Loxed and Loaded: The Ceremony

16 Nov

We took a lot of love and care in crafting our ceremony. So rather than describe it word by word, I would rather post it here for you in its entirety. It is a work of art we’ve already made and I love it as is. Nothing I could write here could improve upon these moments. What I can tell you is that I cried the entire time. I don’t remember the faces of my guests, or their reactions. I remember Mr. Lox, the officiant, and me. I remember fishing tissues out of the pockets in my dress. And I remember thinking that this ceremony, the one we lovingly handcrafted, was easily the best thing we made for the entire day. So here it is my dears, so that you too can share in what I’m still sure is the best thing we made for this day.

Convocation

Ladies and gentlemen, we have come together this afternoon to celebrate with Mr. and Mrs. Lox who have fallen in love and chosen to marry.

In honor of this great purpose, let us pray.

Let us pray

Invocation

Heavenly Father, we thank you for being with us today as we gather to celebrate the marriage of Mr. Lox and Mrs. Lox.  Help us to support and encourage them in their challenges and to share in their joys.  Bless them with your grace that they may be sustained by your infinite love.  Help them to live into the promises they make to one another today, loving and supporting one another with their entire being. This we most graciously receive in Your name, one God, forever and ever.  Amen.

Blessing of Good Wishes

When you arrived today, each of you took a small stone.  As you witness their ceremony, your love and good wishes for Mr. Lox and Mrs. Lox will be absorbed by the stone you hold. Mr. and Mrs. Lox will collect and keep these good wishes in their home, and so we ask you to write something on them for the couple and deposit them in the basket on the place card table.

Honoring Others

As they come before us to be married, Mr. and Mrs. Lox wish to acknowledge and thank all of you for your friendship, love and support.  It is the constancy of family and friendship that enables each of us to grow and enlightens our lives with new experiences.  They also wish to acknowledge those who are unable to travel to be here today.

Additionally, this moment marks a major change in their lives, but the ties of love and friendship with their families will always remain.  Both Mr. and Mrs. Lox give great thanks to their parents for the love and support they have given them throughout their lives, and as a token of their gratitude offer their mothers these gifts.

Giving gifts to MIL Lox

Giving gifts to Momma Lox

Address to Guests

It is a simple truth that some promises are of such significance that they must be made in the presence of others. Marriage is a covenant shared by all who love the two people involved, and as you bear witness to this union, you share in Mr. and Mrs. Lox’s commitment to one another.  Last Sunday marked their one-year engagement, and so they thought the best way to celebrate that would be with their favorite people at this beautiful place.  They got engaged by the water in Fells Point, live near the water in Canton, and now are getting married near the water here.

They have invited you to celebrate with them because they feel each of you has, in some way, contributed to who they have become, both as individuals and as a couple.  You have shared a part of yourselves with them, just as you are here now sharing in their commitment to each other. As they begin this new life, they carry with them the lives you have helped to shape with your love, your teaching, your compassion and your wisdom.  Among the many blessings offered here today, they bless you with their gratitude, their love and their wedding.

First Reading

Mr. and Mrs. Lox have asked me to share with you an excerpt from the writings of Robert Fulghum, titled “Union”.

“You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes, to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making commitments in an informal way. All of those conversations that were held in a car, or over a meal, or during long walks – all those conversations that began with, “When we’re married”, and continued with “I will” and “you will” and “we will” – all 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 that 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 – acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, even teacher, for you have learned much from one another these past few years. Shortly you shall say a few words that will take you across a threshold of life, and things between you will never quite be the same. For after today you shall say to the world –This is my husband. This is my wife.”

Address to the Loxes

Tears

Mr. and Mrs. Lox, before you met, your lives mingled with many others.  All the friends you have known along the way were helping you grow toward one another.  There were other lives that needed you at other times, but all the while you have been walking toward one another.  As you take this step into marriage, remember that a strong and lasting relationship takes trust, dedication, and the faith to go forward together without knowing what the future holds for you both. Marriage is not a destination, but a continuation of your journey through life.

Above all, remember to bring laughter into your lives everyday.  Laughter is the heart at play.  Humor can enliven the good days and pull you through the difficult ones.  When you look back at the sounds of your marriage, let it be the joy of laughter that echoes through all your memories.

Expression of Intent

The coming together in marriage is part of the process of transformation and growth, the anchor of your love.  May you both give thanks for the unique qualities that bring you together today, and may you use them to weave a new and beautiful life together.

May your devotion to one another allow you to truly embrace each other and experience true happiness.  May that happiness bring you to unimagined heights through your commitment to one another.  And most of all, may you receive each other joyfully, with open hearts and minds into this marriage.

Please join hands so that you may feel the gift you are to one another

These are the hands of your best friend holding yours on your wedding day as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow and forever.  They are the hands that will work alongside yours as together you build your future.  These are the hands that will celebrate your life with you; the hands that will give you strength when you need it.   They are the hands that will tenderly hold the children you may have; the hands that will help you hold your family as one.  And lastly, these are the hands that, many years from now, will still be reaching for yours, still giving you that same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.

Mr. Lox, do you now choose Mrs. Lox to be your wife, to share your life openly with her, to speak truthfully and lovingly to her, to accept her fully as she is and delight in who she is becoming, to respect her uniqueness and compassionately encourage and support her through all the changes of your years together?  I do.

Mrs. Lox, do you now choose Mr. Lox to be your husband, to share your life openly with him, to speak truthfully and lovingly to him, to accept him fully as he is and delight in who he is becoming, to respect his uniqueness and compassionately encourage and support him through all the changes of your years together? I do.

Consecration

In the quiet of this very special moment we pause to give thanks for all the rich experiences of life that have brought Mr. and Mrs. Lox to this moment in time.   And now as they make their promises to each other, may they make them with their deepest insight and fullest sincerity.

Wedding Vows

Mr. and Mrs. Lox, marriage begins in the giving of words, so please join left hands as you state your vows to one another.

Mr. Lox saying his vows

Mr. Lox’s vows to me – Mrs. Lox, I love you more than anything, and I am very proud to stand here before my family and friends to tell the world how I feel about you! You are a fierce and loyal friend, you give selflessly to those around you, and I will always know you will be in my corner. You are kind, loving, and strong. You have experienced much in her life, but always looks towards the future – a future that I am honored to be a part of. You always know when to crack a joke, and you still believe whimsy has a place in our world. When life becomes too serious, I can always count on you to lighten the mood and make everyone laugh. You mean the world to me, and each day we spend together is a little better than the one before, just because I have known you for that much longer. Whenever there’s a dream worth a-dreaming, I know you will be there!

Mrs. Lox, I give you my hand in friendship, love and marriage;
I promise to stand with you through laughter and tears, through turbulence and tranquility;
I promise to always respect and trust you, I will always be faithful, and I will always strive to be be worthy of your respect and trust;
I promise to always work together with you to face all of the challenges that life has in store for us;
I will trust in the kindness of your heart, and believe in your noble intent;
I will love and honor you always!
Reading my vows to Mr. Lox
My vows to Mr. Lox – All my life, I’ve thought there was something better out there for me. I was always searching, always looking ahead. And today, when I look at you, I know I was right. And I found it. When I think ahead to what our life together will be, I know that this is it. This is where I’m supposed to be. Right here, with you.I love you because you are goofy and you appreciate my sense of humor. Instead of making fun of my childish love of toys and games, you fuel it. We spend so much time together being silly and laughing. We have fun.I love you because you believe in me and my dreams. In fact, you believe in me even when I don’t. You never give up on me, and you help me succeed even when I’m not sure I can. I feel like I could do anything as long as I have you.I love you because I can’t imagine my life without you. All that time I was searching, I imagined a hundred different lives I could have. I could see countless versions of myself and what my life could become. Now I know I’m meant to be with you. Because when I imagine what my life will be like, I can’t imagine anything other than us, you and me, no matter what.

And so I promise to stand by your side through all of it. I know it won’t always be easy. I know there will be rough spots. But today I’m looking at you and promising that no matter what, I’m with you. I promise that every morning, I will wake up and choose you again, just like I am today. I promise there is nothing we can’t handle. I promise to remind you of that, even if you forget sometimes. And I promise to listen when you have to remind me. I love you, and I promise to spend forever with you, starting right now.

Ring Blessing

As an outer symbol of your inner union, you shall wear your wedding rings.

From the earliest of times, the circle has been a symbol of committed love.  An unbroken and never-ending circle symbolizes a love commitment that is also never-ending.

 These rings are gifts to one another to remind you always of the promises you have made here today.  And when you have been married for a long, long time,  you will look at these rings, and you will feel the indentation they have made on your fingers, and you will know that these rings – so simple, so elegant – represent all the memories of your life together, all that your marriage is, was and shall be.  May these rings be blessed, reminding you of the great love you share today before friends, before family and before God.

Bless these rings, Dear God, that those who wear them, who give and receive them will be faithful to one another, remain in your peace and live and grow old together in your love.   Amen.

Ring Exchange

Mr. Lox, please place this ring on Mrs. Lox’s hand and repeat after me.

Mrs. Lox, I give you this ring as a symbol of my commitment to you. All that I am and all that I have to offer to you in love, in friendship, and in joy.

Mrs. Lox, please place this ring on Mr. Lox’s hand and repeat after me.

Mr. Lox, I give you this ring as a symbol of my commitment to you. All that I am and all that I have to offer to you in love, in friendship, and in joy.

Sealing the Promise

As wedding rings are symbols of marriage, an engagement ring is a symbol of promise and intent.  Now that the intention is realized and the promise fulfilled, Mr. Lox will place the engagement ring above the wedding band to symbolize that the love which brought them together will always protect and sustain their marriage.

Celebratory Sharing of the Wine

Sharing the wine together

Mr. and Mrs. Lox, because you have pledged your love to one another through the exchange of vows and rings, it is appropriate on this joyous occasion that you make a toast – to life and love!

This wine represents the sweetness and bitterness of life.  Throughout your lives, may you find life’s joys heightened, it’s bitterness sweetened and all things hallowed by true companionship and love.  As you share the wine together from this cup, so too may you share joy and fulfillment from the cup of life.  Drink now, and may the cup of your lives be sweet and full to overflowing!

Love Letter and Wine Box

Mr. and Mrs. Lox have chosen to conclude their ceremony with a very unique and romantic twist.  They have each written a love letter to the other and sealed the envelope, writing their partner’s name on the outside.  They will place those sealed letters into this special box with a bottle of wine.  The box has two locks which they will lock today and open on their 10th wedding anniversary – giving them their very own romantic time capsule.

Mr. and Mrs Lox, I recommend that you keep the box in a place of honor prominently displayed in your home as a constant reminder of your commitment to each other.  Should you ever find your marriage enduring insurmountable hardships, then perhaps you could open the box together, drink some wine and then go to separate rooms to read the letter you wrote to one another.  By reading these love letters, you will reflect upon the reasons you fell in love and chose to marry.

The hope is, however, that you will never have a reason to open this box.  And if this is the case, you are to open the box to share and enjoy on your 10th wedding anniversary.  Then you can write another love letter to be opened on your 50th !

Preparing the wine box

Benediction

Mr. and Mrs. Lox, by your free choice you have entered into marriage.  Your lives, like so many, are very busy and full, but I hope you will save time for each other, to love each other more deeply, and learn to love more fully the creation in which the mystery of love happens.

May you be a blessing and comfort to each other. May you be encouraged by each other, believe in your love, and believe in life.

Pronouncement

 In the presence of God, your family and friends, you have spoken the words and performed the rituals which now unite your lives.  May your rings be a constant reminder of the vows you have taken here today, and may what God and love has joined together, let nothing separate.  Therefore, by the authority vested in me by the State of Maryland and under the covenant of God, I now pronounce you, husband and wife!

The Wedding Kiss

Mr. Lox, you may kiss your bride.

The kiss!

Presentation

Friends and family, it is my pleasure to present to you as husband and wife,

Mr. and Mrs. Lox!

Presenting, the newlyweds!

See that look on my face? It’s because I knew what was coming. I knew, the officiant knew, the staff knew, and our photographer and videographer knew. However, the guests didn’t know… and neither did Mr. Lox. Since this post is already epic, I’ll get it in the next one. But it was the most planned moment of our day. And I planned it in secret silence. Which made it one of the most fun moments of our day when it finally happened.

Did you or are you crafting your own ceremony? How did you do it?

All pictures in this post by Chad Lippiatt Photo.

 

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