Parts of a Wedding Ceremony
Photo taken at the Scottish Rite Cathedral
by Halee Betzner Photography
by Halee Betzner Photography
After all this time? Always.
Harry Potter and the unbreakable vow is definitely a great way to add personality to your wedding ceremony! I've written two different wedding ceremonies incorporating the magical wizzarding world. You can read those here. Below, are also some great quotes you can use to incorporate any way you like.
Ethan And Alex's Harry Potter Wedding Ceremony Script.
When I sat down with Alex and her mom to talk about her wedding ceremony she said she and Ethan LOVE Harry Potter! I suggested using that in their wedding ceremony script and Alex was all for it! I met with Alex's co-worker a few months later to discuss her wedding and she said Alex could not stop talking about how she was going to have the Unbreakable Vow in her wedding!!! Her friend wasn't interested but was excited for Alex!! Below is what I wrote for them.
Now, I don’t think that two big Harry Potter fans, like Ethan and Alex, could think about getting married without making the Unbreakable Vow and declaring Until Avada Kedavera do us part! To you muggles that are unfamiliar with the magical lingo, The Unbreakable Vow is when you make a vow in such seriousness, if you should break the vow, you will die. On the other hand, Avada Kedavera is the killing curse! Oh, to think that nothing could ever separate you other than a killing curse in a duel!
There are a few things we can learn about love and marriage from the magical world of Harry Potter…
Albus Dumbledore said “We can’t choose our fate but we can choose others,” He also goes on to say that we should “be careful in knowing that.” We know that you have made a very careful choice in deciding to get married today, and you have chosen each other, knowing that whatever fate might bring, the two of you, together, know that you can face it.
There may be things you face over the lifetime of your marriage that seem insurmountable, like a 12 foot mountain troll. But remember this Potter quote, “There are some things you can’t share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a 12 foot mountain troll is one of them.” Remember when you face the mountain trolls of life, you will find out things about yourselves and each other, that you would have never seen, had you not been put to the test. Good things like strength and wit, and of course, cleverness, bravery and friendship.
Perhaps the best vows to make today is what James Potter declared when he said “Until the very end.” The interesting thing about that quote is that James Potter said it from beyond the grave. So, with that, may your vow today be beyond the typical “until death do us part.” May your love always connect you on a level beyond our physical understanding knowing that is where the actual magic is.
Dumbledore declared, “Let us step into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.” We hope your marriage is full of adventure!
Along your adventure, Listen to Ron who said, “When in doubt, go to the library.”
When things get challenging, remember dumbledore also said, “Time will not slow down when something unpleasant lies ahead.” But I hope you have a helpful Marauders Map to show you what’s along the way when you need it. And may you also know when it’s exactly the right time to say “Mischief Managed!”
Remember that your marriage will take on a life of it’s own and your relationship will grow. “It matters not what someone is born, it’s what they grow to be” Your marriage starts today, it’s born today, you can control what it grows to be by your choices and actions. “What’s comin’ will come and we’ll meet it when it does.”
Know that, “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn the light on.”
Slughorn said, “It is impossible to manufacture or imitate love.” Love, simply is, you can choose to let it flow through you or not. Love is the power behind the magic.
In the end, remember, “You are protected, in short, by your ability to love.” And when someone asks, “Even after all this time?” May your answer be, “Always.”
Audrey and Pete's Unbreakable Vow
When I first met Audrey and Pete they were interviewing wedding officiants. They literally got up from a table in Starbucks with me and moved one table over to talk to another officiant. They were quite serious about their wedding ceremony! The ONE thing most important to Audrey was performing The Unbreakable Vow. They were married on May 4th and it was very much a "May the 4th be with you" wedding ceremony. All sorts of great "nerdy" elements were included in the ceremony that day.
Theirs is the longest ceremony I have ever performed and it suited the couple and their guests so well, I don't think anyone was even a little bored! You can read the whole ceremony by clicking here. Below, is the Unbreakable Vow I wrote for Audrey.
Unity Ceremony - The Unbreakable Vow
Now, we come to the part we call the unity ceremony, It’s an act that couples do to symbolize their joining together and it looks to the future of their marriage. A unity ceremony can be fun or meaningful or both. Today, Audrey and Pete have chosen a little of both! They have chosen to do the Unbreakable Vow inspired by Harry Potter.
As we all know, our love for movies and literature can truly last a lifetime and the reasons why we love them are because of the deeper messages they carry that speak to us. To be fair, Audrey loves the world of Harry Potter and Pete loves all things Star Wars. As you may see in the subtleties of the socks of the groomsmen. And well, today is May 4th. They will forever remember their wedding day when someone says “May the 4th be with you.”
What both The World of Harry Potter and the World of Star Wars have in common, is this force. The force can be the spiritual world one may live in or it may be the literal magic that witches and wizards naturally harness to cast spells. In this case, on the day of a wedding, that force is Love. We all have access to the power of the force and we are free to use it any way we like. We can channel our power for good or bad or both.
Audrey and Pete, over the lifetime of your marriage, you will always be changing and with each change will come decisions. Changes will happen to you personally and the changes each of you make will influence the dynamics of your marriage. You do not know what those changes will be or how they will truly affect you. Will it be a positive change? Or not?
We do know that your marriage is based in love, a magical force. It’s been proven time and time again that when we surrender to the power of love, things will always turn out well in the end. And sometimes you may need the faith and encouragement that it will.
So, that was the serious part. Now the fun!
In the magical world of Harry Potter, when one makes the unbreakable vow they are vowing with their life that the will do what they will say. If they break the vow, they will die. In reality, I believe that if we truly love someone and hurt them, a little bit of us dies inside because what we do to another, we do to ourselves.
We do not know what that magical incantation is that one says when making the unbreakable vow. We know it’s not Abracadabra or Alakazam! We do know that the two people making the vow hold hands and look at one another and there is a third person with a wand that asks questions and as they are answered, the bond is made. This is very fitting in a wedding ceremony. Two people making promises and an officiant between them witnesses and facilitating the promises. Although, I have no magical power that will make a marriage last, I can help you invoke your own magic, and, hopefully, more than kindle the flame of your love that will make it burn bright for years to come. It is your own personal commitment that will dictate your outcome.
Earlier in the ceremony, you were asked the typical questions of marriage, do you, take this person to have and hold…. And you answered with “I do.” You made a public commitment that you are entering into this marriage right here, right now. As I ask you the questions of the Unbreakable Vow, the answer is “I will.” You are basically saying, when the time comes to make a decision you will make the decision based on your union as husband and wife and the love and trust your marriage is based on.
So now, I ask you to join your left hands together. I have cords here made of white, gold, green, gray, and blue. Each color symbolizes different meanings; white for truth and peace, gold for wisdom and strength, green for prosperity and health, gray for balance and respect, and finally blue for fidelity and steadfastness. I now tie your hands together to physically symbolize the spiritual bond of the Unbreakable Vow. May these values be ever present as you uphold your unbreakable vows.
I stand back a bit, ask questions, as as you answer them,
We are gathered here to witness the the union of two faithful souls.
What’s coming will come, Will you meet it when it does?
I ask you, Pete and Audrey, do you agree that you are only as strong as you are united and weak as you are divided?
Will you remember that there is no try? There is only do or do not.
Knowing that indifference and neglect often do more damage than outward dislike, will you promise to pay attention to one another, celebrating your diversity and continually learn from one another?
If you ever find your lack of faith disturbing will you take action to remedy it?
When you face any dark and difficult times that lie ahead, knowing you have a choice between what is right and what is easy, will you promise to choose what is right?
At some point, 20 or 30 years from now, if you ever question your love for each other, after all this time, will your answer be Always?
Then I declare you bonded for life!
“We are gathered here today to celebrate the union of two faithful souls…”
This was was spoken by the “tufty-haired wizard” at Fleur and Bill’s wedding. The also gave the eulogy at Dumbledore’s funeral. His name is never mentioned in the book.
“We can’t choose our fate but we can choose others, be careful in knowing that.”
This is a great quote to use as your Declaration of Consent – When you give your verbal consent to enter into a legal marriage. You are choosing to marry. You are choosing your partner after, hopefully, a great deal of consideration. The traditional marriage vows talk about “for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness or in health, until death parts you.” You make those vows knowing that your fate is unknown but you promise to stick together and love each other through everything – Even walking through the Deathly Hallows of life.
“Until the very end”
Harry’s father, James, said, from beyond the grave, that he and his mother and all the people who loved him in life are still with him and always will be. I would hope all married love is like that. You may say “Until we are parted by death” But you can also say “To Infinity and Beyond!” “Until the very end” might sound overly dramatic. But it’s Harry Potter and you are making an Unbreakable Vow!
“It is impossible to manufacture or imitate love.”
Ahhhh…love potions. That’s what Slughorn is talking about. They don’t work in marriage. Love potions create infatuation. Marriage is a long term commitment deeply rooted in your heart and soul.
“Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”
JK Rowling uses all sorts of factual information throughout her Harry Potter series. This particular quote is also in the Bible. The book of Matthew, Chapter 6, Verse 22. If you are using the quote in your wedding you can also use the scripture reading.
“Wit beyond measure is man’s greatest treasure”
Wit is mental sharpness and keen intelligence. It’s also using the mental sharpness to create humor. Wit can definitely come in handy in marriage!
“Let us step into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.”
Marriage is definitely an adventure! This quote is great to incorporate to your wedding vows. Getting married is a little bit like stepping into the night. You don’t really know what’s going to happen next. However, when Dumbledore said this, they were going on an actual adventure at night. They do a lot of things during the night in Harry Potter, Do these people ever sleep?
“I never really gave up on you.”
Yes! Listen to the wise Ginny Weasley. Never give up! Believe and have faith. Let your inner Hufflepuff show valuing the hard work, dedication, patience, and loyalty that makes a strong marriage.
“The ones we love never leave us, we can find them in here.”
This is another one about love after death. Let your love be stronger than death! This isn’t really a great quote about love for a wedding, but it is a great way to add a little personality to your ceremony when you are remembering those who couldn’t be at your wedding because they have passed away. “We know that they are here with us in spirit.” Or “In our hearts.” To quote Star Wars a bit, “Their force is with us always.”
“Oh to be young and feel love’s keen sting.”
Is that a good sting or a bad sting? Those little stings are great learning opportunities for growth. Not only personal grown but growing together as a couple.
“Things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end, if not always in the way we expect.”
This is an absolutely amazing quote! There is always a time in marriage when it feels like love is completely lost. But it always comes back, more refined and stronger than ever.
“To Have been loved so deeply, even though the person we love is gone, will give us some protection forever.”
Dumbledore is talking about the love the protection Harry has because of his Mother’s love. Living and, ultimately dying trying to save him. Knowing that you would die for someone has meaning. Love makes a very deep impact. Always. We are always better people because of the love we give and receive. This is also a great quote to incorporate into a moment of silence during your wedding.
“Even after all this time?” “Always.”
Well, yes, there it is, the most popular love quote from the Harry Potter series. Severus could never have Lily, yet he’d do anything for her. Years later, even after her death, he still loves her. It’s what everyone wants to hear! 50 years from now, on your anniversary, isn’t that what you want to hear? It’s what you want to know!
“What’s comin’ will come and we’ll meet it when it does.”
This is my personal favorite. I have no idea what the future will hold but I know we will deal with whatever comes. We really don’t have much of a choice do we? Let’s start out with an attitude that we can take on the world and win!
“We only are as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.”
You definitely want to be working together in your marriage. The Book of Ecclesiastes Chapter 4, Verse 12 that says “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” These two quotes can work very nicely together if you’d like to do the Unity Ceremony of the Chord of Three Strands. You braid 3 chords together. One for each of you and the third being God, at the center of your relationship and the tie that binds you together.
This quote also works well for a wedding vow. “I vow to strive to always be united with you as I know we only are as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.”
“It matters not what someone is born, it’s what they grow to be”
I know that a lot of people get married for all sorts of reasons. Not every wedding is a big ceremony with family and friends. The beginning of your marriage definitely does not dictate what your marriage will become. You can get legally married in a courthouse the night before your health insurance expires. That can help you literally stay healthy throughout your marriage. The actual health of your marriage depends on you. You personally tend to and grow your relationship.
“Indifference and neglect often do more than outright dislike.”
How often do you hear… “We just lost touch with each other. It was like we didn’t know each other anymore.” Take the time to care for each other because you love each other. If it’s important to your spouse, make it a priority to care about it, at least how important it is to them.
“There are some things you can’t share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a 12-foot mountain troll is one of them.”
It’s the challenges that you meet together that makes you stronger. When the two of you are intently focused on the same thing, you connect. Those connections run deep and they carry over into other things.
“Of course it’s happening inside your head, but why on earth should that mean it’s not real?”
Yes, you are in love. You know you are in love. Love is a feeling. It can light you up forever. It might be so wonderful it doesn’t feel real sometimes. But it is. It will manifest itself in all sorts of ways.
“Age is foolish and forgetful when it underestimates youth.”
With all this talk about wisdom and building a strong, lasting marriage don’t forget to be young and foolish. It’s the only way to really have fun and learn anything! This is a quote to remember when parenting as well.
“Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.”
My husband is German. I always say I must have really loved him because I didn’t understand anything he said for the first month we were dating. I just smiled a lot! There were language and cultural barriers but 27 years later we are still going strong! This can be a great quote if you are joining two different cultures together through marriage.
“Time will not slow down when something unpleasant lies ahead.”
The important part is to enjoy those moments. You may be leaving tomorrow for trip to see your mom, a business trip or a military deployment. The love you share before you face the unpleasant will help you get through it.
“The trouble is, humans do have a knack of choosing precisely those things that are worse for them.”
let’s hope it’s not the person you are marrying. This could make you think about a failed marriage and how much better this marriage will because of those lessons learned. This is very common in second marriages.
“I make mistakes like the next man. In fact, being rather cleverer than most men, my mistakes tend to be correspondingly huger.”
The bigger the mistake, the bigger the lesson learned. Remember that we all make mistakes. It’s part of life. Take the fact that we are all human into consideration. Some mistakes really are bigger than other. Maybe someone else would never forgive a mistake that you would. As a married couple you know each other. You know each other’s hearts. It’s your business and no one else’s.
“The mind is a complex and many layered thing, at least most minds are.”
You never know where your thoughts will lead you. Know that your thoughts and feeling do have power. What you think, you become. Relationships are a meeting of the minds – on many levels. Often, it’s best to not overthink things. Talk about it so you know exactly how the other person thinks and feels.
“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury and remedying it.”
Say I love you. A lot. It covers a multitude of things. I know there are times over my marriage where it seemed like we had nothing else to say to each other but “I love you.” We meant it. We know it. If you don’t know what to say, say I love you and mean it. Think before you speak because you can’t unsay something and the words could burn an hole that will forever scar.
“When in doubt, go to the library.”
You can find the answer to just about anything on your phone. Don’t make that an excuse to stay on your phone all the time looking for some answer to your life. Be present and talk to each other. Remember to fact check!
“You are protected, in short, by your ability to love.”
If you are busy loving, you have no time to hate. By consciously engaging in negativity, it grows so be careful not to let hate grow. Don’t give it legs and allow it to take you away. Cultivate love and positivity in all things. It just might save you from a lot of unhappiness.
“I am what I am an I’m not ashamed, Never be ashamed my ol’ dad used to say, “There are some that will hold it against you but they’re not worth bothering with.”
You may be the Joneses everyone is trying to keep up with your you may be trying to keep up with them. You can have a small wedding or a big wedding. You can rent an apartment or buy a big house. You can take a low paying job you love or a high paying job you hate. People will judge you for every single decision you make. Let them. You make your own decisions and you live with them knowing you know what’s best for you. As a married couple, you are in it together, whatever it is. That can be a really great feeling, knowing you are making your decisions together and living them together.
“We must try not to sink beneath our anguish, Harry, but battle on.”
This could be so many things. Fighting the health insurance company for coverage, the school district for help for your special needs child. You may be struggling to conceive, you will face things that hurt and tear you apart. Keep going. Just keep going. Have faith. The solution will come if you allow it to.
“Don’t put your wand there boy!”
I will just leave this one here to allow you to interpret it any way you like…
“Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all those who live without love.”
Marriage is not always a popular choice. The wedding industry makes it into a very pretty package and many people have found that, in reality, it is not. A wedding is a very pretty package but the marriage is intended for life. It’s OK to believe in you, your relationship and your marriage among the jaded and unhappily divorced. Love works for many people, in a very deep and personal way no one else may ever understand. They don’t have to. You do.
“What do I care how he looks? I am good-looking enough for both of us, I theenk! All these scars show is zat my husband is brave!”
I think Fuer said it all here. These days, living with outward physical scars and the bullying and negativity involved is difficult. Those who carry on through it without further scars are, indeed, brave.
“The old argument,” he said softly. “But nothing I have seen in the world has supported your pronouncements that love is more powerful than my kind of magic, Dumbledore.” Voldemort
“Perhaps you have been looking in the wrong places,” suggested Dumbledore.
You will always find love if you try. You have to want to find it.
“When you have seen as much of life as I have, you will not underestimate the power of obsessive love.”
Sometimes you do need a little Amortentia – or love potion. A love potion unity ceremony using this quote to give it meaning is a great idea. It could be as simple as a sand ceremony or perhaps a mixing of a drink and toasting during your wedding.
“All’s fair in love and war,” said Ron brightly, “and this is a bit of both.”
Hopefully this will do with touch football or family game nights.
“Dumbledore would have been happier than anybody to think that there was a little more love in the world.”
This is another great quote that can be used during a moment of silence or a benediction at the end of your wedding ceremony.
“And without thinking, without planning it, without worrying about the fact that fifty people were watching, Harry kissed her.”
“…and then [Ginny] was kissing him as she had never kissed him before, and Harry was kissing her back, and it was blissful oblivion, better than firewhiskey; she was the only real thing in the world.”
This may be a little too much to say after “You may kiss the Bride!” But it really makes a great little reading. It’s short and sweet and says a multitude of things through it’s sentiment.
“Tonks deserves somebody young and whole.” “But she wants you."
Remus and Molly
This is a great quote but you might want to be careful with when you use it. May-December weddings are definitely a thing but you might not want to say it quite like this.
“NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU B*TCH!”
Or my wife, or my husband or my son, for that matter!
“He must have known I’d want to leave you, No, he must have known you would always want to come back.”
Ron and Harry
This. Yes this. Such deep sentiment. Yes, you may run and need your space for a while, but that’s just so you will always come back stronger than ever.
“Harry — you’re a great wizard, you know.”
May you always know that you are magical to me. You do what no one else could do. You’ve melted my heart, made me whole. It was and always will be, magical.
"I’m not as good as you,” said Harry, very embarrassed, as she let go of him."Me!” said Hermione. “Books! And cleverness! There are more important things — friendship and bravery and — oh Harry — be careful!”
You need both in life. It’s is very good to know your own strengths and weaknesses. It’s good to know how the two of you can work together using our strengths and weaknesses in your favor.
“You think I’m a fool?” demanded Harry. "No, I think you’re like James,” said Lupin, “who would have regarded it as the height of dishonor to mistrust his friends.”
You need to believe in each other. But, I question loyalty sometimes, as we all should. Blindly believing is not something I encourage. Having a deep faith in someone built on mutual trust is something I strongly encourage.
“Go on, have a pasty,” said Harry, who had never had anything to share before or, indeed, anyone to share it with. It was a nice feeling, sitting there with Ron, eating their way through all Harry’s pasties, cakes, and candies (the sandwiches lay forgotten)."
Take time to sit and enjoy a meal together. Enjoy each other’s company. This is a great way to dismiss your guests to your reception from your ceremony with humor too!
“We’re with you whatever happens.”
This is a great quote to use during your Declaration of Consent. The two of you declare your consent to legally marry and then you may ask those gathered if they will support and uphold you in your decision to marry. A great response, even from just your wedding party could be this!
You sort of start thinking anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve”
This may have come into play when you asked for your first date or when you accepted your first date. Hopefully by the time you are entering into marriage, it’s less of a case of nerves and more of a nervous excitement.
“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”
In marriage or any important relationship it is important to be honest when you need to be. Love can blind us and it can also give us strength to say the things that need to be said. You are in a unique position to do it lovingly and with evergreen support.
“The truth. It is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution.”
This goes very with the quote above when it comes to marriage. Tell the truth in love. Really look at it from every point of view before you proceed. When we do that we can see the truth more clearly within ourselves too.
“I am not worried, Harry… I am with you.”
This is one of the sweetest thing you could possibly say during your wedding vows! Declaring your complete trust in another human being.
“Fear of a name only increases fear of the thing itself.”
This has nothing to do with marriage but it could be fun when you are pregnant and trying to name your child!
"I think I’ll just go down and have some pudding and wait for it all to turn up — it always does in the end."
A good way to make decisions is on a full stomach. Always. Hangry is never helpful.
“We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.”
Marriage will definitely show us our humanity.
“Dark and difficult times lie ahead. Soon we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.”
Well yes, there will be dark and difficult times ahead. That’s true for life in general. Marriage can help us through those difficult times if we draw from the strength and love that binds us. It’s where traditional wedding vows came from. “For better or worse, in sickness and in health, for richer and poorer.” Those are the things a strong marriage can help us get through and make us better. It’s the point of marriage.
“Then I declare you bonded for life.”
Said by the same “tufty-haired wizard” that married Fleur and Bill. ” I now pronounce you married” is a legal declaration. Being bonded for life is heart and soul.