Monday, April 4, 2011

One Shell Of A Wedding! : The Ceremony (Part 1)

On behalf of Amanda Rose S. and Brian John V., I welcome you to this formal declaration of their marriage. This service is an expression of their love for each other, their dedication to their families and friends, and their deepest desire for the future that awaits them. 

We are so pleased that they have chosen this spot for their wedding. This chapel has been the keeper of Brown University's spiritual pulse for 176 years. In fact, 35 years ago Amanda's parents, Don and Jane were married here. Thus, it is a privilege for me to welcome you here, and our great pleasure that Amanda and Brian will now join many generations of couples who have exchanged their vows in this holy place.

(Nancy) Who gives this woman in Holy Matrimony? (Papa Seashell) Her Mother and I do.

Dearly Beloved, love has gathered us here today in the presence of God to witness the joining together of this man and this woman. We are here to celebrate the love that Amanda and Brian have for each other as well as the love that each of you have given them throughout their lives.

As family and friends, it is You who have taught Amanda and Brian how to love. You have shown them the blessings that come through loving one another. We are now gathered to support them as they embark upon their voyage of discovery as husband and wife.

We are here to bless them on this journey. Marriage is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently and deliberately. Let us now share in the joy of their union.

As mentioned, Amanda's parents, Don and Jane were married in this chapel 35 years ago and Brian's parents John and Justine were also married 35 years ago.
(Nancy calls our parents to the altar, and invites the guests to clap in recognition. Crowd erupts in loud cheers and clapping.)


We all know we do not arrive to these places alone. Brian and Amanda have honored their parents for being, as Amanda said to me, "a shining example of what marriage is". Today, we come to this occasion not only in thanksgiving for this wonderful couple but also in appreciation for Brian's mother, Justine. As many of you know, Justine passed away last month after a valiant battle with cancer. She had so anticipated this wedding and was deeply involved with the plans for this day. It is our greatest sorrow, along with Brian and Amanda and Brian's father, John that she is not with us in physical presence today. But our love for her and our faith tells us that Justine's spirit is among us today.

(Acknowledgement of other passed loved ones.)

In honor of Justine, Jane will offer a blessing.

"Now as you join your life together, intertwining your pasts, weaving them into one future, may the texture be especially strong and may the pattern be especially beautiful." (Brian's mom was an artist and clothing designer.)

Declaration of Intent

Amanda and Brian, you stand before each other to declare your union.  You will look to each other for gentleness, support, encouragement, and understanding. Today, before these witnesses - your family and friends - you commit always to bear with each others vulnerabilities and worries, even as you take delight in each others strengths, successes, and glories.

Your intentions for your life together and the promises you make before us are a testimony to your enduring spirits. You have not come to this place lightly, but you commit to this action of love with profound generosity and mutual respect. On behalf of those gathered here, we thank you for embracing in this moment. 

"Will you have Amanda/Brian to be your wife/husband, to care tenderly for her/him, to respect his individuality, to cherish him as he is, and to love him with enduring faithfulness?" "I will".


The couple have chosen for their wedding two readings of meaning to them and they have asked each of their godmothers to present these to you.

"I Carry Your Heart" ee cummings

 "Blessing for a Marriage" James Dillet Freeman

I am honored to introduce Joseph P., Amanda's uncle, who has written today's homily.

(As much as I would love to share each and every beautiful word my Uncle Joey wrote for us, the three pages of text seem like a lot to share. But there was laughter, and tears.)

" is worth remembering, Amanda and Brian, as you cultivate this love and joy inside yourselves, that the idea and ideal you hold for one another, can help you become as perfect as the "other" sees you. Live well. Make each precious moment eternal, and find everywhere the joy that is there for the taking."

Ring Passing

We invite you now to join in a special moment of blessing for Brian and Amanda. From the moment of our first meeting, Amanda and Brian have remarked on their love and devotion to family and friends. It is true - their wedding is an affirmation of their union. But they believe deeply that they are a reflection of the love you each have poured out on them throughout their lives. Thus, it is an affirmation of you as well. They have asked you to affirm their union through your blessing of their wedding bands. With the physical blessing by this entire congregation, Amanda and Brian will recall each day of their lives your presence at their wedding, your meaning in their lives, and your encircling love for them.

Once our rings were blessed by all in attendance and made their way to the front, it was time for our vows. Up next!

{All photos from the fabulous Blink of an Eye Photography unless otherwise noted}

Previously in the Seashell Wedding:


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