Contemporary Wedding Vows

Friends, welcome to this happy occasion! Groom and Bride: you are entering into that holy estate which is the deepest mystery of experience, the greatest experience of love. Kahlil Gibran has written in The Prophet: “Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself. Love possesses not nor would it be possessed; for love is sufficient unto love. When you love you should not say ‘God is in my heart,’ but rather, ‘I am in the heart of God.’ And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.

It is an important moment in life when two people, who at one time were strangers to one another, are drawn together by an irresistible force, so that, henceforth, their lives will not be divided by space or by time. When, in a single woman, a man finds that dream of love which has ever haunted him, and when, in a single man, a woman finds the rest and the satisfaction which her heart has been unconsciously seeking: it is a revelation of the Infinite, it is the hand of God, and it cancels out anything which is unlike love. You two today are performing an act of complete and utter faith: believing in each other to the utmost.

Gibran has also written: “You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore. You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days. Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God. But let there be spaces in your togetherness, and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another, but make not a bond of love: let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping, for only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together yet not too near together: for the pillars of the temple stand apart, and the oak and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”

If you wish this new union of yours to be blessed with a lasting beauty, always nourish and cherish the visions of one another that you hold now within your hearts. You must never forget or deny what you see in each other today. Amid the seeming reality of present imperfections, the ideal always exists and it is the final truth.

So, Groom, this is the woman, Bride, this is the man that you love. Seeing that you have chosen each other as partners in this holy estate, will you face one another now and join both hands?

Groom, in taking this woman whose hands you hold, to be your lawful wedded wife, your must promise to love her, to honor her, to cherish her and to be to her in all things a true and loving husband. Do you so promise? (answer)

Bride, in taking this man whose hands you hold, to be your lawful wedded husband, your must promise to love him, to honor him, to cherish him and to be to him in all things a true and loving wife. Do you so promise? (answer)

May I have the ring(s), please? This(ese) ring(s) is (are) a symbol in this your wedding ceremony and in your marriage of two things. First, it is (they are) made of a material that does not tarnish and this symbolizes your love for one another remaining forever pure and untarnished. Second, it is (they are) made in a complete circle, having no beginning and no ending. This, too, symbolizes your love for one another, remaining forever

So, as you place this ring on the third finger of your Bride’s (Groom’s) left hand, please repeat after me:

With this ring * I thee wed.* Let it ever be to us * a symbol of our eternal love.

And in receiving this ring, would you please repeat after me:

With joy I give it place upon my hand.

Would you join with me in a moment of prayer? Infinite Father-Mother-God: Bless these two that stand before us now, as they have committed their love and their lives to one another. Be with them in their thoughts, their words and their deeds. Bless their lives with health, with happiness, with peace and prosperity, and with a love that grows and endures. I give thanks that it is already done. And so it is! Amen.

By the authority vested in me by my church and by the state of __________, I now pronounce you husband and wife! You may kiss each other!