We pieced together our ceremony from several different sources, pulling this phrase here, and that phrase there. Then we sat down with the reverend, and we read through it. Somethings sounded great in your head, but really sappy or stupid when read out loud. Jenny suggested some changes and asked us how we felt about certain phrases. We dropped parts, rewrote parts, and eliminated about 4.7 occurrences of the word, "joy." We added the words, "chocolate" and "sex." The ring ceremony was removed and later reinserted.
Our final read-through clocked the ceremony at about eight minutes.
Here it is in its entirety:
With much affection and we hope some surprise we are gathered here today to witness and to celebrate the marriage of Tori Beyer and Paul Nagai.
Paul and Tori welcome you, their family and their friends. Each of you has given something of yourself into their lives. They want to know that your love, guidance and encouragement will forever be appreciated. For it is through you that they have grown to this day. They wish to thank you for the trust you have shown by coming to this mysteriously heralded evening of celebration. Special thanks to those of you who have traveled long distances.
Tori and Paul, we wish for you a love that makes both of you better people, that continues to give you happiness and strength, that provides you with the courage required to seize the day and make it your own.
We wish for you a home--not a place of stone and wood, but an island of sanity and serenity. We hope that this home is not just a place of private joy and sanctuary, but rather serves as a sacred place wherein the values of your life are generated and upheld. We hope that your home will be filled with love, peace, chocolate, and really good sex.
Finally we wish that at the end of your life together you will be able to say these two things to each other:
Because you have loved me, you have given me faith in myself; and, Because I have seen the good in you, I have received from you a faith in humanity.
Gracious and Great Spirit who brings us together today in the relationship of love, we ask that the two who stand before you now, Paul and Tori, will share the joy, abiding peace, and the rich rewards of marriage. May their love and understanding of each other grow and deepen over the years. May they strive for each others’ happiness, recognize each others’ hopes and needs, and each help the other become more complete.
Do you Paul, take this woman, Tori, to be your lawful wedded wife, to love her, honor her, and cherish her as you have in the past, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, from this day forward?
And do you Tori, take this man, Paul, to be your lawful wedded husband, to love him, honor him, and cherish him as you have in the past, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, from this day forward?
The union of Tori and Paul joins together two families, two sets of traditions, in the hope that the new family we acknowledge here today will become strong and fruitful. Theirs is a personal choice and a decision for which they are primarily responsible. Yet their life will be enriched by the support of the families from which each comes.
Will you, their parents, their families, and their friends encourage Paul and Tori in their marriage? If so, please answer by saying, "We will."
Will you celebrate their decision to wed each other?
Will you continue to stand beside them, yet not between them?
You two have come together today to be joined as husband and wife. Will you now join hands and Paul will you say to Tori: "I ask you Tori, to accept me as your partner, to be your friend and companion, and to share your joys and your sorrows. I offer you my love, my understanding, and my trust, as I accept you as my partner." And Tori, will you say to Paul: "I ask you Paul, to accept me as your partner, to be your friend and companion, and to share your joys and your sorrows. I offer you my love, my understanding, and my trust, as I accept you as my partner."
Having this kind of love in your hearts, you have chosen to exchange rings as the sign and seal of the vows you make today.
Though small in size, these rings possess great significance. Made from precious metals, they remind us that love has value and worth. Made in a circle, their design tells us we must keep love continuous, never letting it come to an end. As you wear these rings, whether you are together or temporarily separated, let them be constant reminders of the glad promises you make today.
Let us all now enter into a moment of quiet reflection as we send up our collective good wishes and blessings for Paul and Tori.
May your days and years to come be filled with the integrity, patience, and trust that will enable you to abide through all times of ambivalence and doubt. May your affection for each other always grow, arise from you, and enter the lives of others.
Go now to your dwelling place. Now you will feel no rain for each of you will be a shelter to the other. Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth to the other. Now there is no loneliness for you, now you are two persons, but there is only one life before you. Go now to your dwelling place, to enter into the days of your togetherness. And may your days be good and long together.
Tori and Paul you have made promises of faith and devotion, each to the other, before family and friends, with this comp[any as your witness. You have sealed these promises by the giving and receiving of rings.
Therefore, by your own request of me, and by the power vested in my by the State of California, I now announce that you are husband and wife.