Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Wedding Memories: The Ceremony

The limo dropped us off at the ceremony location and when the girls got there some of the groomsmen started to lead me toward the gazebo that our ceremony would take place at.  I quickly mentioned that we should probably go somewhere else since Mike and I weren't going to see each other beforehand.


Mike's two uncles and two cousins graciously agreed to play the music at our ceremony.  It sounded amazing and added another personal touch to our wedding.

Before I knew it Suzie, my friend who agreed to be our wedding day coordinator, started to get everyone lined up and ready to walk down the "aisle".

Our wedding party walked down to "In My Life" by the Beatles.

Then, it was my turn.  I decided to walk with both of my parents since they both were extremely influential in my life and shaped me into the person that I am today.  We walked down the aisle to "Can't Help Falling In Love" by Elvis Presley.

We did a silent "exchange" and our ceremony began. (Note: I am posting our entire ceremony except for the readings, you can feel free to skip some of it if you wish). 

Welcome! This wouldn’t be Jamie and Mike’s wedding if the bride didn’t show up five minutes early. (We did this as a joke because I am ALWAYS early to everything).

Jamie and Mike created this ceremony to express their love and commitment for each other. Listen carefully to the words they have chosen, for in them you will hear of their love and devotion for each other, and of their vision for a continued loving relationship.

The bride and groom have asked me to thank you all for coming from distances both near and far to be a part of their special day.  They would also like to acknowledge those loved ones who could not be here today, but who are close to their hearts. 

We are here today to witness two people join their lives through the act of marriage.

Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family.

Because it fulfills yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common mutuality, civil marriage is an esteemed institution and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life’s momentous acts of self-definition.

It is undoubtedly for concrete reasons, as well as for its intimately personal significance, that civil marriage has long been termed a “civil right.”

Readings are a very important part of a wedding ceremony – they provide an opportunity for the couple to share their thoughts on love and relationship, with a very personal touch.  The first reading Jamie and Mike selected is “When I’m 64” by the Beatles.  It will be read by the groom’s mother, Joan.

Jamie and Mike, today you are here to make promises to each other.  Within these promises you are committing to sending valentines, going for Sunday morning rides and needing each other even when you are sixty-four and further on into your life together. 

Mike, will you take Jamie to be your wife and travel the rest of life’s road with her? Will you love her, laugh with her, comfort her, honor and protect her, and forsaking all others, be faithful to her as long as you both shall live?

(He of course said, I will).

Jamie, will you take Mike to be your husband and travel the rest of life’s road with him? Will you love him, laugh with him, comfort him, honor and protect him, and forsaking all others, be faithful to him as long as you both shall live?

(I also said, I will).

And now the second reading from “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” read by Ken in American Sign Language. 

       That is the sign for "love"

For the final reading, Jamie and Mike have selected “I Like You” by Sandol Stoddard Warburg read by the bride’s mother, Susan.

In the Seneca language, Canandaigua means the chosen spot. How perfect it is that we are gathered here to witness Jamie and Mike’s marriage to their “chosen one”.

  We had two friends interpret at our wedding

You have known each other from the first snatch of Mike’s hand to this point of commitment.  On September 20, 2009, 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 to New York Yankees games or over a meal at Delmonico’s or during long swim practices - 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 - best 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.

Jamie and Mike have written their own vows and until today have kept them secret from each other. 

Jamie, I love you. You are my best friend. And today you become so much more, my wife. I can remember so vividly September 20th, 2004, the day we first met and how we all but instantly fell in love with each other. From that day, to this instant right now, and onward into the future, my love for you has and will keep growing with every moment we share together. 

You are the first thing I think of when I wake up in the morning and the last thing I think of before going to bed. You are by far the most important person in my life, you give me all the reasons I need to live and also try to create a more fulfilling life for us together.

My promise to you is that I will always love you without reservation, comfort you in times of distress, encourage you to achieve all of your goals, laugh with you and cry with you. 

Mike, from the moment I met you, I knew that you were going to be in my life for a long time. Shortly after that amazing day, I fell in love with you and knew that I wanted to marry you.  

I have learned so much from you during our life together and I know that I will continue to learn more in the years to come.  You have taught me to be more patient, even though I still struggle to be at times, to realize that it IS ok to not be perfect all the time and to laugh at myself and with you, especially when I do funny dance moves to the background music on Sports Center or the Weather Channel.  Most importantly, you have taught me to love in a way that I never thought possible and that I deserve to be loved in return. 

These last six years have been an amazing adventure and I would re-live them a million times if it meant that I would end up right here with you.

I promise to continue to live by the two mottos that have guided us all these years, "love strong" and "whatever it takes", throughout the rest of our life together. I love you with all my heart, always and forever.         

In honor of these vows, Jamie and Mike wish to exchange rings that will serve as a symbol of the wholeness of the words they speak today and of the love for each other that they will carry with them. The rings are a symbol of unity, but not of possession; of joining, but not of restricting; of encirclement, but not of entrapment. For love cannot be possessed, nor can it be restricted.

Jamie, I give you this ring to wear as a sign of my promise to love and grow with you for the rest of our lives together.  

Mike, I give you this ring to wear as a sign of my promise to love and grow with you for the rest of our lives together.

Jamie and Mike, you have committed here today to share the rest of your lives with each other. We have witnessed your giving and receiving of rings and the exchange of vows. Now we will observe you create a lasting visual representation of these promises. The white sand represents Jamie and the turquoise sand represents Mike.  Each grain of sand in your separate containers represents a unique and separate moment, decision, feeling or event that helped shape you into the individuals that you are today.  Your relationship is symbolized through the pouring of these two individual containers of sand into one container. You will note that the individual colors do not cease to exist, but that there are times when the two are blended.  Just as these grains of sand can never be separated and poured back into the individual containers, so will the love and bond between the two of you render you inseparable.  

 Mike's uncles played "Follow you, Follow me" by Genesis during our sand ceremony

Jamie and Mike, you have showered our hearts with expressions of your love, and promised each other a life full of joy and adventure. Now by the power vested in me by the state of New York, and before these witnesses, it gives me great honor and pleasure to pronounce you husband and wife.  You may kiss each other. 

Then it was time for the real fun!

Next time we break it down, literally, at the reception!

In case you missed it:


  1. Beautiful words, beautiful ceremony. Love the way you made it so personal! I've never seen a sand ceremony like that before

    1. Thank you Leah!

      We loved our sand ceremony, much easier than doing a unity candle outside haha! The picture frame was perfect for it.

  2. What a gorgeous and endearing ceremony! Beautiful pictures, too.

    1. Thank you so much! We worked really hard on the words for our ceremony.

  3. Absolutely BEAUTIFUL! So personal and enduring and fun too. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Gorgeous wedding! THis was so much fun to look at!

    1. Thank you Marcia! It is fun to re-live it.

  5. I did the same thing, with having both parents walk me in... love that symbolism. Those playground pictures afterward are so fun!

    1. Thank you Laura! We partially did the playground photos for my Matron of Honor since she wanted to do playground photos at her wedding but it was raining, and they were just fun too!

  6. Beautiful wedding pics! Looked like a gorgeous ceremony!

  7. Thank you so much for sharing this!! Josh and I are looking for ceremony ideas for a non-religious wedding and this brought tears to my eyes! You both looked so beautiful!