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Interfaith and Nature-Based

Earthy Religious Ceremony with Handfasting

By November 18, 2023January 15th, 2024No Comments

This ceremony, held in a park, honored the couple’s Protestant and Catholic upbringings with their deep connection to nature. The couple included several family members in their Christian ceremony that included a handfasting.

Ceremony Script

Private Purification Ceremony  12:45pm
As guests are arriving, Bride, Groom, Maid of Honor and Best Man gather in park pavilion with officiant to sign marriage license. Then offered a simple, silent smudging of the Bride and Groom to energetically clear them and the space for the ceremony.

30 minutes of music as guests arrive and are seated and/or find places to stand.

Welcome! Please stand if you are able.
Groomsmen walk down aisle.
Best man walks down aisle.
Groom’ mom escorts him down the aisle and stays with him.
Bridesmaids walk down the aisle.
Maid of honor walks down the aisle.
Bride’s dad escorts her down the aisle.
Mom and Dad bring Bride and Groom’ hands together, may offer a quiet blessing. When Bride and Groom are holding hands Mom and Dad take their seats.

Create Sacred Space
Please be seated. Friends and family, it is wonderful to be here with you today. My name is Reverend Debbie Philp. I’m so happy to be officiating today. Please put your cellphones and other technology away so you can be fully present and allow the photographer to capture all the magical moments.

Bride and Groom feel deeply connected to this park and would like to welcome the land to be part of their wedding ceremony. Please take a moment to look around and become present to the beauty of this place and to the fondness you feel for Bride and Groom. We acknowledge that this land was traveled by the Mohawk people long before colonization, and 400 years ago they walked what is now known as the Indian Ladder Trail. Take a breath with that history as we settle into this sacred space.

Welcome and Remembering of Loved Ones
On behalf of Bride and Groom, again, welcome, and thank you for being here to witness and support them as they unite in marriage. Bride and Groom wanted nothing more than to celebrate this joyful day with you. Some of you have traveled far to be here and we are delighted you could.

Not everyone invited could be with us today, but we feel the presence of those who are absent. Our thoughts are also with loved ones who have passed on and could not be here, including names. May their spirits grace our hearts today and, Bride and Groom, may you feel their presence every day of your marriage.

Bride and Groom have chosen a poem by the 15th century author Thomas à Kempis called “Love is a Mighty Power” to be shared at this time. I invite grandmothers Grandma 1 and Grandma 2 to come forward.
Grandma 1 and Grandma 2 read poem, alternating stanzas.
Readers return to their seats.

Wedding Address
Love flies, runs, and leaps for joy on days like today, when two wonderful people declare their love for one another and commit to each other in marriage. But you, Bride and Groom, know well that this wedding ceremony is just the beginning of a journey, an adventure you will undertake hand in hand.

Was this day destined? It seems that love was conspiring to bring you two together, from the day you met in class, to student teaching together, finding friendship from which romance was born. But something I admire in both of you is an unwillingness to leave your love to fate alone. From your first date under the supermoon in this very park, you have consciously and intentionally done the work of creating a love that is a mighty power, able to bear every hardship.

And you have already met hardship – times when you felt helpless, times when worry threatened to break you – yet you weathered those times as you two together will continue to meet the challenges that will surely come, with courage, trust, and acceptance, and a willingness to be superheroes for each other, each in your own ways, and to use what is different about each of you to support the other.

Bride and Groom, let your marriage be a journey with love, walked hand-in-hand. Together, within the family you are creating, may you find your greatest purpose and your deepest peace.

Declaration of Intent
And so, Bride and Groom, if it is your intent to be joined together in marriage, take each other’s hands.
Bride hands bouquet to Maid of Honor. Couple faces each other and joins right hands together and left hands together, forming an infinity sign.

Do you, Groom, take Bride as your wife, and do you promise your friendship and love, in good times and in difficult times, from this day forth?
[Groom] I do.

Do you, Bride, take Groom as your husband, and do you promise your friendship and love, in good times and in difficult times, from this day forth?
[Bride] I do.
Bride and Groom continue to hold hands for the handfasting.

In a wedding, symbols are important and helpful, because they serve as a powerful reminder of this time and place, the feelings shared, and the promises made, when the memories of those start to fade over time. Handfasting is a symbol like this. It is one of the world’s oldest wedding traditions. In fastening their hands together, Bride and Groom symbolize their commitment to journey through life hand-in-hand. With the wrapping of each cord, Bride and Groom deepen their commitment to each other.

Our couple has asked some special people in their lives to present the cords.

Person 1 comes forward with the cord and lays it over their joined hands with the ends hanging.
[Person 1] These are the hands of your best friend, full of love for you. These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future.
Person 1 sits.

Person 2 comes forward with the cord and lays it over their joined hands with the ends hanging.
[Person 2] These are the hands that will love you and cherish you through the years, and comfort you like no other. These are the hands that will wipe tears from your eyes, tears of sorrow and tears of joy.
Person 2 sits.

Person 3 comes forward with the cord and lays it over their joined hands with the ends hanging.
[Person 3] These are the hands that will tenderly hold your children, the hands that will help you to hold your family as one. And these are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours.
Person 3 sits.

I tie the cords so they will tighten into an infinity knot when hands released.
Bride and Groom, as I fasten your hands together and tie the knot, I invite you to reflect on the joy and responsibility that awaits you. From today, you are bound together as lifelong partners in this adventure of love and marriage.

Bride and Groom will now make their vows to each other.
Hands stay bound. I will hold a printed copy of the vows for each so can be read if necessary.

Groom, I invite you to speak your vows to Bride.
Groom reads personalized vows.

Bride, I now invite you to speak your vows to Groom.
Bride reads personalized vows.

I will hold the ends of the cords and tighten the knot as you remove your hands.
May you keep these knotted cords as a visible reminder of your promises to one another.
I will hold cords or place tied cords on altar if we have one.

Exchange of Rings
May we have the rings, please.
Best man hands rings to officiant

Another wedding symbol is the ring, representing commitment and love that, like a circle, has no beginning and no end. Bride and Groom, let these rings that you exchange be an outward sign of your love and remind you always of what you have promised today.

Holding rings in my hand.
Loving God, bless these rings and the two who exchange them. Let the rings be a constant remind of Bride and Groom’ endless love and acceptance of each other. Keep them safe in the circle of Your protection and love. Amen.

Groom, please place this ring on Bride’s finger and repeat after me: “Bride, I give this ring to you as a sign of my devotion and love.”
Groom repeats

Bride, please place this ring on Groom’ finger and repeat after me: “Groom, I give this ring to you as a sign of my devotion and love.”
Bride repeats

Promise of Support
Friends, loved ones, you have heard Bride and Groom’ vows to each other. They ask you now for your promise to be there for them by responding “we will” to this question. Will you love and encourage them, offer them your guidance, and support them in keeping the promises they made?
[Guests] We will.

Let us pray.

Eternal God of loving devotion, as Bride and Groom begin their lives together, we ask you to take them into your hands. Help them to keep firm in the commitments they are making. Guide them as they become a family, and as they each grow and change through the years. Give them the wisdom and devotion to endure through the difficulties of life. Bless them in their work and in their companionship; in their joys and in their sorrows; in their life and in their marriage. Keep their love strong until the end. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Pronouncement and Kiss
Bride and Groom, you have committed yourselves to each other in marriage, and sealed your promises with the fastening of hands and the giving of rings. And so, with the power vested in me by the State of the New York, it is my joy and privilege to pronounce you husband and wife.

You may kiss the bride.

Bride and Groom go down the aisle, followed by Maid of Honor and Best Man, then bridesmaids and groomsmen. Parents and family members (whoever is up front) follow after.


See more ceremonies by Rev. Debbie Philp