Wedding Wednesday – The Ceremony II

The Ceremony, part two starts with a tradition that Sue suggested and we both loved…  It was based on a tradition called “European hand fasting” or something like that, which sounds a little scary, but don’t worry, it’s actually really sweet.  The rest of the ceremony is the stuff you’re expecting to see, and it was perfect.  Absolutely perfect.

Here’s the rest of our wedding, in Sue’s lovely words:

Brian, please put both your hands out in front of you, palms up, facing Natalie, forming your hands into cups.  Natalie, would you please place your hands within Brian’s hands, palms up also, letting him hold your hands in his.

Brian, please look at the hands you hold.

Brian, these are the hands that will wear your wedding ring with pride & with joy. These are the hands that will gesture with excitement over something she’s done or seen, eager to share it with you, hoping you’ll be as happy about the experience as she is. These are the hands that you’ll watch carefully, because she’s so highly experienced at talking people into giving her money. These are the hands that will comfort you just by resting softly on the small of your back, letting you know she’s there & everything will be all right. These are the hands that will stroke your hair & let you know how thrilled she is that you are her husband forever.

These are the hands that will rock your children, zip up their jackets when it’s chilly & push the hair off their foreheads when they’re too warm. These are the hands that will reach out for yours whenever, without your even asking, you would appreciate assurance from the one you completely love. And these are the hands whose fingertips will touch your face with love, whether in actuality or with words, every single night for the rest of your life.

Brian, would you please now rest your hands in Natalie’s hands?

Natalie, these are the hands that will protect you for the rest of your life—whether or not you need protecting…  These are the hands that will wear your wedding ring with honor.  These are the hands that will teach your children to throw a baseball, sketch a portrait, or swing a golf club—preferably not in the house.  These are the hands that will probably continue to blog, long after Tommy John surgery has been relegated to an answer in Trivial Pursuit.  These are the hands that will calm you, soothe you, caress you, let you know that he’s thrilled that you’re his wife.  These are the hands that can point to virtually any town on a United States map & tell you the best place to go for truly unhealthy food.  These are the hands that will use Google to find the most wonderful places for you to spend the holidays in the mountains.  And these are the hands you’ll squeeze before you go to sleep, whether in actuality or with words, every single night for the rest of your life.

Well, hundreds of years ago, that’s all it took—you were married.  Today, though, you have to exchange rings & vows—so may I have the rings, please?

Who has the honor of presenting this woman in marriage to this man? (her parents say “we do”).  Congratulations! May I have your blessing to continue with the exchange of rings & vows? (yes) Thank you; that was the right answer.

Natalie, would you please place the chosen ring on Brian’s left ring finger, & repeat after me with all the love in your heart:

Brian, I love you.  Today I give myself to you in marriage.  I promise to encourage & inspire you, to laugh with you &, in times of sorrow or struggle, to comfort you. I promise to love you in times that are easy & those that are a challenge. I promise to cherish you, & to always hold you in the highest regard. These things I give to you today & all the days of our life. I am blessed to be called your wife.

Brian, would you please place the chosen ring on Natalie’s left ring finger, & repeat after me with all the love in your heart:

Natalie, I love you. Today I give myself to you in marriage.  I promise to encourage & inspire you, to laugh with you &, in times of sorrow or struggle, to comfort you. I promise to love you in times that are easy & those that are a challenge. I promise to cherish you, & to always hold you in the highest regard. These things I give to you today & all the days of our life. I am blessed to be called your husband.

Brian, do you swear that the vows you have spoken to Natalie honestly reflect your promises to her, & that you willingly take her to be your lawfully wedded wife? (I do)

Natalie, do you swear that the vows you have spoken to Brian honestly reflect your promises to him, & that you willingly take him to be your lawfully wedded husband?  (I do)

Natalie & Brian, by the fact that you have exchanged both rings & vows, by the clear integrity of your commitment to each other & by the rights granted to me by the State of North Carolina, it is my enormous honor to declare that you are now husband & wife!

Brian, you may kiss your bride!

Friends and family, it is my enormous honor & joy to present to you united as husband & wife:

Oh man, I get all smiley just thinking about it all!  It was so special and so us… thanks, Sue!!

{All pictures by the most wonderful Angela Stott and the ceremony was by the eloquent and funny Sue Kennedy, edited above by me, just because it would have been suuuuper long}

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