This same-sex couple wanted to capture the fun and enchantment of “The Princess Bride” and “The Lord of the Rings” in a meaningful ceremony. 75 guests were meant to gather in a clearing in the woods to witness the rite, but rain forced the ceremony into the reception barn.
Flower guy walks down aisle, scattering petals.
Family members escorted down aisle.
Attendants enter in pairs and line up on either side of altar.
Welcome! Please stand if you are able.
Partner 1 comes down aisle escorted by Father, stands center right, Father sits.
Partner 2 comes down aisle escorted by Mother, stands center left, Mother sits.
Create Sacred Space
Please be seated.
Friends and family, it is wonderful to be here with you today. I am Reverend Debbie Philp and I am so happy to be officiating today. Please put your cellphones and other technology away so you can be fully present and allow the photographers and videographer to capture all of the magical moments.
“Marriage is what brings us together today. Marriage, that blessed arrangement, that dream within a dream. And love, true love, will follow you forever, so treasure your love.” I can’t deliver those lines like Peter Cook in “The Princess Bride”, but what deep meaning they have for today. Today let’s treasure the love Partner 2 and Partner 1 have for each other and all of you.
Settle and center now as I invite spirit into this sacred space.
Breathe! Pillar of the Winds, soaring birds in flight, fragrance of a rain-washed spring morning, sparrow, kestrel, and butterfly, bring the rosy dawn. Hail to all new beginnings!
Behold! Pillar of Fire, sun-scorched desert, mountain lion prowling, fierce and ready to leap, high noon of summer heat, lava of the volcano. Hail to all great passions!
Drink! Pillar of the Waters, fishes in rippling schools, vast and endless ocean, salty womb from which we sprang, rushing river, still lake, dolphin leaping with joy, sharks guarding mysterious depths. Hail to all engulfing passions!
Touch! Pillar of Earth, hunting wolf and great bear, high mountain chain, green hills, midnight valley cloaked in snow, solid rock beneath our feet, bones, hard and old. Hail to all firm commitments!
Lovers! You stand at the center of the universe, and all powers are listening to you at this moment, in this sacred space, witnessing this rite.
Welcome and Remembering of Loved Ones
On behalf of Partner 2 and Partner 1, again, welcome, and thank you for being here to witness and support them as they unite in marriage. Partner 2 and Partner 1 wanted nothing more than to celebrate this joyful day with you. Most 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, including names. May their spirits be present in our hearts today.
When we were chatting about creating this ceremony, you put “The Lord of the Rings” among your favorites. There’s something Bilbo Baggins says to Frodo: “You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” You two adventurous beings let yourselves be swept off, from the moment you met at beach volleyball in the Caribbean. You’ve traveled, moved around, explored this world together.
And, like the Hobbits’ shire, you know home. Having a house, and maybe even a farm one day, a place to work together and simply be together, to get your feet underneath you, that’s part of your dream, too. Having already experienced years apart and some of the challenges life can bring, you still choose each other. Your desire is to stay best friends, partners, and continue to wake up every day choosing each other.
Today is a public declaration and celebration of that desire, and the beginning of a deeper commitment to each other. Partner 2 and Partner 1, may you continue to listen and laugh, to support each other. And may you keep stepping onto the road, and let yourselves be swept off into adventures, together.
Declaration of Intent
And so, Partner 2 and Partner 1, if it is your intent to be joined together in marriage, take each other’s hands.
Partner 2 hands bouquet to closest Attendant. Couple faces each other and joins right hands together and left hands together, forming an infinity sign.
Do you, Partner 1, take Partner 2 as your partner and spouse, offering respect, trust, friendship, and love, in good times and in difficult times, as you create your future together?
[Partner 1] I do.
Do you, Partner 2, take Partner 1 as your partner and spouse, offering respect, trust, friendship, and love, in good times and in difficult times, as you create your future together?
[Partner 2] I do.
Partner 2 and Partner 1 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, Partner 2 and Partner 1 symbolize their commitment to journey through life hand-in-hand.
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, cherish you, 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 hold you tight through the years. 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.
Partner 2 and Partner 1, 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 ongoing journey of love.
Partner 2 and Partner 1 will now make their vows to each other.
Couple shares personal 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 the cords until the end or place on the altar if there is one.
Exchange of Rings
May we have the rings, please.
Attendant hands rings to me.
Another wedding symbol is the ring, representing commitment and love that, like a circle, has no beginning and no end. Partner 2 and Partner 1, let these rings that you exchange be an outward sign of your love and remind you always of what you have promised today.
Partner 1, please place this ring on Partner 2’s finger and repeat after me: “Partner 2, I give this ring to you as a sign of my devotion and love.”
Partner 1 repeats
Partner 2, please place this ring on Partner 1’ finger and repeat after me: “Partner 1, I give this ring to you as a sign of my devotion and love.”
Partner 2 repeats.
Sand Unity Ceremony
Partner 2 and Partner 1, today your relationship is also symbolized through the pouring of these containers of sand. Separated, the sands represent places and moments in your lives together.
Partner 2 and Partner 1 turn and walk to altar.
The first container is from the Caribbean, and is sand from the beach where they met.
Second is sand from Partner 2’s family vacation spot.
Next is sand from another beach near Partner 2’s family vacation spot.
Now there is sand from Partner 1’s home and where she proposed.
The fifth container is from where Partner 2 and Partner 1 first lived together.
The next container holds sand from Hawaii, where the couple had their first family vacation with Partner 1’s family.
And finally, sand from the shore of the lake where Partner 2 learned to swim as a child, representing where Partner 2 and Partner 1 live now and bought their first home together.
Partner 2 and Partner 1 together pour each container of sand into the larger one as I announce it.
Just as these grains of sand are now forever combined, inseparable, the places and moments of your lives are now blended. Our hope for you today is for many new special moments together, and that you will be one with each other, forever.
Partner 2 and Partner 1 stay at altar.
There’s something from “A Hobbit’s Tale” I would like to share.
“The greatest adventure is what lies ahead.
Today and tomorrow are yet to be said.
The chances, the changes are all yours to make.
The mold of your life is in your hands to break.”
Pronouncement and Kiss
Partner 2 and Partner 1, you have publicly committed yourselves to each other in marriage. And so, by the power vested in me by the State of New York, it is my joy and privilege to pronounce you married. You may kiss.
You are all invited to walk to the field with the wedding party to be in some special photos of this joyful day.
Partner 2 and Partner 1 go down the aisle, followed by Attendants, pairing up. Parents and family members (whoever is up front) follow after.