Our Wedding Ceremony

Today, our wedding vows are on my mind.

Things are very happy in our family right now.  (Right now, as in today.  I’m taking one day at the time for now.)  At the risk of embarrassing J, we’ve recommitted ourselves to one another, reminding one another that we can fully trust each other.  That’s much easier said than done for me, not because of J.  Though J says the truth is that it’s been mutual, I feel like I’m the one that’s been holding my full trust back.  I’m making a new effort to leave the past in the past, reminding myself to live in the present with my J and my boys.  When I remember to live in the present, I’m incredibly content with my life.

Here’s my favorite picture of J, on our wedding day:

And here’s one of myself from that same weekend, at the rehearsal dinner.  I was pretty excited:

We were so young and silly.  J, of course, was much more mature than me.  I had know idea what it meant to say those vows “for better or worse,” at the time.  Of course, “for better or worse” was not actually in the wording of our ceremony.  Neither of us had any time of what was to come:  losing a parent.  A miscarriage.   Two preemie babies.  Homesickness beyond belief.  Daily bickering over little and big things.  Boogers on walls from little ones.  Beautiful little boys.  Weight gain.  A community that cares for our family as much as we care for it.

Back to the wedding, though:  There is no video or audio of our ceremony; we didn’t want it because we wanted to remember the day as we experienced it, not from a third party’s perspective.  But I’ve got a copy of our ceremony in my wedding scrapbook.  Here it is:

[Wedding party entered to “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring,” with vamped-up version for bride’s entrance.  G.P., organist]

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.  Ps. 118:24

[I have no idea if D followed the following script.  I remember little pieces of it, particularly the vows, were word for word because those are parts that I had specifically picked out.  The scripted parts are from Christian Marriage:  Rite I.]

We gather in the presence of God

to give thanks for the gift of marriage,

to witness the joining together of Jared and Caroline,

to surround them with our prayers,

and to ask God’s blessing upon them,

so that they may be strengthened for their life together

and nurtured in their love for God.

God created us male and female,

and gave us marriage

so that husband and wife may help and comfort each other,

living faithfully together in plenty and in want,

in joy and in sorrow,

in sickness and in health,

throughout all their days.

God gave us marriage

for the full expression of the love between a man and a woman.

In marriage a woman and a man belong to each other,

and with affection and tenderness

freely give themselves to each other.

God gave us marriage

for the well-being of human society,

for the ordering of family life,

and for the birth and nurture of children.

God gave us marriage as a holy mystery

in which a man and a woman are joined together,

and become one,

just as Christ is one with the church.

In marriage, husband and wife are called to a new way of life,

created, ordered, and blessed by God.

This way of life must not be entered into carelessly,

or from selfish motives,

but responsibly, and prayerfully.

We rejoice that marriage is given by God,

blessed by our Lord Jesus Christ,

and sustained by the holy Spirit.

Therefore, let marriage by held in honor by all.

Prayer:  (I kind of think D. wrote his own; I don’t remember!)

Jared, understanding that God has created, ordered and blessed the covenant of marriage,

do you affirm your desire and intention to enter this covenant?

J:  I do.

Caroline, understanding that God has created, ordered and blessed the covenant of marriage,

do you affirm your desire and intention to enter this covenant?

Caroline:  I do.

(this part is fuzzy.  I don’t remember if there were affirmations from the families.  I do remember the affirmation of the congregation, which was:)

Will all of you witnessing these vows

do everything in your power

to uphold Jared and Caroline in their marriage?

Congregation:  We will.

[N.J. sang “Dank sei Dir, Herr” (All Thanks to Thee, Lord)  Follows is the translation she wrote in on the music, though she sang the German version]:

Lord, blessed are we

Lord, blessed are we

By thy decree

Thou hast set free

In thy strong arm

gentle as a [?]

We have found hiding place

Blessed with Thy goodness

Enriched by Thy grace

Lord, blessed are we

Lord, blessed are we

By thy decree

Though hast set free

[Prayer for Illumination.  Don’t remember wording for this, either, kind of think it wasn’t from the script.]

Scripture passage was read.  I Corinthians 13:

1. If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  2. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  3.  If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4.  Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5.  or rude.  It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6. it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth.  7.  It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8.  Love never end.  But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. 9.  For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; 10. but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end.

11.  When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways.  12.  For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face.  Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.  13.  And now faith, hope and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.  (NRSV)

[Sermon.  I have no idea what D said, except I remember something about the scripture being a letter to the church in Corinth.]

Jared and Caroline,

since it is your intention to marry,

join your right hands,

and with your promises

bind yourselves to each other as husband and wife.

(The following is the part where I cried.  Didn’t think I would, but Jared was wholly focused on me.):

Before God and these witnesses,

I, Jared, take you, Caroline, to be my wife,

and I promise to love you,

and to be faithful to you,

as long as we both shall live.

(I got it together, just barely, enough to say my part):

Before God and these witnesses,

I, Caroline, take you, Jared, to be my husband,

and I promise to love you,

and to be faithful to you,

as long as we both shall live.

[D]: What do you bring as the sign of your promise?


[As each ring was given, the one giving the ring said]:

This ring I give you,

as a sign of our constant faith

and abiding love,

in the name of the Father,

and of the Son,

and of the holy spirit.

[Prayer, then…]

Lord’s Prayer:

Our Father, who art in heaven,

hallowed be thy name,

thy kingdom come,

thy will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread;

and forgive us our debts,

as we forgive our debtors;

and lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,

and the power, and the glory,

forever.  Amen.

[Announcement of Marriage.  There’s a script, but I don’t remember if he followed it.]

[Charge and Blessing]:

As God’s own,

clothe yourselves with compassion,

kindness, and patience,

forgiving each other

as the Lord has forgiven you,

and crown all these things with love,

which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

The grace of Christ attend you,

the love of God surround you,

the Holy Spirit keep you,

that you may live in faith,

abound in hope,

and grow in love,

both now and forevermore.


[I’m fairly certain we exited to “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee.”  Kind of fuzzy now.]


Tonight is Family Night for the P. Family.  We’ll play Busytown, make homemade pizza, and watch a movie, yet to be picked out by the boys.

I am so fantastically lucky.  That’s all there is to it.

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