Today is a celebration. A celebration of love, of commitment, of friendship, of family, and of two people who are in it for forever. You don't have to have a ceremony to have a marriage. And when you think about it, the whole thing is kind of weird, right? You're standing on a stage, looking fancy, holding flowers, and being stared at by pretty much everyone who has meant anything to you in the past twenty-something years. So why do we do it? The marriage ceremony has been an important feature across nearly every culture, religion, generation, and society. We have thousands of important moments that happen throughout our lives, but this one is regarded as one so critical, we acknowledge its special status by sharing it with others.
Why this moment? Why does this one matter beyond all the rest?
Because despite all of our differences, love is what we all share. It's the great unifier — our one universal truth. That no matter who we are, where we've come from, what we believe, we know this one thing: love is what we're doing right. That's why you both are standing here. That's why you all are here to watch them stand up here. We have all loved in our lifetimes, and in this moment, we're reminded that the ability to love is the very best part of our humanity.
All of us here today have our own love stories. Some are short, others long. Some are yet unwritten, while others are just getting to the good part. There are chapters in all of our stories that are sad or disappointing — and others that are exciting and full of adventure.
Kathie and Karen have a small-town salesman to thank for bringing them together. The salesman thought Kathie would be a great fit for a job and told her to apply right away. When Karen interviewed Kathie that same day, she also thought Kathie was perfect for the job and hired her immediately. As they worked together in the same office, they realized they had a lot more in common than just a job. They loved being outside, hiking and exploring, and they enjoyed shopping, going to movies, and watching local and college sports together. So they started off on their relationship, adopted a cat, and started a small business. Then there was a graduation, a move to Tampa, Florida, a move back to Indianapolis, Indiana, a purchase of a first home, an adoption of a black lab puppy, and then a second black lab. And shortly after 9/11, with the help of their best friends, Karen surprised Kathie with a rose-pedaled, candlelight proposal. It took Kathie only 18 years to say yes.
And that brings them here. A time to pause, look back, and smile at all the moments that brought them here. And a time to look ahead at all the moments that are still to come.
I'm here — we're all here — because we want those moments for you. We're here to hope with you, to support you, to be proud of you, and to remind you that love isn't happily ever after, love is the experience of writing your story. It's not one moment — not even this moment. It's every moment. Big ones like saying "I love you," moving in together, getting engaged — but mostly a million little ones that come in between the big moments. Falling asleep next to one another, making dinner together, spending holidays with your families, binge-watching Netflix shows, getting a big hug when you get home from work… These everyday moments fuse together into one big experience.
And even though this experience is so incredible, words fail us when we try and explain it. That's just the way it is with love — it's meant to be felt, not described.
But trying to describe love is one of our favorite pastimes. We use the words we have to write stories, and poems, and songs about love. And even though we describe love in different ways — and even though love can look different from one person to the next — we all know it when we see it. And we see it here.
You fell in love by chance, but you're here today because you're making a choice. You are both choosing each other. You've chosen to be with someone who enhances you, who makes you think, makes you smile, and makes every day brighter.
You're about to make promises to each other that you intend to keep. You're going to vow to take care of each other, to stand up for one another, and find happiness in the other. There's a simple premise to each of these promises: you're vowing to be there. You're teaming up and saying to the other, "Every experience I am going to have, I want you to be a part of."
Now, a brief excerpt from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernières
“Love is a temporary madness; it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion… That is just being ‘in love’, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom had fallen from our branches, we found that we were one tree and not two.”
Will you, Kathie, keep Karen as your person — to laugh with her, go on adventures with her, support her through life's tough moments, be proud of her, grow old with her, and find new reasons to love her every day?
Kathie: I will.
Will you, Karen, keep Kathie as your person — to laugh with her, go on adventures with her, support her through life's tough moments, be proud of her, grow old with her, and find new reasons to love her every day?
Karen: I will.
Will you both be each other's partners from this day forward? Will you bring out the best in one another, share your happiest moments together, and love each other absolutely — for the rest of this lifetime and for whatever may come next?
Both: We will.
May we have the rings please…
For generations the passage of two people into the state of marriage has been marked by the exchange of rings. Rings hold deep symbolic meaning. The circle is an ancient symbol representing notions of totality, wholeness, perfection, and the infinite. It implies an idea of movement, and symbolizes the cycle of time. It symbolizes both the potential and the completion, the eternal cycle of life.
Even as these circles, these rings, hold universal significance, they are also personally significant to these two here today. They are a constant reminder of the bond between two lives. A visible, tangible symbol of their commitment to each other. Let these rings be a sign that love has substance as well as soul, a present as well as a past, and that this person has been chosen, this person walks not alone through life.
Please take a moment to exchange rings.
May your marriage bring you all the exquisite excitement a marriage should bring. May your home be filled with laughter and the warm embrace of a summer’s day. May you find peacefulness and beauty, challenge and satisfaction, humor and insight, healing and renewal, love and wisdom, as in a quiet heart. May you always feel that what you have is enough.
By the power vested in me by the state of Indiana I now pronounce you Wife and Wife!
You may kiss your bride!! Kathie and Karen are Married!
As a wedding officiant, I want every couple to the the wedding ceremony they want. Since I started giving couples tools to create their own ceremonies I haven't performed the same ceremony twice. Here are some of the ceremonies.
Rachel and Dominic's Traditional Wedding Ceremony Script with a Prayer from Grandpa. Valle Vista, Greenwood, IN
DaWonda and Dorothy's Same-Sex Christian Wedding Ceremony Script. Featuring a Unity Candle of Remembrance, Family Sand Ceremony and Jumping the Broom!
LaKieta And Josh's Wedding Ceremony Script. Wood Burning Unity Ceremony. Falls Park Gazebo, Pendleton, IN.