Dear family and friends---
We are gathered here to witness the wedding of Susan Elizabeth McKowen and Alan Carl Nicoll, and to celebrate with them the joy and happiness of this day. My name is Lisa Jo Corbin-Singletary. I have the privilege and pleasure of performing this wedding.
Alan and Susan first met just ten months ago, but they knew from the beginning that they were right for each other. In the time since that meeting their love and respect for each other have grown, and they are now prepared to make a public declaration of their commitment to each other. They feel that they are not entering into this commitment unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, discreetly, and soberly.
It is a crowning moment in life when two individuals, who were strangers to one another, are drawn together so that their bond cannot thereafter be broken; when each finds with the other the rest and satisfaction his heart has been seeking.
As Gen Rader says about true love,
It gives but makes no demands.
It is kind but not selfish.
It trusts and does not question.
It embraces but never clutches.
It is faithful but not dependent.
It is generous without reservation and never restricts.
Love can become stronger only when each partner supplies the tenderness, consideration, and respect which allow it to grow. Love is constant. As Shakespeare said,
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove;
O, no! it is an ever-fixèd mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although its height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
The richness of a true marriage, its real binding qualities, rest in the sincerity of purpose, the warmth and radiance which each partner brings to the other.
The sharing of one's life with another is by no means a giving-up process, but is rather an adding-to experience: an expansion of horizons encircled by the bond of mutual caring. In a happy marriage this circle is not a prison, but a haven--of love, affection, intimacy, and security. Each partner draws sustenance from the other. Instead of facing decisions, problems, or beauty alone, there is now a companion, friend, and lover who can be relied upon to understand. A companion to whom one may talk seriously and from the heart, without fear of ridicule or disparagement. Each in the other finds contentment and delight.
But, as Kahlil Gibran said,
Love one another, but make not a bond of love.
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.
True marriage is a cooperative venture in every sense. It is a relationship based on love, respect, equality, and a determination on the part of both husband and wife to adjust to each other's temperaments and moods--in health or sickness, joy or sadness, ease or hardship.
The marriage of Alan and Susan means the creation of a new home and a new family. In an age when traditional values have been abandoned by many, it becomes all the more important to recognize the significance of devoted and affectionate family life.
Treat yourselves and each other with respect, and remind yourselves often of what brought you together. When frustration, difficulty, and fear assail your relationship, remember to focus on what is right between you. If each of you takes total responsibility for the quality of your life together, it will be marked by abundance and delight.
May you have a lasting love and the joy of sharing; a life filled with books, poetry, and music; a life of serenity, exuberance, and beauty; a life blessed with good health and good fortune; a life of fulfillment that you may accomplish all that you desire. May you find the strength to live your lives with laughter and dignity. May you find patience in time of stress, strength in time of weakness, courage in time of discouragement, and vision in time of doubt.
[hand off bouquet, get rings, hold hands]
Traditionally, passage to the status of husband and wife is marked by the exchange of rings. These rings are a symbol of eternal love. May these rings remind you always of the vows you have taken here today.
Alan, repeat after me:
I, Alan, take you, Susan, to be my wife, and in so doing commit my life to you. A commitment made in love, kept in faith, lived in hope, and each day made new.
[Susan, I offer you this ring.]
Susan, repeat after me:
I, Susan, take you, Alan, to be my husband, and in so doing commit my life to you. A commitment made in love, kept in faith, lived in hope, and each day made new.
[Alan, I offer you this ring.]
Alan, do you take this woman to be your wedded wife, to share your life with her, and do you pledge that you will love, honor, and tenderly care for her in all the varying circumstances of your lives?
Susan, do you take this man to be your wedded husband, to share your life with him, and do you pledge that you will love, honor, and tenderly care for him in all the varying circumstances of your lives?
Inasmuch as Alan and Susan have consented together in this ceremony to live in wedlock and have witnessed their vows in the presence of this company, by the giving and receiving of rings, it gives me great pleasure to now pronounce that they are husband and wife.
And so we bring to a close what Shakespeare called:
A contract of eternal bond of love,
Confirm'd by mutual joinder of your hands,
Attested by the holy close of lips,
Strength'ned by interchangement of your rings,
And all the ceremony of this compact
Seal'd in my function, by my testimony
We who are here present, and those who are absent, thinking of these two people, hope that the inspiration of this hour will endure. May you continue to love one another always. Remember this day and this moment.
Alan and Susan, you may now kiss!