Although I wouldn’t especially recommend an outdoor venue for a July wedding in Perth, Vanessa and Mike were very clear that if necessary, they would have their wedding ceremony under a large umbrella… And as luck would have it, the weather smiled upon their wedding day. 🙂
The dark clouds cleared mid-morning and by the time everyone gathered in the park at Harold Boas Gardens, you couldn’t have wished for a sunnier winter day to get married on..
This lovely couple confided in me that they were very happy to have found me as they really wanted a marriage celebrant who would fit comfortably with their leftie political leanings. They told me that they had been at a friends wedding not long before where the celebrant had been asked to inform the guests that the bride and groom looked forward to a day when marriage would be legally available to all adult couples in Australia, not only the hetero-sexual ones, and that they would like something similar said in their own marriage ceremony.
MARRIAGE CEREMONY OUTLINE
Ishara: Please gather around, the ceremony is about to begin.
But first, some music to set the scene…
Music Etta James. At last. Plays then fades out (Ben will cue the
Ishara: Welcome, family and friends, to this auspicious occasion! My name is Catherine Ishara de Garis – Ishara for short – and it is my pleasure and privilege to be the celebrant for today’s marriage ceremony.
This is a very special day for Mike and Vanessa. It represents a deepening of the
relationship that has grown between them since first they met – in the Funk Club at the Rosemount Hotel almost one year ago.
From the beginning of time, human beings have come together in circles of community to
celebrate significant moments in our individual and shared lives. A ceremony, like this one, is a special kind of celebration. It offers us an invitation to pause and reflect upon the things which make life meaningful – our values, our hopes and dreams for ourselves and the ones we love. Today’s ceremony is intended to join Vanessa and Mike in the intimate union of
marriage: to affirm the bond of love that has grown between them and seal the
public commitment that they will be making to each other today.
Today you will hear Vanessa and Mike make promises to love and care for each other as
husband and wife. You will witness these promises sealed by the exchanging of rings, the signing of the certificates and by their first married kiss. At the conclusion of today’s ceremony Vanessa and Mike are inviting you to share a toast with them here and then to all join them at The Brisbane for a celebration.
Honouring the Land
Ishara: Here we are, in Harold Boas Gardens, on a fine Saturday in July. Take in the people, the grass, the trees… Mike and Vanessa would like to begin today’s ceremony by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land and the significance of preserving this unique environment that we live in.
Remembrance of Absent Family & Friends
Ishara: A wedding is very much about family. Sadly, there are some special members of Vanessa and Mike’s family who cannot be with us today. In particular:-
- Mike’s family in America and England … who live too far away to get here at short notice for this wedding ceremony
- Mike’s parents: His father who passed when he was very young and his mother, who passed away in 2003. She always used to point to the three wedding photos above the piano and say ‘There’s space for another one up there”. Also Loving thoughts for his Uncle, Auntie and his Granddad.
- Vanessa’s grandfather, who was a very old school gentleman who loved babies and weddings, and who, if he still lived, would have been delighted to be here today to witness his granddaughter’s marriage.
A Short Address by Vanessa’s friend Tennille (composed by her for the occasion):
The Meaning of Marriage
Reading: “Marriage is…” by Barbara Cage – read by Michelle
Ishara: As a civil celebrant, I am duly authorised to solemnise marriages according to law.
Vanessa and Mike, before you are joined in marriage in my presence and in the presence of these witnesses, I am to remind you of the solemn and binding nature of the relationship into which you are now about to enter. Marriage according to the law in Australia is the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others voluntarily entered into for life.
This is the strictly legal definition of marriage. However marriage is the commitment of two adults to love each other enough to publicly commit themselves, in front of the people who matter most in their lives. In the face of an unseen and uncertain future marriage is and has always been, a very brave and bold act. The choice that both of you have made – to stand here today and publicly make these promises to each other – holds the potential deepen your relationship in ways that are both subtle and profound. It gives a new status to your relationship in the eyes of the community and the law. I know that this is a privilege and right that the two of you would like to see extended to all Australian couples who desire it, regardless of gender and sexual preference.
Yet powerful as this act is, we all know that getting married is not enough to guarantee a long and happy future for your relationship. In many ways, the act of getting married is more than anything an acknowledgement that your individual lives have become so intertwined that henceforth whatever choices you may make as individuals – the small daily choices as well as the more obvious life-changing decisions – will inevitably impact on your partner, for better or worse. And so the challenge is to continue to make careful and loving decisions in the way you live your life together, day by day, month by month, year by year, for the rest of your lives.
Ishara: The covenant of marriage is one that can be entered into only by persons who are both legally and spiritually free to offer themselves to one another. Mike, do you come of your free will and with a conscious desire to be united in marriage with Vanessa?”
Mike: I do.
Ishara: Vanessa, do you come of your free will and with a conscious desire to be united in marriage with Mike?
Vanessa: I do.
Ishara: Then I ask you now to turn and face each other and take hands…
Blessing of the hands (revised by Rev. Daniel L. Harris) read by Bonnie Campbell
Ishara: Mike, I believe you have some important things you want to say to Vanessa… (I will prompt you as needed)
Mike: Vanessa I love you so much. I am so happy that you came into my life.
I’ll be there to share your smiles and laughter and to comfort and catch you when you fall.
You’re my best friend and I promise you my love for all of my life.
Ishara: And now it is your turn Vanessa…
Vanessa: Mike I’m so glad that I met you that night at the Funk Club, it was so much fun riding the bikes around Northbridge together. Since getting to know you better I realised that you weren’t just the funniest person I’d met, but that you’re also incredibly caring and generous. These were just a few of things which made me fall in love with you. Of course there was also your music taste. Mike, I promise to always try to be a better person so that we can grow and become even better together. I promise to be honest and to trust you, and I promise to always love you and care for you.
Ishara: Mike and Vanessa, in the presence of these witnesses, I ask you now to formally claim each other as husband and wife.
Vanessa: I call upon the people present here to witness that I, V.E.R, do take you, M.J.T., to be my lawful wedded husband.
Mike: I call upon the people present here to witness that I, M.J.T., do take you, V.E.R, to be my lawful wedded wife.
Exchange of Rings
Ishara: Do we have the rings?
Rings are brought forward by John
Vanessa: With this ring I offer myself into your loving care.
Mike: With the receiving of this ring I accept you as my wedded wife
Mike: With this ring I offer myself into your loving care.
Vanessa: With the receiving of this ring I accept you as my wedded husband
Signing the Certificates
Ishara (to the guests): The signing of the certificates is the next important part of today’s proceedings. If I can please ask you all to remain in place patiently for a few minutes, we will play some music that Mike and Vanessa have selected while Mike and Vanessa and their two witnesses are signing the marriage certificates. Then we will rejoin you for a poem and a few words of blessing, before concluding the ceremony with the wedding toast.
Music plays whilst the celebrant, bride and groom, and two witnesses sign the certificates. ‘All you need is love’ by The Beatles
Ishara: Thank you very much for your attention and your patience
Pronouncement (Kiss to seal the marriage)
(To the couple) Vanessa and Mike, as you have consented together in lawful marriage in the presence of these witnesses and by the giving and receiving of these rings, I now declare you to be husband and wife. On behalf of all present, may I wish you a long and contented life together, one which will be fruitful for both of you and bring many blessings to your circle of family and community.
You may now seal your marriage with a kiss.
Conclusion and Wedding toast
Ishara (to the guests): In just a few more minutes you will have your opportunity to offer your personal congratulations to the newly weds.
But first, John would like to propose a toast. Can you please ensure that everyone has a glass in their hands?
John proposes the toast
End of Ceremony.