WEDDINGS OF NEW YORK
Creative Civil Wedding Ceremonies: traditional, contemporary or unique
Conducted by New York Certified Marriage Officiants*
Humanist Unity Candle Ceremony
[note: the candle ceremony is impractical outdoors, and substitutes such as a Sand Ceremony or Water ceremony are sometimes substituted]
"This humanist unity candle ceremony signifies the heritage each is bringing to the marriage and the blending of these two heritages.
Our community is shared, if in a different way, by those who have left this life. Their roles in the lives of [Name] and [Name] are no less remembered and honored as we savor today's joyous moments. Join with us, then, in fond memory of all these people, and in particular [Names of deceased family and friends]. In their memory, let us be silent together.
In all the quiet of this very special moment, we pause, also, to give thanks for all the rich experiences of life that have brought [Name] and [Name] to this high point in their lives. We are grateful for the values which they have found by their own strivings. We are grateful that within them is the dream of a great love and the resources to use that love in creating a home that shall endure.
We are especially grateful for the values which have flowed into them from those who have loved them and nurtured them and pointed them along life's way. The heritage eac h brings to this marriage will continue to be an important element in their lives, but now will be shared between them.
In commemoration of the merging of these two rich heritages and in memory of those, living and dead, who were part of these heritages, I now invite [Name]'s parents and [Name]'s parents to bring forth lighted candles, representing each of the families of this couple.
[Name] and [Name] will now light a unity candle (a central candle, a bowl holding a floating candle and rose petals, etc.), symbolizing the union of their two families in this marriage and the rich heritage each brings to it.
As [Name] and [Name] light the candle, they do not extinguish their flames. Although they are embarking upon a new and unique relationship in the union of their lives in marriage, they, nonetheless, retain their own separate and unique identities and personalities.
Note: The parents of the couple each obtain a lighted candle from opposite sides of the front of the sanctuary or room in which the wedding is taking place, lighting it from stationary candles that have been burning throughout the service. They, in turn, present the lighted candles to their respective child.
The couple then jointly light the central candle / bowl / chalice. This ceremony signifies the heritage each is bringing to the marriage and the blending of these two heritages. If the third paragraph is used, the candles are not extinguished as the central candle/ bowl is lit, but are placed in holders alongside. Appropriate music should accompany this ceremony.
"For over three thousand years human beings have used candles as a source of light. They are also symbols of warmth, of hope, and of life itself. Groom and Bride, you have entered into a union which is most sacred, requiring of those who enter into it a complete and unreserved giving of self. It will bind you together in a relationship so close, and so intimate that it will profoundly affect your whole future." (CELEBRANT lights Bride and Groom's candle)
"Would you now each, from your own candle, light a third as a symbol of your new relationship."
(Bride & Groom, together): "We shall this day light such a candle as we trust will never be put out."
"Not from pride, but from humility as mortals, with human weaknesses and strengths, you stand together today and promise faith as symbolized by this light. Your will find your faith as you live each moment consecrated to a search for truth and aided by the light of your love for each other."
Eastern Tradition, 4 blessings, 7 steps, Fire Ceremony
7 Steps, and gift of the Hands (Eastern Tradition, Hindu)
Groom and Bride, will you please face each other and join hands to offer the gifts you have for one another.
The gift of your hands... is to reach out to each other. To always be there as partners, companions, helpmates and friends. Now that you have found each other, stay close and cling tenderly yet tightly as you journey through this world.
The gift of your hearts... is to trust each other. To be gentle with your feelings, cherish your dreams, share your joys and hurts. Let the times you fall short be few and be forgiven. And let the times you surpass your needs and hopes be many.
The gift of yourselves... is to believe in each other. Desire not to change or possess, but only to know each other honestly and completely. Respect your individuality and the things that make you unique. Honor your togetherness and the things that make you one.
The gift of your love... is to care for each other truly and deeply, putting your commitment before all else. Live for your love... and your love will live forever. This now is your promise, your pledge of love to each other.
(Mothers light central candle)
Groom and Bride, please walk 4 times around this sacred fire.
With the first turn, we pray for happiness in the union of the couple.
With the second turn, we pray for the long life of the couple.
With the third turn, we pray for the healthy life of the couple.
With the fourth turn, we pray for the happiness and health of the couple.
Groom and Bride, you are now taking into your care and keeping the happiness of the one person in all the world whom you love most.
You are adding to your life not only the affection of a spouse, but also the companionship and blessing of a deep, lifelong trust. You are agreeing to share strength, to share responsibilities, and to share love.
(Exchange of vows and rings inserted here).
Where before you walked in life separately, from this moment forward you shall always walk together
I ask you, Groom and Bride, to walk into the future of your bonded union with the vows of these seven steps:
1.May the couple be blessed with an abundance of food.
2.May the couple be blessed to grow together in strength and complement one another.
3. May the couple be blessed with prosperity and travel
4.May the couple be eternally happy.
5.May the couple be blessed with children.
6.May the couple live in perfect harmony
7.May the couple be blessed to remain lifelong partners and friends, two imperfect halves to make a more perfect whole.
Groom and Bride say together:
"With these 7 steps we have bound our marriage.
You have become mine forever.