The couple celebrated their 25th anniversary by renewing their vows at a park overlooking a lake, witnessed by some family and friends. Everyone wore casual clothes and enjoyed the summer day by the lake.
Group gathers in designated spot.
Bride and Groom, it’s a pleasure to share today’s very special occasion with you, your daughter, and your loved ones who have gathered to witness this renewal of vows. It’s a joyful celebration that I know you wished you could have shared with names. Although they have passed on, their spirit is with you today as it has been every day of your lives together.
To begin, I invite you to please join me in prayer.
Beloved God, our hearts are filled with great happiness as Bride and Groom renew their marriage vows and reaffirm their love for one another. Grant that they may always be true and loving and live together with kindness and understanding. Help them to remember to be each other’s helpmate, friend, and guide, so that together they may continue to meet the cares and problems of life bravely. And with the passage of time, may they find even greater contentment and joy in their companionship. Bless this marriage and hold Groom and Bride in your care throughout their lives together. Amen.
When I asked you why you chose this place to renew your vows, you shared a story of stopping to see Groom’s family’s camp here on your way to Vermont, a trip you were making after you, Bride, had just had your second battle with cancer, and falling in love with the place. But that was just one trip you made together, and as we talked, you shared many of your adventures and misadventures which began when Bride didn’t show up for the community college class on the night that Groom had conspired with the professor to incorporate his proposal into class. But Groom didn’t give up on you then, nor did he leave your side when you were ill. With his parents’ help, Groom did everything he could to help you get well.
This love, this marriage, is a commitment that has endured for 25 years. I was reminded of a poem by the contemporary poet and novelist Louis de Bernieres.
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 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.
Those that truly love, have roots that grow towards each other underground,
and when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from their branches,
they find that they are one tree and not two.
Whether you were boating on the lake, hiking, or hanging on while a taxi driver sped through Rome, you have made a life together that is full of fun and adventure. 25 years ago, when you promised to love, honor, and cherish each other and stay true to each other in marriage, you didn’t know what was ahead. Life has brought you wonderful blessings and difficult challenges over the years, but here you are today, together, one tree, not two.
Bride and Groom, as you celebrate here today, and as you reflect on your years as husband and wife, do you now wish to reaffirm the vows you took 25 years ago?
[Both] We do.
Please face each other and join hands.
Now that you have declared your intention, I invite you to share your vows with one another.
Groom shares his vows.
Bride shares her vows.
Performed by musician.
Bride and Groom asked me to share these verses from First Corinthians chapter 13.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor, and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Groom and Bride, you have renewed the promises you made to each other 25 years ago. You have symbolized the renewal of the marriage union by the joining of hands and the saying of vows. I would like to share now the Shehechenyanu blessing for special occasions from the Jewish tradition, in honor of Bride’s mother’s heritage and a reflection of the blessing offered on your wedding day.
Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Spirit of Expanded Consciousness, who has given us life, sustained us, allowed us to come together at this special time, and brought us in health and joy to celebrate this day.
It is with pleasure that I conclude the ceremony of renewing the vows of marriage that joined you and bind you as husband and wife. Please celebrate with a kiss!
Performed by musician.