WEDDINGS ON A YACHT – FROM THE HEART
– performed by Lezlee Peterzell-Bellanich, non-denominational priestess (“Nautical Priestess”)
Marriage is the joining of two lives. Two individuals with separate families and life stories come together on their wedding day to declare their love and commitment to one another in the presence of family and close friends. As a bride and groom, you seek their blessing. In exchange for honoring you with the benediction of their presence, you inspire them with the example of your love. Since love is the true essence of marriage, the wedding is a special event which solidifies this bond between two human beings.
There are only two elements essential to a legally binding wedding ceremony: the vows or promises you make to one another and the proclamation by the officiant that you are now married. All other elements are optional. Therefore, in planning your wedding you have tremendous freedom to create a ceremony that is totally expressive of the two of you.
As an officiant, I am legally able to perform wedding ceremonies in the United States. I have been ordained as a “priestess” under a spiritual, non-denominational priesthood of individuals known as Sanctuary of the Beloved committed to teach and/or heal the Human Condition.
The bride and groom are responsible for obtaining a marriage license from the state in which the wedding is to be registered and performed. After the ceremony, this document is signed by each of you along with two witnesses, and I, the officiant, am responsible for sending this back to the State.
The wedding ceremony is a process of spiritual movement. Through its very format it leads us from a general to an ever more specific level of emotional involvement. The following are elements that I believe have the most meaning for couples today. If you choose to include conventions in your ceremony that are not listed here, please let me know.
1. THE PROCESSION
The traditional wedding march is one of the few remaining forms of procession we have today. By nature, a procession symbolizes progress, a moving on from one state of being to another. One or more people move physically forward, ordinarily to music, and in the procession, we are all “moved” emotionally from an awareness that the bride and groom walk as individuals to one of a couple who are joined and then turn to face us in their union. Please think about these questions and answer them.
How many people will be in your wedding party?
What is the order you want them to walk down the aisle?
What music do you want played?
Who will hold the rings? If you have a ring bearer, make sure he hands rings to best man
Who walks the bride down the aisle? It could be father or father and mother on each side, brother, or bride could walk alone. This is your choice.
Do you want all attendants to stand together with you or sit down after procession?
The groom stands to the left of officiant facing the audience. The bride may have bridesmaids and a maid of honor and the groom has groomsmen and a best man. There may be a ring bearer and a flower child. Women walk on the left side of the man.
The introduction consists of the words spoken to commence the wedding. My introduction assumes we are on a yacht.
“Friends, family, loved ones – it’s a great honor for me to welcome you. We are on these waters to witness the spiritual joining of BRIDE & GROOM. These two individuals have come here to profess their love and commitment. All of you presently gathered, serve as both observers and a support system in their journey together in marriage.
To the bride and groom: BRIDE & GROOM: Are you both here by your own free will and do you wish to be legally wed as husband and wife? If so, please each say “I am.”
Response: I am.
To the assembled guests: To all gathered here, are you willing to endorse the joining of this man, and this woman, as husband and wife? If so, please say “We are.”
Ship’s Company response: “We are.”
“Bride, Groom – Your wedding is a union of joy and love which symbolizes a completeness of spirit. At the same time, a marriage is also a serious occasion that should not to be entered into lightly.
As we stand upon the decks of this vessel, we’re aware of the important voyage that the two of you are about to embark on. Like an anchor that holds your vessel in place despite changing winds and rapid currents, so is the love that steadies each of you against life’s rolling waves. And while we hope for seas that are quiet and calm, you inevitably will encounter storms along the way. And just like a Captain who pays close attention to his ship, it’s necessary that you always pay close attention to each other. A marriage, like a ship on the high seas, needs constant care to ensure a successful journey.
Marriage is a bond requiring a balance between being a unit and keeping your own unique individuality – in other words, to continue being your own person while blending together as soul mates. Therefore, the exciting challenge in marriage is to grow, honor, respect, and support each other and the expansion that lies within you. So, remember – to remember to love. Because love brought you together, love brought you here, and love will keep you whole.
(this is a time for a special reading if you so desire…optional)
Either the officiant can ask the question and you can answer “I do”, or you can repeat the vows to each other. Please choose from the samples below, or you can choose to write your own vows and use these as guidelines.
“_______, do you take ______ to be your wife/husband? Do you promise to love, honor, cherish, and protect her/him, forsaking all others and holding only unto her/him?
“_____, do you now choose _____ to be your wife/husband, to share your life openly with her/him, to speak truthfully and lovingly to her/him, to accept her/him fully as she/he is and delight in who she/he is becoming, to respect her/his uniqueness, encourage her/his fulfillment, and compassionately support her/him through all the changes of your years together?”
“______, will you have this woman/man to be your wife/husband, to live together in marriage? Will you love her/him and give her/him your respect? Will you comfort, honor, and keep her/him in sickness and in health, in joy and in sorrow, so long as love life shall endure?”
“I ______promise, before family and friends, to commit my love to you; to respect your individuality; to be with you through life’s changes; and to nurture and strengthen the love between us, as long as we both shall live.”
“I, _____, cherish you, ______, for being all that you are, All that you are not, And all that you can be. Know that I am here for you, And that your pain will be mind, and your joy mine as well. All I ask is you – your love – your trust – your caring. I choose you to be my wife/husband.”
4. RING CEREMONY:
“The ring has symbolized the circle of life throughout the universe since ancient times.”
To the ring bearer: May I have the ring that Bride will wear? (Ring is passed to officiant and then to Groom)
To the groom and then to the bride: Please repeat after me *Please choose from the following samples below. Ring is placed half way on ring finger. After you repeat, ring is pushed all the way on.
“With this ring, I thee wed, as a symbol of love that has neither beginning nor end.”
“As this ring encircles your finger from this day forward, year in and year out, so will my love forever encircle you.”
“I give you this ring as a reminder that I love you every day of your life.”
“This ring I give you as a sign of our constant faith and abiding love. This ring I give you in token of my devotion and love, and with my heart I pledge to you all that I am. With this ring I marry you and join my life to yours.”
To the bride and groom: By the powers vested in me by the State, and by the authority of love itself, it gives me great joy to now pronouce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride.
6. THE KISS
“God bless you. Go in peace; live in joy. Now it is time to celebrate.”
Couple walks out together.