One plus year ago Ali and I crafted vows that spoke to philosophies, concepts, intentions, etc. of marriage. One year ago a room full of people heard the words we penned together. Now, one year later, we want to share them with all our family and friends.
Eva (Justice of the Peace): For some, marriage is a business transaction, a way to quickly climb the social ladder. For others, it’s a religious experience, binding yourself together in front of your God and your peers. And for many, marriage offers a steady partner to help raise children and provide a source of food and financial stability.
Then there is the very modern idea of love. Two people finding themselves entangled in each others lives. To understand a person’s every flawed perfection with patience, kindness, and compassion. Allowing your true thoughts and feelings to be seen, naked, without fear of judgment or rejection. A constant dialogue.
In life, one needs to constantly challenge them self. Some view marriage as the end of growth. Friends joke that they lose their friendships when one succumbs to the black hole of marriage. But as with all coins, there are two sides. Duality, the ying and the yang, two people who provide a balance and voice in each others lives. A complement.
We are all taught as children that there is one person who will complete us. The word ‘complete’ is dangerous because it means that we are not born whole. I have been half empty for all the years before this moment. What we are actually looking for is not our long lost half, but instead we search for a companion. Someone who can accept another person while still maintaining their individuality, and their life goals. Only now, they have someone to share these dreams with, and have the privilege of sharing in another persons successes and failurers.
This balance is not static. One enters into marriage embracing the person and relationship they have come to know. But like all relationships and people, they never stay the same. We constantly change with the passing of time. What we strive for is to welcome these changes and continuously grow with the partner we have chosen.
There are many reasons for one to enter into marriage, and because one social construct has come to mean everything from monetary security, to love, one feels the need to define what marriage means to them. Why enter such a socially loaded institution, if love and companionship has taken a back seat to stability and financial safety. Why are these two people standing before you today eager to commit to each other in one of the oldest rituals to date?
Gary and Ali have known each other for 3 years. They have been companions, confidants, friends, and lovers. They have learned to open themselves completely to the possibility of another person accepting their true personalities. Because of this, they have arrived here today, ready to enjoy each other until the end of time as they know it.
Marriage isn’t only the large moments. Marriage is mostly made up of small details that must be tended to everyday in order to keep the relationship new and healthy. It is being there consistently for the other person in every aspect of their lives. Marriage is understanding. Marriage is patience.
I now ask you all to direct your attention to Ali and Gary who will pronounce their vows and participate in the timeless ritual of exchanging rings.
Gary and Alyson, your vows create this marriage. At this time, please announce in the presence of your friends and family your devotion to one another.
Ali: I will hold you in the middle of the night when you have a nightmare.
Gary: I will read to you until you fall asleep when you are exhausted.
Both: Time will always be made for each other. No matter how busy our schedules become.
Ali: I will never miss an opportunity to start a pillow or tickle fight.
Gary: Brutal honesty will always be welcome in our home.
Ali: We will attend plays, movies, lectures, and any other tool to gain knowledge and to keep learning.
Both: Friends are and will stay as necessary to us as we are to each other.
Gary: We will keep challenging each other with new ideas.
Ali: We will support each other through every joyful and difficult task we must undertake.
Gary: By my own free will, you are the person I choose to marry.
Ali: By my own free will, you are the person I choose to marry.
Gary: I will love you until the end of my life.
Ali: I will love you until the end of my life.
Said in Unison:
With this ring, I bind myself to you from now until the moment I die.
The ‘Kiss’ Moment
Gary: Each of you has contributed to the strength of this relationship. Whether it be through your support for us as individuals, or through your council to us as a couple, we would not be standing here today without each and every one of you. We have bonded ourselves together as a couple, but no couple can survive without friends and family. We ask you to continue to be there for us and help our marriage thrive. Each of you will bind us together, because a marriage is not simply made by two people. A marriage is made by the community that surrounds you.
We would like to ask Glenda, David, Alex, Cheryl, Greg, and Linda to be the first to bind our wrists together, solidifying this marriage.
We would like to ask Helen Cocchiola, Elsie, and Helen Kozma to bind our wrists together, solidifying this marriage.
We would like to ask Rachael, Keith, Margaret, Alleda and Dan to bind our wrists together, solidifying this marriage.
We would like to ask Kaz, Lori, Brian, Alice and Jack to bind our wrists together, solidifying this marriage.
And now, we would like to take a moment and remember those who are no longer with us. Would Glenda and Greg please each take a white ribbon to remember Dziadz and Beryl, our grandparents who are missed at this ceremony.
Eva: Through this ceremony today, Alyson and Gary have become united as husband and wife. Please come forward now and share with them your joy.