Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Wedding Vows

My family attended a friend's wedding earlier in May.

Naturally, my wife and I always think about our own wedding when we are guests at another.

Because of our families, we composed our ceremony to be a blend of Jewish and Christian traditions. Guests got to "flower" a wicker heart on the way to their seat, a tradition we stole from a traditional Easter service, and the chuppah was outside among flowers and decorated with flowers. Everyone sang the Shema as well as Come Let Us Worship and Bow Down. The ceremony had a unity candle as well as a broken glass, and both Jewish and Christian traditional blessings.

We also included things because of our own enjoyments. Our processional was Hole in the Wall played by a flutist friend, because of our SCA history. The recessional was Lord of the Dance.

We said two sets of vows. The first were the "vows of intent", in which the officiant asks two questions and the person replies.
[name], will you have [name] to be your wife,
to live together in God's covenant of marriage?
Will you love him/her, comfort him/her, honor him/her and keep him/her
in sickness and in health;
and forsaking all others be faithful to him/her
as long as you both shall live?

I will, trusting in God's strength.
The second were the "vows of promise" which the people getting married say (with whispered prompting from the officiant). We added the phrase "be cute with", and because of both our SCA history and correct theology we also added "or the world ends".
I, [name], take thee [name] to be my wedded husband/wife;
to have and to hold and be cute with from this day forward;
for better or for worse;
for richer or for poorer;
in sickness and in health;
to love and to cherish
till death do us part or the world ends;
according to God's holy ordinance;
and with this ring I pledge thee my love.

I give you this ring as a symbol of my vow.
Gold does not tarnish and circles never end.
I pledge with all that I am, and all that I have, and with the help of God
So shall our marriage be.
I'm still not sure why the "vows of intent" use you and the "vows of promise" use thee, but guess that the difference stems from some unconscious following of merged old traditions.

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