Vancouver Officiant Blog


9 Places to Look for the Perfect Ceremony Passages

Your Own Story

Before delving into the wide world of possible readings, look to your own backgrounds and relationship first. Remember the time your fiance gave you a Pablo Neruda book for your birthday? Or did you meet in English class and read Pride and Prejudice together? Or maybe a Stevie Wonder song was playing in the restaurant when he proposed? Do some reminiscing -- the perfect passage might be right in front of you.


Scripture and Cultural Texts

Feel free to use ethnic or cultural readings that don't necessarily reflect your backgrounds -- what's important is that the words resonate with you. Some places to start: theDhammapada (Buddhist), the Song of Songs (Jewish), the Bible (Christian) and the I Ching(Chinese). Just make sure to explain the reading's source in the introduction or in your ceremony programs. And keep in mind that if you're having a religious ceremony, there may be certain requirements about or restrictions on what can be read.


Classic Poetry

Poems were practically made for wedding ceremonies, from Shakespeare's love sonnets and Elizabeth Barrett Browning's romantic verses to the works of more modern scribes like E.E. CummingsMaya AngelouWalt WhitmanNikki Giovanni and William Butler Yeats. If you can't decide between several short poems, consider having multiple readers recite them one after the other. Each person can introduce the next.


Literature

Browse books and short stories to find passages that remind you of love and your marriage. Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet is popular for weddings, as are classics by Jane Austen and Charlotte and Emily Bronte. But think beyond the obvious and consider modern authors you love. Maybe one of Jonathan Safran Foer's novels spoke to you, a passage written by Nicole Krauss really stuck with you, or you loved one of David Sedaris's funny yet touching essays.


Children's Books

Your favorite storybooks from childhood can actually be quite profound, given their audience. Excerpts from books by Dr. Seuss, Shel Silverstein, Maurice Sendak, Roald Dahl and other classic authors might surprise you with how romantic they can be. One idea we love: Have your seven-year-old cousin read the passage and there won't be a dry eye in the room.


Love Letters

Love letters penned by historical figures (like James Joyce's to his wife, Nora, or Simone de Beauvoir's to Jean-Paul Sartre, for example) can be especially moving. If you'll have two or more readings, ask one person to read from a love letter, and another reader to handle the response letter. And don't forget about your own ”love letters.” Search your email inbox for messages from when you first met or were falling in love. You may find sweet tidbits of old correspondence that chronicle your falling in love from a totally personal and unique angle.


Your Favorite Movies

If historical literature or old-world poetry just isn't your style, try drawing from romantic movie quotes: Billy Crystal's speech at the end of When Harry Met Sally, Tom Hanks's radio call from Sleepless in Seattle, Leonardo DiCaprio's conversations with Kate Winslet in Titanicand the first-person narration from The Notebook come to mind. Think beyond your typical romantic movies too. If you have a special, nontraditional film you both love -- maybe you always watch it together when one of you is sick -- check it for quotes too.


Song Lyrics

If you're more likely to have a list of favorite tunes than favorite sonnets, check your iPod for songs with romantic, readable lyrics. Some of our favorites? The Beatles' "In My Life," The Beach Boys' "God Only Knows," Van Morrison's "Someone Like You" and Bob Dylan's "Make You Feel My Love."


Your Family

If you're looking for a way to honor a deceased or absent relative, reading from that person's favorite poems, books or passage of scripture is appropriate. Another touching option? Choosing excerpts from a meaningful book or letter written during their life. Maybe your grandmother kept a diary about her marriage and family life, or your favorite aunt read The Steadfast Tin Soldier to you when you were a kid.

Source: The Knot. com
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6 Ways to Personalize Your Ceremony


Your ceremony is the most meaningful part of your wedding day. Depending on how traditional your ceremony will be, there are ways to personalize your nuptials to ensure that the experience feels true to you and your future spouse. Check out some of our favorite ways to personalize your wedding ceremony.
Music
Check with your ceremony venue to see if you can incorporate non-classical music into your ceremony playlist. Whether it’s an instrumental version of your favorite pop ballad during the prelude or a cheeky pop tune as a recessional, selecting music that you love will give your ceremony a personal touch.
Readings
Depending on your ceremony traditions, you may be able to include a few readings into your ceremony. From Shakespeare to religious texts to more modern-day literature, pick a few passages that speak to you. You can ask close friends or family members who would feel comfortable speaking in front of a crowd to perform the readings.
Vows
Many couples prefer to write their own vows. Work with your officiant to come up with a general template to help you get started.
Programs
Include personal touches to your ceremony program. Design the program using colors and fonts that you like, and write a note thanking your guests for attending. 
Officiant
Be sure to meet with your officiant several times before your ceremony. It’s important that your officiant gets to know you as a couple, so that he or she can create a ceremony that includes anecdotes and details about your relationship.
Decor
Incorporate flowers and other decor items that are meaningful to you - whether it's including your grandmother's favorite flower in your altar arrangements or including a family quilt in your chutzpah or ceremony canopy.

Source: The Knot. com
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Marriage Isn’t For You

Having been married only a year and a half, I’ve recently come to the conclusion that marriage isn’t for me.


Now before you start making assumptions, keep reading.

I met my wife in high school when we were 15 years old. We were friends for ten years until…until we decided no longer wanted to be just friends. :) I strongly recommend that best friends fall in love. Good times will be had by all.

Nevertheless, falling in love with my best friend did not prevent me from having certain fears and anxieties about getting married. The nearer Kim and I approached the decision to marry, the more I was filled with a paralyzing fear. Was I ready? Was I making the right choice? Was Kim the right person to marry? Would she make me happy?

Then, one fateful night, I shared these thoughts and concerns with my dad.

Perhaps each of us have moments in our lives when it feels like time slows down or the air becomes still and everything around us seems to draw in, marking that moment as one we will never forget.

My dad giving his response to my concerns was such a moment for me. With a knowing smile he said, “Seth, you’re being totally selfish. So I’m going to make this really simple: marriage isn’t for you. You don’t marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy. More than that, your marriage isn’t for yourself, you’re marrying for a family. Not just for the in-laws and all of that nonsense, but for your future children. Who do you want to help you raise them? Who do you want to influence them? Marriage isn’t for you. It’s not about you. Marriage is about the person you married.”

It was in that very moment that I knew that Kim was the right person to marry. I realized that I wanted to make her happy; to see her smile every day, to make her laugh every day. I wanted to be a part of her family, and my family wanted her to be a part of ours. And thinking back on all the times I had seen her play with my nieces, I knew that she was the one with whom I wanted to build our own family.

My father’s advice was both shocking and revelatory. It went against the grain of today’s “Walmart philosophy”, which is if it doesn’t make you happy, you can take it back and get a new one.

No, a true marriage (and true love) is never about you. It’s about the person you love—their wants, their needs, their hopes, and their dreams. Selfishness demands, “What’s in it for me?”, while Love asks, “What can I give?”

Some time ago, my wife showed me what it means to love selflessly. For many months, my heart had been hardening with a mixture of fear and resentment. Then, after the pressure had built up to where neither of us could stand it, emotions erupted. I was callous. I was selfish.

But instead of matching my selfishness, Kim did something beyond wonderful—she showed an outpouring of love. Laying aside all of the pain and aguish I had caused her, she lovingly took me in her arms and soothed my soul.

Marriage is about family. 

I realized that I had forgotten my dad’s advice. While Kim’s side of the marriage had been to love me, my side of the marriage had become all about me. This awful realization brought me to tears, and I promised my wife that I would try to be better.

To all who are reading this article—married, almost married, single, or even the sworn bachelor or bachelorette—I want you to know that marriage isn’t for you. No true relationship of love is for you. Love is about the person you love.

And, paradoxically, the more you truly love that person, the more love you receive. And not just from your significant other, but from their friends and their family and thousands of others you never would have met had your love remained self-centered.

Truly, love and marriage isn’t for you. It’s for others.

This post originally appeared on ForwardWalking.com, a website dedicated to helping people move forward in life.
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