Rings ~

“May I have the rings please?”

“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 that has been given you to make you complete.”

~ Ring Vows ~

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

Rizkallah: “I do.”

“Will you then place this ring upon your beloved’s finger
and repeat after me please…..

“I, Rizkallah, take you Maguy,
to be my lawful wedded wife,
to have and to hold, from this day forward,
for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer,
in sickness and health, until death do us part.”

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

Maguy: “I do.”

“Will you then place this ring upon your beloved’s finger
and repeat after me please…..

“I, Maguy, take you Rizkallah,
to be my lawful wedded husband,
to have and to hold, from this day forward,
for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer,
in sickness and health, until death do us part.”

~ Closing Words ~

“May you have many joys,
and be the light of each other’s days.
May all that you are, always be in love;
And may all that is love, always be in you.
May you always see and encourage the best in each other.
May the challenges that life brings your way
make your marriage grow stronger.
May you always be each other’s best friend
and greatest love..”

~ Pronouncement and Presentation ~

“You are now as your hearts have always known: Husband and Wife. You may kiss the Bride!

Ladies and gentlemen may I present Mr. and Mrs. Rizkallah and Maguy Kassir!”

Bride and Groom kiss again are greeted by their guests!

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Thank you Alan Wiedre of Jeffrey Studios for this great shot of Rhiannon & Joseph who married at the Watermill Inn.

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~ Diane and Charles ~

~ Moment of Remembrance ~

“It is Diane and Charles wish that as we get started today you all join with them in a moment to remember those who could not be here physically, but who are here in spirit and wishing them a lifetime of happiness.”

pause

~ Opening Words ~

“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to celebrate the love that Diane and Charles share and their promise that it will be a strong and lasting love.

‘What greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined together to strengthen each other in all labor, to minister to each other in all sorrow, to share with each other in all gladness, to be one with each other in the silent unspoken memories?’

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 series of decisions that have been made, and will continue to be made over and over again, every day, that shows each of their care and concern for the one whom they each love most in the world. Marriage is a promise that is renewed daily through a couples actions and a responsibility taken on in the spirit of faith, and hope, and love, that brings comfort in times of sadness and heightens our greatest joy.

Mark Twain once said that ‘marriage makes two fractional lives whole.
It gives to two questioning natures a reason for living.
It brings a new gladness to the sunshine, a new fragrance to the flowers,
a new beauty to the earth, and a new mystery to life’

Diane and Charles, may the promises you make this day live always in your hearts and in your home so that all which you share now deepen and grow through the years, leading you through a lifetime of happiness.”

~ Welcoming of the Guests ~

“Diane and Charles 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. Without all of you and the sharing of these events our memories would lose the scents and colors and the flavor and emotion that keeps them vibrant and alive. Without all of you the past would fade to black and white over time, so please remember that your presence here is a vital part in this celebration. 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 Diane and Charles 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.”

~ Diane and Charles ~

“Today 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. Today marks the continuation of a journey, the next step in ensuring that all that Diane and Charles share now shall deepen and grow stronger through the seasons of life.

They shared so many wonderful things on the day we met to discuss what would be said today. Charles began the conversation with “I always knew that there was something missing in my life, but that the person who I would love and adore was out there somewhere. When I first met Diane it was as if the world stood still and then everything switched to frame by frame as she and my future came towards me.”

They were introduced under the ruse of buying a house, thank you Annemarie, and soon realized they shared much in common. Their upbringings are similar, they are both veterans of a similar journey through their wild years, and it also seems that there must have been a series of near misses where their paths almost crossed over and over again. Were the powers that be being kind to them by allowing then each to age to perfection, and to gather enough wisdom to be ready for the kind of relationship that they now share? No one can say for sure but they now share a connection that is undeniable. Some couples finish one another’s sentences…. Not these two. One merely thinks a thought and the other articulates it.

Diane loves the way that Charles is patient with her, he reels her in, calms her down, and makes her relax reminding her that life is too short to clip around like a Tasmanian Devil. Although usually guarded with Charles, Diane has no secrets, there has always been an openness to their relationship, even from the earliest of days. He loves her creative side, that fact that they are both passionate people, and the way they balance one another, seeing each of them as a landscape full of hills and valleys that match perfectly. Not that the road is always smooth, but it is indeed interesting, and always well worth the ride.

For them marriage is physically, emotionally and spiritually supportive joining that offers them companionship as well as the opportunity to challenge one another to grow together as a couple and as individuals.

Even heated discussions are welcome because they choose to come through better than when they started. No subject is ever more important than their respect and love for one another, so under the protection of the “seven minute rule”, which is the allowable cooling off period before working things out, they continue reveling in their triumphs and learning from their mistakes.

addressing Bride and Groom

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

~ Presentation of The Rings ~

“May I have the rings please?

Officiant is given the rings

Diane and Charles have chosen bands that are not identical but rather complementary, representative of each of them as individuals within their relationship. They are both classic unbroken circles, symbols of eternity, with diamonds almost as bright and beautiful as the love they share, made of platinum. As the rarest and purest of all the precious metals platinum has both a durability and a flexibility that make it the perfect choice to symbolize the promise of a lifetime. For although the ring will age as years pass, it will never lose it’s luster nor it’s mass. This is because it is within the nature of platinum, and of love, to mold itself around all the bumps and scrapes that life may bring and to still shine on as a beacon of truth, and beauty in a sometimes fragile world.”

~ Ring Vows ~

“Charles, do you give yourself to Diane in marriage
to love as your wife and best friend
from this day forward?
Do you promise to encourage and inspire her,
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?”

Charles: “I do.”

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

Charles places the ring half way on to Diane’s finger

“With this ring, I promise to love and support you,
when it’s easy, and when it’s not,
in good times and bad, completely and forever.
I promise you my unconditional love,
for all the days of our lives.”

Charles places the ring the rest of the way on to Diane’s finger

“Diane, do you give yourself to Charles in marriage
to love as your husband and best friend
from this day forward?
Do you promise to encourage and inspire him,
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?”

Diane: “I do.”

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

Diane places the ring half way onto Charles’s finger

“With this ring, I promise to love and support you,
when it’s easy, and when it’s not,
in good times and bad, completely and forever.
I promise you my unconditional love,
for all the days of our lives.”

Diane places the ring the rest of the way onto Charles’s finger

~ Closing Words ~

“Diane and Charles have chosen to conclude their ceremony with a brief 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.

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 to pronounce you Husband and Wife! You may now seal your promises with a kiss!”

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Melissa & Ryan – A young man that I have known for almost all of his life and his beautiful bride, Married at the Fox Hollow.

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Nicole and Tom ~ December 13th, 2014

~ Opening Words ~

“Welcome everyone! It is a joy to be here with Nicole and Tom, to witness the continuation of their journey and the beginning of what we know will be an extraordinary marriage. There is something magical about a winter wedding. As clean and fresh as the approaching New Year is the new chapter of life that Nicole and Tom embark upon.

The location of todays celebration has a very special meaning. Tom’s parents were the very first couple to be married here at the Jericho Terrace over 35 years ago on the opening day in April of 1979.

Today is a once in a lifetime event, and like the date of 12/13/14, it is something, rare and precious, a moment in time that we will never again see in our lifetime. They loved the way the sequence of numbers fell in to perfect alignment. Similarly, marriage celebrates the realization that by one another’s side is the place in this world that two people were meant to be. For Nicole and Tom today is not about all the pomp and circumstance that a “wedding” traditionally inspires. It is about the years of marriage that will follow and being able to share their joy with the people they love.

Nicole and Tom, today you accept the responsibility that the promise of marriage brings. It is a promise not to live life by accident or individually. But to look at it together, by choice, as a couple, remembering that your lives are forever intertwined and that one another’s happiness is an essential part of your own. Today you celebrate this promise by formally and publicly bestowing upon one another all the honor and respect that mirrors the place you 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.”

~ Welcome 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 Nicole and Tom would like to thank you all for taking the time and making the journey and all of the efforts that you have each made in order for you to be here with them today. Our bride and groom consider themselves to be truly blessed to both come from some large and wonderful families, and to have the support of this beautiful community. You are their family and friends, the people who mean the most to Nicole and Tom and those who play an important role in all of their favorite memories. You are the people who mean the most to them in this world and the people who they wanted present as they made the most important promise that two people can ever make to one another. You are also those who they know will be there with them, to watch as they live out those promises every day from this day forward. Nicole and Tom 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.”

~ Personal Vows ~

“Before we proceed to the ring exchange Nicole and Tom have chosen to write their own
vows that they would like to share with one another at this time. Tom will you now tell Nicole
what is in your heart?”

Tom speaks his heart

“Nicole will you now tell Tom what is in your heart?”

Nicole speaks her heart

~ Presentation of the Rings ~

“May I have the rings please?

Officiant 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. This shall serve as a physical reminder of your vow, and that all things begin and end and begin anew. When you are engulfed in anger or in sadness, look to your hand and let these rings shall serve to remind you that life goes on, that moments pass, yet your love is constant. When life brings you it’s greatest joys look then to your hand as well, and remember that the Wheel turns forever onward, and it is love that turns the Wheel.”

~ Ring Vows ~

“Tom, 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 Nicole to be your wife?”

Tom: “I do.”

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

Tom places the ring half way on to Nicole’s finger

“Nicole, 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.”

Tom places the ring the rest of the way on to Nicole’s finger

“Nicole, 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 Tom to be your husband?”

“Nicole: “I do.”

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

Nicole places the ring half way onto Tom’s finger

“Tom, 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.”

Nicole places the ring the rest of the way onto Tom’s finger

“I have in my hand another very special ring, Nicole’s engagement ring. The stone and it once belong to Tom’s grandmother Helen. It speaks of family blessings, and of the love stories that have graced both families, even before Nicole and Tom were born. Tom, please put this ring on Nicole’s finger, above her wedding band, so that your marriage will always be protected by the generations of love that have brought you to this today.”

Tom places the engagement ring back on his beautiful bride’s finger

~ Pronouncement and Presentation ~

“Mark Twain once said that ‘a marriage makes two fractional lives a whole. It gives to two questioning natures a reason for living. It brings a new gladness to the sunshine, a new fragrance to the flowers, a new beauty to the earth, and a new mystery to life.’

So I would like to close this ceremony with our wish that your marriage will deepen and enrich every aspect of your lives. That it will touch the hearts of those who love you and some day inspire your children to believe in the promise of forever.

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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Kristen and Victor married at the Riviera! Thank you Joe Sanfillipo for this shot!

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~ Barbara and Robert ~

~ Welcoming of the Guests ~

“Barbara and Robert would like to take a moment to thank you all for being here with them today, and for waiting patiently for it to come. Family are those who are nearest and dearest to us. Family are the people with whom we share our deepest secrets, and from whom we have no secrets. Some family we are born into and others earn the title through their actions. You have all been there for them from the beginning, sharing your love and support, your laughter and tears and they are deeply grateful for each and every one of you here today.”

~ Words On Marriage ~

“Today is a celebration of love and of life. Barbara and Robert have so much in their lives already to be thankful for, it is only natural that they should desire for all that they now share to deepen and grow through the years. Yet the commitment that they share is to more than one another. It is to ensuring that the quality of life they now share shall indeed last them a lifetime.

One of the many wonderful things about a home wedding is that is that rather than housing them in a place they will rarely ever go to our Bride and Groom have chosen to keep their memories here at home. Never again will they be able to look at this spot, without it being the place they made their promises to one another. They will be able to relive this moment and reaffirm their promises to one another over and over as the years go by. With merely a glance all the love and joy and strength of this day shall come shining hope through the difficult times and make the wonderful days even more so.

To get a better idea of what marriage truly means from our Bride and Groom’s perspective, they have chosen to share with you these words written by Wilfred Arlan Peterson entitled “The Art of a Good Marriage”.

“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.”

~ 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 ~

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

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

“I Robert, take you Barbara, to be my wife.
I will love you, and honor you, Respect and cherish you,
For all the days of my life.”

Robert places the ring the rest of the way on to Barbara’s finger

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

Barbara places the ring half way onto Robert’s finger

“I Barbara, take you Robert, to be my husband.
I will love you, and honor you, Respect and cherish you,
For all the days of my life.”

Barbara places the ring the rest of the way onto Robert’s finger

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

Bride and Groom share the first kiss of their marriage

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Thank you Janelle Brooke for this shot of Beautiful Crystal and Hans married at the Fox Hollow.

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~ Linda and Greg ~

(This ceremony was intentionally anti-climatic. They were signing the license on a date before the wedding ceremony with family and friends so they didn’t want to signing of the license lessen the magic of the true ceremony)

“Although the day you will pledge your love and your lives to one another in front of all those who love you most in the world is not for several months, is it your intention to enter into the legally binding contract known by the State of New York as Marriage?”

Linda and Greg: “It is.”

“Greg do you take Linda to be your wife?”

Greg: “I do.”

“Linda do you take Greg to be your husband?”

Linda: “I do.”

“It is my honor to pronounce you legally married.”

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Erin & Kerry married at the Miller Beach Surf Club with a beautiful view of the Long Island Sound in the background.

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